Iggy Pop and The Stooges produced three classic albums in the 60s and 70s
In 1975, Iggy checked himself into a mental institution in a bid to get off Heroin
David Bowie co-wrote and produced Iggy's The Idiot and Lust for Life albums
The Stooges re-united in 2003 and have since played all over the world
(CNN) -- Iggy Pop invented punk rock. That's how cool he is. His songs have been covered by the likes of Guns N' Roses, REM, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Sex Pistols.
He is the wildest wild man of rock and his four-decade career has been marked by drug addiction, self mutilation and onstage nudity -- and at 61 years old he is showing no signs of growing old gracefully.
Born on April 21, 1947, in Muskegon, Michigan, James Newell Osterberg grew up in a trailer park.
When he began learning the drums as a teenager his parents gave up their bedroom to house his drum kit. It wasn't long before he took his talent out of the bedroom, playing with high-school band The Iguanas, from which he later took his stage name.
After graduating from high school in 1965, Iggy formed a blues band called the Prime Movers. Following a brief stint at the University of Michigan he moved to Chicago, playing drums with local bluesmen, before returning to Michigan with his sights set on fronting a rock band. Watch Iggy Pop show CNN around Miami »
In 1967, he recruited guitarist Ron Asheton, his drummer brother Scott Asheton and bassist Dave Alexander and formed The Psychedelic Stooges.
It was after seeing the Doors in concert, and inspired by Jim Morrison's confrontational stage persona, that James Osterberg reinvented himself as Iggy Pop, a drug-fueled, crazed whirling dervish of a front man, who would strut semi-naked around the stage, roll around in broken glass and dive headlong into the audience.
The band shortened its name to The Stooges and released its eponymous debut in 1969. Right from the start there was clearly something different about Iggy Pop. At the height of flower power, when The Stooges' contemporaries were singing about peace and love, Iggy was singing "No Fun" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog." See photos of Iggy in action. »
The album was a brilliant mess of raw, blues-influenced garage rock, but it sold poorly, as did the 1970 follow up "Fun House," later described by Jack White of the White Stripes as "the definitive rock album of America." Watch Iggy Pop show CNN around Miami
By this time, Iggy had begun the Heroin use that would plague his career and in 1971, The Stooges split up after being dropped by their record label. That same year, Iggy met David Bowie, who took him to England, re-united The Stooges and produced 1973's "Raw Power."
With "Raw Power," Iggy and the Stooges created the blueprint for punk rock and made an album that would one day be regarded as a landmark in rock music, an album that Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain listed as his favorite of all time. Nonetheless, it was another commercial failure and in 1974, The Stooges split again.
By this time, Heroin had taken over Iggy's life and in 1975 he checked himself into a Los Angeles mental institution in an effort to kick the habit. Bowie visited him there and took Iggy along on his 1976 tour, before the pair moved to West Berlin in an effort to get away from the temptation of drugs.
It was there that Bowie produced and co-wrote Iggy's 1977 solo albums, "The Idiot" and "Lust for Life." The latter included the songs "The Passenger" and "Lust for Life," which have since become staples of TV ads and movie soundtracks, spawning countless cover versions.
More commercial than The Stooges' records, Iggy's solo albums were met with critical acclaim and better sales, but never breakthrough into the mainstream. Songs that Bowie wrote with Iggy during this period were later included on Bowie albums, with "China Girl" becoming a hit single for Bowie.
Iggy carried on touring and releasing albums throughout the 80s, without much commercial success, although the single "Real Wild Child" was a hit in the U.S. and UK. But by the end of the decade, Iggy was beginning to be recognized as "the Godfather of Punk," with a new generation of bands citing him as an influence.
Members of Guns N' Roses and the B52s appeared on his 1990 album "Brick by Brick," which sold more than 500,000 copies, and his 2003 album "Skull Ring" featured the likes of Green Day, Sum 41 and Peaches. But what really made "Skull Ring" special was that it re-united Iggy with Ron and Scott Asheton of The Stooges.
After years on the periphery, Iggy was suddenly fashionable, with the reformed Stooges appearing at festivals all over the world. The band recorded the album "The Weirdness" in 2007, but it was their astonishingly powerful live performances that showed why they were still such a big deal 40 years after they started out.
Any hopes Iggy may have had for a peaceful retirement in Miami have been dashed. At 61 years old he is still performing with the same energy and abandon as when The Stooges first formed, with only marginally less stage diving and nudity. It seems that the world has finally caught up with Iggy Pop, the most exciting, unpredictable and entertaining man in rock.
Old punk rockers who are still willing and able: that list would include Mike Watt. But unless you were a fan of the Minutemen or fIREHOSE or ’80s Southern California punk revival in general, you’ve likely never heard of him. I think it was the spectacle of Watt letting loose on stage that earned him prominent fans among his peers — the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sonic Youth, Henry Rollins. When Watt released his first solo album, Ball-Hog or Tugboat?, huge rock stars like Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder rolled out and toured in Watt’s band. Not really a virtuoso or even a star in the traditional sense of the word, Watt’s bass guitar work has been called explosive, over the top, and rich with ideas.
But it’s what he brings to the stage that really matters. I saw it myself when a band (I can’t remember who) brought him onstage at a punk fest I was attending with my then-teenage daughter. Watt’s playing lit up the house, an ability not lost on Iggy Pop — who hired him when he reunited the Stooges in 2003 — or on Bass Player magazine, which bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award on Watt earlier this year.
Watt recently turned 51 and lives in San Pedro. He published a book about the experience titled Spiels of a Minuteman. Now gray haired and wearing jeans, sneakers, and short-sleeve plaid shirts, he looks more the part of a hardware-store counter guy than a punk holdout, but he still gets in his van and drives the club circuit as if it were 1980. His current band, the Secondmen, is more melodic and even jazzy, but the vibe is still the same: by the end of the evening, you wonder how one little club stage could have contained so much Mike Watt and his bass guitar.
MIKE WATT AND THE SECONDMEN: Casbah, Sunday, January 4, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355. $12.
More than four decades into his career as a rock mentor, Iggy Pop chats with PATRICK AMBROSE about getting back with the Stooges and finding a daily rhythm that suits him.
I“I wasn’t going to die until the fucking band made it,” Iggy Pop says when I ask about his recent reunion with the Stooges. In October, the Stooges completed a four-month tour of North America and Europe, enlivening packed venues with their volatile blend of Ron Asheton’s stabbing guitar riffs, Scott Asheton’s explosive drumming, and Pop’s bewildering on-stage repartee and dynamic vocal range. On his cell phone, the rock ‘n’ roll iconoclast sounds jubilant when he speaks of the Stooges’ long-awaited surge in popularity and an upcoming acting role as he bypasses Miami in his Maserati en route to meet the filmmakers. “I’m playing a used-car dealer,” he chuckles. “And I’m really excited. I’ve always wanted to do this.”
He spots a cop up ahead, apologizes for the disruption, and places the phone in his lap to avoid a traffic ticket. During this brief pause, it occurs to me that I am speaking with the man who transformed rock ‘n’ roll into performance art. Iggy Pop’s stage antics alone—from his horrifying acts of self-mutilation to his notorious dives into the audience—have been copied by generations of rockers ranging from the late Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious to Sid Wilson, the turntablist for the popular alternative-metal band Slipknot.
“I still remain a person who does not feel well whenever called upon to participate in normal activities,” Pop says in his folksy Midwestern drawl. And at 61, he exudes the same energy and intensity that have captivated fans since the late ‘60s. He still performs bare-chested, a fashion tip borrowed from the Egyptian pharaohs, and crawls on all fours while barking the lyrics to “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” the Stooges’ signature tune. But after his sweat-soaked torso rolls across the stage and writhes spasmodically before the audience, he no longer requires medical attention. Nowadays, the Stooges’ performance space is remarkably free of the broken bottles, burning cigarettes, and dangerous projectiles hurled by fans in the early ‘70s, when neither the Stooges nor their audiences knew that their abrasive interaction had given birth to a cultural phenomenon—the punk-rock movement.
In August the Stooges worked a New York crowd into a frenzy at Terminal 5 in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen. For nearly 90 minutes, their famed stacks of Marshall amplifiers spewed ragged melodies, jackhammer drumbeats, and honorary Stooge Mike Watt’s throbbing bass lines as Pop skipped blithely across the stage, bolstering songs like “Skull Ring” with his smoky baritone, then shifting to a rabid snarl on classic numbers like “TV Eye” and “No Fun.” At one point he dove into the sea of adoring fans, disappearing momentarily before bobbing back to the surface to shout the lyrics of “Loose,” buttressed by the enthusiastic chorus of the crowd. Once again, Iggy Pop had obliterated the barrier between the artist and spectator.
“I still remain a person who does not feel well whenever called upon to participate in normal activities.”“I’m interested in being able to do that while maintaining the formality of the dinner engagement,” he says with a hearty laugh. “There has been a tremendous change in the cybernetics of rock and roll over the past 50 years. If you look back to the mid- to late-’50s, you’ve got maybe Elvis or Eddie Cochran playing on a flat-bed truck in a gas station parking lot with presumably 1,200 doomed teenagers dancing, chewing gum and knifing each other while religious leaders burn records and make racial slurs about the music. Now, you’ve got thousands of people obediently shuffling into these concrete civic centers to sponge up something in places where nothing really happens.”
