Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Million in Prizes...The Iggy Pop Story and Show # 206


Iggy Pop was born as James Newell Osterberg Jr. in April of 1947. He would be known for his work with his first band The Stooges, whose influence still shakes the very foundations of modern music today. He would be known as "The Godfather of Punk" and be recognized for his on stage antics and behaviour. After the demise of The Stooges, Iggy Pop went on to pursue a solo career. He has also acted in several films including The Color of Money, Sid and Nancy, The Crow: City of Angels, Snow Day, Tank Girl, and Coffee and Cigarettes.

Born in Muskegon, Michigan, Iggy was raised in a trailer park near Yipsilani, Michigan. Iggy began his musical career as a drummer. He played drums in two bands The Iguanas and then The Prime Movers. Iggy got his nickname "Iggy" while in the Iguanas. After dropping out of the University of Michigan, he moved to Chicago to be closer to Chicago Blues. Along with his blues inspiration, Iggy was influenced by the likes of The Sonics. After being in Chicago learning about blues, Iggy pop returned to Ann Arbor and formed a rock band. He would abandon the drums and become a singer/front man taking inspiration from The Doors Jim Morrison, and Lou Reed. In 1967, Iggy formed The Psychedelic Stooges with Ron Asheton on guitar, Scott Asheton on drums, and Dave Alexander on bass. The band experimented first before settling on the primitive, repetitive, and aggressive sound of The Stooges that we know today.

The band became known for their live performances. Iggy in particular pushed the boundaries of the live performances by inventing the stage dive, rolling around in broken glass, smearing himself with peanut butter, and other oddities. Around this time the band also shortened their name from The Psychedelic Stooges to The Stooges. The band was signed to Elektra Records in 1968, when Danny Fields came to see another excellent Detroit based band The MC5; He signed both bands to the same label. The band had five songs for what would become their first album, The Stooges which would be released in 1969. The songs that were to make up the album were ones which the band played during their live shows, but Elektra said that that they did not have enough songs. Iggy told the label that they had lots of songs (even though they did not) so the band then wrote three more tracks to have enough material for the album. The songs that were written were "Real Cool Time", "Little Doll", and "Not Right". The songs were played for the first time in the studio. The other five tracks that compiled The Stooges were "No Fun", "Ann", "We Will Fall", "1969", and "I Wanna Be Your Dog". The album was produced by John Cale, but his original mixes for the album were rejected. They were instead done by Iggy Pop (credited as Iggy Stooge on the album) and Jac Holtzman (Elektra President). The result of the eight tracks was an album that was unlike anything the world had heard before. It was raw, energetic and straight to the point. It would become a cult classic. In 2005, The Stooges was reissued featuring the original Cale mixes as well as alternate takes.


In 1970, The Stooges released Fun House. The album was recorded live in the studio in May of 1970 and released in July of 1970. It featured little or no overdubs and since it was recorded live in the studio, many people feel it captured the essence of The Stooges live sound. The album was once again mixed by Iggy Pop and it was named after the bands rehearsal space which was called, the fun house. The album featured seven tracks "Down On The Street", "Loose", "TV Eye", "Dirt", "Fun house", and "LA Blues". The album took a step up from the bands first album, capturing their minimalist, pure sound, also bringing in saxophones. The album was produced by Don Gallucci who wanted the album to have a similar sound to the Kingsmen's "Louie, Louie". Single versions of the songs "Down On the Street", and "1970" were also recorded featuring organ sounding like The Doors. The complete Fun House sessions were released in 2001 by Rhino (they are no longer in print). The collection featured every take of every song for the album as well as outtakes and demos. The eight disc set was titled 1970: The Complete Fun House Sessions. The album like the bands first, sold poorly. They both became cult classics and have been cited numerous times as main inspirations for punk rock. In 2005, Fun House was reissued with bonus tracks from the Fun House sessions including unused tracks "Lost in the Future", and "Slide (Slidin' the Blues)".

