When Iggy & the Stooges broke up in 1974 they were regarded as a commercial flop.Not that Iggy Pop, the bullet-proof leader of the fiery and visceral proto-punk band, cared back then. Or now for that matter.
"I always felt I was never making songs for a quick buck. I was always making them for ever," he says.
And almost 40 years later, sales of the band's back catalogue tick along quite nicely (arguably better than ever). They've earned themselves a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and just released a new album, Ready to Die.
It's one of rock's stranger success stories. "It's true," says 66-year-old Pop. "All those old records still sell really nice and steadily, and they're heavily licensed. People get to hear them at sports events and on movies and in adverts."
The Michigan-based Stooges broke up after dropping three albums, including the highly influential Fun House and Raw Power. The group, with Mike Watt on bass, re-formed in 2003, and guitarist James Williamson rejoined the band in 2009 after guitarist-bassist Ron Asheton died.
AP: Your guitarist James Williamson returned to the band after a long break from music. Did he struggle to get back up to speed?
Pop: There are little nuances that I hear of things that he can do that he couldn't do a year ago or two years ago. That's interesting. Ultimately in a group of this vintage, there are certain things you can't do quite as much of that you could do when you were in your 20s.
If you've got soul and know how to marshal your intelligence, you can more than make up for that by the depth you can bring and the intelligent decisions you can make as a musician when you're in your 60s.
AP: The experts say your ability to pick things up slows down as you age. Do you agree?
Pop: No, that's a lot of old s***. In fact, playing an instrument really well is almost a detriment to playing music if you want to play it for your own pleasure or play it as an author, as originator ...
AP: You had a reputation for high-energy shows during the first go-round with the Stooges. Is it more difficult to perform to that standard now?
Pop: My personal ability to project physical energy probably didn't peak until only about six years ago, seven years ago. It was in my mid- to late 50s and that's because when I was younger I didn't work at it at all.
Also, the big difference was I was a little ahead of my time ... so I didn't get the audience feedback then ...
You can come out and bust ass and keep that up for about three songs, but if a bunch of people are just giving you the cold stare, it gets hard not to wither. So it was kind of like fighting skirmishes. I would skirmish and regroup, skirmish and regroup.
But later as people started to accept it more ... I would go to bed early, take my nap, sleep all day, rehearse really hard, and really, really get ready for that moment on stage.
AP: Do you think there will be more music from the Stooges down the road?
Pop: You know, that's a good question. By the time I got done with this one, I've been in the mood like, "Oh, f***, am I glad that's over with. Let's get this thing out." But that's also the tension of a modern marketing plan.
They start rattling my cage and hassling me like two months before the thing comes out ... So right now there's a very good chance we could, and I put a lot of time into the politics of the group and trying to improve, harmonise, placate and correct the various members, none of whom are professional entertainers.
So it takes a lot of effort. If all goes well it would be great to do something again up the line. That's the goal.
Who: Iggy & the Stooges What: Ready to Die, new album out now.
Published on May 17, 2013 If you want to know how the Motor City has inspired some of the World's best music and design, talk to fashion designer John Varvatos and rock legend Iggy Pop. Introducing the 2013 Chrysler 300C John Varvatos Limited Edition. http://ImportedFromDetroit.com
Iggy And The Stooges - Live in Sydney FULL CONCERT PREMIERES on YouTube: AEST: Friday May 17th 9am / UK: Friday May 16th midnight / US EST: Thursday May 16th 7pm SEE FULL CONCERT HERE
Iggy Pop describes James Williamson as a ''brutal'' guitarist.
The Stooges frontman notices distinctive differences between his bandmate's instrumental skills compared to original guitar player RON ASHETON, who passed away in 2009, and feels there is more ''control'' in James' performances - unlike the late rocker's ''intuitive'' approach.
He said: ''With early Stooges, half of Ron's contribution was intuitive in that he just let the guitar and the amp talk in the spirit of [Brison] Gysin and [William] Burroughs' cut-ups.
