Godfather of punk Iggy Pop starts a two-month tour today (10/18), staying mainly below the Mason-Dixon line for the month of October and heading north in November. The 54-year-old alumnus of the Stooges, born James Newell Osterberg, is touring in support of his recent album, "Beat 'Em Up" (Virgin), released in July. Pop co-wrote the album's 15 songs with guitarist Whitey Kirst; some songs have input from other members of Pop's band. The album is dedicated to its bassist, Lloyd "Mooseman" Roberts, a onetime member of Ice-T's band Body Count, who was killed in a drive-by shooting after the album was recorded. The official "Beat 'Em Up" website features an audio stream of the album's first track, "Mask."
October 18th, 2001
Editorial Director, Music, citysearch.com
|10/18/01: 40 Watt Club, Athens, Georgia. 9pm. Sold out.|
Are you pissed off? So is Iggy Pop. The 54-year-old "Godfather of Punk" has always had a bug up his butt, but on his latest album Beat Em Up (Virgin), the once and future Stooge sounds crankier than he's ever been, and it's about time.
Born James Newell Osterberg in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Iggy Pop is a classic rock and roll myth of adventures on the brink of the abyss. As a teen, he wanted to create a band whose music would be furious, sexually-charged, and aggressive. He formed The Psychedelic Stooges in 1967. The quartet shortened the name to The Stooges and a self-titled debut was released a year later, then came a follow-up in 1970 titled Funhouse. Both have become rock classics, and can be pointed to as the official beginning of what would become known as punk rock. The band's live shows were adrenalinized, sloppy, loud, obnoxious and inspiring. Despite serious drug-taking and being at one another's throats, The Stooges managed to release another explosive collection, Raw Power, in 1973. The album was a glorious, hellbound, rock and roll train wreck. By '74, Pop and the Stooges were strung out and called it quits for a second (and final) time.
After a brief spell of homelessness and heroin addiction, Pop made an attempt to clean himself up and began writing and recording some new tunes around '77. The Idiot and Lust For Life, both issued in '77, were produced and co-written by David Bowie. There were elements of sleaze and menace, but overall they were upbeat and musically sophisticated. (Lust For Life became an essential item; the title track was used prominently in the soundtrack of the hit film Trainspotting in 1996.)
Pop's career was inconsistent and musically confused through most of the 1980s, but by 1990's Brick By Brick, he had regained his musical strength and focus, resulting in his first U.S. gold-certified album and top-20 hit single, "Candy." Pop tried to get edgy on his '96 album Naughty Little Doggie, but it was patchy at best with only a few tunes approaching the scathing rock spirit of The Stooges. In 1999, he released the uncharacteristically laid-back Avenue B. But his more "refined" musical approach was strictly a detour, as the killer new Beat Em Up is a balls-out rock and roll winner - musically, philosophically and lyrically.
When Iggy's pissed, he hits the nail on the head, whether it's the gridiron metaphor of us all being simple pawns to the power elite's whims in "Football" or frightening and appropriately titled numbers like "Howl" or "Death Is Certain." We're all chumps colliding off each other for no good reason heading towards a final end, and the people pulling the strings could give less of a damn as long as you keep making money for them. Beat Em Up is a dark, nasty, mean, brutal record, and in that brutality there's beauty. Sort of like American Caesar or Brick By Brick, Iggy's brutal truths ring home, and the music behind him is just as churning and, actually, very Stooges-esque (although guitarist Whitey Krist doesn't quite match guitarist Ron Asheton's beautiful ugliness). Beat Em Up is also a bit disjointed, but like the wino on the corner who screams at you for not giving him a nickel, it's in-your-face real.
Pop sets the stage with the opener "Mask," a searing condemnation of... well, everything. A string of rants laced together like Dennis Miller on crank, he yells at jerks, grabbers and "junkie fratboys." The breakdown in the middle is as brilliant as anything Iggy has done since The Idiot or Lust For Life: "Irony in place of balls /Balls in place of brains /Brains in place of soul /Where's the soul?" Goddamn fuckin' a right, where's the soul. Iggy doesn't have the answers, just ranting and raving, but when it's so on-the-mark like on "Ugliness," "Savior" and especially "It's All Shit," who gives a damn. Maybe there are no answers.
Still and all, Iggy still has a humor about him, and perhaps the most telling song on the record is the last. A stream of consciousness rap about being a star, "V.I.P." sheds a little light on the completely ridiculous trappings of fame and being a celebrity, pointing out that these larger-than-life people are regular assholes like you and me. Perhaps that's Iggy Pop's job, pissing on the cover to reveal the plain, ugly, ordinary package inside. In any event, Beat Em Up is Iggy Pop's strongest record in years, and his meanest. And with that little bit of knowledge, it's nice to know there's people out there who refuse to give in and lie down. The question is, though... how many of us are willing to rant, rave and possibly fight against those who hold us down? Sadly, I doubt most of us would bother. We're too busy watching "Survivor."
Iggy Pop, Donkey Punch
show was great! This was my first time seeing Iggy live, considering I had never
heard anything by him until just over a year ago. When I heard he would be playing
the 40 Watt here in Athens, I jumped at the chance and actually found a way to
get my ticket the day before they went on sale. And I waited 2 months!
|10/20/01: The Music Farm, Charleston, South Carolina. 10pm.|
A perfect storm, hurricane lggy rolls through Charleston
October 25, 2001
Charleston almost made it through this fall without a hurricane, but then came
the evening of Oct. 20. Last Saturday night, Hurricane Osterberg blew into town,
concentrating its fury on a single warehouse building on Ann Street in downtown
Charleston. OK, so maybe it wasn't a hurricane, but when James Newell Osterberg,
aka Iggy Pop, hit the stage at the Music Farm, everyone at the show would likely
agree that Pop packed a full-force gale.
