David Bowie’s decade of decadence in the 1970s—which came to its apex when he moved to Los Angeles—saw the Starman use cocaine like there was no tomorrow, a habit that resulted in some bizarre behaviour which was the result of the coke-fuelled paranoia he had become susceptible to.
Perhaps the most obvious example of Bowie’s fragility during this period was the moment he decided to keep his urine in the fridge to prevent witches from stealing it. It remains unclear exactly why Bowie was so protective over his bodily fluids and what exactly he believed ‘witches’ could do with it, but it paints a dark picture into his mindset during this time.
The Thin White Duke’s strange obsession with keeping his urine safe is allegedly to do with a fall out he had with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page a few months prior in his Manhattan townhouse and, as a result, he became under the belief that the guitar god had sought to put his soul in danger.
Bowie became convinced that because Page owned the home of black-magic philosopher Aleister Crowley, who he believed was in cahoots with the witches and was paranoid they were out to get him — therefore he stocked up his fridge with urine in an erratic bid to keep his soul pure.
Bowie reflected on this dark period and the damage it was doing to his body as well as his appearance to Dylan Jones for his book David Bowie: A Life, “I’ve never really thought about whether or not a person can be too thin. Well, I certainly was at one point, back in the ’70s, when I just ate peppers and drank milk. I have various photographs of me looking skeletal, which remind me how badly behaved I was back in the ’70s,” Bowie honestly stated.
It’s remarkable that out of all the turmoil that was going on at every junction of Bowie’s life, once he entered the studio all that was left behind and he could do what he did best — make magical music. Of all the ‘cocaine records’ that have tarnished many artists’ reputation over the decades, Station to Station somehow did the opposite and is up there with Bowie’s best.
The godlike genius was even by his own admissions going through a time which was nightmarish and the low-point in his personal life where addiction became his escape from his marriage that was breaking down, much like his relationship with the music industry which he had completely fallen out of love with. It’s a relief that this period only lasted a couple of years and that Bowie came out of the turbulent time better than ever with a new-found sense of creativity following his move to Berlin.