David Bowie’s NME Interviews – The Greatest Quotes

Since 1969, NME staff have examined, pondered, praised and, yes, criticised David Bowie, throughout all of his musical creations and permutations. Each interview with the man revealed new aspects of his character, but in these interviews from 1969 to 2000, what shines through are his personal doubts, his self-effacing nature and, most of all, his unalterable and inimitable sense of humour. Here are 22 of his best musings.


22 July 1972

“Ziggy is my gift to you.”


12 November 1977
“I thrive on mistakes. If I haven’t made three good mistakes in a week, then I’m not worth anything. You only learn from mistakes.”


13 September 1980
“It makes me so angry that people concentrate on lyrics. It implies there’s no message in the music itself.”



13 September 1980
“I don’t seriously think I could offer anybody else any advice at all.”


13 September 1980
“In the majority of the media I’m completely stifled. For them, I have never been anything other than Ziggy.”


13 September 1980
“If there’s one thing I’ve contributed, it’s a great dollop of uncertainty. For better or worse.”


16 April 1983
“There’s no way I can make myself other than what I am. Now that’s a funny thing for me to say, isn’t it? What a ludicrous thing to say, David!”



29 September 1984
“I always thought I was intellectual about what I do, but I’ve come to the realization that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing half the time.”


25 November 1995
“I was smoking 30 red Marlboros a day and then I went on to the Lights and now I’m smoking 60 of them a day… I love death, the more of it the better. I think it’s a good thing.”


25 November 1995
“I thrive on cheap sentimentality. I am a real crier”


25 November 1995

“I always had a serious problem with my worth as an artist and with myself as a person as well. Terrifically low self-esteem. Really, really diabolically low. You wouldn’t believe it.”



25 November 1995
“I have a real thrusting, rampant, spiritual need. I can’t become comfortable with any organized religion and I’ve sort of touched on all of them. I’m not looking for a fiath, I don’t want to believe anything. I’m looking for knowledge”


1 February 1997

“As Picasso said, it’s not what you steal, it’s how you use it.”


2 December 2000
“I really think I should have done more for gnomes. I always feel a bit guilty that I just put my feet into the water and never dived into the deep end. I really could have produced a new sensibility for the garden gnome in Britain. Gnomes should have been explored more deeply.”


2 December 2000

“I’ve always cited who my influences are. I felt it was important for people to be able to see how things are put together at any given stage… It often amuses me to see bands who lie about who they’re listening to, because they don’t want people to know who their real influences are.”