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David Bowie's former drummer Woody Woodmansey: "I never knew David was on drugs"


Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey, the former drummer of  Spiders From Mars, has been discussing life on the road with David Bowie. 

Woodmansey was the chosen drummer to play with Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars from 1970-1973, a time when Bowie’s drug use was excessive to say the least. 

Bowie famously endured had some very bad experiences with hard drugs and it was his lengthy addiction to cocaine which led to multiple controversies in the 70s.

The full details of Bowie’s drug use wouldn’t emerge until years later and, according to Woodmansey, the Thin White Duke managed to hide his well from his bandmates: “To be honest, we were unaware that he was doing it,” he told Metro. “When I met up with him in 1980, he said that he tried to keep it off everyone’s minds as such, and I told him he had done a good job because I never knew.”

“I’d seen one guy on the road, but I’d never see this guy do anything, so I said to the tour manager, “what does that guy do?” And he said: “Oh he’s a supplier”.

Woody Woodmansey playing live with David Bowie. 

“So I thought the road crew who were mainly Americans that that’s how they did it. ‘They had to drive from one gig to another and set up over night, so maybe they did something to keep awake. ‘I thought he was supplying to them, but no, it was for David.”

Offering an insight into life on the road with the band, Woodmansey was asked if Bowie’s character had changed as his drug use became heavier. In reflection, the drummer concedes there was a difference in his personality but, at the time, he put that down to his ‘ego’. 

“There was definitely a character change there through the last couple of tours, but you could put that down to ego, or it’s gone to someone’s head a bit, or he’s a bit tired. You could always find a reason for it,” Woodmansey added.