Charleston CD review: Beat Em Up
Pop punk is still evident on 'Beat 'em up'
|10/23/01: New Daisy Theater, Memphis, Tennesse. 7pm.|
Memphis preview and CD review:
Iggy Pop still flaunts that ferocity Brace for 'Beat Em Up' attitude Tuesday
been a stooge, the idiot, chairman of the bored and a naughty little doggie.
Iggy Pop still lets the blood - and vitriol - flow freely. At 54, Detroit-born Pop (real name, James Osterberg) is more than resilient; he's obstinate and a downright thorn in your side.
There's no reason to miss the Pop of old, the Stooges frontman who led the charge into a punk-presaging future with three classics of aural damage: 1969's "The Stooges" (1969); "Fun House" (1970) and the 1973 masterpiece "Raw Power."
Turns out the stringy-haired, sneering contortionist of a singer has made the most ferocious album of his solo career with the new "Beat Em Up."
That's not to say it's Pop's best record. He's had quite a few of those, actually, including "The Idiot," "Lust for Life" and "New Values" - all from the late '70s - as well as early '90s statements of perseverance, "Brick by Brick" and the richly drawn if underappreciated "American Caesar."
Yet after an introspective, brooding song cycle about midlife crisis in 1999, "Avenue B," (which featured Medeski, Martin & Wood - not exactly power trio players there), one wondered if Pop finally had wearied of the search-and-destroy mission he helped define in rock.
"Beat Em Up" answers, in no uncertain terms, that he's still as indignant as he is articulate. And if the songs are an uneven lot, the best have an edge of danger that he hasn't attempted since he and guitarist Ron Asheton spiraled the Stooges into the history books.
From the guitar-and-vocal lashing of the opening track, Mask, Pop reclaims his white noise muse here. "You're wearing a mask, you look better that way," Pop sings, almost spitting the sarcasm into the mike.
Other songs that continue the brass knuckle pounding: L.O.S.T., Howl, Go For the Throat, Weasels, the great title track and Ugliness (with honking car horns for a hook!) - a castigating refrain of hard rock that reminds you who the real Motor City Madman is.
This is the kind of record Henry Rollins has been trying to make ever since he ditched his brilliant jazz-metal version of Rollins Band for a generic stoner rock crew. But Rollins respects his physical temple too much to desecrate it the way only Pop has and can.
for one, don't want to be in the same room when Iggy hits 60.
Flyer's music writers tell you where you can go.
For feeling pretty, sexy, wild, and absolutely stooped while managing the day-to-day shit, there is nothing like the throbbing squall of Iggy and the Stooges. It's like a double bump of the booger sugar without the accompanying regret. In short, in my star-struck eyes the lizardlike love child of Ziggy Stardust and the MC5 is an idol of nearly religious proportions. But after the stunningly yucky 1999 release of Avenue B, all the magic wore off like a three-beer buzz. Had the Ann Arbor wild child whose live shows left him naked, bleeding, and screaming in the spotlight turned in his golden years to smirking but fashionable black-turtleneck cynicism?
Quite frankly, I'd been worried about Iggy Pop since he rode the soaring harmonies of the B-52's' (then) diva Kate Pierson to his first Top 40 single in 1990. "Candy" was a catchy bite of bubblegum, to be sure, but the Don Was-produced Brick by Brick was an earsore of an album. "Butt Town" might have been angry, but it couldn't stand up to the inspired frenzy of vintage Stooges. In 1996 Iggy released Naughty Little Doggy, a disappointing and unabashedly sophomoric outing custom-tooled for the Beavis and Butthead nation. Then came Avenue B, a midlife crisis of a record featuring spoken-word ramblings about love and loss. It looked like Iggy had gone the way of Lou Reed. At least it was an arty and dignified irrelevance he was slouching toward: the kind that rocks -- a person to sleep, that is. But that's all in the past. Just to prove he really is the godfather of punk, he bounced back in 2001 with Beat 'Em Up, a metal as hell LP. He'll no doubt rage through the new disc's soon-to-be meathead classics like "Mask" and "It's All Shit" when he plays the New Daisy on Tuesday, October 23rd.
all you fans out there. I made it to the Memphis and St. Louis shows. Iggy was
ferocious. Same set list. Don't you love Mask and Beat Em Up? He said, "This
is for all you music lovers out there" and sang TV Eye and Death Trip and
L.O.S.T. I sang the old ones with him but I gotta learn the new ones. He went
out to end of the stage to talk to us, but they all kept screaming and I couldn't
hear what he said. I like to hear him talk about stuff. He said "Who out
there watches TV!" He hates TV. Then ripped into Corruption. He spit a big
stringy loogey in the audience. It was terrible. I love when he dances acrost
the stage real fast. Whitey jumped into the audience WITH GUITAR. Whitey smiled
at me. He DID! Isn't the bass player good too. Nobody ever notices the bass player.
Superfans Genevieve from Belgium and Matthew from Brazil were there. And we met
alot of nice fans who also drove 4 hours to get there. Scott Wayland from the
Stone Temple Piolots was right behind me in the mosh pit. Matthew talked me into
going to the stage door after the show and Iggy PULLED UP A CHAIR outside the
door and TALKED to all the fans. I stood right next to him! Until the kids got
too excited and Iggy had to go back inside. Girlfriend Nina was in the doorway.
