“I never really felt like a rock singer or a rock star or whatever,” David Bowie said about his Ziggy Stardust period in a 1988 interview. “Now I realize that from ’72 through to about ’76, I was the ultimate rock star. I couldn’t have been more rock star.”
Bowie sat for the interview with Joe Smith, who has given audio to PBS to animate for its Blank on Blank series of lost insights from some of music’s biggest characters. As it happens, Bowie’s interview is almost entirely focused on character and the personas he created.
When Smith told Bowie that his Ziggy character was something akin to a cartoon character brought to life, the self-proclaimed ultimate rock star agreed. “Ziggy was,” he said. “I mean he was half out of sci-fi rock and half out of the Japanese theater. The clothes were, at that time, simply outrageous. Nobody had seen anything like them before.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Bowie discussed working with Iggy Pop, Lou Reed and Mott the Hoople, why the Ziggy Stardust character did not have a very long shelf life and whether or not it’s hard “being David Bowie,” in the context of his personas. “I do not have the outsider problem,” he said of the last topic. “For me, the world that I inhabit in reality is probably very different world than the one people expect that I would be in.”
In recent Bowie news, the former Mr. Stardust reissued a 7-inch of his “Rebel Rebel” single earlier this year to celebrate its 40th anniversary. And he won the BRIT Award for British Male Solo Artist but chose not to show up to accept the honor.