I wish more newspapers would praise Iggy Pop on their editorial pages. Sigh. Much more interesting than sales tax increases or whatever topic de jour.
“Before he began flogging car insurance, Iggy Pop, aka James Newell Osterberg, aka the Iguana, aka the Godfather of Punk, was the singer for the Stooges. Well, we say singer, but he was more like a human shock absorber for a band that did not so much give concerts as go to war with audiences. Going by this newspaper’s review page yesterday, some of that antagonistic spirit is still on display as the band tour the UK this week: our man noted that Iggy Pop ‘flings himself into the audience at the slightest provocation’.
Such gonzo hostility was never merely a matter of idiosyncratic stagecraft, but ran all the way through the band’s albums too. Search and Destroy, on the 1973 classic Raw Power, sums it up nicely: ‘I’m a streetwalking cheetah with a heart full of napalm / I’m a runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb’. Like many good things in pop music, the Stooges came out of industrial Michigan in the 60s, but Iggy’s band didn’t go in for Motown’s melodic optimism; no, their songs were marked by a reckless nihilism. I Wanna Be Your Dog, for instance, combined lyrics such as ‘Now we’re gonna be face to face / And I’ll lay right down in my favourite place’ with a leering, distorted guitar and a one-note piano riff. Perhaps their best album was Metallic KO – ostensibly a concert recording, but it sounded more like what would happen if you stuck a rock band in a Cortina and drove them off a cliff. Its high point? That would have to be Louie Louie, which must be the closest pop has ever come to a public flagellation.”
(click to continue reading In praise of … Iggy and the Stooges | Editorial | From the Guardian | The Guardian.)