One of punk rock's earliest and most important artists, Iggy Pop is readying a
new album with the help of noted producer Don Was and jazz trio Medeski,
Martin and Wood.
Was said the jazz-tinged LP is lyrically centered around the effects of collapsed
relationships on the male psyche.
Pop was born James Jewel Osterberg 52 years ago today in Ypsilanti, Mich. He
was raised in a trailer park and drummed as a teenager in a garage band, the
Iguanas. After dropping out of the University of Michigan, Osterberg moved to
Chicago and became interested in the blues.
He later moved to Detroit, where he changed his name to Iggy Stooge and
formed the Stooges. The band's first concert was on Halloween 1967, and the
group made a lasting first impression thanks to Iggy's screaming, stage diving
and his penchant for covering his naked, writhing torso in broken glass, peanut
butter and raw steak. Most critics loved the band's primitive rock, but record
The Stooges (1969) and Fun House (1970) sold poorly, even
though they included such tracks as "I Wanna Be Your Dog," which have come
to be regarded as seminal punk songs. After several Stooges lineup changes,
Iggy -- now with the surname Pop -- spent a year trying to kick heroin. David
Bowie stepped in to help Pop in 1973 by producing the critically hailed Raw
Power, which featured the song "Penetration."
But Pop was soon using drugs again, causing the Stooges to disband. In the
mid-'70s, Pop spent time in a mental hospital. He then moved with Bowie to
Berlin. Bowie produced Pop's two 1977 LPs, The Idiot (featuring
"Funtime" and "China Girl") and Lust for Life (
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track). Old Stooges material, such as "Cock in My Pocket," also
surfaced around this time on albums like Metallic K.O. (1976), credited to
Iggy & the Stooges.
For the next few years, Pop's output began to alienate even his supporters. But
when Bowie had a hit with "China Girl" from his Let's Dance (1983) LP,
mainstream rock fans took more of an interest in Pop. His Bowie-produced
Blah Blah Blah (1986) featured the radio hit "Real Wild Child" and helped
Pop break into the top 100 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Pop acted in a number of '80s movies, including "Cry-Baby" and "Sid and
Nancy." He also made more accessible albums like 1990's Brick By
Brick, which featured Kate Pierson of the B-52's on "Candy." With
American Caesar (1993), Pop returned to raw rock and was assisted by
Pop's most recent LP of new material is 1996's Naughty Little Doggie,
which included "Pussy Walk." He is now mixing the eponymous debut of
Hollywood rock band Amen.
Pop's own upcoming album, still untitled, is slated to feature such songs as
"Nazi Girlfriend," "No Shit," "Ms. Argentina" and "Rock Star Grave."
"Everything you know about Iggy and the Stooges is true," said Was. "[But] he
doesn't want to be confined to one portion of their thought process. They were
out there puking onstage every night, but obviously he's a really bright guy and
there's more to him than that."
Other birthdays: Alan Warner (Foundations), 52; Johnny Weider (Animals,
Family), 52; Nicole Barclay (Fanny), 48; Robert Smith (Cure), 40; Michael
Timmins (Cowboy Junkies), 40.