Music | July 4, 2021 3:58 pm

Guitarist Earl Slick Shares Candid Account of Mid-1970s David Bowie

Making "Station to Station" with a lot of drugs in the mix

David Bowie
David Bowie performs at Boston Garden, March 17, 1976.
Ron Pownall/Corbis via Getty Images

For David Bowie, the mid-1970s was a time of extremes — in more ways than one. He recorded Station to Station, a critically acclaimed album that Pitchfork called “his most immaculately constructed album.” Bowie also argued that he did not remember making the album in question, due to substantial use of cocaine. During this same period, Bowie also made comments indicating an enthusiasm for fascism.

Now, longtime Bowie guitarist Earl Slick has recounted his version of this period in musical history. In an interview with The Guardian, he addressed his drug use — and Bowie’s — during the making of Station to Station.

“We were in our 20s. You can do serious damage to yourself in your 20s and still make records,” Slick said. “You couldn’t do that amount of drugs for 25 years and think you’re going to make records. You’re not. Unless you’re Keith Richards.”

Slick’s comments about Bowie’s mental state, and the way his management took advantage of that, are more unsettling. “It reminded me of the Elvis thing, man,” Slick recalled. “The guy was so f*cked up, and everybody around him was taking advantage of his money and keeping information from him that they didn’t want him to know.”

It’s an image that unsettles, especially considered in light of some recent developments in the world of pop stars having their lives controlled by others. And it’s also a revealing look back at the making of a seismic album, from a firsthand perspective.