1978 Arena BBC Interview

But the voyage ended in the mid 70's when Bowie fled the excess of America and moved to Germany. The music turned dramatically away from it's American routes. Away it seemed from rock altogether.

Bowie: Well, the last time you saw me, or was with me, was in Los Angeles, wasn't it? One of my...one of the worst periods, I think, in my life, I think. I got into a lot of emotional and spiritual trouble there. And so I decided to split and discover new ways of...relating to the music business, you could say. I wasn't sure exactly what I was in it for anymore.

Yentob: Was there a clash between the materialism? The need to be a rock star? Successful, if you like?

Bowie: Yes. I think, very much so. And as I really didn't want to be so myself, I was living more and more in the style of one of my characters, who wanted terrific success. Because they're all...all messiah figures, most of them. Either light or dark shadowings. And so because I really felt that the material aspect was something that had to be done in Los Angeles, because it's driven into you. It's the food of Los Angeles...Hollywood rather...not Los Angeles. Unfair on Los Angeles. And so I just packed up everything one day and I moved back to Europe again.

In Berlin Bowie and his collaborator Brian Eno produced 3 albums in which he boldly went where other rock stars hesitated. Into the outer reaches of minimalism.

Yentob: I noticed that the music now is more daring. More adventurous. It's more fractured. Is there a chance that by following your instinct, your aesthetic instinct if you will, your artistic instinct that you will jeopardize that...you know...the money and the good life and all that?

Bowie: No duh, Sherlock. (laughter) Yes, I think I...Yes, I think I've rather sort of hit that one on the head at the moment. And it's quite a relief really. I feel a lot more free, you know, in what I do. I just needed a positive decision to only do what I wanted to do. For the...and not do things for the sake of what, you know...either David Bowie, or whoever I was playing last time.


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