Ten reasons to like David Bowie even if you hate his music! #5

So you might be hating David Bowie’s music and still appreciate Bowie for his flirtations with fascism… Yes, that would be strange some paranoid fascist like Breivik might appreciate his interest for Thule. It’s pretty clear  Bowie himself wasn’t a fascist. Still especially during  70-ties when Station to Station is recorded, it is pretty clear that Bowie was really fascinated with fascism and did quite some dubious statements.

David waving

Bowie made a famous quote “Hitler was the first popstar”. This is quite a clever and true statement, don’t populism and pop stardom not need similar forms of crowd control?  Around the time the above picture was taking showing David Bowie waving from a black Mercedes in London, he made some dubious statements and on that occasion at Victoria Station, he also made a Nazi salute, see picture on this scanned article. For example in this interview, he says “”So the best thing that can happen is for an extreme right Government to come.”

Bowie later retracted all these statements and generally it’s said that during this time as The Thin White Duke he was a drug head living on “coke, red pepper and milk”. The true is actually a bit more complex and maybe less innocence as well as this interesting article explains. He divides Bowie interest in fascism in two parts.

First during the early seventies there was  Nietzsche inspired search for the Ubermensch or the Superman, which also led into interest in the Nazi occult. On the “The Man Who Sold the World” and “Hunk Dory” there are several lyrical references like in Quicksand:

“I’m living in a silent film
Portraying Himmler’s sacred realm
Of dream reality”

Bowie was interested in Aleister Crowley occult and this was linked to the Nazi party occult groups in the top of the SS. The SS had a special occult group “Ahnenerbe” looking for the holy grail. So that’s where he refers to in Quicksand lyrics.

After Hunky Dory references to Nazism and Crowley disappear from Bowie his work. Ziggy Stardust is born! Around the release of Young Americans Bowie returns his interest in the occult, probably caused by drugs paranoia. He does all kinds of black magic rituals and spells to exorcise houses. He also then gets back his interest in fascism  He is interested in using the fascist imagery to influence, later also taking on board by punks (think Crass, who were also named after a Bowie lyric). On the other hand he also wants to shock, like this good article on subject tells. Bowie is well aware that some shocking quotes about Nazis will give him a lot of press and boost sales.

When the Berlin trilogy is written, the fascist imagery of The Thin White Duke is dropped again. His shock quotes about a fascist regime in Britain stop and he writes with Iggy Pop China Girl.

“I’d stumble into town

Just like a sacred cow

Visions of swastikas in my head

And plans for everyone

It’s in the white of my eyes…”

Read further: Ten reasons to like David Bowie even if you hate his music #6

See also previous posts:

Ten reasons to like David Bowie even if you hate his music #4 on Iggy Pop!

Ten reasons to like David Bowie even if you hate his music #3 on fashion

Ten reasons to like David Bowie even if you hate his music #2 on being the founder of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired men!

Ten reasons to like David Bowie even if you hate his music #1 on William Burroughs


2 Responses to “Ten reasons to like David Bowie even if you hate his music! #5”

  1. […] mentioned in my previous post Bowie always has had a great sense of how to play the public. How to create a buzz. How to attract […]

  2. dear cybercitizens,
    a detailed account of bowie’s interest in the occult and nazism can be found at
    p.r. koenig

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