This is Part Three of the original interview that Legs did with Angela Bowie for Please Kill Me.
A – Sorry where were we…
L – That it was restrictive in London, provincial maybe.
A – No, I think it’s more if you look at the whole situation [Ken Pitt] who was David’s manager and the fact that he was so… if you look at those kind of Queen mafia in London at that time and realize how repressed they were and how even the slightest hint of that kind of scandal could mean the difference between someone getting a recording deal or someone spending their life playing working men’s clubs in the North of England and never actually becoming really popular, well yeah, you have to remember this is like late 1960s, beginning of the 1970s.
It was very different and so when Lou [Reed] would talk about the queens in New York and Candy Darling and all of these incredible
characters who Andy Warhol was making stars out of and making “Heroin” out of, for David that was like America must be the most wide open, wonderful place. And so what I mean is you’re like looking at it from a social mores, and from the point of view that if he hadn’t had all of those experiences, when they ask him in that Melody Maker article and he said, “Actually, I’m gay,” and then he changed it and said bisexual and said what he really meant, he would never have had the balls to do that unless he’d been around Iggy and Lou and realized that fuck it, if the English wanted to behave like that with that kind of hypocrisy, fuck it, but there was this place across the water in the States where things were changing and you and I both know of course it wasn’t changing that much at all in the Midwest but David didn’t know that, he just knew New York.
L – New York the island off the coast of America.
A – Exactly, ha ha ha.
L – And we forget that don’t we?
A – Yes, exactly.
L – “Walk On The Wild Side” seems to be that story.
A – Well, it is that story but when you ask me about what kind of intellectual conversations…
L – Well, it made kind of sense for Lou to do this song– the story of regaling these great drag queens back at Max’s [Kansas City], for David to produce it and make a hit out of it. I mean, that seems to be the strangest top ten hit.
A – Exactly. I’m sure that you feel the same way that I do, is that when you look back on it, and until you actually pinch yourself and remind yourself of what things were actually like for gay people and for drag queens at that time who were– and god knows there were thousands of writers, and other people talking about it; I’m not trying to make out that we were the only ones.
L – But I was in high school when “Walk On The Wild Side” became a hit and I just couldn’t believe that, “Even when she was giving head…” That line.
A – Well, yeah, that’s the line.
L – Here’s a song about drag queens blowing people on Top 40 radio in America; it was pretty shocking.
A – It was shocking and I think one of those things that actually swept away all the cobwebs and made the whole scene appear exciting and vibrant and it touched what was going on.
L – Was there that vibe in the studio, that they were gonna get that in touch…
A – Oh, are you kidding, they were far more– no, no, no, we’re talking about serious divas here, dear. No, no, no, they were totally involved in themselves and the song and the this and the that and they assumed it would be the top of the world, naturally, because they were working on it. So no, I’m sure they were looking for that, excited about that, working towards that but I must give them credit, both Lou and David are extremely professional–which is an over used word–lets says, manic about detail and getting it right and so that’s what they were involved in; they were involved in the musicality of doing something incredible.
L – Why did you go back to Ann Arbor with the Stooges? Was it because they were so much fun?
A – No, no, no, no. I was sent because apparently, Main Man, the office, believed that they might not get on the plane, ha, ha ha, so I guess this is something to do with their drug taking. I guess I was sent as the, er guard.
L – … to make sure they left the country.
A – … to make sure they left the country; got on the plane.
L – Did Iggy go back? Or did he stay hanging out with David?
A – He stayed hanging out with David; I think actually it was all part of his planning to get rid of the Stooges.
L – Well, Iggy had already fired them after Fun House, and he re-hired them.
A – Yeah, but with that kind of a situation I don’t think being fired and being re-hired really had anything to with reality; I mean, that’s part of their way of life. Iggy went off, they were all fired, they didn’t have a job, they decided they’d go play with someone else, Iggy came back to town, they all went and played the show.
L – Is the next thing that happened the Ziggy Stardust tour–that ends in L.A.–and then the Stooges get that house on Torrenson Drive?
A – Well, by then I was already involved promoting and looking after Dana [Gillespie] and dealing with Mott the Hoople and to be honest with you after they got to Los Angeles, I really didn’t really have any more to do with them, except I got to Los Angeles and Iggy was at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, we were playing those shows, yes, that’s the tour you’re talking about.
L – And everybody shows up at the hotel?
A – Yes, and Iggy was in a terrible state, I picked him up off the floor and carried him to my suite one time.
