May 12, 2010

"I'd love to enter politics. I will one day. I'd adore to be Prime Minister. And, yes, I believe very strongly in fascism."

"The only way we can speed up the sort of liberalism that's hanging foul in the air at the moment is to speed up the progress of a right-wing, totally dictatorial tyranny and get it over as fast as possible. People have always responded with greater efficiency under a regimental leadership. A liberal wastes time saying, 'Well, now, what ideas have you got?' Show them what to do, for God's sake. If you don't, nothing will get done. I can't stand people just hanging about. Television is the most fascist, too. Adolf Hitler was one of the first rock stars."

So said David Bowie in his 1976 interview (with Cameron Crowe) for Playboy.


Anonymous said...

Possible responses:

1. People have always responded with greater efficiency under a regimental leadership. It worked for Chile.

2. I can't stand people just hanging about. Yeah, but you have Tin Machine hanging over your head until you die, where it will follow you to your grave and rest with you into eternity.

Joe said...

I'd love to be Prime Minister, too....and I love the music of David Bowie, and so killing two birds with one stone, as I understand it.

I offer to be PM and institute a Fascistic Rightwing Government to Britain, I plan on rounding up Brown, Blair, Clegg, and Cameron post-haste and shooting them.

I am not toatlly dictatorial however, I'd have an on-line poll as to which place of public execution they might singly or as a group be dispatched. It would, of course, be televised, on Bloggingheadstv and Youtube.

Joe said...

The BBC would be rquired to devote at least one channel to Progressive/Glam Rock, broadcasting 24-7.

Robert Cook said...

Just Bowie being Bowie...indulging in sensational rhetoric to draw attention to himself, build publicity for his brand. First he feigned being gay, or bi, or ambiguous, here he claims to be a fascist. He's just a showman giving a show, giving his public what it wants.

ricpic said...

David Bowie: I adore fascism and I luv to take it up the arse, me and Hitler both.

Unknown said...

There's a lot less difference between Hitler and Lenin (much less Stalin) than a lot of people believe. Certainly, The Fuhrer and Uncle Joe saw eye to eye on keeping the masses in line.

And, most importantly, the Lefties saw no problem with Eva's boyfriend before 6/22/41.

Lem said...

If I had a nickel..

Lem said...

wait I do have a nickel.. what should I do with it?

AllenS said...

Can you buy anything these days with a nickel?

Trooper York said...

If you had a nickel you would have the approximate worth of Big Papi's career.

Anonymous said...

Enough about Big Papi.

How 'bout those Tigers, eh, Trooper?

Fred4Pres said...

I think to term for Bowie's fascism comment is ├ępater les bourgeois.

I doubt Bowie really thought that one out (then again, his ziggy movies were forgetable too).

Synova said...

Oh, too funny! I know "In Plain Sight" is filmed in Albuquerque but I'm watching and they just walked into a pet store I know exactly where it is. It's weird. Looks cleaner and brighter than usual. ;-)

Mitch H. said...

But he was "afraid of Americans".


Scott M said...

One wonders if Ziggy still believes this or was just waxing glam at the time.

Assuming he was being characteristically candid, the thing that stuck out the most was "right-wing, totally dictatorial tyranny".

From the middle, the further right you go, the smaller government gets until you have anarchy. You have to go way, way left to get a "totally dictatorial tyranny", or, the biggest government possible. Right-wing doesn't fit here.

Beth said...

So do you not have a tag for "right-wing, totally dictatorial tyranny"?

jeff said...

What anyone said 34 years ago isnt all that interesting. Now if he said it yesterday......But I doubt he would.

Scott M said...

Now if he said it yesterday......But I doubt he would.

That's probably true. It takes a very mature, very well-rounded person to be able to successfully judge a walk-off between the two biggest male models in the fashion industry.

EnigmatiCore said...

"First he feigned being gay, or bi, or ambiguous, here he claims to be a fascist."

Actually, based on the date, I think this claim came from when he was feigning being gay, bi, or ambiguous.

vw: whisiap. Example-- Whisiap with that?

J said...

"The BBC would be rquired to devote at least one channel to Progressive/Glam Rock, broadcasting 24-7"

You could force people to watch that as one of your methods of execution. Unless forcing them to commit suicide doesn't count.

Methadras said...

The Great White Duke dulled himself a little with this one. I'm still a fan though.

paul a'barge said...

OK, people ... David Bowie has changed and it's not 1976 anymore.

It's mega-typical of 1976 Bowie, back when he had something to prove and back when drugs were flowed like water in the Mississippi River to make outrageous statements.

