David Bowie’s ‘70s Drummer Didn’t Know He Took Drugs
Spiders From Mars drummer Woody Woodmansey said he didn’t know band leader David Bowie was using drugs during their ‘70s run, and that he'd put down any strange behavior to ego trips.
Woodmansey, 67, added that, as far as he knew, neither of his late colleagues, Mick Ronson and Trevor Bolder, were aware of Bowie’s addiction issues during his time as Ziggy Stardust.
“To be honest, we were unaware that he was doing it,” the drummer said in a recent interview with Metro. “When I met up with him in 1980, he said that he tried to keep it off everyone’s minds as such, and I told him he had done a good job because I never knew.”
He recalled seeing "a guy on the road, but I’d never see this guy do anything, so I said to the tour manager, ‘What does that guy do?’ And he said, ‘Oh, he’s a supplier.’ So I thought the road crew, who were mainly Americans, that’s how they did it: They had to drive from one gig to another and set up overnight, so maybe they did something to keep awake. I thought he was supplying to them, but no, it was for David.”
Woodmansey admitted it “sounds really weird now that you wouldn’t know,” but he explained that "there was definitely a character change there through the last couple of tours, but you could put that down to ego, or it’s gone to someone’s head a bit, or he’s a bit tired. You could always find a reason for it.”
He recalled communication with Bowie becoming increasingly difficult as the drugs took hold. “You never spoke normal language like, ‘Do you think it’ll rain tomorrow, Dave?’ It’s like, no, Ziggy was not going to answer that question. By the last couple of tours, unfortunately, it was taking over – and it wasn’t the same as the early tours where you did a good show and you had a good laugh, like a gang really, and then went clubbing or went out for a meal. That stopped happening.”
Woodmansey and Bowie producer Tony Visconti will start a new U.K. tour with their supergroup Holy Holy, playing Bowie songs, in February.
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