''He was a volume player, but didn't control it like Blue Cheer or Ted Nugent. He found some beautiful places to go. James was a very controlled, brutal player
''Later in life, Ron became a terrific live player, because he never stopped playing, but he also became a lot more like everybody else.
''Williamson had 37 years off so he still has a lot to say - and he's articulate about what he wants to do. My contribution to this record is mostly in melodies.''
The band have recently released their new album 'Ready To Die' and the final song on the record, titled 'The Departed', makes references to their journey over the years as well as reminiscing about former members they have lost.
Iggy, 67, added to Mojo magazine: ''[It wasn't written] so much Ron as for a group of people. In Ann Arbor and Detroit in the late 60s, early 70s, some of us were more 'us' than others, with some dying a little on the young side.
''This was the first new piece James sent me after we started touring as Iggy & The Stooges again, and it was a giant pain-in-the-ass bitch m**********r epic to do! It started out as an instrumental, just James on dobro, and he called it 'Ron's Tune'.
''I didn't wanna write a personal song, so it's more like, 'The party's over,' or, 'It's getting late'.''
The Washington Post - Age no obstacle as Iggy & the Stooges drop new album, continue late-career victory lap
May 7 2013 READ ARTICLE HERE
Iggy Pop: 'What Happens When People Disappear'
May 02, 2013: NPR audio interview. LISTEN HERE
Iggy Pop - Super-human Iggy Pop April 30 2013 contactmusic.com
Iggy Pop is ''almost super-human'' according to his bandmate James WIlliamson, who is impressed by the performance the singer gives on a nightly basis.Iggy Pop is ''almost super-human''The punk rock singe ris still giving his all at every performance, despite being 66, and astounds even his own band, The Stooges, with his energy.
Guitarist James Williamson told FasterLouder.com.au: ''He is almost super-human. This will be about the 10th year that I've worked with him personally, on stage that is.
''I think the similarity between then and now is that he will do anything to go over with an audience, anything. He can't stand it if he's not getting to the audience. There is some power within him that draws on the energy of the audience, so if you have a better audience you get a better show.
''I don't know any human being who I've ever met who is willing to do what he does.''
Iggy and The Stooges have just released a new album, 'Ready to Die', and James - who is also joined in the band by Scott Asheton, Steve Mackay and Mike Watt - found it interesting to go back into the studio with Iggy, as he hadn't worked with him on a studio album since the 70s.
He added: ''I wasn't sure we could write anymore, you know it's been a long time. But we sat down a couple of years ago and started out playing bits and pieces. And then started saying let's try to write some new material.
''We have kind of a chemistry writing together, and we can write really quickly. ''I'll sit down and try to come up with a guitar riff that I like, and if I like it I'll try to sell it to Ig. If he likes it then he'll start putting some lyrics to it and we start going back and forth. That works very well for us.''
''I'll sit down and try to come up with a guitar riff that I like, and if I like it I'll try to sell it to Ig. If he likes it then he'll start putting some lyrics to it and we start going back and forth. That works very well for us.''
April 28, 2013: NPR Music and WNYC's Soundcheck present a First Listen Live concert from proto-punk band Iggy & The Stooges, broadcast from New York City. Watch the group rip through songs from its new album, Ready toDie, as well as a handful of old favorites. 44.33 mins. SEE CONCERT HERE
Biopic based on Bowie and Iggy's Berlin period in the works
The late '70s period in which David Bowie and Iggy Pop (and Brian Eno) recorded their legendary stoned collaborations in Berlin is set to be made into a big screen biopic - Lust For Life.
That period is seen by many fans of the pair as their most fruitful: Bowie recorded his Berlin trilogy of albums Low, Heroes and Lodger, while Iggy Pop's The Idiot and Lust For Life were also created during this time.
The film will be produced by Britain’s Altered Image and Berlin-based Egoli Tossell Film. Gabriel Range (Death Of A President) is said to be directing and Robin French (Cuckoo) will write the screenplay.
Egoli Tossell revealed, “[Lust for Life] is not a traditional rock biopic, for no-one dies at the end.”
