This is how a thoughtful, intelligent person speaks

A palate cleanser after that horrid SBF video:

OK, that’s easy for you to say, David Bowie, you were rich and famous and popular. I do agree, though, that it’s beneficial to shake up your perspective now and then, and to do daring things — I just wish everyone had the liberty to follow their desires and take risks that don’t involve gambling away their family and livelihood.


  1. nomaduk says

    Well, to be fair — though I admit I don’t know much about David Bowie’s life — he wasn’t always famous, popular, or rich; he got that way, one would like to think, by following the advice he gives here.

    But, yes, it’s not easy to do that for most people.

  2. acroyear says

    Bowie was constantly re-creating himself. Even creating himself as ‘pop star’ in the 80s (to a degree, he did later regret that period, but it helped him grow a new audience, some of whom stayed with him later or developed an interest in his prior periods.

    One reinvention of his style was working with Brian Eno and Robert Fripp. Not every label was as supportive of a big money-making artist going that experimental: when Darryl Hall completed his first solo album with Robert Fripp, the label refused to release it, thinking that it would turn off Hall & Oats fans (this was before Kiss on My List became their second #1 single) because of how unique it was. They finally relented 3 years later when Private Eyes peaked enough to start H&O on their path to the biggest duo in history.

  3. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Not every label was as supportive of a big money-making artist going that experimental

    RCA wasn’t all that supportive of Bowie doing it, honestly. Apparently, when the US brass first heard Low (coming after 2 successful soul-flecked records), one of the big-wigs told David, “It’s alright, but we’d like you to keep making that n—- music.”

  4. birgerjohansson says

    Unknown Eric the apostate @ 4
    When MTV broke through the Channel did not originally give much space to “black” music.
    When MTV interviewed Bowie he brought up the issue and was sarcastic about their answers (a turnaround – the interviewed becoming the interviewer).

  5. says

    This is the difference between the artist and the entertainer. Bowie is coming at this as an artist. In contrast, an entertainer always has the audience (the gallery) in mind. I attended a talk by Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson, et al) a few years back, and his salient comment was that, if you’re trying to appease an audience, then there are things that you won’t do, and that, by definition, limits your palette as an artist. My favorite musical artists tend to be people who never reached the pinnacle of fame (and some remain obscure), although they did have a devoted fan base. People like Bruford, Frank Zappa, Kate Bush (at least here in the USA as I understand she is/was much more popular in the UK). How many “music consumers” are familiar with artists like Eberhard Weber or bands like Henry Cow or Gentle Giant? Not many.

  6. Silentbob says

    Shame about the time he reinvented himself as a nazi, but I guess nobody’s perfect.

  7. chrislawson says

    @6 — Kate Bush was extremely popular in the UK and Australia, but I defy anyone to listen to her music and think she was chasing sales.

  8. John Morales says

    Shame about the time he reinvented himself as a nazi

    Heh heh heh.

    (As a hyperliteral person, I also truly believe his public persona was his true self)

    re #5:

  9. silvrhalide says

    Neil Gaiman expressed similar sentiments.

    The MTV interview Bowie gave regarding black artists is still one of my favorites.

    I believe Frank Zappa addressed the same issue with “Joe’s Garage”.

  10. KG says

    John Morales@10,
    How far Bowie “meant it”, if at all, is irrelevant. Bowie was posturing as a fascist, saying Britain was ready for a fascist dictator, giving a Nazi salute etc., at a time when synagogues were being painted with swastikas and black people and Orthodox Jews attacked in the street by racists. Unforgiveable.

  11. John Morales says


    “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”

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