Cameron Crowe has been thinking about what to say about David Bowie since his death on Sunday.
The writer and director faced reporters during Tuesday’s Television Critics Association press tour in support of his upcoming Showtime series about tour crews, “Roadies,” when a reporter asked him if he had anything he wanted to share about Bowie.
A former music journalist, Crowe’s experiences informed the Oscar-winning music film he wrote and directed, “Almost Famous.”
“Over the last couple of days I’ve had a chance to really think about it,” Crowe answered. “David Bowie’s impact is so huge in that he presents himself now as a role model to artists that may need to remember that it’s not about branding. It’s about a restless need to be creative and to continue being creative, and David Bowie was the anti-branding artist, and for a young musician or artist of any kind, anybody coming up, it’s great to look to Bowie and see that seismic effect he’s had on people, not because he kept doing the same thing that worked again and again, but because he always shook it up and he always served the gods of creativity, and that was the lesson I got from him then and today.”
Crowe said he met the rock star after expressing to friends of Bowie’s that he’d love to interview him. Bowie himself called Crowe to set up the interview in Los Angeles. It would be a short trip for Crowe, who was living in San Diego.
“He said, ‘Come up here. I’m staying at this house. Let’s meet, and let’s spend some time together,’ and I spent six months straight with David Bowie at that time, the period with little breaks to go back to San Diego, but basically I was in this whirlwind with him in the period between ‘Young Americans’ and ‘Station to Station,'” Crowe recalled of the 1975 adventure.
Crowe took copious notes during the time, and Bowie set no limits on access. “He said, ‘Ask me anything. Watch me create. Watch me produce. Watch me sad. Watch me happy.'”
He would end up writing about Bowie for Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Cream magazine.
“Everybody wanted the story, so it was a great help for my career then,” Crowe said.
Bowie died late on Sunday night after losing his 18-month battle with cancer.
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