'David Bowie: Finding Fame' explores life before Ziggy Stardust when 'he wasn't lost, he just wasn't found either'
The Showtime documentary explores the first five years of the musician's career when he struggled to find a musical voice and an identity
David Robert Jones aka David Bowie is considered to be one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. He not only shone with his musical achievements -- five platinum and 9 gold certificates in the USA -- but his unique sense of showmanship and performance ended up touching issues such as sexuality, fashion and politics.
Showtime's new documentary 'David Bowie: Finding Fame' explores Bowie before he came up with his alter ego Ziggy Stardust and his journey between the late 1960s and 1973. It has been directed by Francis Whately who had also previously worked on the documentary 'David Bowie: Five Years'.
"I’ve always been a very curious and enthusiastic person. I’ve just had to accept that I was a person that had a very short attention span and would move from one thing to another quite rapidly and then I got bored with the other," Bowie shared in the documentary.
It was an interesting but trying times for Bowie in the first five years of his career. He spent them mostly trying to come up with an identity for himself and devise an effective and memorable stage presence.
On his journey to fame, he became part of many bands and was determined to find a voice for himself. His teenage years were spent devoid of love and affection and saw him caught up in his parents' complicated marriage.
This sentiment of feeling stuck and neglected later served as a great inspiration for his music.
He formed his first band called Konrads at the age of 15 and began playing at local youth gatherings and weddings. He was unimpressed with the band's lack of ambition and chose to join another band called the King Bees. The band was not commercially successful resulting in Bowie bouncing yet again. He moved on to join a blues trio who were strongly influenced by The Who and were called The Lower Third.
It was not long before he had moved on to join the Riot Squad where he met his new manager Kenneth Pitt.
It was also during this time that Bowie decided to change his name from Davie Jones to David Bowie. Bowie was very big into how to be different from everyone else and at some point, he decided that he would make his impact by wearing dramatic makeup.
According to producer Mike Vernon, Bowie was described as an "easy guy to get along with but his songs were wild." His former girlfriend Hermoine Farthingale said, "He wasn't lost. He just wasn't found either."
Photographer Ray Stevenson also spoke on Bowie's miming and how he would do anything to keep an audience entertained.
A series of failed relationships over the next few years took a massive toll on him even though by then he was an established solo artist with his track "Space Oddity".
This was Bowie's first hit and reached number five in the UK charts. He went on to receive his first award in 1970. Post his success with "Space Oddity", Bowie became the first rockstar to take on another identity and so was born Ziggy Stardust.
He would dress in striking costumes and had his hair dyed reddish-brown. This persona went wildly popular, and the androgyny of character attracted not just conventional rock fans, but also intrigued the nascent drag and homosexual scenes in the rock capitals of the world.
"Offstage I'm a robot. Onstage I achieve emotion. It's probably why I prefer dressing up as Ziggy to being David," Bowie shared.
The Showtime documentary aired on August 9.