The band would be dropped from their label in 1971 due to poor album sales and Iggy's and the bands increased drug use. The band would regroup as Iggy & The Stooges when David Bowie offered to record the band in England. Iggy got friend James Williamson as lead guitarist and the Ashetons (Ron went on bass and Scott on drums) to complete the line up; Dave Alexander passed away in 1975, he was fired for being too drunk to perform with the band in 1970. The band would then record what would be known as Raw Power. The album was a sonic assault on the ears and featured such songs as "Search and Destroy", "Shake Appeal", "I Need Somebody", and "Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell". The album was released on Columbia Records and originally mixed by Iggy himself, but the label did not agree with his mixes and stated that if David Bowie did not remix it, the album would never see release. The album came out in 1973 and shortly after the band would be dropped form their label and split up. The album also did poorly, but like the other two Stooges albums is seen as a classic album just as unique and important as the other two Stooges albums. In 1997, Iggy Pop remixed the album himself closer to his original vision, which has been called his "In the red mix", because a majority of the faders were pushed into the red while mixing. Upon hearing Iggy Pop's original mix, it was said to have sounded like the speakers were melting.

Iggy then strung out on drugs checked himself into a Neuropsychiatric institute in Los Angeles. During this time Iggy wrote and recorded material with James Williamson. The material was released in 1977 as Kill City, but recorded in 1975. The album was intended to be a demo tape in hopes of getting Iggy a new record deal. The album would feature great tracks such as "Kill City", "Johanna", "I Got Nothin'", and "Consolation Prizes". Vocals for the album were recorded on weekends when Iggy was allowed out of the hospital. In 1976, David Bowie took him along for his Station to Station tour. After the tour Iggy and Bowie moved to Berlin to get off of drugs. Bowie also got Iggy a record deal with RCA.

Iggy would record in collaboration with Bowie. Two albums were produced and released in 1977. The Idiot came off sounding very different to Iggy's previous work with The Stooges. It had more of industrial sound and can be compared to David Bowie's album Low. The album would contain songs such as "Night Clubbing", "Sister Midnight", and "China Girl". The title of the album came from a Dostoevsky novel called, The Idiot. Lust For Life came next and it was released in the same year. This album had more of a rock feel and contained some of Iggy Pop's best known songs such as "The Passenger", "Lust For Life", "Tonight", and "Success". Apparently the riff in the song "Lust For Life" was inspired by a Morse code intro message for The American Forces Network News in Berlin; The song itself is a survival message to the masses. "The Passenger" was inspired by a Jim Morrison poem. Both The Idiot and Lust For Life are seen as some of the best work he ever produced. The backing band for Lust For Life, were a team of brothers Tony Sales (bass) and Hunt Sales (drums), along with Ricky Gardinier on guitar, and David Bowie on Keyboards. He would get more recognition when the song "Lust For Life" was used in the film Trainspotting.

In 1979, Iggy Pop released New Values. The album was his first for Arista Records; He left RCA after releasing the live album TV Eye Live 1977 to get out of his three album contract. New Values featured Ex-Stooges guitarist James Williamson as producer. The album featured some collaboration with Williamson and did quite well in Europe, but not in the United States. The album is seen as more of a new wave album. It featured songs such as "Tell Me A Story", "Girls", "New Values", "I'm Bored", and "Five Foot One". It is one of my personal favourites. Music videos were made for two of the songs on the album "I'm Bored", and "Five Foot One". In 1980, Iggy released another excellent solo album titled Soldier. For this album Pop collaborated with ex-Sex Pistol bassist Glen Matlock. The album was originally supposed to be produced by James Williamson and Iggy Pop, but both wanted a different sound and Williamson was fired. The album also featured a song with David Bowie "Play It Safe"; He sung back up vocals on it. The song featured great tracks such as "Loco Mosquito", "Ambition", "Knocking 'Em Down (In the City)", "I Need More", "Dog Food", and "I'm a Conservative". In 1981, Party was released. The song "Bang, Bang" would be remixed by Monkees producer Tommy Hart and it would also reach # 35 on the Billboard singles chart. It would be his final album for Arista.

