Fra interview i magasinet Interview, 1990
CHILDHOOD DREAMS: I had a plan from when I was eight. My father brought
home all these American records, 45s with no centers. And he said, "Go
on, you can take your pick." I said, "I'll just take a few out." There
was this one by Little Richard, and that was it. I was sold. When I
heard that, I thought, God, I want to do that. Actually, my ambition at
eight or nine years old was to be one of Little Richard's sax players,
and that's when I got my first saxophone, a Selmer. It was a strange
Bakelite material—that creamy plastic with all the gold keys on it. I
had to get a job as a butcher's delivery boy to start paying for it. At
no point did I ever doubt I would be as near as anybody could be to
England's Elvis Presley. Even from eight or nine years old, I thought,
Well, I'll be the greatest rock star in England. I just made up my mind.
STYLE INSPIRATION: 1961 was when I was really into
clothes. I left school at 15 and started copying a bloke who used to go
up on the train to London with me; Leslie, I think his name was. He was
like, top mod of his own area. He wore Italian jackets with white linen
jeans. Boy, was that cool! I mean, that's in style now—it's very much the L.A. look. But he was wearing it then,
and it looked supercool. Chelsea boots, but with fluorescent pink or
green socks and eye shadow that matched the socks he was wearing that
day. And he had a slight bouffant hairstyle, parted in the middle. He
was somehow tough-looking, too, a real heavyweight. But he had eye
makeup on! And the jarringness of it was really weird. I thought, I like that—I feel that, not one thing or the other.
INSPIRATION: Syd Barrett [of Pink Floyd] was the first person in rock I
had seen with makeup on. He wore black nail polish and lots of mascara
and black eye shadow, and he was so mysterious. It was this androgynous
thing I found absolutely fascinating. Of course, we found out later the
guy had mental problems. But there was something so otherworldly about
him. He was hovering, like, six inches above the ground.
MUSIC: I have an incredibly hard time with it at the moment. It's all
so dispirited and sexless. There's this strange atmosphere now that's
come over sex that I'm particularly angry about. Sex is suddenly once
again the unmentionable word, and one wonders if that's going to lead to
more right-wing thinking and to a kind of fucking depressing grayness
to the quality of life. It's a return to everything we despised in the
early '60s. I do like the Pixies. I think they're great. I think Sonic
Youth are wonderful. I must say I still like the Cure. It's marvelous
that they've actually got a huge audience over here now.
BOWIE AND HIS PARENTS: I could never, ever talk to my father. I really loved
him, but we couldn't talk about anything together. There was this
really British thing that being even remotely emotional was absolutely
I spent so much time in my bedroom. It really
was my entire world. I had books up there, my music up there, my record
player. Going from my world upstairs out onto the street, I had to pass
through this no-man's-land of the living room, you know, and out the
THE '60s: I really floated around in the '60s, because I felt comfortable with nothing. But I just tried everything out—I mean, everything.
Even my sexual orientation; I was just searching for what I really
wanted. And I didn't quite know. And that applied to the arts, as well.
It was like treading water all through the '60s, and when 1970 kicked
in, I thought [snaps fingers] We're here.
Right. God, this is exciting. I'm going to go for it now. I really felt
it was my time. Then Marc Bolan did it first. [laughs] That really pissed me off.