David Bowie, then 29, was arrested early in the morning of March 21, 1976, in his three room suite at the Americana Rochester Hotel in Rochester, New York, by vice squad detectives and a New York state police investigator. Bowie was arrested with three other people, including Iggy Pop for being in possession of half a pound of marijuana.
Bowie’s daper "Thin White Duke" mugshot was not taken the night of his arrest, it was taken in the morning of March 25th, when Bowie returned to Rochester to plead innocent to the felony charge.
The Thin White Duke was David Bowie's 1976 persona and character, primarily identified with his album Station To Station (released that year) and mentioned by name in the title track. At first glance, the Duke appeared more "normal" than Bowie's previous incarnations, wearing a stylish, cabaret-style wardrobe, but the massive amounts of cocaine the rock star consumed during this period made his personality, or at least the personality he displayed during interviews, more alarming than it had ever been. At this time in his life, he said that he lived on "red peppers, cocaine and milk".
Impeccably dressed in white shirt, black trousers and waistcoat, The Duke was a hollow man who sang songs of romance with an agonised intensity while feeling nothing, "ice masquerading as fire". The persona has been described as "a mad aristocrat", "an amoral zombie",and "an emotionless Aryan superman". For Bowie himself, The Duke was "a nasty character indeed", and later, "an ogre for me".