David Bowie (1969, photo by David Bebbington) (via)
Cameron Crowe: Do you ever relax?
David Bowie: If you’re asking whether or not I take vacations, the answer is no. I find all my relaxation within the context of work; I’m very serious about that. I’ve always thought the only thing to do was to try to go through life as Superman, right from the word go.
I felt far too insignificant as just another person. I couldn’t exist thinking all that was important was to be a good person. I thought, Fuck that; I don’t want to be just another honest Joe. I want to be a supersuperbeing and improve all the equipment that I’ve been given to where it works 300 percent better. I find that it’s possible to do it.
Crowe: What do you believe in?
Bowie: Myself. Politics. Sex.
Crowe: Since you put yourself first, do you consider yourself an original thinker?
Bowie: Not by any means. More like a tasteful thief. The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from. I do think that my plagiarism is effective. Why does an artist create, anyway? The way I see it, if you’re an inventor, you invent something that you hope people can use. I want art to be just as practical. Art can be a political reference, a sexual force, any force that you want, but it should be usable. What the hell do artists want? Museum pieces? The more I get ripped off, the more flattered I get. But I’ve caused a lot of discontent, because I’ve expressed my admiration for other artists by saying, ‘Yes, I’ll use that,’ or, ‘Yes, I took this from him and this from her.’ Mick Jagger, for example, is scared to walk into the same room as me even thinking any new idea. He knows I’ll snatch it.
Crowe: Is it true that Jagger once told you he was hiring the French artist Guy Peellaert for the jacket of a Rolling Stones album and you ran right off to hire Peellaert for your own album, Diamond Dogs, which was released first?
Bowie: Mick was silly. I mean, he should never have shown me anything new. I went over to his house and he had all these Guy Peellaert pictures around and said, ‘What do you think of this guy?’ I told him I thought he was incredible. So I immediately phoned him up. Mick’s learned now, as I’ve said. He will never do that again. You’ve got to be a bastard in this business.
-Playboy, September 1976