Iggy Pop

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

buyers abstained.

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 (

HREF="http://www.sonicnet.com/artists/clip.cgi?track=%7Ebb-

XXXXXX%2F0119839_0101_00_0002.ra&x=7&y=7">RealAudio excerpt of title

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

Henry Rollins.

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.