"I know a lot of people's Bowie moment is Starman on Top Of Pops, but we were a bit younger, so it was definitely Ashes To Ashes.
"I think it was on The Kenny Everett Video Show, it wasn't even Top Of The Pops. That bit in Ashes To Ashes, where he goes: 'I've never done good things/I've never done bad things/I never did anything out of the blue/Want an axe to break the ice/Wanna come down right now' sticks with me like certain lines from a poem stick with you. For a song like Ashes To Ashes to be Number 1 is out of this world.
"Sound And Vision was the time I heard a song on the radio without knowing who it was and thinking, 'That sounds fucking amazing. It sounded really mysterious cos there's hardly any lyrics in it, and we've tried to rip that song off twice with Roses In The Hospital and Always/Never.
The way Bowie looked had as much impact. No one ever looked better. What I love is that it's all self-realised, it's never off the shelf, and you get the impression it always has his input. On the Berlin stuff, sometimes he's really shittily dressed with a red jacket and shit T-shirt but he carried it all off with spectacular ease and grace.
"He's one of the few artists that makes you realise you're not as good as you think you are. Being in a band, there are a few records where you know you can never reach that level. It crushes you at times but then also just fills you with utter joy. There's also the fact that he turned down a knighthood. In an era where we're lectured by so-called left-wing musicians who just go on their knees and take CBEs and OBEs and MBEs, he turned it down.
"We were in the studio when he died and we just played his music non-stop. I've got a particular fascination with Fantastic Voyage from Lodger. Some of the lines in there are just incredible. Me and Richey [Edwards, Manics guitarist/ lyricist, who went missing in 1995] were really into his lyrics, from Life On Mars, which is an amazing stream of consciousness, to the cut-up method and the Berlin period, which is really more a series of lines rather than full lyrics. They are full of lines which change your
world. He is really overlooked as a lyricist.
"Bowie was so self-aware. That thing the artist Francis Bacon said, am fully self-realised, I've made myself', that was what I felt with Bowie. It's that idea of trying to fuse an into lyrics, which is a dying art in itself."