David was kind (mad??) enough to hold an online chat on American Online the night of his 50th birthday, January 8, 1997. As usual, David was hardly serious during most of the chat ;) But here's the transcript in any case...
Note: VirginRec is Virgin Records, BowieLive is David himself (or at least someone typing for him ;)).
VirginRec: Mr. Bowie will be joining us shortly! (Smile)
VirginRec: Thanks for helping us celebrate tonight! (Smile)
VirginRec: Ok everyone...lots welcome our special guest tonight...David Bowie! (Wow)
BowieLive: Wow back Bowie here, I've signed on. When do I get the money (Wow)
VirginRec: Ok lets take our first question....
LiveOnstge: Question from AOLiveMC10: *Bun11:David, any plans for a tour?
BowieLive: Absolutely. Hopefully starting mid-April right throughsummer and into the fall covering far East through Europe and America.
VirginRec: Sounds great...lets take the next question.. (Smile)
LiveOnstge: Question from AOLiveMC10: *MSteates:What was one of your influences?
BowieLive: Boy was that a general question or what! It actually the very first pop record that made an impression was called "the Purple People Eater" by Sheb Wooley.
LiveTonite: Question from FloydLives: Why did you tour in 96 with Nine Inch Nails?
BowieLive: Cause Uncle Floyd wasn't available
LiveOnstge: Question from MDao766495: How do you feel at 50 ? Any regrets, wishes
BowieLive: Still feeling with my fingers after all these years. No real regrets je ne regrette rien.
LiveOnstge: Question from Nevsky7743: David, have you been to Tibet?
BowieLive: I guess that could be thought of as an ambition. Thisyear I had my first chance which, unfortunately because of work, got messed up. A small group of painters and writers from Britain invited me to go on a walking trip through the Holy Mountains of Tibet. I believe the invitation is still open for next year. If I've still got feelings in my legs.
I may take advantage of it.
Hopefully, I'll still be touring, so I won't have to prove I can walk that far.
Comment from son: "Maybe you can get a date in Lhasa!" (LOL)
LiveOnstge: Question from Ska: What was it like working with Bing Crosby?
BowieLive: I couldn't explain the feeling. Believe me!
LiveOnstge: Question from IM4IU10393: Are you coming out with a new album in 97?
BowieLive: Absolutely no intention of releasing anything at all except of course, for the "Earthling" album, February 11th, the continuation of the Adler Diaries in summer. A 17 part symphonic tribute to Vegas in August and then I shall head back into the studio. Other than that, it looks a little bleak.
LiveOnstge: Question from JStaple117: Which of your songs is your favorite?
BowieLive: Having the occasion to update so many of my more obscure songs for my work on stage at the moment, I get to revise my choice every few weeks. At the moment, my two favorites are Repetition from the Lodger album, and Seven Years in Tibet from the Earthling album.
LiveOnstge: Question from Angst: Any movie roles in the near future?
BowieLive: I'm looking for backing for an unauthorized auto-biography that I am writing. Hopefully, this well sell in such huge numbers that I will be able to sue myself for an extraordinary amount of money and finance the film version in which I will play everybody.
LiveOnstge: Question from Antbudda: When is the Outside box set coming out?
BowieLive: I would anticipate the year 2000. Hopefully Eno and I will actually have finished the CD's to put in it, but I assure you the artwork will be terrific. On a more sensible note, we have devined, augered, whatever, this will be a four CD set and hopefully will be a production for stage with all characters, also in 2000.
LiveOnstge: Question from MGRAHM: How did you fist get started?
BowieLive: My fist got started slightly after my calf, followed quickly by my foot and my quick wit. I thank you.
LiveOnstge: Question from BlimeyFish: Do you like Schilling's Major Tom?
BowieLive: The only shilling that I am aware of other than the King's was I believe a method of a formal orchestration taken by Glen Miller, earlier in his career which enabled him to teach the military how to dance. I stand corrected. It was actually Schillinger method. This may interest you: The original title for the Young Americans album at one point was called "Shilling The Rubes", which is a circus slang for taking money off people. I was advised that my stunning wit would not go down well.
LiveOnstge: Question from Pattibowie: Where's music going in the next millenium?
BowieLive: Having seen Kroydon, music decided it would pack it's bags and go back to London and found drum and bass.
LiveOnstge: Question from LiveTonite: What visual artist influenced you?
BowieLive: Well, you've got me there Squire. The list is longer than the magna carte or was it Jimmy Carter? That's right, the list is longer that Jimmy Carter (LOL) but it begins with Marcel Duchamp.
LiveOnstge: Question from Rbtmonstr: Will Tin Machine release more material?
LiveOnstge: Question from Krkstr: Will you work with Brian Ferry?