Can you say babe-o-rama? Schwing! Next we went to the BB King Blues Club on Beale
Street to listen to Little Jimmy King sing the blues. He was extremely cool. Gold
suit, diamond rings on every finger. Played a flying V guitar backwards with his
GOLD TEETH! These black boys backflipped acrost the front of the stage and people
threw them money on the floor. I got mistaken for a prostitute on Beale Street
several times. Then me and the Whistler went and had steak dinner.
|10/24/01: The Pageant, St. Louis, Missouri. 8pm. Sold out.|
Before Johnny Rotton, even before the Ramones, there was James Osterberg, better known as Iggy Pop. Wednesday night, before a crowd that filled The Pageant's lower half, the fifty-four-year-old Iggy Pop conjured up the primal energy and "Raw Power" that infused his performances with the Stooges over thirty years ago.
Starting off with "Mask," the lead track off his latest disc," Pop kicked off his hour long set with a the quick one-two punch bridging new material with older favorites. "Espanol" led to "Beat 'Em Up," the title track of his new one, before going all the way back to the beginning for "Raw Power" and "Search & Destroy."
Pop's thin, wiry frame seems distorted, almost cartoonish as he soars around the stage shirtless in his hip-hugging jeans. Less violent and self-destructive, he still gets down on all fours to "Howl" and rants and raves about "Corruption." The air of danger may be gone, but the Igster is still one "Real Wild Child," who longs for the validation that comes from degradation in "I Wanna Be Your Dog." That last one earned a huge response from the crowd the minute guitarist Whitey Kirst played the opening chords, and Iggy rewarded the crowd for their memory by repeatedly diving into their hands for some crowd surfing.
Whether pantomiming drinking tea or hanging from a cross, saluting one minute and doing the Hitler high-step march the next, Iggy's manic machinations were balanced by his knack for parody and irony. While he does appear to take the music for all that it can be, he clearly no longer takes himself all that seriously.
Often Pop's assertion that "Death Is Certain" is weighed against his "Lust for Life," but the latter song failed to materialize on Wednesday night. "Down On the Street" presaged "Home," which opened the door to the traveling song, "The Passenger." "I Gotta Right," a First Amendment anthem, laid the ground work for the set-ending song about American made cars and other hardware, "Cold Metal."
Returning for a four song encore, Pop asserted that the "show is over, this is for the music lovers." "Death Trip," "T.V. Eye" and a new one, "L.O.S.T." were more of the loud, frantic rhythms that you come to expect with Iggy's music. But the final encore of "No Fun" brought the house down. In this ever-changing and evolving world, it's lovely that some things remain the same. Who would have guessed it? Iggy Pop is unpredictably reliable.
evening's opener was St. Louis' own Sexicolor, which gave a solid showing. The
band's guitar-driven power pop and crunchy rock worked better than the "we
know we're trying too hard, but we can't help it" between song banter. They
managed to succeed in delivering a smart opening set nonetheless, with just the
right touch of faux fur. (THANKS Barney!)
Next it was on to St. Louis Northbound double nickle (Hwy 55). We met up with a Tornado and it took me a little while to trowel on my makeup but we made the show in plenty of time. The venue was FABULOUS. The local act "Dump Him" was MOST excellent. It was sorta polished punk. They played REAL fast guitars and screamed out about 6 songs in rapid fire. The best band I EVER saw open for him. 4 boys and a girl. She played the hell outta that guitar. She said "You all look so pretty out there tonight" then snarrled and screamed "Wet My Bed" real fast into the mic. The crowd was funny. Both real old people who saw him in St. Louis in 1969 at the Kiel AND kids with pink hair and nose rings. haha. Some boy had his hand on my ASS in the mosh pit! I had to kick him. I looked all over for you Dum Dum girl, but I couldn't find you! It was so neat to talk to Mud and Spider from Chicago. And it was very very loud in there. Iggy salutes the crowd, throws the mic on the floor and walks off. He was so good. Brought the house down both nights. Everybody loves him.
Ok I'm tired. I hafta go watch TV on the sofa and rest. Next I'm off to Baltimore and DC, anthrax or NO anthrax. Clean up that house CB I'm staying with you! And thanks for all the info on tickets, venues and maps on your site Cathy--sincerely.
Jon Huffman's review:
The momment I received information about Iggy coming to st louis at this very web site. I immediately went and bought my ticket the first day they went on sale, actually the very minute they went on sale. I drove around 2 and a half hours from my very respectable Jefferson City, Mo to drive to St. Louis with my good buddy Rob "The Ripper" who was named by GG Allin's brother Merrill. And two other good buddies named Billiam and Steve. (Iggy and good friends...what more could you ask for?) The place is very clean and modern. I mean look at the specs of the club at the Pagent link on this site. I waited through a set by a band I'm not sure of the name of....but the band were a technically good band....they looked like Lenny Kravitz playing the new york dolls. But I didn't care much for the band....it's hard to like a band that goes on before your very own rock idol. When the opening band ended everyone waited for the longest 35 minutes they have ever had to endure to wait for Ig. You could actually see Iggy popping (no pun intended) in and out of the back stage area. Then finally Iggy's band rolls out while iggy stays a second back jumping up and down on the side of the stage to get ready. He then jumps out and the band starts playing mask. Iggy jumps and moves exactly how in my head I had pictured him since I was 13 and read about him and only heard him on the Crow 2 soundtrack. The crowd kept pushing to get to the notorious ig as he would bend down and sing to the front part of the crowd. Igg then speaks to the crowd after mask is over then kicks into "wild one" Which I thought was funny! I don't care much for that song but a good one to sing along to. Iggy then kicked into Seek and Destroy so therefore every fucking little bastard punk rock kid and old farts with mc5 shirts went fuckin nuts. Iggy then proceded to make jesus christ poses. Iggy a little after a few new songs fairly early in the set started playing "I wanna be your dog" which shocked the hell out of me. I assumed he would save it for last. Oh well, Iggy then decided to rile up the crowd more so he jumps right on top of me and my good buddies and sends the people around us attacking us. (my buddy billiam now has a bruise from iggy's boot hitting him.) The security guards then try to pull iggy back up on stage but are having trouble. As soon as they get Ig on the stage iggy looks around with a mischiovous grin that you could see on Calvin form Calvin and Hobbes and then jumps right back on us. (50 what?)