The main characters will not be Bowie and Pop, however, but the artists and activists who lived and worked in divided Berlin at the time.
Iggy and the Stooges Are 'Ready to Die'
First record with reunited guitarist James Williamson hits shelves on April 30th
Iggy Pop knows that the new Stooges album, Ready to Die, is unlikely to compete with Justin TimberlakeandTaylor Swift at the handful of record stores that still exist. "I didn't do this expecting to make money out of it," he tells Rolling Stone. "It's a lot of work, but I felt it was something that had to be done. This is my teenage dream, having a band that makes records and plays gigs. That's still the glory of it, and I wanted to honor the institution and honor the group."
His teenage dream turned into a bit of a nightmare not long after guitarist James Williamson joined the band in 1970. (Williamson's work on Ready to Die marks his first collaboration with Iggy in over 30 years.) Iggy and Williamson wrote the eight songs on Raw Power together, but the album tanked, heroin abuse consumed the band, and when they played their final show at Detroit's Michigan Palace in 1974, they were literally dodging beer bottles all night.
"Looking back, it's probably better that we didn't have any success," Willamson says. "If we made any money, we would have killed ourselves because we were taking so many drugs."
After the Stooges split in 1974, Iggy went to a mental hospital and Williamson went to California State Polytechnic University, eventually landing a job as Vice President of Technology Standards for Sony. He put on a suit and went to work every day, not so much as touching a guitar for nearly 30 years. The Stooges became a distant memory from a brief period in his youth.
"Iggy and I ended on really bad terms," he says. "The only time we even spoke after the split was during a few business calls about publishing."
The Stooges reformed in 2003, but it was the original lineup with Ron Asheton on guitar. He died of a heart attack in 2009, leaving the group in need of another original Stooge. Iggy phoned up his old friend Williamson and invited him back into the band, confident he'd be able to regain his old chops. "Everyone else in the band was worried about that," he says. "I was sure from the get-go. I believe in fairy tales, so I expected it to happen within a week. It actually took him 18 months to get back to speed. He doesn't play the exact same way he did in his 20s, and I don't quite sing the same way. But he uses his head more."
Williamson took an early retirement from Sony to spend the last three years playing the Raw Power classics at festivals around the world with the Stooges, and in 2011, they began the very gradual process of writing their first songs together since the mid-Seventies. "We write together very quickly," says Williamson. "We worked a bit at his house in Miami, and then when we were on the road, we'd sit down in a hotel room and write some more."
According to Iggy, their writing style has evolved a bit over the years. "When we did Raw Power he always had the key riff, the incendiary riff or malevolent riff, depending on what gear he was in," he says. "On most songs, I would ask him verbally, 'Would you come up with another part?' I would describe what part. On this new album, he mostly sent me a pre-organized track. He always had a particular structure he wanted and I worked around that, almost without exception."
The result is Ready to Die, a collection of 10 riff-driven songs that's a mere 34 minutes long, the exact same running time as Raw Power. It hits stores on April 30th. "I think most albums are too long these days," says Iggy. "I was aware of the other use of the title Ready to Die by Biggie Smalls, but it's such a distant culture to ours that I just didn't care."
The songs, like the supremely horny "DD's" and the nihilistic "Sex and Money," are vintage Stooges, even if the mix is much cleaner than Raw Power, where (despite David Bowie's best efforts) the bass was completely buried. "I wanted people to be able to hear the whole band," says Williamson, who produced the disc, "even though Raw Power has its merits and guys like Jack White made careers out of that sound."
The title track was inspired by an incident at a Georgia Waffle House. "There were three old dudes there, about the age of the Stooges," says Iggy. "There were all pensioners with John Deere caps and flannel shits and everything. They would sit around the Waffle House down there plotting to blow up government offices. The waitress who brought them their pancakes overheard it and called the Feds. I though it was so poignant, but also funny. They wanted some meaning in their life. I started writing, and even had a line about 'get off my lawn!' But it didn't hold water when I went to record it because it was too much of a cheap shot at these people. We kept the chorus that goes 'I'm shooting for the sky because I'm ready to die.' It's basically about how depressed and lonesome you get dealing with modern life."