Raised in small-town Ypsilanti, Mich., Iggy Pop started playing rock ‘n’ roll in junior high as the drummer for the Megaton Three, a duo with guitarist Jim McLaughlin. Back then, he was known by his birth name, James Newell Osterberg Jr. In high school, he and McLaughlin formed the Iguanas, a quintet that opened for the Shangri-Las and the Four Tops. Osterberg remained in the group while attending a semester at the University of Michigan, but he grew tired of the Iguanas’ trendy emulation of British rock and instead joined the Prime Movers, a freewheeling blues ensemble from Ann Arbor. His new bandmates called him “Iguana,” a caustic reference to his stint with a mainstream act. Over time, the insulting nickname was shortened to “Iggy.”
“Once I got tagged with ‘Iggy,’ I had to figure out how to make it work,” he explains. “One day I was walking through the student union, and slumped over, sleeping in one of the booths, was Jim Pop, a friend of the extended Asheton gang—delinquents, basically. Jim Pop sniffed a lot of glue and lost his hair really early. And right then, I thought ‘Pop would work perfectly.’”
The Prime Movers were exceptional musicians, but Iggy Pop wasn’t learning the blues fast enough. He moved to Chicago to accompany harmonica maestro Big Walter Horton, who exposed him to the nuances of the blues idiom, an experience that stoked his interest in fusing ostensibly divergent musical styles. On his return to Ann Arbor, he assembled a group with the Asheton brothers and bassist Dave Alexander. Calling themselves the Psychedelic Stooges, they enhanced their early work with fuzz-box distortion and took cues from composer and music theoretician Harry Partch by creating their own instruments from household junk and appliances—a vacuum cleaner, a blender with water, an oil drum—all amplified with contact microphones. They fueled these sonic excursions with LSD, DMT, and amyl nitrate and set up shop in a rural dwelling between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, where they could practice at full volume whenever the mood suited them.
“A producer will take a look at you and they’ll decide who you are and who you need to be. And they’ll do that better than you can.”“Around 5 in the afternoon, I’d probably be the first one up and would try to get the group together for a rehearsal,” Pop explains. “I’d be knocking on everyone’s doors and having them give me the finger, frown at me, or try to make an excuse—basically, ‘I’m hungry or I’m not stoned enough.’ By around 8, we could have a little rehearsal—really, really intense full-tilt music that would only last about 20 minutes.”
Dubbed the “Fun House,” the Stooges’ living quarters would become a site of unmitigated debauchery and creativity. In that dilapidated country home, they cultivated the material for their first two albums, The Stooges and Fun House, seminal recordings that laid the groundwork for punk, industrial metal, and grunge. They released their self-titled debut in 1969 under the production guidance of John Cale, an illustrious multi-instrumentalist and founding member of the Velvet Underground. Accustomed to playing loud and working fast, Pop and his bandmates lugged all of their Marshall amplifiers into New York City’s Hit Factory studio and demanded that the recording sessions be conducted live, at full volume. A series of compromises followed, and Cale made every attempt to honor the Stooges’ requests whenever they seemed reasonable. The end product reflects the delicate balance between the Stooges’ grating minimalism and Cale’s polished production. The next year, producer Don Gallucci permitted the Stooges to record Fun House live, at ear-splitting levels.
“A producer will take a look at you and they’ll decide who you are and who you need to be,” Pop says. “And they’ll do that better than you can. [As an artist] you turn into a very small dog on a leash. There’s a push and pull, and you fight back a little. You think of obtuse things to do: ‘I’ll blow his mind today! I’ll come in with a theory so fucked up, I’ll show that cretin!’ You’ll notice a pattern with the finer, more interesting artists. They’ll get with a producer, have a hit, and then they have to go into the corner and throw up for a few years. And their next couple of albums are always either homemade or with someone really obscure who’ll let them do what they want. You find this pattern with Dylan, with Bowie, with people who are really special, really good.”
After the 1970 release of Fun House, the band fired Alexander when he blanked out during a show and stopped playing. Personnel adjustments followed: Ron Asheton moved over to bass, while virtuoso axman James Williamson filled the guitar slot. Loaded with talent, the Stooges had earned the respect of their peers, and their shows were always well attended. But Iggy Pop had acquired a taste for harder drugs, often ingesting copious amounts of heroin and cocaine before concerts. Adorned in glitter, baby oil, and silver paint, he behaved bizarrely on stage, routinely cutting himself, spitting and vomiting on the audience and goading spectators into assaulting him.
By late 1971, Williamson, Pop, and Scott Asheton had acquired full-blown heroin habits that interfered with rehearsals and live performances. Their label, Elektra Records, dropped them and ordered the return of a sizeable advance for their third album. When English rock star David Bowie stepped in and offered financial and production assistance for the next project, the band reconvened in London and recorded Raw Power. Released in 1973, Raw Power showcases Pop’s staggering vocal range, particularly on the ballad “Gimme Danger,” where his brooding croon subtly morphs into a wounded growl by the end of the song. Williamson’s savage forays in “Search and Destroy” and “Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell” are a maniacal mix of rancorous rhythmic sequences and sizzling leads played with an unprecedented ferocity. But Raw Power was a commercial failure. The public just wasn’t ready for it.
Within a year, Raw Power could be found in record-store cut-out bins for 39 cents. The Stooges were finished and Iggy Pop wound up in Los Angeles, careening from one half-baked project to another until he ran into Bowie in 1976 and was invited to accompany his friend on a series of concerts to promote Bowie’s Station to Station album. After the tour, the two settled in Berlin and collaborated on new material. They did some traveling, too, and Pop rarely went anywhere without his cassette recorder, always alert and ready to capture instants of brilliance that could be crafted into songs.
“At the end of the tracking sessions for The Idiot, we were in the studio, breaking down all of the equipment,” he explains. “And don’t ask me why, but [Bowie] put on a rubber fright mask of an old man, went over to the piano, and it brought out the Hoagy Carmichael in him. He began playing piano music from that school, and I got very excited. At that point, you’ve given birth to a song and you must record it. You’re in the arts category now—a better place than somebody who is just producing pieces of noise for the music industry.”
That playful moment of free-form improvisation evolved into “Nightclubbing,” the second song on Pop’s 1977 album The Idiot. Throughout their tenure in Berlin, these two artists abandoned convention, open to inspiration whenever it arose. One night, while they watched American Forces television, Bowie adapted the station’s call signal to a melody he strummed on a ukulele. The resulting chord change would become “Lust for Life,” the title track of Pop’s next record. The Idiot and Lust for Life launched Iggy Pop’s career as a solo artist, a 30-year journey that would take him into the studio with renowned producers like Don Was and Bill Laswell. His single “Candy,” with the B52’s Kate Pierson, would crack the top 40 in 1991 and make Brick by Brick his bestselling album.
Iggy Pop’s commercial success has been accompanied by a sincere effort to take care of himself. For nearly 20 years, he has practiced tai chi and his vices have been reduced to an occasional glass of wine. He has also reached out to younger musicians and joined them in the studio. His 2003 release Skull Ring included songs with popular bands like Green Day and Sum 41, along with the single “Little Know It All” which made the rock charts, received considerable airplay and became a popular MTV video. Four of the songs on Skull Ring were recorded with the Asheton brothers, becoming the first music that these three friends had made together in more than three decades.
After a short break in our conversation, Iggy Pop calls back from Little Haiti. He has stopped to check out some hand-painted storefront signs done by an artist named Serge from Port-au-Prince. Pop has a devout interest in Haitian art and owns a nearby studio where he paints. In the parlor of that sanctum, he and the Asheton brothers developed songs for The Weirdness, the Stooges’ 2007 release. I am surprised to learn that they played toy instruments in those early rehearsals.
“You’ve given birth to a song and you must record it. You’re in the arts category now—a better place than somebody who is just producing pieces of noise for the music industry.”“The core of an idea comes through stronger when there’s less noise,” Pop explains. “Toy instruments and tiny amps enabled us to play and sing hard in an environment with no rehearsal-hall vibes and no cops. And it’s a little easier on my hearing.”
It’s hard for me to imagine the Stooges jamming on toy instruments. It’s equally difficult for me to picture Iggy Pop, a long-time fixture in the New York City music scene, happily ensconced in Miami.
“Listen,” he says. “You get to a certain point if you’re a downtown New York musician where you can go into business, which isn’t me, or you can do sacred-cow duty—kind of what Ginsberg was doing the last 10 or 15 years of his life—which is fine, but that’s not me either. [Miami] is kind of a province of New York. I can get a little more light and space here. I’m better off right now. And frankly, life is easier.”
Michigan madman Iggy Pop is probably best known for his unpredictable, human jack-drill onstage performances. Away from the stage, however, another side of the man emerges; he is intelligent, genteel and unpretentious - even if he did once spit at Andrea Corr. He talks to Tony Clayton-Lea ahead of his Dublin gig in June
WHAT A GUY; you ask Iggy Pop a question about the main turning points in his life and he takes pretty much the entire length of the interview time answering it.
In normal circumstances, this would be - in the words of Beavis and Butthead, two badly drawn Iggy boys down with the Popman - "a bummer". In the circs of The Ticket , we don't mind at all, because Mr Pop is cool. So cool, in fact, that a minute into the reply to the first question I leave him talking to the tape recorder to put on leg warmers, a woolly vest and a pair of gloves.
Goddam it, Iggy Pop (one of the few rock stars to have been published in a journal of classical scholarship, for his essay Caesar Lives , in the second volume of, believe it or not, Classics Ireland , wherein he astutely ponders on the applicability of Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to everyday contemporary living) is cooler than Alaska in winter, than a Frida Kahlo painting, than an Electric Picnic line-up.