Later on in the evening The Passenger starts playing and midway through the song, Iggy tells everyone to"get on this fuckin stage and fuckin get it out!" ROb the ripper and I then get on the stage and run around like the worst of them....because iggy was being occupied by a bunch of people me and rob the ripper decide to use the new bass players microphone to sing along on the chorus part. As soon as the passenger is over Iggy kicks into one of my all time favorite stooges songs "I GOTTA RIGHT" All the punk kids then go nuts and Rob and I jump off the stage. Iggy then kicks the band into Tv eye. In the breakdown of the song Iggy asks Whitey ":hey....do you watch a lotta shit tv?" "Yeah!??' "you gotta tv....I gotta Tv.....Big Fuckin deal!.....When I turn on my tv......I say..........DAMANIT!" You all know the drill!
then ends the whole night with No fun. My first iggy show......One of the greatest
shows of my
one fist in the goal and one foot in the gutter
|10/25/01: Uptown Theatre, Kansas City, Missouri. 7:30pm.|
Pop looks fine but sounds awful
Back in his heyday, he raked and gouged his torso with broken glass, coated himself with peanut butter and wiped himself with raw steaks -- metaphors that suited his degenerate, profane persona.
But that era was long ago and far away, as Meatloaf would say. These days, Iggy Pop, born James Osterberg nearly 55 years ago in a trailer park in Ann Arbor, Mich., is content to scream and wail as he flaunts and contorts his sinewy body for an hour or so through a blinding hailstorm of his musical catalog, which goes all the way back to the late 1960s.
Thursday night, he and his cursory power trio -- much younger guys on guitar, drum and bass -- did the authentic punk thing for barely more than an hour to a small but very devout crowd at the Uptown Theater. The sound, to be kind, was absolutely awful, unless, as an acquaintance put it, you "knew all the words anyway, so who needs to hear the vocals?!"
Perhaps Iggy was abiding by the punk/slop-it-together-yourself aesthetic -- except bands in that scene don't usually charge $28 a ticket at a venue that charges $5 a beer; and the headliner usually plays a lot longer than 75 minutes. Oh, right, I forgot: We were watching a legend.
He did oblige the older segment of the crowd with some of his vintage material, like "I Wanna Be Your Dog," "Search and Destroy" and "I Got A Right" -- '70s tunes that became favorite cover material for several '90s bands and artists, such as Alejandro Escovedo and Uncle Tupelo. To his credit, he also performed the closest thing he's ever had to a "hit" -- "Real Wild Child" -- though he did it at hyper-speed, cutting its duration in half.
Despite the hog-slop sound and the brevity of the show, Iggy deserves ample credit for a few things: His body is trim and hard, though it looks as if it was sculpted on weights in a Texas penitentiary instead of Gold's Gym. Still, who wouldn't want be nearly 55 and look like he does?
And unlike, say, Mick Jagger, who's probably talking about an island castle or a mountain resort when he sings "Gimme Shelter" these days, Iggy is still steeped in his punk/trailer-park ethos, even when he sings "I Wanna Be Your Dog" or new tunes like "L.O.S.T."
old, the immature like to say, is inevitable, while growing up is an option --
one Iggy would rather die than surrender to. Funny how he makes everyone around
him feel a little younger and more immature at the same time.
|10/27/01: Five Points Music Hall, Birmingham, Alabama.|
The ragged power of punk is still coiled tightly within the bony frame of Iggy Pop.
Pop, 54, might have gone down in flames long ago, a victim of drugs, booze, devil-may-care excess, an extreme rock 'n' roll lifestyle.
He's still with us, though, wildly twisting and thrashing on stage, pounding out aggressive music with little regard for trend or fashion.
That's what Pop did for more than an hour on Saturday night at Birmingham's Five Points South Music Hall. He did it darn well, too, with the natural ease of a spectacular showman.
Pop's set at the nightclub, which started around 10:15 p.m., was loud enough to make window panes shake and eardrums vibrate.
The show was hard, fast and surprisingly varied, with raw punkish snarls balanced by more melodic throwbacks to New Wave and rowdy rock. Pop isn't a great singer in conventional terms, but in this genre, he doesn't have to be.
Pop's set list (with a three-member backup band) included "Mask," "Howl" and "Beat Em Up" from his new CD, also titled Beat Em Up. He also threw in a few deliberately tarnished oldies, such as "Real Wild Child" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog."
