Bowie Busted with Who?

A local club does a Bowie birthday bash. An article in the paper this year reminded me of a long forgotten piece of rock trivia.

Here’s the mug shot of an incredibly dapper Bowie, taken in March 1976 when he came back to Rochester to be booked on a drug bust.

And here’s the original newspaper article.

You have to be a true fan-atic to get the cool trivia buried there.

That member of Bowie’s entourage? Yep. James Osterberg, Jr. is better known as Iggy Pop. By us, at least. The second article in the first link identifies him as rock musician Iggy Stooge.

They skated on all the charges, too. Don’t ask me how.

I remember him being known as “Iggy Stooge” during the Stooges days, but he had been Iggy Pop for years by the time of this incident.

Oh, so not busted with The Who, then.

I am a true fan-atic.

'76? And just pot? He was lucky - that was when he was pretty deep into coke as I recall. It’s amazing he survived those years.

Iggy & The Stooges were pretty much a busted flush when 1970’s Fun House bombed commercially. The band split up and Iggy returned to living at his parents’ house, mowing lawns and playing golf. Bowie was a huge Stooges fan, though, and when he started having hits in the early 70s, he persuaded his manager Tony DeFries to sign the band, and shipped them over to the UK for the tour which would produce 1973’s Raw Power.

That album never sold at the time either, Iggy was still a bit of a mess, and all DeFries plans can came to nothing. Iggy and Bowie kept up their friendship, though, and the two of them worked together again on Lust For Life and The Idiot (both released in 1977). Those two albums reignited Iggy’s career, he grabbed the opportunity with both hands, and he’s been a global treasure ever since.

He’s doing car insurance ads here in the UK now, you know, with a three-foot puppet of himself as the co-star. God love him.

Just wanted to say that this is the most stylish mug shot I ever saw. But no wonder, it’s Bowie.

Agreed. That’d be a wonderful album cover or something similar.

If you want some more Bowie trivia, back when I lived in Berlin and was writing for The Advocate, I interviewed Romy Haag - a famous Berlin transsexual (but transvestite at the time) - with whom David Bowie had a love affair and he moved to Berlin to live with her.

It was an interesting interview with her!

Yes, I was kind of hoping that there we had an interesting mash-up in the works.

No shit! Was Herb Ritts doing police mug shots back in '76?

No, that’s not The Band.


I’m only a mild fan, not nearly a fanatic, but this sounds interesting indeed! Can you link or share without violating anything?

Wow. Talk about trivia.

First, it never occurred to me that the headline could cause confusion. That was hilarious.

But I was going to tell you that you got the routine wrong. Then I checked and there were two routines! (Or three, depending on how you look at it.)

The one I’m thinking of is the original parody of Who’s on First by The Credibility Gap, using the Who, Yes, and Guess Who as the bands. (That was with Harry Shearer about a million years ago.)

I couldn’t remember the name of the group so I looked it up. And discovered that both SCTV and Animaniacs did a later variant using The Band instead of Guess Who. One of them must be what you’re remembering.

You can download the original at Harry Shearer’s site.

Well, Romy Haag’s life story could easily be made into a great Hollywood film. Although I am not a big fan of Wikipedia, the link to Romy Haag mentioned above does a fairly good job of introducing her to anyone who is unfamiliar with her.

Through friends, I arranged to meet Romy at her penthouse apartment, about a block south of Kurfuerstendamm (the main tourist boulevard in then West Berlin). It was a fantastic apartment, and filled with photos and memorabilia. Having met many transvestites - especially while living in Berlin - I was wary of stories that re-wrote past events. If you talk to most transvestites, they like to embellish and create fantasy bios that are unbelievable - mostly because they are lies. Romy, however, didn’t need to play that game - her story had been public knowledge for years and no one was ever able to dispute the facts. I mention this all to let you know she is very down to earth and doesn’t play coy.

Drop dead gorgeous (even up close), I could see how she could attract the likes of many famous celebrities - including David Bowie. I tried to get her to go into some specifics of their relationship, but she kept it PG rated and simply stated that they were lovers and best friends. She said that he needed to get away from the fans, the scene and the bad influences in London and NYC. West Berlin was the perfect environment for him at the time; he moved there and they lived together. She told me it was a great time - art, music, fashion - those were things they had in common and they fed off each others ideas. Eventually they parted - friends - and Bowie moved on, as did Romy. Her description of their affair was quite beautiful, but there was no sadness or regret.
I could go on, but this is enough of a hijack to this thread - although I think it might at least interest some die-hard Bowie fans to know about this brief, but apparently little-known, footnote in Bowie’s career.