And yet for all his smarts and his cognitive prowess, Pop - who will be 61 in a few days - exudes a genteel, sincere and unpretentious demeanor. On stage, the man is a human jack drill, ugly, sinewy, and quite possibly the final frontier in authentic physical stage dynamics. You see other rock acts, clearly influenced by him, going through the motions of confrontation and provocation, but you know they're spineless pussycats in contrast to Pop's lissom, leonine muscularity.
"The main turning points in my life? There are several, and for the sake of clarity and record - your newspaper is the newspaper of record in Ireland, right? - I'll tell you them all1. There was an afternoon in Algebra 4; I was in 10th grade, I felt shitty, and I didn't feel like grasping what I knew I was supposed to grasp that day. I felt a little ill, my stomach was queasy from the school food, and it was a beautiful day outside. I'd already begun to play music, and I thought that day in Algebra class was a preview to real life - I just couldn't do it. I was about 15 back then.
"Another was about two years later, when I graduated. My high-school band managed to secure a summer gig as a house band in a teen club called The Pony Tale, in a resort area of Michigan. And suddenly there I was - a full time musician; it happened really quick, really young, and I liked it a lot.
"In those days, being a musician was a more obvious road to ruin than it is now. These days, it's often a viable career choice for intelligent young people - or seems to be - but it wasn't back then. Being a full-time musician, I started to turn what intellect I had towards studying and examining the whole thing of rock music - what was quality, what was exciting. That led me to drop out of university very quickly and join a couple of bands, which culminated in the band that most people know of, which is The Stooges."
A pause. The start of my second question is politely interrupted. Pop apologises. Yes, the man who threw a microphone and spat at Andrea Corr in Dublin's Olympia Theatre several years back apologises.
"Another turning point? Meeting David Bowie and his entourage, but that was more of an inevitability; it would have been them or someone else, other entourages at the time. I think I was just fortunate that I picked the best one. Then, post-Stooges - which by this time had gone down in flames - a re-encounter with Bowie and his songs, the circumstances of which meant that we were able to write some songs together."
Yet not even Bowie could work his magic on long-time friend Pop. Following his seminal solo albums The Idiot and Lust for Life (both released in 1977), Pop went on to record and release several mediocre albums (including 1979's New Values , 1980's Soldier , 1981's Party and 1982's Zombie Birdhouse ). In 1982, aged 35, Pop couldn't afford to live in Manhattan any more.
"I was sleeping on the floor in Bensonhurst, which was a like a Mafia neighbourhood in Brooklyn. Basically, I was living hand to mouth, my health was going, and I realised I couldn't take on the world anymore - I was going to lose. So I decided to try to go straight; it was a good decision, although it took three or four years of adjustment, and probably led to a fairly long period of mediocrity in my music. But it also led to my survival as a person."
Body in check, financial stability arrived in 1983, when Bowie's Let's Dance album, which featured Pop's co-write of China Girl , went global. Pop's star was in the ascendant again. With one or two exceptions, it's been up there ever since; yes, he still delivers the occasional clunker (2003's Stooges-assisted Skull Ring being one), but the likes of 1999's Avenue B still shows his creativity in a positive light.
Yet for all that, he remains something of a talismanic touchstone for the burgeoning rock'n'roll star. Does music still carry the same level of intensity for him?
"When it's good stuff. When I was less mature, my radicalism would allow me only to be exposed to that music which I really, really liked. When I was in my early teens, I'd listen to the Top 40 and I would wait for the one Beatles song that the radio station would play; this engendered an incredibly emotional reaction, almost like a drug compulsion - waiting for that Beatles song was something I had to have, it was irresistible.
"And I'd get very angry when the likes of Lesley Gore would get played instead - very upset. Whereas now I've gotten to the point where I say to myself: alright, let's face it, if there wasn't something good about Sting, then he wouldn't be worth all those oysters, you know. My inner feelings are still exactly the same, mind.
"When you listen to music these days the notion of concentrating on it is totally different. I'm guessing, but I have a feeling that smoking a joint as an activity was something I did while I was listening to music back in the day. That type of activity made me inert, but it allowed me to concentrate, whereas now I'm more like other people in that mostly these days they listen to music as they ride a bicycle, go to the gym, or vacuum the house, cook dinner or clean nappies. I find that as I get busier with the administration of my survival, it gets harder. Either that, or perhaps my concentration isn't as good."
Pop knows too well that he's something of an aberration in rock'n'roll terms. There is only so long his body will allow him to continue with the rigours of his performances - performances for which the word "visceral" is all too appropriate; and there is only so long that he can willfully fuse his credentials as a confrontational rock star with his obvious wisdom.
"There are days," he says, "when I want to be impossible to others and myself - and I'm still very capable of doing that. I have to think about things like that. I don't know how it is for everyone, but I certainly reckon experience helps. If experiences are at all quantifiable, and if they vary in quality, then some people at age 60 are going to have more than other people at another age.
"I'm not above applying other people's experiences, either - I've been a fly on the wall around a lot of talented and capable people in my life, so I try to make use of that."
In relation to The Stooges, he talks eloquently of trying to balance the music's white-hot rage with a sense of reflection, harking back to Avenue B 's more ambient, considered moments.
"Ron and Scott [ Asheton] are going hell for leather for the loud stuff. They recently sent me a bunch of stuff that is so fierce, my first thought was the way I'm kinda typecast in some movie parts I get offered; every six months, I'm asked to play either a monster or a criminal. Sometimes I really want to indulge the Proust side of me and be somewhat more morose."
But not just yet; there is the not so small matter of his forthcoming performance in Dublin. After all the years of twisting his body this way and that, of throwing more shapes than the Aurora Borealis, do the gigs still do it for him?
"I feel different on stage," he admits in a no-shit-Sherlock manner. "It's quite cathartic for me, yet it wasn't always because it didn't always go as well. For the last few years, I've hung around long enough to know what kind of preparation you need to do in order to do the shows properly and consistently. A lot goes into it - nerves, effort, concentration. But the musicians are unique, too; personally, I'm glad it's becoming possible for people to value what it is that Ron and Scott do.
"So it's good onstage, yes. And it's good for a couple of hours after. And then it's five in the morning and I can't sleep."
• Iggy & the Stooges play the Royal Hospital Grounds, Kilmainham, Dublin, on Monday June 16th. Special guests are Stiff Little Fingers and The Kills.
Pop: a life in rock
• Iggy Pop is of Irish/English descent on his father's side, and Danish/Norwegian on his mother's. His father was adopted by a Swedish-American family called Osterberg.
• Iggy Pop has made guest appearances on several TV shows, including The Adventures of Pete and Pete , Miami Vice and American Dad . His latest voice talent "appearance" was in the English language
version of Persepolis (opening next Friday).
• In 1996, Nike used The Stooges' track Search and Destroy in its Olympics promotional video clips.
2003's Gimme Danger - the Story of Iggy Pop , by Irishman Joe Ambrose, was Pop's first full-length biography.
• On March 10th, Pop and The Stooges played at Madonna's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame. They sang Madonna's Ray of Light and Burning Up .
• Two Pop-related movies are out this year: his music will feature in an adaptation of Irvine Welsh's book, Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance ; while The Passenger will document Pop's early career with The Stooges. Elijah Wood (Frodo from Lord of the Rings) will play Pop.
A brief history of stagediving
Stage diving didn't exist before Iggy Pop - simply put, no one was mad enough to jump off the stage onto and into the crowd (as he did during his 2004 gig in Dublin Castle, above).
Yet during the early Stooges gigs, Pop was so fuelled up on the excitement of the music and the nervy rush of that he shrugged off self-consciousness and offered himself to the audience (he also mutilated himself with broken bottle glass, but that's another story).
In many ways, stage diving was a confrontational and edgy statement of intent, deliverance and - ultimately - faith in the audience; what Pop was possibly very aware of was how it connected with the audience's potential for proximity to genuine danger.
Stage diving can cause serious injury - pity the stage diver who is given the cold shoulder by an audience; pity the people that the stage diver lands upon. Stage diving and crowd surfing is now a regular part of countless rock stars' acts, but only a few can get away with it.
And only one person can do it with such authority - Iggy Pop.
The Australian music industry is gearing up for its official 50th anniversary this July, but will the rest of the world care? Possibly, thanks to a canny plan to re-record Johnny O'Keefe's The Wild One with Iggy Pop backed by Melbourne rockers Jet. The recording is due to take place in Pop's hometown of Miami next month, with the single set for a worldwide release.
Jeff Tweedy, Colin Meloy, Iggy Pop on "Lil' Bush" DVD Kevin Federline set to join their illustrious ranks
Remember "Lil' Bush", the Comedy Central cartoon show starring a tiny, boxy, juvenile version of our President? You might recall that said show featured a cavalcade of rock star voices during its first season: Jeff Tweedy (as God), Colin Meloy (as the smart version of Lil' Bush's brother Lil' Jeb), Iggy Pop (as Lil' Donald Rumsfeld), Frank Black (as Satan), Henry Rollins (as a veteran), and Dave Grohl and the Red Hot Chili Peppers as themselves.
Well, now you can enjoy these vocal performances accompanied by funny drawings in the comfort of your own home. Today, Comedy Central releases the DVD Lil Bush: Resident of the United States: Uncensored: Season One: The Invasion Begins. (If there were any more colons in that, it would be a Coheed and Cambria album title.) The DVD extras include deleted scenes, interviews, a "tour of the White House", and segments from "The Colbert Report", "South Park", and "The Sarah Silverman Program".
The second season of "Lil' Bush" starts on Thursday, March 13. Iggy returns as Lil' Rummy, and OMIGOD Kevin Federline cameos as Karl Rove, as well as his dreaded rap alias, MC Rove.