Like many punk pioneers, Pop's albums have been erratic and spotty in quality, but he's earned a reputation as an incendiary live performer. Even when the music isn't to your taste, Pop always gives you something interesting no, exciting to look at.
On Saturday, his skinny frame was knotted with muscle (Pop came out shirtless, of course) and clad in a pair of jeans that hung dangerously low. His stringy mane flailed, and his boots thudded. Thank goodness he doesn't attempt to play guitar on stage, because that would hinder his famously manic gyrations.
Pop stage-dived twice into the eagerly waiting audience, and later invited the entire crowd to leap the barricades so everyone could join him on stage. About a quarter of those present (maybe 50 or 60 people) took him up on the offer before security intervened.
Other musicians might seem silly or dated doing the same angry act when they're old enough to be grandfathers, but Pop would probably look ridiculous doing anything else. Punk hasn't ever died in his world; it's just mutated.
Also, like him or not, Pop is as far from a poser as you can get. He's managed to retain his authenticity and appears startling in his maturity. As far as punk goes, he's the real deal.
|10/28/01: Earthlink Live Center, Atlanta, Georgia. 7pm.|
Iggy Pop/Impotent Sea Snakes : Atlanta Earthlink live
Halloween comes three days early, dirty pun intended, Sunday night, as Atlanta 's own Impotent Sea Snakes bring faux fur and simulated sadomasochism to EarthLink Live opening for Iggy Pop.
Performing to a semi-circular arena of many leather and latex wearing longhairs, the glam metal Sea Snakes - with men in thongs and fishnets and women in, well, very little besides strategically placed electrical tape - preach and screech pseudo-prog metal songs of pleasure, pain and protection.
Ending their set with Jim Carroll 's 'People Who Died', they pack the stage with audience members before packing it in.
Simulated sex acts can't hold a candle to the visceral thrill of the main act, however. No amount of dripping hot wax, vibrators or PVC panties get the crowd going as much as seeing the outline of 'Godfather of Punk' Iggy Pop bouncing like an uncoordinated prize fighter as his band takes the stage just seconds before he tackles the mic stand for opening number 'Mask' off his new full-length, 'Beat 'Em Up'.
Then for the next hour-and-a-half the feral 54-year-old, with his hair long and shaggy, shirtless, veins straining, skin-tight jeans glued to his slender frame as they have been - on and off - for more than 30 years, tears in to tracks from almost every album when he isn't flinging mic stands, flailing madly or belly flopping on the crowd. Animated and aggressive, Iggy Pop and his band don't pause once. He ranges from spoken word to primal scream over searing, primitive grooves and a pounding rhythm. In Pop 's slower, lower register you can easily still hear what - David Bowie stole. The set - mostly from the more metallic 'Beat 'Em Up' with many post-'90s numbers but also including classic anthems like 'Search and Destroy' , 'Cold Metal', 'I Wanna Be Your Dog', 'I Got A Right' and 'Real Wild Child' flows perfectly, sometimes a little uniformly, but ultimately highly satisfying.
Not satisfied with being caged by the stage, however, Pop calls for and gets an audience mobbing during 'The Passenger' so he can 'fucking feel the energy.' In return the audience get to feel songs like 'Death Trip', 'T.V. Eye' and finally 'No Fun'. As Iggy Pop runs the pit, shakes hands then exiting, his guitarist plays 'The Star Spangled Banner', lights firecrackers and leaves his amp humming loudly. Finally all that's left is the smell of gunpowder and sweat - perfect for such an incendiary performer.
|10/29/01: Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte, North Carolina. 8pm.|
Iggy's back, rage intact
Hicks, Knight Ridder
Few major label veterans get away with sounding like they wrote and recorded most of their new album in a day, yet somehow make it powerful, sincere and good. And few singers call a song "Howl" just so they can perform the act most of the way through.
Of course, when it's Iggy Pop, it's par for the course. And that's the best news the world has heard from Iggy in a while.
Iggy's last studio release, "Avenue B," was an occasionally spoken-word contemplative look at what turning 50 meant at the time. Though it was sort of interesting, it was also alarming to think that maybe Iggy was getting over himself.
Not even close. Iggy is back to being Iggy, and the world is a better place for it. His most recent release, "Beat 'Em Up," is an appropriate title, since he's back to thrashing about, yelling and screaming.
"This one's real loud, real rock 'n' roll, real tough and raw. It's still got a personal tone, but it's easier to relate to for `real rock' fans," he said.
Fans can expect to hear old and new songs when he performs at Tremont Music Hall on Monday."There will be songs from the record I've just made - they'll probably, unfortunately, leave you scratching your head, saying, `I wonder what that song is?' - plus songs that you'll know. It'll rock, as hard as I can make it now," Iggy said.
This is a typically good if not great Iggy record, swinging back and forth between punk rockets and riff-charged metal that sounds like David Bowie dueting with Glenn Danzig. Either way, the overriding theme is to hammer eardrums.
No matter the mood, the guy's always up-front about his feelings. Much of the album is basic metal garage-band riffage, which could really suffer if not for the personality behind lyrics for songs like "Drink New Blood," "Beat 'Em Up" and "It's All (stuff)."
