'I'm Not Quite an Atheist, and It Worries Me'
In an interview, David Bowie talks about becoming a family man and the role spirituality plays in his music.
BY: Anthony DeCurtis
My wife and child were. I was up in Woodstock making the album. It was just unbearable that day--well, actually the next two or three days, coming back down and coming up against the cordon around that part of town. I had to get my wife to come to the barricades with a passport, so I could show the guy that I lived there. He said, "I'm sorry, I know who you are, but I have to see.," and all that. It was really weird. And that fine silt dust everywhere.
I never had seen New York so off its axis. What do you feel has been the aftermath?
I think there's a new awareness in New York about our isolationist stance in the rest of the world. There is a realization that even though this is one of the most important cities in the world, others are watching us. I don't think we ever felt that before. There's a slight unease. We really felt freewheeling and that "tomorrow belongs to us," anything can happen. Now, there's not quite that swaying surge of hopefulness.
I still love this town. I can't imagine living anywhere else. We've been here now, my wife and I, for 10 years. I realized the other day that I've lived in New York longer than I've lived anywhere else. It's amazing: I am a New Yorker. It's strange; I never thought I would be.
You always seemed rootless, a citizen of the world.
I kind of thought I was. But, frankly, that changed when I met Iman. We got nesting!
Can you describe how your life has changed in recent years?
What's my day like? Don't you dare say, "David, what makes you tick?" [Laughs
] That's the one I'm not going for. Any interview--not mine, but any one I'm reading--I can't wait for that question to come. I love it. It's such a funny question: "But, Jack, what makes you tick?"
Well, one thing that's different is I don't have that sense of loneliness that I had before, which was very, very strong. It became a subtext for a lot of things I wrote.
What do you see yourself doing in the next few years?
My priority is that I've stabilized my life to an extent now over these past 10 years. I'm very at ease, and I like it. I never thought I would be such a family-oriented guy; I didn't think that was part of my makeup. But somebody said that as you get older you become the person you always should have been, and I feel that's happening to me. I'm rather surprised at who I am, because I'm actually like my dad! [Laughs
That's the shock: All clichés are true. The years really do speed by. Life really is as short as they tell you it is. And there really is a God--so do I buy that one? If all the other clichés are true... Hell, don't pose me that one.