Ready to Die ends with "The Departed." It's the first song that Williamson and Iggy wrote for the disc, and they premiered an early version of the track at a 2011 tribute show to Ron Asheton. "I wasn't satisfied with the quality or universality of the thing," says Iggy. "Now it's more like our version of Bob Dylan's 'My Back Pages.'"
Mike Watt plays bass on the disc and original Stooge Scott Asheton is on drums, though health problems have largely kept him off the road in recent years. "This is very tough travel," says Iggy. "I don't think it's time for Scott to be out touring now. Basically, he's still the drummer, but Larry [Mullins] is filling in on most of the touring stuff."
Asheton did return to the Stooges after a long break to perform at Austin City Limits last October. "He gave it a shot there," says Williamson. "It worked out pretty good, but then he thought, 'Well, I better not go on the road now.' It's just really tough to play live gigs, especially as a drummer. But the studio is different. He sounds great on the album. I really hope he's able to return to the road at some point. He's getting his strength back."
The group plays about 20 shows a year, though they are largely in Europe and Australia. "There are so many different rationales and reasons why that's the case," says Williamson. "But I don't personally subscribe to them. I think that, unfortunately, we have a very aggressive agent in Europe who just snatches up those dates as fast as we open the calendar every year. Promoters in America are a little more conservative." Iggy offers a more concise explanation. "It's pricing," he says. "It's just whoever has the money to pay us."
American dates are booked at the Ink-N-Iron Festival in Long Beach, California on June 8th and the Free Pass Summer Festival in Houston on June 1st, but the rest of the summer is devoted to shows in Europe. "We promised the label that we'd do something in New York and something in Chicago in the fall," says Iggy. "I'd rather wait until then so people who like our music have a chance to live with some of the new songs."
Plans beyond this year are vague, especially since Iggy is five years away from his 70th birthday. "I don't want to tour this group into the ground," he says. "I am curious to see what this album does since it's definitely not commercial shit. People know our old songs through film, TV, the Internet and advertising. We didn't get there the old way, but we got there . . . not in a huge way. It's not exactly like we released 'Thong Song' or anything."
The Stooges have dominated Iggy's life for the past decade. Does he ever think about returning to his solo career? "You betcha," he says with a laugh. "Every day, dude."
Mom always got me to eat my vegetables as a kid. It was one of those mantras I remember well. She was really bossy. She was the proverbial saint and nobody else was as good as her! But she was always helpful and consistently wonderful.
My paternal adopted grandmother, Ada Osterberg, who gave me my name [Pop was born James Osterberg jnr] was a free spirit. She was a Red Cross nurse and because of that never lost her job during the Depression. Ada was insanely jealous when my father left the family home to be with my mother. Women can have a possessive streak.
Mom was one of the few women who worked full time in the early 1950s. It was rare at the time. It made me a little different from the other kids; I was also an only child. My mother's drive was instilled in me from a young age. I never gave up on doing what I wanted and I got that from her.
I got into an argument with her when I was in the second grade because she wouldn't let me do something and I criticised her about her weight. I told her she was heavy and I've regretted it ever since. I learnt how harsh those words are towards a woman.
Mom and Dad were church people. They were ultra conservative and always told me to stop playing with my penis. Mom was very shy - there was never any talk about the birds and bees. When I had my first wet dream and my little boy bed was all stained, Mom came in, changed the sheets and said nothing. She wasn't the sort of mother who explained what just happened.
Mom always wanted the best for me; when I started playing the drums, she let me move into my parents' master bedroom and they moved into my kiddy room. They stayed in there right up until I left home in my late teens.