Here's a picture of Iggy on set, getting into character. Fun fact: Donald Rumsfeld is known to only wear shirts when cameras are around.
: Rock n Roll is[n't] Dead Nothing was more heartbreaking to punk fans than losing CBGBs in October 2006. The venerable East Village club that launched acts like The Ramones, Television, Blondie, Patti Smith, Talking Heads and countless other underground bands shuttered its doors after 33 years. If it had been replaced by a CVS pharmacy, Starbucks or a Citibank, that would have been the corporate nail in the coffin of cool.
I know what you may be thinking: John Varvatos is a designer of high-priced (as well as some moderately priced) clothes. A business. I agree. But the Detroit-born designer also a huge rock 'n' roll fan. This is the guy who features Iggy Pop and Alice Cooper in his ads, and who hosts classic rock performances at his Soho space. He's probably thrilled to own "the birth place of punk" and will probably treat it with reverence.
And, Varvatos is not planning on lining the place with marble or lining the walls with gold (not really his style anyway) but plans to keep it gritty with the original cracked paint, poster art and stickers. I'm actually excited to see the space. If it won't be used as a music venue, I can't think of a better guy to own CBGBs.
Gallery: ‘In the Public Eye’ at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
The art and technology of photography have evolved since a Frenchman named Niépce produced his first pewter-plate image in the 1820s. But one thing soon became clear as the camera art developed: Photographs could make ordinary people famous and famous people even more so.
That’s the operating idea behind “In the Public Eye: Photographs and Fame,” a new exhibit drawn from the vast holdings of the Hallmark Photographic Collection at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
UK terrestrial Channel 4 has commissioned Rockfeedback.tv Productions to deliver a third season of alternative music show Rockfeedback (6x30'), with cabsat MTV2 in talks with the prodco about licensing a second run.
C4 began airing the show's second season, which runs at 01.25 on Saturday mornings, on March 29, and will air the show's third season after a one-off special in August.
The second and third seasons will feature live performances and interviews with artists such as Iggy Pop, Mystery Jets, The Young Knives and Justice, with specials at live events that Rockfeedback is partnered with, such as the Underage festival and the Field Day festival. Complete article here.
The Morrison Hotel presents Bob Gruen's 'Rockers'
What's this? Well. Bob Gruen is a man who likes to take pictures of rock 'n' roll stars. Now, we're not talking some snap happy chappy hanging around with Snow Patrol here. We're talking John Lennon, Led Zeppelin, Blondie, Iggy Pop, Bob Dylan, The Ramones, The Clash, The New York Dolls... y'see? He's probably taken loads of your favourite rock 'n' roll pictures and you never even knew it! Well, Mr Gruen is to exhibit 280 of his fave and most iconic photographs in an exhibition at The Morrison Hotel
Sadly, you'll have to make your way to New York to see the goods. When? April 24th onwards. Where is that again? Morrison Hotel Gallery, 313 Bowery, NYC. Yeah, but how much is this baby gonna set me back? Well, it's free... so if you're in town, it ain't gonna cost you a dime son. The Morrison Hotel Gallery is, apparently, 'the world's leading purveyor of fine art music photography'. If you need more info, visit the Morrison Hotel Gallery website by clicking here. (This site is not to be missed! -- cb)
Persopolis returns to theaters
Persepolis, the Oscar-nominated animated feature, will return to 100 theaters in an English-language version on April 11. Co-written and co-directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, it’s based on Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel.
The English version of Persepolis features the voices of Chiara Mastroianni and her mother, Catherine Deneuve, as Marjane and Marjane’s mother. Sean Penn provides the voice of Marjane’s father; Gena Rowlands plays Marjane’s grandmother; Iggy Pop is Uncle Anouche; and Amethyste Frezignac plays young Marjane.
It's Pop music with a twist as Madonna enters Hall of Fame Jon Pareles, New York
March 12, 2008
LEAVE it to Madonna to make the right gesture. For her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she didn't worry about whether her career as a pop hit-maker, image-maker, sex symbol and provocateuse qualified her as an important figure in any narrowly defined genre of rock'n'roll.
She just brought on an unquestioned rocker — Iggy Pop, the blunt, anarchic and durable songwriter and performer — to sing punk-chorded versions of her hits Burnin' Up and Ray of Light. He was shirtless, hyperactive and backed by the Stooges, who along with him have been nominated but snubbed by the Hall of Fame. Full theage.com.au article here.
Madonna Shocks, Justin Timberlake Pays Tribute At Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Ceremony By Chris Harris mtv.com
Mar 11 2008 9:07 AM EDT
...Those words served as a fitting preamble for the punk-paced covers of Madonna songs from a leathery and topless Iggy Pop, who, along with the Stooges, paid tribute to the singer with covers of "Burning Up" and "Ray of Light," during which Pop tossed out an F-bomb. At one point during that performance, the cameras panned to a horrified-looking Clive Davis...
Full article here.
Slim Teams Up With Iggy Pop
one track on there I've done with Iggy Pop called He's Frank. It appears on
the soundtrack for Heroes in the episode Four Months Ago - it is the background
music in a club scene.
has collaborations with people like Iggy, so it's about me working with different
people in a way you might not expect.
really has become a little bit lost - it needs someone to come along and reinvent
it like The Prodigy or Daft Punk did. I'm trying to find a different way of
doing it and I think I have done that.
"It was a
challenge and a thrill working with people like Iggy. I have been doing this
for nearly 25 years and I don't want to get complacent about it - it has to
be an adventure. " Full
The Stooges’ first album in 33 years sounds like everything and nothing the band has done before. The Weirdness (Virgin) reunites Iggy Pop with the Asheton brothers and adds Funhouse-era saxophonist Steve Mackay, guest bassist Mike Watt and engineer Steve Albini. After finishing the album’s final mix, Pop espoused just how weird it all got from the Grand Cayman Islands.
I hear the Stooges are big in Macedonia. And that its prime minister loves you.
Macedonia is like the world center for the gypsy-music industry. It was interesting—and at times moving—because the country is seriously poverty-stricken. I enjoy such places anyway. I’ve been going to Yugoslavia when it was still … Yugoslavia! Like 1990. There is usually a better quality of person available to you there. But they’ve had a hard hard time there due to their wars. They couldn’t believe we came (to perform in December 2006). Their prime minister e-mailed us before we got there and said he wanted to have dinner with us. I turned them down. I had an 18-hour flight and a lot of work the next night. And I don’t really go out much, so I declined. Then they came back with the prime minister and the head of police requesting my attendance. Well, it sounded more like, “Either see us in the palace or the police station.” But the prime minister is young and forward-looking—he’s 35—and looking for a photo op and thought I might have something to do with the youth demographic [Laughs] so there we are on Macedonian television with me looking like I’m lecturing him on something far more erudite than it was. He didn’t know about the Stooges, but he was a sweet guy. And a lot of Macedonians live in Detroit, where I came from. He looked like a guy who ran a liquor store there. “Hey, I know you. I tried to buy a bottle of Jack from you.”
Let’s get out of Macedonia and back to Michigan. How did you first meet the rest of the Stooges?
There was one high school in Ann Arbor with three junior high schools around that. In terms of geographical spread, their junior high was on the extreme north side. Mine was on the extreme south. I never met those guys until high school. Dave (Alexander, bassist) didn’t bother with school. Scott (Asheton, drummer) made it for just a few weeks. And Ron (Asheton, guitarist) showed up sporadically to walk in the front door and out the back. Barely there, right. But I knew they played. After high school, Ron was playing around musical circles concentric to mine. I was a drummer around. He was a bass player around. And we both went to the same cafes where no-good people hung out. Scott and Dave used to stand outside a drug store with a guy named Roy across the street from the record store I worked at. They were delinquent kids with tight stretch jeans—kinda dirty, kinda greasy, kinda pimply—standing like crows. Just watching. Not doing anything. Dave looked particularly strange because he wore a lot of Clearasil. Scott introduced himself to me one day because he wanted me to teach him how to play drums. I taught him a few beats and he was away with it. Dave was there because he had a car and would kick in money for the rent on a house we wanted to grow the band in. Dave was just there to party. When we needed Ron to be the instrumentalist and me to be the vocalist, Dave just became the bassist.
You sound different on The Weirdness: younger, blunter. Is that something of a persona you’ve set up? You’re not up to your usual heady, scatological lyrics. And the record does and doesn’t sound like the Stooges. Was that on purpose or was that just a natural occurrence?
Isn’t that weird? You want to reflect growth and discovery, but you want to show off what’s happened to you within 30 years. You want to be recognizable as the same group. But you want to sneak up on people. And you don’t want it to sound conscious. So when all those things happened at once, those were the songs or moments we chose. And I was in charge of choosing those things. I changed some of what I do a little bit. But there’s also the self-consciousness of age to consider. As for persona, I don’t know if I get what you mean. But if you’re trying to ask me if I know who I am, fuck yeah. [Laughs] I know who I am.
Why did you choose Steve Albini to record the album? At first I didn’t like the idea of him having (recorded) so many records that I don’t like. Don’t ask which ones—that’s my business. But I will say it’s not that those records didn’t sound great. They did. But with Steve, I knew it would come down to the Stooges producing themselves. Steve gives you a little production when he feels like it. [Laughs] He’s a very unique character. He comes in strong and gives you respect and a solid work ethic. He never puts his feet up on the desk. When he had to change the mic, he’d run into the studio. He doesn’t bring a cell phone into your room. And if every once in a while you want a comment, he’ll give you a very incisive one with a bitter wit. Still, at first I thought, “But I don’t like the Jesus Lizard.” Because there’s this thing within alternative culture where they pat each other on the back and say, “Who are you going to be this week—the audience or the performer? Friday, I’ll be the performer, then Saturday I’ll be the audience.”
