David Bowie's Explanation for Alter Ego Ziggy Stardust Was Pretty Beautiful
Here's the story behind Ziggy.
In 1972, fans saw a new side of David Bowie. Gone was the rock star they'd known and loved, instead replaced by a flighty, androgynous persona: Ziggy Stardust.
The alter ego wore a signature red mullet, light mascara, heavy eyeshadow, liner, deep blush, and a token thunder bolt across its forehead and cheek. Not exclusively confined to a human manifestation, Bowie's Ziggy Stardust was a song.
Though lovers of the man and music speculated, no official explanation on Stardust was provided until two years later, during a '74 interview with novelist William S. Burroughs.
Here's what Bowie said:
"The time is five years to go before the end of the earth. It has been announced that the world will end because of lack of natural resources. Ziggy is in a position where all the kids have access to things that they thought they wanted. The older people have lost all touch with reality and the kids are left on their own to plunder anything. Ziggy was in a rock & roll band and the kids no longer want rock & roll. There’s no electricity to play it. Ziggy’s adviser tells him to collect news and sing it, ’cause there is no news. So Ziggy does this and there is terrible news. “All the Young Dudes” is a song about this news. It is no hymn to the youth as people thought. It is completely the opposite."
Bowie went on to say that Stardust was "advised in a dream by the infinites to write the coming of a starman, so he writes 'Starman.'"
"[This] is the first news of hope that the people have heard. So they latch onto it immediately. The starmen that he is talking about are called the infinites, and they are black-hole jumpers. Ziggy has been talking about this amazing spaceman who will be coming down to save the earth. They arrive somewhere in Greenwich Village. They don’t have a care in the world and are of no possible use to us. They just happened to stumble into our universe by black-hole jumping. Their whole life is traveling from universe to universe. In the stage show, one of them resembles Brando, another one is a black New Yorker. I even have one called Queenie the Infinite Fox."
A fabulously imaginative explanation from an absolute legend.
RIP David Bowie.