BowieLive: I think Ferry is one of the most gifted and talented of British artists. Our paths have unfortunately never crossed professionally. Although I have met him on a number of occasions. Actually, this is not true. The band Roxy Music of which he was the lead singer supported me several times in the very early seventies. Most memorably in Kroydon. The Greyhound Pub as it happens. After his show, Ferry had a splitting headache and a smashing looking bird so had to rush home quickly for a quick aspirin. Leaving in his wake a short, balding brain with a feather boa and remarkably silly clothes. Sillier even that mine. He introduced himself to me as Brian Eno, an educated man. This was hard to believe. But he did indeed seem to have the ability to be able to read what he wrote. The rest will be history.
VirginRec: Mr. Bowie..."Will Tin Machine release more material?"
BowieLive: Is this a joke or are you threatening me in some mysterious fashion?
LiveOnstge: Question from Torch2100: Have you done writing--outside of music?
BowieLive: (LOL) I enjoy writing prose very much. And often force my contributions onto unwilling and frightened publications throughout the first world.
LiveOnstge: Question from AOLiveMC10: Where's your favorite place in the world?
BowieLive: On top! (comment from son)
LiveOnstge: Question from JamsCurtis: What inspired your makeup, costumes?
BowieLive: Japanese Kabuki and Noh Theatre and the front cover of Mirabella magazine.
VirginRec: How do you feel about your older albums now?
BowieLive: On the whole, favorably. Though there are a couple that I feel quite sad for and don't know how they're gonna get by in the years to come, what with the terrible economy and the predicted bad weather.
LiveOnstge: Question from Antbudda: How old is your son??
BowieLive: He's 25 which is exactly two-thirds of my age. Allright, half my age.
LiveOnstge: Question from OConfusedO: Would you consider singing with Streisand?
BowieLive: Are you that guy in the elevator this afternoon? She did cover one of my songs about 15 years ago, Life On Mars. I found it compelling listening, it's, I preferrred the William Shatner version. Advice for all. Get yourself a catalogue of Curiousities. A stunningly mixed bag of strange CD's, videos and books which contain aforementioned items.
LiveOnstge: Question from BARONVR: Had you ever actually met Andy Worhol?
LiveOnstge: Question from AOLiveMC10: Has turning 50 changed your perspective?
BowieLive: Yes but I couldn't possibly explain as it incorporates a visual joke.
VirginRec: What inspired the union jack coat on the billboard on Sunset Blvd.?
BowieLive: The union jacket was designed by myself and Alex McQueen, this week's enfant terrible of the British fashion scene. Being a pre/post modernist, I wanted to recontextualize Pete Townshend's jacket of the '60's, but then I got a bit carried away and thought it would look rather nice as a frock coat. Then Alex got even further carried away and cut bits of it up. I thank you.
LiveOnstge: Question from PretyThngs: Did you like NIRVANA's ManWhoSold
BowieLive: I was very moved by it. I unfortunately never got to meet Kurt Cobain and in fact the first time I saw them perform the song was shortly after he passed away.
VirginRec: What do you feel about Jungle?
BowieLive: Riveting. The best. Tomorrow. Today. I thank you.
LiveOnstge: Question from Kswat: Do you still use Eno's Oblique Strategies?
BowieLive: Yes. I found they have a number of uses. My great interest in gardening has thrown me many curveballs. What to do with a wilting rosebush? Three Oblique Strategies taped together often provide a substantial splint and will encourage growth in the most devestated plant. Whatever you do, do not read them as this will turn you off gardening and into music.
VirginRec: What gifts have you received on you birthday? (Smile)
BowieLive: Biggest gift, friends and family have spent the day with me.
VirginRec: We have time for one more question... (Cry)
LiveOnstge: Question from GSander127: Still playing sax?
BowieLive: I'm playing it as we speak. I thank you.
BowieLive: For those of you who've followed my stuff all these years, thanks for a thrilling ride. For those of you who have just gotten into my records, don't worry. This condition will not last long. You will shortly straighten up and find yourself heading for the record racks marked proper music. But enjoy it for the moment. Actually that's the best thing I can say in regards to everything. Enjoy it for the moment. I thank you.
VirginRec: Thank you David Bowie for joining us on this special day!
VirginRec: Happy 50th Birthday ! Thanks to everybody for joining us... Stay tuned for more Bowie birthday fan wishes.... (Smile)
LiveOnstge: BDayWish from LPHIFI: Great sense of style! Keep up the good work!
LiveOnstge: BDayWish from KVeldhoven: happy birthday mr bowie and keep on the edge
LiveOnstge: BDayWish from Genie: Happy Birthday...keep on rocking.
LiveOnstge: BDayWish from Fradoh: Happy B-day from another 'old rocker'
VirginRec: Goodnight Everyone! (Wave)