I pass on the outrage, thanks. I just don't have the stamina anymore to muster up the huff-'n'-puff and to soil my undies.

Nothing to see here. Let's all move along, ok?

Penny said...

Impressive interview and writing for such a young lad at the time. Wish I had been traveling in Crowe's circle way back when.

Anyway, I couldn't help but notice how much longer that interview was than most you see today. Maybe today's stars think their time is more valuable. Ha!

somefeller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
somefeller said...

Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

Also, Bowie later said he regretted these comments. He went to Berlin to make a few records and after seeing some of the aftereffects of a fascist regime up close, realized that it wasn't very clever to talk about how great fascism was. Of course, most of us don't need to go to Berlin to make a few records to get that point, but the point was taken by Bowie.

Blair said...

It is well known by Bowie aficionados that in 1976 Bowie had a very heavy cocaine habit, and had significant mental health problems. I think his comments can be excused on that basis. Also, he is a freaking musical genius and can be King of the World for all I care.

Palladian said...

"Cocaine is a hell of a drug."

Yes, this was at the high point (low point?) of Bowie's drug use. He was a complete mess, living in California, reading Aleister Crowley and Nietzsche and drawing on the floor and, according to him, living on a diet of peppers, milk and cocaine.

But out of it all came one of his best albums: "Station To Station".

And for those referencing Ziggy Stardust, Ziggy had long ago committed rock 'n' roll suicide. Aladdin Sane had come and gone, Halloween Jack had disappeared into the shadows of Hunger City. This was "The Thin White Duke" who was, according to Bowie, "a nasty character indeed".

But what an album. And the next two albums that resulted from his ascent from the abyss made it all worthwhile.

Trooper York said...

Hey I love the Tigers. Of course the best thing about them is that they are Darcy's team.

And they are letting Johnny Damon stay in shape in case we need him for the strecth drive.

Oh and you're welcome for Austin Jackson.

Trooper York said...

And cut the crap. Bowie was a great American!

Trooper York said...

Listen to the lyrics.

I bet they still sing this in Arizona. Just Sayn'

Mr. D said...

It's big and it's bland, full of tension and fear.

pdug said...

always misheard the lyrics to this as follows

"There's a brand new dance
But I don't know it's name
That people from bad homes
Do again and again
It's big and it's bland
Full tension and fear
They do it over there
But we don't do it here

Fascism- Turn to the left
Fascism- Turn to the right
We are the bourgeois
And we're coming to town
Beep-beep - Beep-beep:"

Kinda ominous, no?

Jimmy said...

Problem with the boomers is that they have mistaken great rock n' roll talent for intelligent opinions.

The Crack Emcee said...

Yea, for a while there Bowie and Iggy were riding around Berlin with the top down, giving the Nazi salute and thinking they were cool. You didn't know that? It's (partially) why his wife left him, or so she said.

In some ways, I can identify. I mean, it's not like people just do things because it's the right thing to do. And the fact others suffer because of that doesn't bother them - so why should it bother me? If feminism is about men giving women the rope to hang us with (and it is) then I say "fuck that":

I'll beat that bitch with a bat.

Largo said...


You beat me to it. I was about to say "brown shirts" instead of "bourgeois", but...

I didn't mishear his lyrics back then, but I took them as meaning fascism. I don't know why, other than my past fanboy worship trying to read something "deep meaningful" into his lyrics.

[Don't get me started on the mental contortions I went through back then trying to divine deep meaning in McCartney's lyrics. I used to puzzle over how majoring in medicine might have contributed to Maxwell becoming a homicidal maniac (*hides head in embarrassment*)]

He nailed my adolescent awkward-with-girls years though:

Cause you can never really tell,
When somebody ... wants something
you ... want ... too.

Largo said...

Trooper, I thought you said Young American. Famous short-short stories, or lines that could pass as one:

"For sale: baby shoes, never worn." -- E. Hemmingway

"Shut up he explained." -- R. Lardner

"Took him minutes: took her nowhere." -- D. Bowie

Largo said...

One might expect more from someone who wrote Saviour Machine

Ok, I'm done.

Drew W said...

In the late '70s, a friend gave me the unexpected news that Bowie was flirting with right-wing politics, which had always colored my feelings about him, despite the fact that I never stopped liking him as a musical artist.

Last summer I worked on Marc Spitz' (decent) Bowie bio, which maintains that all the outrageous stuff that's become part of Bowie legend -- the gay sex, the fascism -- were basically just inflammatory, attention-seeking remarks that had much to do with the fact that he was whacked out of his skull on one substance or another pretty much all the time back then. (Such a relief, huh?)