In 1982, Iggy Pop wrote his own autobiography and received royalties in 1983 when David Bowie covered the song "China Girl" (written by Bowie and Pop for his album The Idiot) on his album Let's Dance. He also released the album Zombie Birdhouse in 1982. In 1986, Iggy Pop released Blah Blah Blah. The album was produced by David bowie and featured Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones. It brought him a top ten hit in the UK with "Real Wild Child". In 1988, Instinct was released, in 1990 Brick By Brick, and 1993 American Caesar. In 1996 Naughty Little Doggie was released, in 1999 Avenue B, and in 2001 Beat 'Em Up. In 2003, Skull Ring was released. The album featured collaborations with numerous artists such as The Trolls (his backing band used for Beat 'Em Up), Sum 41, Green Day, and Peaches. The album also featured collaboration with The Stooges. The song "Little Know It All" featuring Sum 41 got a lot of airplay. Iggy Pop also started playing live with the Stooges again around this time. The bassist would be Mike Watt from the Minutemen. In 2007, The Stooges released another album titled The Weirdness. It was produced by Steve Albini and sounded like a mix of the first two Stooges albums, The Stooges and Fun House.

The Stooges have since played numerous places all over the world. They played off and on from 2003 through 2008. In March of 2008, Madonna (a fellow Detroiter) was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Stooges inducted her playing two Madonna songs "Ray of Light", and "Like A Virgin". They played this as an act of protest for the Stooges not being inducted into the hall of fame, despite being nominated six times. In 2005 A Million in Prizes : The Anthology was released containing 37 tracks spanning Pop's entire musical career since The Stooges. In January of 2009, Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton passed away due to a heart attack, he was 60 years old.
In May of 2009, it was announced that Iggy and The Stooges would reform with James Williamson on guitar to perform Raw Power tracks. The reunion is set to take place at some point in 2010. Even though Iggy Pop was not a giant mainstream success, his influence still resonates on rock music today. He is a unique, interesting, inspiring artist no matter what era of his career you look at. Currently a biopic is being made about Iggy Pop, which will focus mainly on when he was with the Stooges. Directed by Nick Gomez and starring Elijah Wood as Pop, The Passenger is currently in production.

Play List:

1. The Damned - See Her Tonight
2. The Bears - Fun, Fun, Fun
3. Diodes - Time Damage
4. Young Canadians - Well, Well, Well
5. The Sinners - No Brains Required
6. Hot Nasties - Get Away From Me
7. Television - Friction
8. Patti Smith - Redondo Beach
9. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Watching the Detectives
10. The Police - Bombs Away
11. Nick Lowe - So It Goes
12. Only Ones - Another Girl Another Planet
13. Ultravox! - Frozen Ones
14. Devo - Jerkin' Back'n Forth
15. Stranglers - Nice n' Sleazy
16. Magazine - Feed the Enemy (Live)
17. The Government - Flat Tire
18. Teenage Head - You're Tearin' Me Apart
19. Mark Inside - These Apparent Things (Live @ XM)
20. The D4 - Too Stupid
21. Dirty Pretty Things - Hippie's Son
22. The Stooges - Not Right (Alternate Vocal Take)
23. Iggy Pop - Some Weird Sin
24. Iggy Pop - Knocking 'Em Down (In the City)

Videos:

The Stooges - TV Eye & 1970 (live Cincinati Pop Festival)
Iggy Pop - 1977 CBC Interview
Iggy Pop - The Passenger (Live 1977)
Iggy Pop - Sister Midnight (Live Dinah Shore Show 1977 - Featuring David Bowie on Keyboards)
Iggy Pop - Sixteen (Live 1978)
Iggy Pop - I'm Bored (Live OGWT 1979)
Iggy Pop - I Wanna Be Your Dog (Live OGWT 1979)
Iggy Pop - I'm Bored (Music Video)
Iggy Pop - Five Foot One (Music Video)
Iggy Pop - Knocking 'Em Down (In the City) (Music Video)
The Stooges - No Fun (live in Detroit 2003)
Jonathan Ross Show 2007 Part One (Interview)
Jonathan Ross Show Part Two (Interview/I Wanna Be Your Dog)

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