You’ve been Stooges again for four years now. Are there any lingering resentments from the Ashetons over the band’s break-up in 1974?
We all have lingering resentments and disappointments. Some of us less than others. But we’ve all had a long time to think of this. One of our goals was to overlook all those to make a record we all like. Look, they’re the only people left that I’ve known that long. And we got along well enough to do this. Basically, from here on out, it’s Stooges to death until one of us dies. Then again, if things go wrong or things aren’t tended to properly, then bands can break up. So I expect this to last. And I expect this band’s members will have their own ambitions and this band will act as a portal so that everyone can realize all their things. Though I’m not gonna call Ron about the bossa nova record I’ve been threatening to make, if I want to rock, I’d say look no further.
I know Rick Rubin wanted a crack at the Stooges. What happened? Rubin’s great, and if we could’ve gone with him we would’ve. He was the first choice of the Asheton brothers. The brothers are simpler souls than I am and really always just wanted to be rock stars. And I mean that in the most positive, nicest way that I can. I mean, I was the guy bringing them the weird John Coltrane album or the Harry Partch stuff to listen to. They were always amenable to it. But they would love a big, established professional guy with a track record. Someone who would’ve done well for them. They have somewhat of an attitude and the hunger of someone who’s been around 30 years watching other people becoming rock stars when it should’ve been them. My feeling was little more subtle than theirs. If a dog that big wants to take you for a walk, you say, “OK.” But he turned it down in the most courteous way. He even made an inquiry as to whether or not the group was available to sign. I was not.
Back in the day, there were some of us who thought you guys were a really great band. Did you?
Yeah, I did. But I never devalued or discounted that there were other bands who were as equally good or better than us at doing other things and that those things were the kinds of other things that would get more visible and immediate rewards: hit records, large paydays. But to use a simple colloquialism, they were hokey. Our qualities were more valid. I mean, I could remember one of our contemporaries was Brownsville Station, and they had a cute song called “Smokin’ In The Boys’ Room” that Mötley Crüe would make a hit the second time around. Brownsville’s dad owned a music store and bought them equipment. Or Alice Cooper, who came to Detroit from Phoenix singing songs about spiders and co-opted themes that we were singing about. They were more organized, had a great manager and had a great commercial voice for a couple years until he lost his adenoids. They did great work. But it wasn’t as forward-looking as what we had to offer. The other 89 percent of the bands then I thought were hokum and should be eliminated.
Watching Anthony Kiedis sleepwalk through the motions while the rest of the Red Hot Chili Peppers delivered a technically brilliant and emotionally spirited set last week in Tampa, the mind of this 44-year-old rock fan turned to an elder of the genre. There were times when the lead Chili (also 44) acted like Iggy Pop, but man, he didn’t deliver like Iggy. He didn’t sell it. He didn’t leave it up there. He didn’t bleed.
Of course, the irony was rich - there were Kiedis and Flea doing their best Iggy impressions and raking in millions, filling arenas, and putting up hits all over the chart for a couple of decades.
Iggy Pop, aka James Osterberg from suburban Michigan, never put up the chart-toppers, never filled arenas, never toured in an armada of tractor trailers, elaborate staging, and handlers. Yet, four decades into his long and often strange career, Iggy Pop remains as influential as ever. Iggy turns 60 this year, the reunited Stooges have an album in the wings, and Iggy is the subject for the first full-blown, fully-researched biography of his long life. Paul Trynka, former editor of Mojo, has crafted a superb reader that captures the manic energy of “Iggy Pop,” and the restless, intellectual wanderings of Jim Osterberg. Iggy: Open Up and Bleed (due on April 17 from Broadway) explores the depths of madness and energy that have always keyed the Iggy Pop personal, melding the hypersexual wide-eyed rock-and-roll man-child with a fascinating cast of characters that tells the story of rock from the mid-60s to the latest playlists on iTunes.
My first exposure to Iggy and the Stooges came long after they’d died an ignominious death on a Detroit stage, an event so central to the Iggy story that Trynka leads with it. My discovery came in the late 70s, when Jim Osterberg was well into his Berlin period at the side of one David Bowie, and only occasionally made the scene at the New York clubs and dives where I hung out. Even the, I was told by my instructors, Iggy Pop had well-earned the sobriquet Godfather of Punk, and his Stooges sides were amonst the most popular on that grand old jukebox just inside the entrance of Max’s Kansas City.
The world’s forgotten boy was an image stamped on my bridge-and-tunnel forehead, and his act could be seen in imitation most nights at CBGB. I heard and bought the myth: no Iggy, no Clash, no Sex Pistols, no Voidoids, no Senders, no Voodoo Shoes etc. (In succeeding decades, other skinny kids would hear and buy the same myth, about Guns n’ Roses, Nirvana, the Chili Peppers, Buckcherry, and Green Day).
By then, the original punk had moved on to explore new horizons in stream-of-consciousness lyrics and studio performance; like Chuck Berry, he’d throw together a backing band for live tours and play the old hits, but he was working on something different on the records. As Iggy recounts, the life of this pop idol is best seen in dualist fashion: Jim Osterberg vs. Iggy Pop, occasional success vs. frequent failure, periods of lucidity vs. the descent into self-destructive madness. But the reporting here is thorough, and much of the wild-boy myth is exposed. So often, it was the stage that created “Iggy,” the crowd that bore the path to madness, the applause that fed Jim Osterberg like Tokyo’s powerlines gave the rage to Godzilla. At most times, out of the public eye, Jim Osterberg came across as a friendly, curious fellow, almost laid-back, sometimes clever, occasionally conniving, and rarely serious. Despite a scary public demeanor, most people who met him liked Jim Osterberg - and he was the kind of young fellow that women always thought they could save.
Self-awareness came later, after his eighty-seventh fall from grace - the myriad record label droppings, band break-ups, arrests, broken relationships, and disastrous finances. Osterberg shows up in moments of super-fine self-examination that you’d never expect to find in the out-of-control Iggy Pop: “…there was a line I was crossing into picaresque behavior. I was becoming Don Quixote. There’s a fine line between entertaining flamboyance and being a prat.”
By the mid-80s, Iggy’s reputation was at an ebb. Punk was over, new wave a flat, dance-club drone, “alternative” was over the horizon, and a few old school rockers still sold records. Ian Hunter said at the time: “Iggy’s the all-time should have but didn’t - and it’s because he’s not quite good enough.” And Iggy himself admitted: “I had a terrible rep in the USA; terrible. Somewhere between Andy Kaufman and a serial killer.”
It just seems that Jim Osterberg didn’t care for the expedient, that at times, he deliberately took the self-destructive path to non-success. That he didn’t really give a damn whether people laughed at him. Trynka remains struck by Iggy’s “lack of self-pity and his obvious sense that there was always some historical destiny at work.”
On the musical side, Iggy Pop followed his instincts, even the bad ones (Trynka is rightfully careful not to deify Iggy’s recording career, which remains spotty at best) and saw himself as a leader in the musical sense: someone whose raw power directed the soundtrack, not the musical form or the marketplace. Says collaborator Clem Burke, drummer for Blondie:
“There is an analogy between Iggy’s music and someone like Hooker in the way it doesn’t have to be completely in time and meter - he leads the band with his movement and expression and being primitive. It’s a jazz ethic. And to work with the energy he exudes was amazing.”
Like a VH1 special on crack, the book traces the rise-fall-comeback-fall-rise-fall-fall-fall-comeback trail until it basically does a quick skim-job on the 90s. Enough is enough, and besides, the spectre of age is far more interesting now. The idea of Iggy Pop making the big-time festival scene along with the likes of the reconstituted New York Dolls and releasing a record at a time when the Stones, the Who, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen are the only rockers making any serious dough on tour holds some delicious karmic payback.
And today’s cool kids are enthralled. Jack White to Iggy: “I have always felt that the blood that runs in your veins is so much thicker than normal people that nothing can pollute it. That’s the vibe I’ve gotten from you.”
Or as Iggy might well sum it all up:
Well, I’m just a modern guy
Of course, I’ve had it in my ear before
Well, I’ve a lust for life
Cause I’ve got a lust for life.
Interview: Iggy Pop Interview by Bret Gladstone, Pitchfork
Rationally speaking, James Osterburg probably shouldn't have survived this long. Twenty-five years ago, he was on his knees trying to snort the white lines out of a marble-patterned floor in the Redondo Beach Motel. On stage, he would mangle himself with glass, beat his chest black and blue with his microphone, rake drumsticks across his body until he bled, and hurl himself head first into his audiences. In the late 1970s, David Bowie, of all people, helped drag him out of a heroin habit which probably would have ended his life.
This year, though, Iggy Pop turned 60. Today he calls 15 minutes early for our 9 a.m. interview-- he's already been up for two hours, and we're speaking early so that he can "go do something healthy later." Upon waking, Pop went through his daily regiment of Tai Chi, and after that he listened to most of The Stooges, Fun House, and Raw Power to "stimulate his mind". Thirty years ago, those albums virtually invented the punk movement, weaving blues forms with suburban alienation and the fear, anger, loneliness, and mistrust which defined Nixon's America. The Stooges were never a band of their time, but they were a band of their moment. Neither the group nor its leader seemed built for the ages, yet here they are nonetheless, with a new album, The Weirdness, and a worldwide tour.
