Cameron Crowe Pens David Bowie Tribute Remembering His 'Wild Years in LA'

David Bowie with dyed red hair and a mustard yellow suit, circa 1974.
Terry O'Neill/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

David Bowie with dyed red hair and a mustard yellow suit, circa 1974. 

Following word of David Bowie's death on Sunday, filmmaker and journalist Cameron Crowe has penned a tribute chronicling his interviews and interactions with the late rock icon. 

"To a young journalist in the mid-70s, David Bowie was the ungettable interview. He did not speak to the press," Crowe begins, explaining it took some "cajoling" from his former interview subjects Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones and Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple to get the notoriously enigmatic musician to speak with him. 

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But Crowe wound up following Bowie for six months during his transition from Young Americans (1975) to his The Thin White Duke/Station to Station (1976) period. 

"It was somewhat of a primal scream phase for him. Careening through the Los Angeles underground, from studios to home galleries, he afforded me a front-row seat," Crowe continues. He even showed the young reporter his song writing process for that period, cutting and pasting together lines of lyrics he'd written.  

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"Bowie was the most generous and entertaining interview subject I'd ever met," writes Crowe. "Nothing was off-limits. When he asked to meet you, it was rarely casual. You would be ushered into the room where he was waiting, and the artist would be perfectly positioned, his head cocked at the perfect angle to catch the light. It was not an affectation. He naturally staged himself, only to break out of such an iconic pose with a crackling smile and jaunty warmth.... Bowie's creative process was both ferocious and meticulous, his love of music ran from Kraftwerk to The Spinners to hard jazz and classical, to a young fan, a songwriter who'd just finished his first album when he made a pilgrimage to Philadelphia just to meet him -- Bruce Springsteen."

Crowe closes the piece by touching on how Bowie's move from Los Angeles to Berlin that followed likely saved the rock star's life from deteriorating due to substance abuse. He notes a sketch from Bowie, which is included in the piece, calling it "a tiny cry for help... a cry he answered himself with the subsequent trip to Berlin and an entire lifestyle change."
"Bowie turned that dark period on it's head, and went on to supply many more generations of fans with music and art and soul and inspiration," Crowe writes. "He careened beautifully into the future… where he will always be."

Read the full tribute here


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