The ZIGGY STARDUST Companion

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Ziggy and our teenage dream (2/2)

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Years later, while Suzi Fussey-Ronson (the creator of the Ziggy cut) was doing my hair, I told her that story. She told me that the Ziggy cut was actually a combination of three different haircuts! At the time, we had no idea that Bowie had in part fashioned his image after Marc Bolan and had written "Lady Stardust" for Marc (we grew to love Marc soon after) - or that the name Ziggy was derived from Iggy Pop. We devoured every article about the Ziggy phenomenon we could find. The UK papers NME and Melody Maker had the best coverage but were scarce in the states, so we relied on the US monthlies, Circus and Creem. We heard that green Martian cocktails were served at the record release party - wow! Plane-loads of journalists were flown to London to see Ziggy live and it seemed that money was flying in the air around David Bowie. In fact, this was untrue. David and the band had small allowances themselves - the money was all spent on the big hype; the costumes, the limos, the wining and dining of industry people, etc.

Ziggy was always exposed in brief instants. Even his stage shows were dimly lit, and photographers banned. The more fleeting the images, the more we craved to see. It became an addiction - an obsession. It doesn’t take much to enrapture a fifteen year old, and this was over the top. The hype worked beautifully. Less is more.

We were fascinated by all the people involved in the Ziggy star-making machine; the manager Tony Defries who perpetuated the myth by shrouding Ziggy in mystery and supporting him and his entourage of Andy Warhol’s freaky friends so lavishly. (Little did Bowie know the financial impact that this would have until decades later due to licensing a cut of the rights to his music to the controlling Defries and RCA).

When Warhol’s play Pork was touring the UK, the cast went to see Bowie perform one night at a small club called Country Cousins in late 1971 when David was just a pretty long-haired hippie. David performed "Andy Warhol " and asked the Pork stars to take a bow. Shortly after this, David announced his bisexuality. The gay Warhol stars at once fell in love with David, the fabulous Angie and the beautiful Mick Ronson, and they began to hang around David’s scene. David and Angie went to see their play several times. A year later the Warhol stars became Ziggy’s entourage, employed at his management office, MainMan. Tony Zanetta was crowned "President" and acted as Bowie’s assistant. The photographer Leee Black Childers jumped on the bandwagon capturing the elusive images. Cherry Vanilla was the groupie/secretary. Tony Visconti was the producer. Bowie’s wife Angie inspired and encouraged the outrageous costuming, makeup and hairstyles, executed by Ronson’s future wife Suzi Fussey. Bowie would not have existed without these people.

Trevor Bolder, Madeline & Woody Woodmansey (1994)

Strangely enough, I’m now in touch with many of the people who created Ziggy Stardust. It’s as if I’ve gone through the looking glass and all the storybook (magazine) characters I’d read about and admired came to life and knocked on my door. Suzi Ronson does my hair Ziggy red now, and Mick was my dear friend from 1975 (when I met him on tour with Ian Hunter) until his death in 1993. I even got to play Ronson’s actual Ziggy guitar - the unpainted Les Paul (which was supposedly donated to the Hard Rock Cafe years ago) when Mick gave me some impromptu guitar lessons backstage at the Hunter/Ronson gigs. I play entirely by ear and Mick encouraged that - he was against too much technicality and in favour of emotion and impulse. Although he was technically proficient, he favoured simplicity. I remember him teaching me to play "Starman" and Ian taught me Mott’s version of "Sweet Jane" and for a moment, I was Ziggy unplugged!

Madeline & Mick Ronson

Suzi, Lisa and I went to see Bowie together at Roseland in September of 1996. It was strange to be standing with Mick’s daughter as Bowie performed "Moonage Daydream" Ronson never got the credit he deserved for fashioning, producing and arranging the entire Ziggy sound. Mick’s sister Maggi invited me to the memorial concert she organised in London on April 29, 1994 (the one-year anniversary of his death) at the sacred site of Ziggy’s last gig, the Hammersmith Odeon. At the rehearsals I had lunch with the Spiders From Mars, Woody Woodmansey and Trevor Boulder - both very nice guys. Ian Hunter spent many hours with us at the Knightsbridge hotel bar one night - remembering Mick with tears and laughter. Ian took it really hard. He was Mick’s best friend.

In 1989 I assisted Tony Zanetta with his Bowie biography "Stardust". Zee dispelled an illusion; when "Ziggy" wore an eye-patch and round earring (a pretty-pirate look) it was really because he had conjunctivitis in his eye!

Tony Visconti, producer of all the early 70’s Bowie and T-Rex albums invited me and a friend who is writing a Ronson biography to his New York studio in 1995. Tony entertained us with fantastic stories and also let us mix unreleased T-Rex tapes on his mixing board - what a thrill! He had several gold Bowie records on his wall. Tony told us that while the Ziggy and the Spiders From Mars band were living at Haddon Hall in the UK, they’d agreed to take turns buying the groceries for the week. Tony would spend a hundred dollars for a week’s worth of food, and David and Angie would come back with a bottle of wine and some caviar bought with their week’s allowance.

Ziggy’s official photographer Mick Rock contacted me in reference to some Bowie videos I had, and he’s such a great guy. Visiting his studio is like being in heaven itself, and his photo collection wrote the pages of history! Rock also assisted with the Iggy book (The Wild One) I worked on with the co-authors in 1988. Leee Black Childers is a fascinating guy. He was the Vice President of MainMan’s New York office (as well as staff photographer) and he tells fabulous stories of the days in Hollywood with Ziggy on tour. The band and entourage would be put up in the best hotels but they had empty pockets. Leee and the road crew used to walk out to Hollywood Boulevard and offer tourists a fine lobster dinner for $50.00 cash, give the tourists theirs hotel room keys and tell them to order room service. One of Leee’s jobs was to baby-sit the drug induced, out of control Iggy and the Stooges - who were now MainMan artistes - in California after Bowie produced their Raw Power LP.

Defries forbid the Stooges to play live, thinking they’d steal Bowie’s limelight. Leee learned to swim by repeatedly rescuing Iggy who would daily be found floating face down in the pool stoned out of his mind.

Jayne (formerly Wayne) County is a fabulous transvestite punk rock singer who was also a star of Warhol’s Pork. David was fascinated him/her. Jayne was to record an album for MainMan which was delayed indefinitely, yet she was kept on retainer (just like the poor Stooges) after signing a ten year contract. She was yet another MainMan hostage.

Angie is a piece of work! She lives in L.A. now, but when she’s in New York I hang out with the still wild and uninhibited Angie and Leee sometimes at clubs. We all went to see Jayne County one night. Angie is always a show in herself. She flashed her tits at Jayne during his/her show, and Angie complained that Jayne’s boobs were bigger than hers!

I sometimes see Cyrinda Foxe who has an upcoming book release. She’s the ultimate rock n’ roll cool chick. She’s in the "Jean Genie" video and is mentioned as "Lorraine" in Bowie’s "Watch That Man". Cyrinda was married to David Johansen when he was a New York Doll, and later to Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. She was a part of the Ziggy clique - a girlfriend of David’s and Angie’s. A vivacious and extremely entertaining girl! Andy Warhol adored her, and I can see why. She still looks great! After one of Jayne’s gigs I was showing Jayne some of my photos, and Cyrinda sat down next to us and asked, "Oh can I see too?! And there I was sitting between these two cartoon characters from the Ziggy days, feeling like I was sitting with the March Hare and the Mad Hatter.

---This page last modified: 29 Jun 2002---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)