The best evidence that Iggy still has his edge is a savage little charmer called "Go for the Throat," which builds from conversational lyrics set to a driving bass line, erupting into an Iggy yellfest.
the whole album could be considered an Iggy yellfest. That's good.
|10/31/01: The Norva, Norfolk, Virginia. 8pm.|
|11/01/01: The Recher Theatre, Towson, Maryland. 7pm.|
|11/02/01: The 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C. 11pm.|
Iggy Wit It: At 54, Pop Still Packs a Punch
By David Segal
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 5, 2001
The mystery of Iggy Pop's career has now exceeded the limits of artistic explanation and become a puzzle that only medical science can solve. How is this guy alive? For years he was rolling around in glass, smearing his body with hamburger and cramming any vein he could jab with every drug he could find. Either he's struck a deal with Satan or shooting heroin and smashing chairs over your head -- once two of the Popster's favorite pastimes -- aren't as punishing as you'd think.
Either way, on Friday night at the 9:30 club, Iggy was the punk that time forgot, a sinewy wisp every bit as buff and body-hairless at 54 as when he began making soiled, anarchic rock in the late '60s. He can still whirl around a stage at speeds that seem accelerated through trick photography. He still has one of music's most versatile spines, which he keeps crooked at angles that should have given him a nasty case of scoliosis two decades ago. His voice is still a distinctive howling bludgeon.
And that's why a Pop concert these days is a cause for joy, even if you don't give a toot about rock at its mostaggressive. Touring to support his latest album, "Beat Em Up," the man is demonstrating the spectacular resilience of the human body. Worried about anthrax? Ha! Iggy Pop will see your anthrax and raise you a plague. He could sprinkle dioxin on his Wheaties and jog to Spain.
He's done everything, and that includes enough to lay plausible claim to the title "inventor of punk rock." It was Iggy -- originally a mild-mannered lad named James Newell Osterburg of Ypsilanti, Mich. -- along with his backup band, the Stooges, who way back in 1967 strapped together a few over-amplified guitar chords and proved the power of rock at its rawest and least disciplined.
A sentiment like "I Wanna Be Your Dog" might have seemed artless compared with anything that came out of the Brill Building, but its bluntness proved irresistible to fans and future disciples. And it was Iggy who came up with idea that you don't entertain an audience, you confront it, taunt it and give off the distinct impression that it's about to witness something very dangerous.
The slight possibility of head trauma still hangs over a Pop show, but on Friday night, the chaos felt a little scripted. When Iggy first leapt into the audience, there were a few stagehands nearby to fish him out of the crowd's clutches; it felt like a well-rehearsed moment of pandemonium. Shirtless to begin with, Pop emerged from the mob with his jeans pulled about halfway down his rear end, which briefly made a bad case of plumber's butt seem cool.
Nearly half of the show highlighted tracks from "Beat Em Up," a fiery little headlock of an album that Pop has described as music for a biker bar. Guitarist Whitey Kirst, who co-wrote most of "Beat Em Up," was the musical center of this show. His sound, live and on the album, owes plenty to guys like Ted Nugent as well as to bands like Slipknot, the thrash-metal goons who play in numbered costumes and who are one of the few new acts that Iggy will admit to enjoying. It's a guitar tone with a manufactured brassiness to it, one that manages to sound both violent and tacky at the same time.
There was plenty of Stooges-era music, including "Raw Power" and "No Fun," but the night's highlight came from Iggy's solo years: a searing version of "The Passenger," from 1977's "Lust for Life." During the song's opening riff, Pop double-dared the crowd to take over the stage, and within moments a couple of dozen fans were chipping into the "la la la la" of the song's chorus.
To Iggy's credit as no-frills vocalist, it was hard to tell when the kids had commandeered the microphone and when it was back in professional hands.
Inexplicably, Pop performed without ever having a spotlight on him, a bizarre choice -- either his or the 9:30 club's -- that seems out of character for an exhibitionist.
That made it harder to see Iggy's patent-pending catalogue of stage moves: standing like a freshly crucified corpse, kneeling and pounding his head with the microphone, spinning like Baryshnikov on acid. It probably made it harder to find his black boots when they were stripped off his feet during his final lunge into the audience during the encore, "L.O.S.T.," one of "Beat Em Up's" finest numbers.
"I'm going to miss those black boots," he said, just before they were found.
A powerhouse hour-and-a-half performance that had the fierce and fit 54-year-old Godfather of Punk dazzling a crowd of nearly 1200. As usual, sounding both lethal and somehow sensual, Pop's current ensemble gets that sex beat just right. And the Igster was indeed in fine form: blonde, goateed, and shirtless, flaunting his famous physique, at times, after hurling himself into the a passionately noisy, nearly sold out audience at the 9:30, inches away from an arrest for indecent exposure. He did lose his boots monentarily. The crowd was incendiary, grabbing for him, surfing themselves over the rail again and again. I'm bruised and battered again. The encore was no less of a challenge, at four songs it was worth the price of admission by itself, and the closing number No Fun included a solo by Whitey that began hard rock and turned into Amazing Grace and the Star Spangled Banner. I admit I cried. Nice touch, you guys, thanks
("Turn up the house lights and keep em fucking on")
was theirs, and boy did we need them!
Iggy, our homegrown Dionysus; there's a new T shirt: an American flag with the stripes and Iggy written in a damaged blue font in place of the stars.
|11/04/01: M (Metropol), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 7pm.|
Friday, November 02, 2001
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
By Scott Mervis, Weekend Editor
Pop the top
That Halloween candy that's lying around screaming, "Eat me!" will be useful this weekend for the bursts of energy required to take on the amazing outbreak of arts and entertainment. The weekend begins with the Queen of Teen Pop and ends with one -, and there's a multitude of stuff in between.