L – By the time they get to L.A. the drugs…
A – …and I put him on this sofa–I had a one bedroom suite–and I guess when I got up and went and did all my shit, ran around town, and did what I do, probably got back around one thirty or two and was just about to go to lunch, and there’s Iggy staggering around and apologizing. I can’t remember what he’d done. Maybe tried to fuck me or something. I don’t think so, but I know he’d done something that he was very apologetic for… oh, I know what, it was banging on the door and waking me up! And he wouldn’t stop apologizing, and I said, “Well, that’s okay, doesn’t matter, you didn’t have anywhere to go, I’m glad you were banging on this door.” But I had picked him up and carried him in [the suite] and he got up and staggered out, and then he fell down in the corridor and then he crawled back to the door and banged on the door once again, and I wasn’t too thrilled. So I just opened the door and said, “Look, there’s the sofa. Go to sleep, I’m not interested in having a discussion about this.” I remember he was at the Wilshire a lot, he was stoned a lot, his hair was green because he had been swimming in the pool, too much chlorine and his hair was bleached blond. But I didn’t see the boys at all, didn’t see Scott or Ron or James Williamson, only Iggy.
L – There is some talk about how Iggy was getting more and more stoned at that time. Did David say anything? Or did he not involve himself in other people’s drug use?
A – I think David was just as stoned as Iggy was.
L – He was?
A – I could be wrong, because I didn’t see him at all. I managed pretty much with Patrick Carr’s, [co-writer of Backstage Passes: Life on the Wild Side with David Bowie] help to trace back to the beginning of David’s drug taking and it pretty much coincides absolutely to the time when we no longer shared hotel suites. By that time it seems like he was hiding.
L – Also Cyrinda shows up at the Beverly Wilshire, was that a bone of contention?
A – Well, not really, no.
L – Then she moves in the house on Torrenson.
A – I don’t know about any of that.
L – Was it wild, what was going on…
A – Oh, I had no idea love, I never went there.
L – No, at the Beverly Wilshire.
A – Oh, I don’t know. I mean, I worked all the time; people don’t seem to realize that about for me.
L – There was one story I heard about you in the pool with a black bodyguard.
A – Well, that wasn’t in Los Angeles, that was somewhere [else] when we were doing the tour.
L – Fun?
A – Oh, absolutely. Yes, that was fabulous. I thought if I’m going to aggravate the staff, I’m gonna do it right. And he’s big and handsome and gorgeous with an English accent and that really pissed ’em all off. I didn’t realize it pissed ’em off so much we’d have to leave the hotel but…
L – Oh, you did?
A – Oh, yeah, ha ha ha.
L – Did they ask you to leave?
A – I think they did, ha, ha, ha.
L – Wow, did they call the cops?
A – Actually I think they got us out of the pool but I don’t think we actually had to leave the hotel; I just think they just said not to come back to the place, but by then we were so over it, we were so pissed off, all through the South I fucked him just to irritate the white people… it was just my little part towards how the world ought not to be segregated.
L – You did you part for civil rights.
A – I certainly did, I did my best, I tried ha ha ha.
L – Can we go back to the Beverley Wilshire, because it seems like groupies are happening and…
A – But I’m trying to figure out what this has to do with punk.
L – Well, the Stooges definitely do.
A – Well, that’s true, ok, ok, you got me. I just didn’t want to start talking about me when we were trying to do your book on punk, I’m sorry.
L – Well you’re also fucking the black guy in the pool, it’s definitely punk, don’t you think?
A – Ha ha ha. Thank you so much. I love that about you, you’re so supportive.
L – No, I mean that’s what it was; like lets put it in their face. That’s what everybody doesn’t realize is that there was ten years of this stuff going on before the Sex Pistols. I mean, Malcolm [McLaren] even says it and everybody else does, the Stooges— I mean, Johnny [Ramone] and Dee Dee [Ramone] got together because they’re the only people who could talk about the Stooges. And Malcolm, I mean, the Dolls, Johnny Thunders and… when did you meet the Dolls for the first time?
A – I met them in New York with David and I can’t remember the name of that place.
L – Mercer Arts Center.
A – Thank you. We went and saw them play there and they were just terrific. I really liked them; I thought they were fabulous, because it was bright and caricature and cartoon-like and larger than life.
L – Could you tell who was on stage from who wasn’t? Did it just seem like a huge party?