And yet, Iggy Pop, once "the world's forgotten boy", is now a rock icon, whose music appears regularly in movies and luxury cruise commercials. "Yeah, there's this idea that now that we all get it, now that we're all punks and nothing is shocking, do we need them?", Pop says. Pop spoke at length with Pitchfork about his past, the state of rock and roll, and the future of one of its most legendary bands.
Pitchfork: Hey Iggy, how are you?
Iggy Pop: I'm doing alright, for 9 in the morning.
Pitchfork: Is this a milestone event? During the first three albums the Stooges put out, did you ever do an interview at 9 a.m.?
Iggy Pop: Fuck no. No. I was never coherent. Honestly, no one really wanted to fucking talk to me. I did one interview in 1969 with Dave Marsh-- I made him come to the Stooges house and we kind of held him captive for eight hours. He still dines out on it. "I was brainwashed" [laughs]. I'm doing this now so I can get it out of the way and do something more human later [laughs].
Pitchfork: In a recent Rolling Stone interview said you noticed that your songs are more relevant, or that they're getting their due, now than when you recorded them. Outside of the fact that the internet makes music more obtainable these days, do you have any theories about why that is?
Iggy Pop: Well, I haven't adopted one. There are some that occur to me. I have a suspicion that the design of some of the songs was ahead a few years. I've always hated that phrase "it was ahead of its time", but it was. Some of the albums, like Funhouse, but certain parts of each of the three. Put on "Loose", "TV Eye", and "1970" and look at a Lamborghini Gallardo from this year and the two fit. They do. So that's part of it. Another thing I believe or notice is that when there is a clear-cut, simply understood basis to the lyric, those songs tend to hold up over time better than mush, which is generally what you get: mush. Some of the lyrics have allowed the songs to stick around, but then again some of the terms and phrases were a little out there when we were coming up with them. But right now, it fits. The music itself in all its aspects may have become...it may have found a utility for younger musicians that it didn't have when we started. In other words, I know when I was first starting John Lee Hooker was incredibly useful to me. The people who were learning from me tended to be more commercial performers who were gonna rip off the salient idea to do it in a way that will sell, but they weren't going for the music.
Pitchfork: There is this sense of simplicity about that music that's proven impossible to emulate. With all the information that's out there right now, is it harder for young writers to write with that kind of primitivism?
Iggy Pop: It's harder to have the will because it's so much easier to plug in a computer and find a old hook from surf music or something. That was the last one to blow my mind, was a hook from an old guitar instrumental called "Apache" or "Pipeline" and it used in this horrible quasi-rap song by the Black Eyed Peas. I'm hearing this horrible rapping over this a beautiful piece of music. It's kind of like those little juice drinks that you get in the 7-Eleven that say, "contains 10% real juice." Their music is a mountain of crap. Or a Frankenstein's monster, you know? He gets up, but he's jerky when he walks and his feet thud and he has all these sutures. That's really easier to do, and it's easier to collect on.
But then that's not really what's going on with [rock]. You tend to get a lot of over production. They're going for the bucks. It's a different world now. In 1965, when great young white artists in the English-speaking world were successfully re-channeling hillbilly and black music-- you know Bob Dylan, Ray Davies, Pete Townsend, Keith Richards-- they didn't get any money at first. They were all broke. All those giant people had to stay around quite a while to cash in because the industry ripped them off more efficiently. The information wasn't as widely available as it is now. Now, like I'm sure the Killers have a great record deal, and a lawyer to track their publishing and a guy to renegotiate their European cash flow streams and all that. It's just different. I don't know why.
Pitchfork: Okay, but give me some exceptions to the rule.
Iggy Pop: The Fiery Furnaces sound great. Peaches first record is an example of...[laughs]. If I tell the guys in the Stooges-- especially Ron Asheton-- that I want to pitch a duet, he just says "that bitch needs a shave". But her first record has, you can tell it's her sitting in some sort of weird apartment with a little drum machine and a toy synthesizer and a mixer, and it's great. The first four songs are very, very strong, and the beats are good, as well as the use of space. She has a good ear-- the way that the drums are used, how they leave space for her voice, how her lyrics are incisive. She's very, very good. The White Stripes get away with some stuff that is not as good as it appears. Some of it's really good. They have real accomplishments, that group. I love Jack, I see him all the time, friend of the Stooges, but for all his retro philosophy, the mastering on those records is wacked out of the ballpark. They couldn't get away with sounding the way the do if they didn't have ultra modern mastering. But I think they're good. I don't know, a lot of shit is over produced.
Pitchfork: With all that information and money floating around, do you think its getting harder to shock people these days?
Iggy Pop: Yeah, definitely, but I never tried in the first place. A dude from The New York Times followed us around for a while and I understand that he's under pressure to come up with the big question and the whole idea of judgment, but his stance was: "Now that we all get it, now that we're all punks and nothing is shocking, do we need them"? I never really thought that was what was decent about us. I thought we held the bird a little looser. My general take on American music since 1969 is that it's just getting stiffer and people are getting more uptight-- audience, performance, and palace guard. It's all what does it all mean? Do we do this or that? I'll get emails or proposals from a charity that wants help, and they now have professional people pitch it to you. "I'm sure you're aware of the cause marketing potential. CMP is huge in today's world, as I'm sure you're aware of". That's sad. The west is not gonna save itself through cause marketing potential any more than the east did through collective farming. These are sad things. They upset me. I'm going off on a tangent.
Pitchfork: What's it like to be the Stooges in 2007? Bob Dylan once wrote that it's difficult to be an observer when you're being observed.
Iggy Pop: Yeah. I read that in Chronicles. That's one of the reasons I'm talking to you here in Miami. That's one of the reasons I came here in the first place.
Pitchfork: How difficult is it to write and perform when you're constantly being made aware of your "symbolic importance"?
Iggy Pop: It's harder. Two problems: A conversation like this is a huge distraction that I have to deal with. I try and get it done and keep it away from the actual tour. That's one thing. Another is to keep it away from writing or recording time. You try not to let it all meld. In this case, I want to get it done early enough that I can wash it away.
Then there's the other kind wherein you become more known in the world and you're walking around and people just know who you are. You can't get away with shit and you never know when they're gonna know who you are. But on the plus side of that is that people know you. And in this world, especially with the urbanization of America, if people don't know you they won't even smile at you when they walk down the street anymore. Cause everybody is scared and crazy.
Pitchfork: A lot of the tunes, like "ATM", "Greedy Little People", and "You Can't Have Friends", seem to be about what you lose by being famous.
Iggy Pop: Yeah, I pointed it out. On the other hand, look, we're trying to make a buck, too. I said this to someone the other day. I finally said look, I think we're far less corrupted than the average. Unfortunately, we also have the bird flu, but not as bad as blankety blank blank.
Pitchfork: Like how some people say you can't be that crazy if you're conscious of being crazy.
Iggy Pop: Yeah, you lose certain things, and you want some money. I mentioned in "ATM", the older you get, the more you want. It may just be in my life. When I was very young I never thought about it except in the most basic way, like, "Will I have fifty bucks Sunday night after playing the weekends so I can get a gin fizz and buy a bag of weed, pay the rent"? That was all I really wanted. It's a little different now. I try to keep my feet on the ground. That's tricky.
Pitchfork: Did you find yourself revisiting any of the old albums in the process of re-examining this formula. If so, did anything in particular strike you?
Iggy Pop: Well, in the process of doing the record I actually studiously avoided that. But I'm gonna go play tomorrow, so I just listened to [The Weirdness], Funhouse, and half of The Stooges because I was going to talk to you and I don't get up that early. I've always used my records as stimulants, all my life, I've always done that.
Pitchfork: Me too, actually.
Iggy Pop: Right? [laughs] I've always enjoyed that relationship. It can make me get out of bed and wanna do something and get all huffy and puffy. I notice that Funhouse sounds the slimmest, probably cause we were skinniest then [laughs]. The music on the new one sounds more bellicose, and I think that has to do with what Ron wanted me to say on this record. Ron is the kind of guy who-- he's a red-stater, he's got a big gun collection. He's one of those people on one hand, and on another hand he's not really, but he thinks so. That was some of it.
Pitchfork: Now that you mention Ron, were you conscious of him going for some weirder or larger guitar parts on this record?
Iggy Pop: I was conscious-- hold on, I have to pee [long pause].
He was definitely ready to overdub when we got in the studio, and I tried to keep him honest by saying look, mostly one overdub and make it great. The second thing was to always shoot for the overdub immediately after doing the live track, while the vibe is fresh, and he was good with that. That's pretty much what we did. There's hardly anything , maybe two songs, where there is more than one guitar OD, and that was justified on each of those-- "My Idea of Fun" and "The Weirdness". For the rest of them it all carries on one track, and all for a reason that makes sense. Ron wanted to play a lot of lead and I tend to like to edit everything, so there was probably another 25% of lead that came off that he was fine with.
Pitchfork: "The Weirdness" is an interesting song.
Iggy Pop: One guy spotted it actually, one guy spotted the roots of the thing.
Pitchfork: Is there a Sinatra thing happening? He was actually an early influence, right?
Iggy Pop: Yeah, but this guy actually mentioned doo-wop. Ron was goofing around. Some of my better numbers are a guy goofing around. Ron was in between trying to come up a gun-worthy rock song, and I went ah ha, and we had a beginning. The chords were very strange, and the progression reminded me of somewhere between Chet Baker's Italian period and a song called "Harlem Nocturne" by Earl Bostick, which is for my money one of the most beautiful sax instrumentals ever recorded. Absolutely stunning. So that was where we were coming from.