But let's dwell on that a minute. Britney to Iggy. If the subject of your master's thesis happens to be Sensuality and Its Depiction in Popular Music, you'd do well to be at the Mellon Arena tonight and M on Sunday. What better contrast could there be than the candy-coated lip gloss of a Britney show with the raw animal power of an Iggy concert? Here, Britney teasing, begging to be a "Slave 4 U." There, frightful Iggy demanding he be your dog. She's a gorgeous young woman, he's a scarred, grizzled veteran, and together they share a distaste for the hindrance of clothing. Which one do you want to see? Iggy plays at 7 with Charm School Confidential.
|11/06/01: Theatre of the Living Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 8pm.|
The Philadelphia Inquirer
November 2, 2001
Iggy Pop at the Theatre of Living Arts, 334 South St., at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets: $27, $25 in advance. Phone: 215-922-1011
November 8, 2001
Iggy Pop singlehandedly invented the notion of the lead singer as human cannonball, rolling shirtless in broken glass, hurtling himself into hostile crowds, and leaving behind the unsettling impression that there was nothing he would not snort, shoot up or attempt to fornicate with. He has also unleashed some of the most primal, brick-in-the-face rock and roll ever committed to tape.
Tuesday night at the Theatre of Living Arts, the 54-year-old Pop made it abundantly clear to the adoring, sold-out house that he remains a streetwalking cheetah with a heart full of napalm. He still has no use for a shirt, and he still swings his sinewy torso around like a bullwhip.
With swagger, Pop delivered classics from his days in the Stooges - "Raw Power," "No Fun," "TV Eye" - and later solo gems such as "The Passenger" and "Wild One." Unfortunately, his new band traffics in thuggish metal, bringing a chainsaw to music that was always more of a knife fight.
But Pop's bullhorn baritone and flair for anarchic theater rose above the band's overamped sludge. During "The Passenger," he demanded that the audience storm the stage, and it obliged.
something!" he shouted, reiterating the message he has delivered in one form
or another for 35 years. Nobody did.
|11/08/01: Toad's Place, New Haven, Connecticut. 7:30pm.|
The mainstream people who would have crossed the street to avoid him as a younger man became acquainted with him in recent years through that most subversive of media: the TV commercial.
can hear his anthem "Lust for Life," vintage 1977, selling everything
from cars to ship cruises these days. And Nike recently made use of one of his
best songs from his days with The Stooges, "Search and Destroy." That's
Iggy returns to Toad's Place, 300 York St., for an 8:30 p.m. show Thursday. Tickets are $20 in advance, $22 at the door; call (203) 562-5694 or log onto www.toadsplace.com.
One of the prototypes of Miss Mess-Up's more musical side, and of rock exhibitionists everywhere, is Iggy Pop. His Nov. 8 show at Toad's Place was attended by a huge percentage of that cultural voting bloc and leadership gaggle known as the local music scene.
Another survivor of the '60s Detroit punk scene, Alice Cooper, has never left the song "Elected" out of his live sets--it's become a regular moment for current events commentary and ghoulish live political cartoonery. But Iggy caused gasps of glee when he did one of his own most overtly political numbers at Toad's: "I Got a Right." Was it also a political move as well, then, not to do "Lust for Life"?
Advocate colleague Hank Hoffman had told us that when Iggy played Toad's seven years ago, "his backing band was these metal kids, but they weren't good, so it was just right." That assessment held true Thursday, except for the "kid" part--these rockin' geezers were sloppy and stupid and earnest enough to keep the otherwise over-prepared show on a punk plane. There was a minimum of the slow monotone, narrative heavy bombast ballads that Pop has embraced for much of the '90s--"The Passenger" was representative of that phase. In hawking his latest disk, Iggy could take a tip from Alice Cooper, who's judicious in how he drops new songs into his sets, spreading them out carefully or working them into medleys with his old hits. By contrast, most of the first third of Iggy's Toad's stand was devoted to his mediocre new album Beat Em Up.
Much of what gave Iggy Pop his raw power in the 1960s and '70s has been diffused by the matter-of-factness of the punk ethic in the 21st century. Joan Jett streamlined his anthem "I Wanna Be Your Dog" years ago. Iggy's cover of the rock & roll standard "Wild Child" is a weak statement when you consider that Josie & the Pussycats also claim the song, on the movie soundtrack.
Opening act Ted Leo/Pharmacist(s) had been thrust into the Toad's limelight somewhat hesitantly. Instead of jumping at the opportunity to open for Pop, Leo had reportedly demurred, carefully weighing the potential of moving his act from the intimate confines of Rudy's and the fervent cult he's built in this area to the grander but more distant realm of "where the legends play." This is a guy who knows his constituency. Was it even worth finding out if he could win over such a crowd? An Iggy audience is particularly daunting--there were Trainspotting fans in their 20s, folks who'd seen the Stooges over 30 years ago, and the curious majority who simply wanted to see a legend prance past his prime.
Leo's anxiety was evident in his stage patter, but the playing of his songs (nearly all from his recent The Tyranny of Distance album on the LookOut! label) showed him supremely in control. Unlike his small-club shows, he didn't do acoustic punk covers of Pogues or Lauryn Hill tunes, and many subtleties of the band arrangements were lost on the large Toad's stage. But evening out the set in the interests of a large, diverse crowd was a wise move, and you could feel the breeze as all those milling heads suddenly turned in his direction.
