David Bowie Talks Old Age, Life And Death In Rare Radio Show
23 January 2016, 06:00
In 2003, while promoting his album Reality, David Bowie met with Radio X's former incarnation XFM to host an edition of the regular show The Hijack.
In the hour-long programme, Bowie talked us through some of the new songs from Reality, which unknown to him at the time, would be his last album release for a decade. He also played a couple of classic songs from his own back catalogue, plus a couple of favourites from bands such as Radiohead and Blur.
His words were recorded at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, London on 8 September 2003 as a warm up for the Reality Tour, which was beamed by satellite to theatres across the world. The tour would be cut short nine moths later after Bowie was taken ill and subsequently had heart surgery.
It prematurely called time on his career as a live performer and he would never tour again. The interview sees Bowie discussing ageing, which he addressed in his song Never Get Old:
“It was supposed to be ironic. But most people when they hear the title, they now say: ‘Does this seriously worry you? Do you think about life and death a awful lot? Do you feel you are getting old? Are you getting old? How old are you?’
“I’m 56. ‘Do you feel you’re getting old?’ And so on and so-forth, I’m faced with this question so many times that the honest answer is, you know what? I’m beginning to think they’re right. I MIGHT be getting old. Which is very odd, because I thought I was only 27. But apparently not. For over 20 years, I’ve NOT been 27.”
The recording sees Bowie in a positive, humorous mood, but much of his recent music concerned the tragedy that happened in New York, just two short years earlier.
“My wife and I and our child are residents and citizens of that particular city so it's very hard to not be totally influenced by [New York]. It's so dominating a place, there's such a buzz there. It doesn't stop for 24 hours a day and it just goes on. New York goes on and on. For some people it doesn't go on and on.”
At the end, the late superstar signs off by saying: “I’ve been David Bowie. And you have been my audience. And I think between us, we’ve both done a really, really good job.”
The show is funny, revealing and poignant. Listen to the whole thing above.