Pitchfork: In your autobiography you said that you put this band together out of friendship. What was the impulse to put it together again? Did you always know you were coming back, or was it a surprise to you?
Iggy Pop: No, I never knew we were going to, and I think what has held it together is the same idea: We do have a friendship, and like all friendships they all fall short of perfection. But there is enough that it gives you a type of boost that you just don't get anywhere else when things are getting empty or crummy.
Pitchfork: How has the dynamic changed?
Iggy Pop: I think the big change in the dynamic would be I've learned to delegate more. I'm not micromanaging as much as i did. The drummer has learned he has the ultimate authority in this group. He sails the ship. Neither Ron or myself will sound like much without that guy backing it up and the same would be true in a street brawl. He has that authority, and he is one of these soft spoken people who people do listen to when he opens his mouth. He's kept the group sensible, and he's been a little more active in the group.
Pitchfork: Obviously there are differences between Iggy and Jim [Osterbeg]. You've spoken in the past about the distance between the two. Where does that relationship stand now?
Iggy Pop: If I knew what that relationship was I'd probably have to cash in and move to Taiwan. I don't know any more about that than you do, or anyone else. A lot of people change their names or doctor them when they do this job. Nobody gets asked questions like that. I get it all. There is something about that name that is just extra-fucking-ordinary, and it used to be like throwing a fucking firebomb into the party. I could walk into a room, and if it was the wrong room, and someone said my name loud enough, you would see sneers of revolution on the faces of the fraternity men of America. It was just really intense. Real interesting.
Pitchfork: I know it's a strange question, but…
Iggy Pop: Yeah, you're not gonna get a straight answer.
Pitchfork: From my perspective, after punk, conversations about authenticity and cool became popular in rock'n'roll--- this is one of the things I like about Jack White, since you mentioned him-- and it seemed that musicians forgot how to concede to the fantasy aspect of rock, the aspect of playing a character on-stage or in a song.
Iggy Pop: That's a good point. Yeah, if you mean that these guys are boring: These guys are fucking boring!
Pitchfork: People seem very concerned with what's "authentic," but nobody seems to know what that actually means.
Iggy Pop: Yeah, I know. When punk began to be a genre, people were going to go out and try to mine it. Some of the better groups, like the Ramones and the Sex Pistols, were very artificial. These were highly artificial groups. The Sex Pistols, these guys took pains to tell people that it was all a con: "Don't listen to us".
Pitchfork: Dylan was a bit like that too…
Iggy Pop: Same deal. One thing I noticed when I was starting out was that it was so weird and crazy to have a strange name. It happened to me, I didn't exactly pick it-- it was 50/50. I didn't want to hear that name or be called that ever except for very small, particular pieces of time when I was working. It took years till I was comfortable with it. At this point I like it. That may be bad, but I'm fine with it.
Pitchfork: I was at the show at South by Southwest, and one thing that we kept hearing during that show was "I Am You", from the end of "L.A. Blues". Has that been a mantra in your career, disrupting that audience/rock star dynamic? Do you feel you give people permission to act out as well?
Iggy Pop: That's probably somewhere you took it, but I'm not gonna disagree. But listen, that came up a few times. We used to call that song "Freak Out", and when we recorded Funhouse, because we were in L.A., I gave it the title "L.A. Blues". On the very end of that record, you'll hear me repeat that lyric a little different. I think I say the phrase "I am", and then the last sound on that record is the word "you" and for some reason I enjoy doing it live. The one thing it means to me, maybe, is that I'm still that person in the audience. Maybe that's what I'm trying to say there, because for some reason I'm still…I get outraged when I see some fat bottom creep…I can't explain it. It's as near to a religion as I ever got, this thing, and I really don't like getting any more than casual about it, but I do have certain deep feeling about it that do come out time to time.
Pitchfork: What's gotten easier or harder over the years with songwriting? What was the process of writing this album like for you?
Iggy Pop: The way I feel today, I don't want to write any more fucking songs. Fuck it, my brain hurts, and I'm sick of hearing that's good, or I get it, or I don't get it. It's too dumb. It's not dumb enough. Oh, shut the fuck up. Leave me alone. I'm not gonna write anymore, boo hoo. I probably can't live out the depths of psychic travel that I once could to animate my contribution to a song. I can't do that, so I try and pick my shots and work as hard as I can at it, and usually in a very short time, cause it's not gonna be any good if it took more than five minutes to happen. If it did, there's something wrong. But you have to lead up to that fifth minute with a lot, and after that fifth minute you have to spend a lot of time pruning and watering it.
Here's the one big thing for me: What I work within, it's not a folk song, it's a rock'n'roll song. But rock is a branch of folk music. It should be an ultra-simple folk song. It's so simple that half of it is the title. So going after a good title is a big deal. These days I'll actually save up if I know the Stooges are gonna come play. I have a little composition book that you'd use in Junior High, and if I have a little phrase that I think is hot, that has a good button on it, I'll have that at the top of a blank page. If the guitar player gets somewhere that sends me to space, which has to happen for me to write-- someone has to transport me somewhere-- then hopefully I'll open my mouth that day and I'll have something to say that wasn't written down on the paper. That happened on this one-- "She Took My Money", "The Weirdness", and "Trollin' " were all done that way. Others maybe happen if something occurs to you one day or you steal it from some guy's novel. I've got something to say when the guy plays the guitar. Most of the people you hear open their mouths they don't have anything to say with it, and unless they have three octaves, they can get away with that. Whitney Houston didn't need anything to say-- she can have that done for her and you just listen to her trill. So I kind of do it like that, except the difference is that to get some of the early ones I would just go on very long walks stoned until the phrase came to me. Now I have to be a little more efficient.
Pitchfork: You once said a driving force behind the Stooges music was anger. But it sounds like you're in a relatively healthy place right now. Is it harder to manufacture that feeling, or have you found different motives?
Iggy Pop: No, I've got a lot of that [laughs]. I'm rich in that department. I'm fucking loaded. I'm George Soros. I can give it away.
Pitchfork: Where did "My Idea of Fun" come from?
Iggy Pop: I stole it from Will Self, an under-praised novelist in England. He was a bad boy at one point, a celebrated drug taker, and a general fuck-up in the London literary community. He wrote a book called My Idea of Fun. I bought it, and the first three pages feature a disemboweling and cannibalism that takes place on the A Train. I didn't really like it, but I liked the title. So I just saved it and then the rest just popped out of my mouth, probably cause I was hanging out with Ron. There is some representation that goes on in our group, sort of like there is in hip-hop. You're repping your group.
Pitchfork: There also seems to be a theme of no-one liking you for you. What's the biggest misconception about you?
Iggy Pop: Well, there would be no point in me complaining about that. I'm in the biz, dude. It's a branch of show business, that's what always annoyed me most about the American alternative/do-it yourself scene when I came up. It was simple. If you were the artist you were supposed to be cool, and the agent was supposed to be a crook, and the manager was supposed to be a creep, and everyone administrating was un-cool and the publicist was cheesy. You know, we all have our roles. But then the DIY guy says I am the guitar player, I'm the publicist, I'm the agent, and I'm the lawyer, too. So I look at the guy, and I'm like, okay, you've convinced me. You're a greedy, cheesy crooked creep with a guitar. Fuck you. I want nothing to do with you. That's kind of how I feel. And you're a politician, too. Or a computer turd. Why don't you just drop it and work for Microsoft or invent a new surf engine.
Pitchfork: How do you think the legacy of the blues is being handled in today's rock'n'roll? "She Took My Money" is just about the oldest blues archetype in the book.
Iggy Pop: Once we decided that we were gonna make money dominating the world, first thing we did was throw away the good American music, the blues and hillbilly music. We gave it away. We pitched it to the Europeans and they came back and totally destroyed our music industry with it. Even Elvis tried to make a last stand for it, and they laughed at him. That was the big reaction in the urban community, urban in the old sense-- Madison Avenue, 5th avenue-- they laughed him off and basically since then it's been trivialized and codified. It's supposed to be a guy singing about his troubles in a nice suit in a bar with $15 drinks, somewhere for oldies acts. But as a form and attitude it's still the only one with any real balls to it. We got to the point, I noticed Ron and Scott had picked up over the years a tremendous authority in their playing, and I spotted it right off, when we first picked back up playing together in 2003. I said jeez, some of these grooves you're getting, you sound like a couple of old black guys. I mean it in a complimentary way. They'd say, "Yeah, we're living like a couple of old black guys too". That suggested some possibilities along those lines, and with that particular number I try and be good humored about it. I'm not gonna get all boo-hoo, ya know. Yeah, it's archetypal-- it happens. It happens with relationships between men and their women, unless the guy is a better pimp than I am.
Pitchfork: One of the things that still speaks to me about the Stooges early music, and what connects it to the blues in a sense, is it that seemed to address this very intimate youth experience. Have you seen that experience change over the years and become more homogenized?
Iggy Pop: That's true, I think. I'll say this: When we started out playing, it was the kids in the high schools and junior highs that liked us. And we definitely weren't singing. Our first time we opened for a national act, it was our second show was for Blood, Sweat & Tears and they were singing that terrible lyric for "Spinning Wheel", and it was so typical: What goes up, must come down. Spinning wheel, turning round. Talk about your troubles, it's a crying shame. Ride the painted pony, let the spinning wheel spin. Did you find a reflecting sigh on the straight and narrow highway? Just let it shine! Within your mind, and let it show you the colors that are real!
