I’ve never been a fan of Iggy Pop (b. James Newell Osterberg, Muskegon, Michigan, April 21, 1947), though like most 66 year olds I feel envy and awe at his utter lack of body fat: he’s all muscle and sinew (is he a gym rat in secret?) I did feature his song “I Wanna Be Your Dog” from his very first album with the Stooges after hotel magnate Leona Helmsley died and left all of her millions to her beloved Maltese pooch.
Long before punk became popular in the late 70s, Iggy Pop was a trendsetter, with a personal profile that Andy Warhol would have admired. His extreme behavior onstage rivaled Jim Morrison, an early inspiration. Once, while lifeguarding in Venice around 1973 or 4, we lifeguards got a call of somebody injured on Windward Avenue next to the glorified alley called Speedway and the beach. Iggy had gone up to a restaurant, scaring the diners next to the window, and put his fist through a plate glass window, and was bleeding profusely; he may have severed an artery. He was smearing his blood all over the glass like some masochistic and ghastly painting or performance art. The patrons were horrified and recoiled from this violent spectacle. We called an ambulance and sent him off to the hospital. He obviously wasn’t ready to die then. His career was just beginning to take off.
But maybe he is now. Iggy has just put out an album, Ready to Die, the first studio album to bear the name Iggy & the Stooges since 1973’s Raw Power. His fans have followed him for four decades and surely will want to get the new record.
Renée Montaigne, co-host of NPR’s Morning Edition, had a nice feature on Iggy and the new album today: