Sex, drugs & rock n roll! For the first time, David Bowie's longtime Spiders From Mars bandmate Woody Woodmansey tells all about the late musician's epic meltdowns, nasty cocaine habit, secret drag alter ego, naked parties and wild sex life in his upcoming book, Spider From Mars: My Life With David Bowie.
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Upon meeting Bowie and his first wife, Angie, in early 1970, the budding star's spunky other half introduced herself as loving women. "Hi, I'm Angie Bowie. I'm David's wife, and I'm a lesbian," Woodmansey recalls she said.
Bowie was so poor after releasing Space Oddity, the band hardly had enough money for food. "We'd eat toast and whatever else we could scrape together," the drummer writes. The group began to erupt in massive fights because Bowie's wife burned the food they did manage to buy. "She was a s*** cook," Woodmansey slams.
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Identity crisis? The confused Bowie would often "adopt" accents from around the world, his band mate claims. "Sometimes he used to talk to us in a Yorkshire accent…He would speak in an Australian accent if an Australian was there."
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Bowie's Yoko Ono? Woodmansey says Angie pulled the puppet strings on her husband. "She pushed him in different directions that she thought he should go, and he obviously valued her opinions."
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The singer's family pain: Bowie's brother Terry Burns suffered from schizophrenia, and would bring up wacky topics at the dinner table. "I've been wanking," he told Woodmansey one day. In a tragic turn, Burns committed suicide in 1985.
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In 1971, Woodmansey noticed his bandmate was ailing. "I could see all the blood vessels in his face, because he had gone so pale," he writes. "He wasn't a fit, healthy person back then, because he hardly ever ate."
Bowie would occasionally throw fits "like a child" when a bandmate messed up during rehearsals. "You haven't f***ing learned this!" he once allegedly screamed in the studio.
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Despite rumors of orgies in Bowie's U.K. home Haddon Hall, the atmosphere was relatively wholesome — except for one day when "half a dozen" naked models ran around. "Put your hard-ons away, boys, they're all lesbians," Angie allegedly shouted to Woodmansey and his bandmate Mick Ronson.
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In 1972, Bowie announced in an interview that he was gay— but Woodmansey claims he thought it was all a publicity stunt. "We'd got used to him doing things to get attention so we thought this was just another example," he writes. "I must admit we never asked him outright as we'd never witnessed anything that made us think he was."
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The entire Spiders Of Mars band — including Bowie — partook in some X-rated fun with groupies. "Bowie and Angie had an open relationship," Woodmansey reveals.
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Bowie's behavior began "changing" during his Ziggy Stardust days. "I started to notice that now he seemed to be Ziggy most of the time and I tried to figure out why his attitude and demeanor had changed so drastically," Woodmansey recalls. "Of course, Bowie's real problem at the time was drugs."
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Despite their previously close relationship, Bowie kept his habit hidden from the band. "A new guy had joined the crew at the beginning of the tour…when I asked what his job was, I was told he was the coke dealer," Woodmansey says. "I was surprised as I'd never seen anybody do coke all the time I was in the band."
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One day while on tour, Bowie arrived in his drag persona: the glamorous Gloria. "She had long black hair, black evening gloves and was wearing high heels," Woodmansey remembers. "In one hand she had a long cigarette holder, over her other arm was a black handbag. When I looked into her eyes, I noticed the different-sized pupils and realized that Gloria was in fact Bowie in drag!"
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Woodmansey calls Bowie's trick "ridiculous." "I didn't object to Bowie dressing up as a woman, if that's what he wanted, but I felt it was pretty stupid that I had to pretend not to know who he was," he writes. "If anyone else in the band or crew had done this, it would have been just for a laugh, but Bowie took this stuff very seriously."
Bowie allegedly dumped Woodmansey from the band on the trusty drummer's wedding day in 1974. The superstar apologized for his behavior two years later. "He said he'd been in a "bit of a state' with the drugs, obviously assuming I knew all about it, and he was doing everything he could to get clean," the author claims. The pair was on good terms before his death in January 2016.
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