A – Oh no, no, no, no, no. Quite a separate show. Fuck that, no, it may’ve been a huge party in between and after and before but certainly it was no huge party when they were playing, David Johansen was a pro, he didn’t fuck around. But God, they were all so cute. They were all really nice, I mean, you know, I met David Johansen when he was going out with Cyrinda [Foxe] so I knew him a little more than I knew Johnny Thunders and then the other guys were all so cool, too, so sweet.
L – Were Cyrinda and David a cute, great couple or did they fight alot?
A – If they were a great couple I never even fucking noticed, ha ha ha.
L – Well, Lisa Robinson tried to quote them as the fab couple.
A – Ha ha ha, I, I have no idea. I mean, as soon as David said he was going to put her in the “Rebel Rebel” video I knew he was fucking her.
L – Bowie? Oh, I’m talking about David Johansen.
A – Oh David Johansen, I’m sorry I thought you meant David, and I was about to say no I don’t think so, but yeah David Johansen and Cyrinda, I don’t know if Lisa promoted them as a great couple, but they were a great couple. I thought they were terrific but I only know my own feelings about them but this is a personal opinion and if you feel its relevant to say so, because I just felt that Cyrinda always had very little vision as far as her own talent was concerned. She was asked to go to London with Pork, she wouldn’t go, she had some boyfriend she didn’t wanna leave. Then I think that for her to leave Johansen and go with that crap in Aerosmith who was a total ignoramus, you know, compared to David, who’s bright, intelligent and treated her well. I mean, I love her to death, she’s my friend, but I mean I’ve had this conversation with her so I don’t feel like I’m saying something behind her back, but I’ve never been able to fathom her perception of men.
L – I think Cyrinda would be the first to agree.
A – Yeah, I’m sure, but because Johansen was… he positioned himself to be with her, he wanted to be with her, you know what I mean, because he was smart, because he knew she looked good, because she was right for his image. Now if a person has got that much nuance and that much brain, then it would appear to me that that would be an extremely supportive person to be with and stay with but who knows.
L – Did it piss you off when David Bowie got Cyrinda to be in Rebel Rebel?
A – No, it didn’t because I thought she was perfect for it but I also knew he fucked her as soon as he did that it was like oh god are there any left standing that David hasn’t fucked? Are there any in New York, any on the East Coast?
L – Ever jealous?
A – What was the point? No, there was no point, but it was difficult.
L – Emotionally?
A – Because what you’re doing is you’re not behaving in the way that is natural. You know, if you like someone and hang out with them and you go to bed with them… I’ve never been to bed with anyone I didn’t really like, really, really like. You know the kind of person that I would, they’re my friend and I would call them up and I would stay friends with them forever if they want to, and I’ve always felt that way about it, and it’s very difficult to be around someone who’s that… there are certain areas of conversation that if you get involved with them, you’re either gonna have to go right to the end with the conversation, or you’re gonna have to act like you don’t care. And so it’s incredible, to be very honest with you, that we were together for so long because I can only put it down to my stamina, ha ha ha. Okay, and endurance. I must be some kind of masochist to have been able to endure it. I’m sorry I don’t know whether I should call you Legs…
L – Legs is good.
A – Legs, okay, Legs.
L – Did you find Iggy sexy?
A – No.
L – No. Why?
A – Why?
L – Because he seems to be very animal, that animal kind passion. Think so?
A – Animal! Come on, he used to like turn it on and off.
L – Really?
A – Oh, please, the biggest diva of them all. I had no time for them, know what I mean? I like construction workers, people who are really butch.
L – Well, then you must’ve loved Scotty and Ronny.
A – Yeah, I did, I loved them because they were just straightforward.
L – Seemed like the real thing?
A – Yeah, they were just nice guys. You know, Detroit guys, fun guys.
L – How did Lou differ from Iggy? Seems like you much preferred Lou’s company to Iggy’s.
A – I suppose Lou was a little more sophisticated and whereas Lou didn’t do the reading, Iggy did the reading, Iggy actually had school teachers for parents, actually had read Dostoyevsky and all this kinda crap. Lou had that New York thing, he could talk about it and make out like he’d read it but he hadn’t. But he covered enough ground and it was that kind of superficial thing that you didn’t get a headache by the end of the conversation. With Iggy, if you ever did have a serious conversation with him, the whole idea he would point out that you were ignorant and stupid. That he was as smart as a whip and that having been said and established, now he was gonna use you any possible way he could, either to eat, get drugs or cop a piece of ass. And those were the two big differences.
END OF PART THREE
Angela Bowie interview – Part 1
Angela Bowie Interview – Part 2
Angela Bowie Interview – Part 4
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