One of my female teachers tied me to my seat with red string in third grade to set an example because I wouldn't shut up or sit still. In sixth grade, my teacher was telling kids to smarten up. It was the time the Soviets set off Sputnik and that event caused a fluster of pressure over the US. She was very stern and pointed at me and said: "It's people like you, Jimmy Osterberg, who need to be cracking down." It was the first time I experienced a woman telling me to be responsible.
My mother had a sister, Rani, who suffered from MS. When she got sick, she moved in with us in a trailer park in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Rani was a music lover and got me listening to records. I watched her deteriorate and die slowly. I know the female bond between [those] sisters was super strong.
My first kiss was with Diane Bishop - a caramel-coloured girl who was prematurely voluptuous and lived in the same trailer park. My parents used to tell me to be careful of Diane. She was exotic and wore bikinis and had native American blood. Diane was 11 and I was 13 when I managed to put the grab on her. It felt good to touch her. It was the first time I ever felt a girl and she was really soft.
If you fancy a girl there is not much point in trying to get her to choose you, because she'll choose you if she wants to. In an intimate relationship, the woman likes to know what she's getting for all her efforts.
I've been married three times. The first was the romantic, starry-eyed "I can't believe someone this beautiful would want to be with me" kind. That lasted two weeks, when I was 21 [with Wendy Weissberg]. That relationship got in the way of my music. I was living with a gang of guys and I liked being dirty and stoned and curling up with my drum kit at night. I was partying a lot and didn't really care for being pinned down. I don't behave so wildly as I did back then; I'm a little more grown up now! Women always have plans for you. As soon as you hook up with a woman, she's got plans already mapped out.
I was married to a Japanese girl, Suchi Asano, from 1984 until our divorce in 1998. She could charm me and screw me, but she could also respect my privacy and keep her mouth shut about our lives. I don't hook up with publicists, actresses or Lady Gaga.
I met my wife Nina Alu [an air stewardess] in 1999. We moved in together in 2000 and got married in November 2008. I found myself hitting 50 and realising that I was lucky to meet her. Happiness with a woman doesn't need to be complicated. When you find the right one, it's easy.
Iggy Pop and the Stooges play Melbourne's Festival Hall on March 27, Byron Bay Bluesfest on March 30, and Sydney's Hordern Pavilion on April 2.
This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/what-i-know-about-women-20130320-2gf77.html
Iggy and the Stooges Pummel SXSW Audience
by Chad Childers March 14, 2013 3:27 PM Jim Dyson, Getty Images
Iggy and the Stooges came, they saw and they conquered Austin’s South by Southwest Wednesday night (March 13). The band, who are currently ramping up to the release of their ‘Ready to Die’ album, played both new songs and classics at Austin’s Mohawk club.
According to Rolling Stone, the night provided a showcase for Iggy and the Stooges to work in some of their new ‘Ready to Die’ material with well-vetted classics like ‘Raw Power,’ ‘Search and Destroy’ and ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog.’
Upon offering up the recently streamed ‘Burn,’ Rolling Stone reports that frontman Iggy Pop told the audience that the song was “about scary s— like the flaming a–holes of the world and death.” He added that the track was the perfect example of why people like himself should never have guns. The group also used the occasion to trot out the title track from their upcoming disc as well.
After the title track, Iggy and the Stooges completed the body of their show with ‘No Fun,’ then returned for a well-received encore of ‘Fun House.’ The ‘Ready to Die’ album drops April 30 via Fat Possum Records. You can pre-order the disc right here.
Iggy and the Stooges SXSW Setlist:
‘Gimme Danger Little Stranger’
‘Beat That Guy’
‘Sex and Money’
‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’
‘Search and Destroy’
‘Ready To Die’
"I don't now if you're ready for this -- Hall of Famer Iggy Pop." In what's surely one of the strangest guest performances in this show's history, the shirtless 64-year-old sings Real Wild Child, and the sound cuts out for a few seconds a couple times. Hey, at least he's not rolling broken glass like he used to do. But I gotta say: It's my favorite guest appearance of the year so far. Nice to see that Idol's still willing to pull some surprises out of its hat.
"I've got to cut out carbs after seeing that," Ryan says.