Isn't it amazing? I can still recite it, every word. This is what I've lived through in this goddamn fucking music business. I have loaded my potentially excellent mind with the crap that these pigs are pouring on it, and, no, our stuff didn't sell like that. There was this whole self-conscious, get-with-the-program, we-are-finding-ourselves thing happening. I liked the whole psychedelia thing best when it was really cheesy and badly done by all these old Tin Pan Alley songwriters and bar musicians who got together, listened for about a year, and then went: Hey wait! I can do that, and you got songs like "Pictures of Matchstick Men". Those are good cause they're so fucked up you can laugh at them. In the middle you had all these people growing walrus mustaches and putting on these buckskin coats and no, we never copped to that.
Pitchfork: How did you survive this career? What's driving you at this point?
Iggy Pop: I'm here because I'm still into it and I probably got a thing or two to prove.
Glasto Day 2
Iggy exclusive... and The Killers to headline
23 June 07 - Iggy Pop has given 6 Music an exclusive interview as he prepares to play a headline set at Glastonbury - his first time at the festival.
Iggy and the Stooges headline the Other Stage at 2300, and they'll be competing with The Killers who are topping the bill on the Pyramid Stage, while The Twang will be playing the John Peel Stage at the end of the day.
After a storming set at Meltdown and an astonishing bare-chested performance of I Wanna Be Your Dog on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, Iggy spoke with 6 Music at his London hotel before travelling down to Glastonbury. And he admitted to being a Glastonbury virgin.
"It's our first," he said. "I was surprised to be invited actually and I was rather pleased - I guess we're okay. I get the feeling that it (Glastonbury) is its own beast and that the music is, perhaps, even more secondary than in other festivals."
With this year's new Stooges album, The Weirdness, following their reunion in 2003, the band have old classics and new material to play at Glastonbury. And even though it's his first, Iggy told 6 Music he's not too anxious.
"There's really nothing to get up and nervous about," he said. "The sheer number and magnitude of the acts they get is such that there's really no point in trying to go there to slaughter the competition, because you're not going to - you'll be overwhelmed."
He added: "Were it something draggier, I'd be more nervous. I'll be getting nervous by the time we work, you know."
But even though Iggy is a hero to loads of other bands playing Glastonbury this year, he won't be hanging out at the festival. "No, I'm going to catch a small plane at two in the morning to Poland - I have a gig the next day," he told 6 Music.
The Stooges' set will be broadcast on BBC4 tonight.
At 60, Iggy still managed to stage-dive at the Royal Festival Hall this week when the band played Jarvis Cocker's Meltdown festival. And he described the audience's reaction: "I'd say about half a second of shock, immediately followed by subdued glee. It was not expected - and it was dangerous in that particular set-up. The seats were sharp!"
And Iggy told us about hanging out with another music legend recently - Morrissey.
"He showed up at the Stooges' gig the other day in Los Angeles," said Iggy. "Nicely dressed, suit and tie, brought his photographer with him - it was very pleasant. We took a picture, I got one for my shelf, and it was nice to meet him, because he's rather good."
Iggy and The Stooges will return to the UK on 31 August, with a charity gig for the Children's Society. Rock The House Live is being staged at Harewood House in Leeds and will also feature The Horrors.
Saturday's Glastonbury bill also includes Editors, Maximo Park, Babyshambles, The Killers, The Kooks, Paul Weller, Lily Allen, Klaxons, Bat For Lashes and the Pigeon Detectives.
Lilly Allen was joined on stage by Lynval Golding, former guitarist with The Specials, to perform Specials classic Blank Expression, and then Terry Hall arrived to perform Gangsters with her, our 6 music reporter has said it's the best moment of the day so far.
Another highlight of the afternoon included The Bees performing an appropriate song of theirs called Wash In The Rain.
By Saturday afternoon, there had been 163 criminal offences recorded, compared to 154 at the last festival in 2005. Of these, 111 offences were drug-related.
There have also been 28 thefts from tents, and so far there have been 121 arrests compared with 112 in 2005.
And while there have been no major incidents on site, organisers have recorded 1,268 casualties, with 32 people needing to leave the festival for treatment.
Iggy Pop on Lil' Bush and The Stooges
CraveOnline talks to the Street walking Cheetah, Iggy Pop.
Fred Topel, CraveOnline
June 6, 2007
Donald Rumsfeld probably won't be happy to hear that the cartoon version of himself is being voiced by one of those ungodly rock n' roll types. Iggy Pop is providing the voice of a miniature Rummy in Comedy Central's new animated series Lil' Bush. Portraying the current administration as kids in a politically-themed high school, the show calls upon Pop's distinct speaking voice rather than his crooning, even though the tykes have their own band. Pop took a break from touring to call in an interview about the upcoming show.
CraveOnline: How did you get involved with Lil Bush?
Iggy Pop: Basically I’m a musical vocalist but I do voiceover stuff as a sideline like plumbing or something. And when I got the call for the gig I took a look at the pre-existing cartoon that was on the cell phone and I thought it was funny. And what I liked was there was something really human about reducing all these powerful figures to little people. And it was just real entertaining. So there you go. It’s a gig.
CraveOnline: How did you approach playing Donald Rumsfeld?
Iggy Pop: I used to watch Donald’s press conferences. At the beginning I thought he was just terrific at working publicly. Whatever it was he had to say he did things masterfully I thought because I have a similar line. I have to stand up in front of people and open my mouth. But I noticed, you know, he got into trouble as time went on once everybody had a chance to open theirs then life gets trickier.
CraveOnline: This isn’t your first time doing a voiceover either. You did an episode of American Dad, right?
Iggy Pop: Yeah I did. In fact I just did something for Grand Theft Auto 4 last night so I do a bit of stuff yeah.
CraveOnline: So you enjoy this process?
Iggy Pop: Yeah, I always do.
CraveOnline: Having such a distinct voice, how hard is it for you to sort of disguise it or come up with a different one for your voiceover?
Iggy Pop: You know, I haven’t. I don’t know well I’ve done. I hope I blend in and do all right in the show but Donick [Cary, creator and producer] had me pick it up from my natural speaking voice. I think that would be fair to say. So it’s a little more like this, everything’s kind of pitched like this. [Higher and faster] Like 'Okay you guys this is serious and we’ve got to take care of this now and don’t disagree with me,' you know.
CraveOnline: Are you in general a fan of political comedy?
Iggy Pop: I mean, if somebody puts on Bill Maher I’ll generally sit and watch it to the end. But I’m not flipping through the TV Guide to find out when it’s on, either. It’s something, you know, I’m in the middle somewhere. It’s kind of take it or leave it with me.
CraveOnline: Does this give you a chance to express any political view through the voice of Rummy?
Iggy Pop: No, absolutely not. I don’t even think that way. I’m kind of a weird bird so my interest in Rumsfeld is as I said earlier, I thought I noticed just independently I was interested in when he started becoming a visible figure at the news conferences. And I thought he was really good with a crowd. I thought he was good at public presentation. And I used to watch him just to see how he did it. Then at some point maybe what he wasn’t good at was disagreement. And I noticed that. So when all I was really trying to express was hopefully my little bit of the insight as an actor trying to do the guy and that was basically that he should be very insistent and firm about whatever he thinks when he says it. And then he should be the kind of person that’s easily ignited so that if anybody questions him or he should get hyper urgent very quickly. So that was what I was trying to do. That’s about it. No politics in there for me I’m afraid.
CraveOnline: Independently of the show, do you have any political feelings about the administration?
Iggy Pop: Well, you know, I noticed like before the presidential election when Bush was elected the first time there was a photo op down there in Crawford. I think he had Cheney and Powell with him and they were all walking this cowboy walk. I’ve lived a few years and I just said to myself, “Okay we’re going to get into a scrap with some country when this guy gets elected, you know?” And that’s what I kind of like. I’m not condemning the political ramifications or all that but some of this stuff is just plain human, you know? On the other hand look at your [alternatives]. I’m not a fan of Kerry or Clinton, Ms. Clinton or any of the other candidates either so what the hell.
CraveOnline: Do you ever worry that some of the Bush bashing jokes get old?
Iggy Pop: Donna Summers songs still sound good. So does Kool and the Gang and KC and the Sunshine Band. I mean, you know, it’s okay.
CraveOnline: What kind of character is Lil Rummy on the show?
Iggy Pop: He’s the kind of guy that has put a lot of thought and preparation into deciding that he’s going to put over. He’s a put over, sell it to you, this is the way we’re doing it guy. And he’s going to get rattled really easily if anyone disagrees so the can go from definite to urgent to strident to edge of hysterical.
CraveOnline: Can you relate to all of that?
Iggy Pop: Yeah, of course. I think we’ve got a lot in common.
CraveOnline: Will you be providing any music for the show?
Iggy Pop: I doubt it. They probably can’t afford me. I’m cheap for voices, for voiceover.
CraveOnline: But the boys have a band, so what do you think of their music?
Iggy Pop: The band’s good. That little band, that’s a good little song, the little theme song. It’s good.
CraveOnline: What’s going on with you musically right now?
Iggy Pop: I played a gig a couple of weeks ago. I’m playing one in a few days. I just put out a record. There’s an album by The Stooges, you might have heard of them, called The Weirdness. I reunited a few years ago with my high school band The Stooges. We recorded a record and released it this spring called The Weirdness and we just finished touring the US and we’re starting Europe for the summer.
CraveOnline: What do you think of Elijah Wood playing you in your biopic?
Iggy Pop: I have nothing against that idea. I’m sort of neutral. The guy’s actually an intelligent actor, contrary to the blather that the producers are putting out. I haven’t given them any permission to do it yet but I wouldn’t object to Elijah.