The headliner was more assertive in his stagespeak: "Turn on the houselights in this dump! Hi there! Fucking thanks for fucking coming!"
living too easy in New Haven today," was Iggy Pop's pithiest non-lyrical
proclamation. "You never go anywhere." In fact, this is a week in town
where the punk universe is off its axis. The ever-more diverse Tune Inn is presenting
a much-admired blues guitarist, Joe Bonamassa, on Nov. 17. Like politicians, musicians
often only get one shot at winning over a major party or label, but Bonamassa's
album A New Day Yesterday, which flopped on Okeh/Epic, has been picked up and
pushed anew by upstart mini-major Medalist Entertainment.
|11/09/01: The Avalon, Boston, Massachusetts. 7pm.|
Lust-for-lifer Iggy Pop got all neo-metal on his newest disc, the sarcastic and scorching Beat em Up (Virgin) another semi-baffling salvo from the sinewy proto-punk legend, who remains in late middle age a danger to himself and others. Iggy brings the broccoli to Avalon (617-423-NEXT) in Boston on Friday and to Lupos Heartbreak Hotel (401-272-5876) in Providence on Saturday. We suppose you could count Slayer as Iggy Pop fans they did a covers album a while back with a massacre of a Stooges song they called "I Wanna Be Your God" but most of the talk about metals reigning deities has centered on the eerie coincidence of their new albums having appeared on September 11. It doesnt help that the discs called God Hates Us All (American), but for cryin out loud, its Slayer would South of Heaven have sounded any better? Slayer play on Sunday at the State Theatre (207-780-8265) in Portland; on Tuesday at the Webster Theatre (860-525-5553) in Hartford; and on Wednesday at Avalon.
The cream of the Elephant 6 crop has congealed into yet another spinoff, this one called the Circulatory System and featuring Olivia Tremor Control main man Will Cullen Hart and Neutral Milk Hotel main man Jeff Mangum. They play an afternoon gig at the Middle East (617-864-EAST) in Cambridge on Saturday, then head to Flywheel (413-527-9800) in Easthampton on Sunday in support of their recent homonymous debut on Harts Cloud Records. And speaking of neo-hippie supergroups: the alliterative Primus-Phish-Police triple threat known as Oysterhead play a sold-out show at the Tsongas Arena (978-848-6938) in Lowell on Saturday.
If you cant stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen: Cake, the MTV-approved comfort food responsible for several nifty novelty tunes, have a new video that does for Iron Chef what American Hi-Fi did for Heavy Metal Parking Lot. And you can bet that their love of wordplay had at least something to do with their current touring partners the indie-rock utensil Spoon. Spoon spend a night off headlining their own show at the Middle East on Tuesday, then get back to work across the river opening for Cake at the Orpheum (617-931-2000) in Boston on Wednesday.
Iggy Pop wrote and recorded the snarling demand of a song called ''I Got a Right'' about a quarter-century ago. He sang it last night in front of a near-sellout crowd at Avalon - backed by the young turks that are guitarist/co-songwriter Whitey Kirst, bassist Pete Marshall, and drummer Alex Kirst - and stated his case once again. There could be no argument. If anybody has a right, it's Iggy Pop, a man with roughly zero percent body fat who was once in the top 10 of Rock Stars Most Likely To Die, due to a surfeit of usual bad habits. Ig beat the odds and is now No. 1 on the list of Rock Stars Most Unlikely to Give Worms Any Substantial Food After Death and Burial. He's a human X-ray.
And, at 54, he's got more energy than men half his age. The long-haired Pop took the stage last night shirtless and in butt-hugging faded blue jeans, bucking like a wild stallion. He and his guys proceeded to rip, roar, and grind through 70 minutes of punk/metal, including about a half-dozen new songs from his latest CD ''Beat Em Up,'' and opening with its lead track ''Mask.'' In a rant both grating and ingratiating, Pop railed at the phony images people employ and asked ''Where is the love? Where is the soul?'' In due time, Pop put the pedal to the metal with yowling classics such as ''Search and Destroy,'' ''I Wanna Be Your Dog,'' ''Home'' and ''TV Eye.''
It's all about controlled chaos. Admittedly, there is a certain monochromatic nature to Pop's set. The slinky ''The Passenger'' (drawn from his collaborative era with David Bowie, about blithely living life as a non-participant) was the only song that had any real sway to it. Even ''Real Wild Child,'' which has flashes of that quality on record, was amped up to meet the bar of ferocity. Pop - who bonded with the crowd by calling us a profanity - is aiming to satisfy longtime fans who view him as the godfather of punk and younger metal-ites who want to hear him thrash and burn. During ''I Wanna Be Your Dog,'' (not a song about pets) Ig dove into the crowd; during ''The Passenger,'' the kids flooded the stage. At the very end, Pop strolled the small space separating crowd and band with his hand out. Those in the front responded, reaching out to touch him as if he were a religious icon, the Torah, or some human embodiment thereof.
The peak came with ''Search and Destroy,'' which may feature the best opening verse in rock 'n' roll: ''I'm a street-walking cheetah with a heartful of napalm/A runaway son of a nuclear A-bomb/I am the world's forgotten boy/The one who searches and destroys.'' It's to Pop's credit that no part of this declaration of rage and pride sounds antiquated or nostalgic. Pop's got his life and his art together, but it still feels like he's looking up from the gutter, trying to find a reason to rise above it all. He's a marvel; he's a miracle.
re-formed Real Kids, fronted by singer-guitarist John Felice, opened with a set
of punk/pop nuggets: hooky, basic value rock 'n' roll with an endearing warmth
|11/10/01: Lupo's, Providence, Rhode Island. 8pm.|
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