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Iggy Pop and Steve Jones’ druggy, doomy remake of ‘Purple Haze’
10:50 am


Iggy Pop
Jimi Hendrix
Steve Jones
Purple Haze

Steve Jones and Iggy Pop circa 1988
There exists a recording of the Stooges playing a straight-ahead cover of “Purple Haze” sometime in the 70s (see the dodgy-looking Anthology Box), but I’m in love with this weird, opiated bum-out version of the song Iggy recorded with Sex Pistol Steve Jones a decade later.

Along with several Pop/Jones compositions and Sly and the Family Stone’s “Family Affair,” “Purple Haze” was one of a number of songs the pair demoed in a home studio in L.A.‘s Hancock Park neighborhood in 1985. According to at least one crummy fan bio, Bowie was so impressed by the Hancock Park demos that upon hearing them he decided to reunite with Iggy for Blah-Blah-Blah.

Instead of the Day-Glo flash of acid, Iggy’s “Purple Haze” evokes the feeling of stumbling through a Ralphs supermarket at midnight on a handful of downers. (Despite the track’s druggy feel, Iggy biographer Paul Trynka says both men were clean and sober during these sessions.) It’s a radical rewrite of the song, with a new bridge, lyrics that mention The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and like none of the distinguishing features of the original. The vibe is more like the Stooges’ “Sick of You” than anything Hendrix ever played; Jones’ arpeggios remind me a bit of that gorgeous guitar break in the middle of Black Sabbath’s “Cornucopia,” and Iggy croons in his low register.

As on the previous Pop/Jones collaboration, the immortal “Repo Man,” Jones gets in a “Secret Agent Man”-style figure, though here it replaces one of the most famous rock guitar lines of all time. Unless I am merely going deaf, there is also a high-pitched drone throughout the song, reminiscent of the piano on “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” Maybe this is what happens when you take the “brown acid”?


Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Woman transforms her face into Frank Zappa, Iggy Pop, Keith Richards and more

Lucia Pittalis before transformation

As RuPaul once said, “You’re born naked and the rest is contour and shading.” And Italian portrait painter and artist Lucia Pittalis proves that point with these insane makeup transformations. Lucia uses her own face as a canvas and turns herself into these iconic characters that are simply fan-fucking-tastic. She nailed Keith Richards, IMO.

If you want to see more of her work, you can follow Lucia on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Frank Zappa

Iggy Pop

Bette Davis

Keith Richards
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Iggy Pop and his pop, for pop
06:21 am


Iggy Pop

Photo by Esther Friedman

I’m just a few months shy of two years as an excavator here at Dangerous Minds, and in that short a span, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been asked “How do you FIND all this stuff?” —even by people who’ve known me forever and should know damn well. In truth, I can’t answer that, I just find all this stuff because it’s what I’m into doing, and I don’t think any of my colleagues at DM, or my counterparts at other sites that burrow through the internet for mutant cultural produce would say anything terribly different. I’ve always been into digging for weirdness, so the question of “how I find all this stuff” is kind of beside the point, and sometimes even actually annoying, because I hear it so often and there really is no concise answer besides, “I dunno.”

AND YET, If I ever get to meet the people who run Network Awesome, I will surely break down and ask them where the hell they find all their stuff. On a daily basis, they post well thought out thematic programming for which someone has clearly dug DEEP. Some of the stuff they find completely blows me away, and I’ve been an obsessive collector/curator type my entire life. I applaud and bow to those people. So recently, in the course of indulging myself in a day of surfing around that site, I came across a program of theirs that collected commercials starring Iggy Pop. Each of them is a great watch, because Iggy Pop is Iggy Pop, and I already knew a fair few of them, but one jumped out at me, both for its awesomeness and its howdidinotknowaboutthisness.

Just a couple of years ago, an ad agency in Madrid did a Schweppes lemon soda poster campaign with Pop. It got around—even DM did a piece. What I did not know about, and what Network Awesome had posted, was the television commercial that went with it, which starred the 65ish-year-old proto-punk legend out on the town with his father, Mr. James Newell Osterberg Sr., the very pop whom Pop credited with his choice to become a singer, in a 2007 Esquire interview:

Driving down a nice two-lane highway, summer day, Ann Arbor, Michigan. I’m in the backseat of a ‘49 Cadillac. Always had a good car, my dad. Frank Sinatra’s singing: “Fairy tales can come true/It can happen to you/If you’re young at heart.” My dad’s singing along. From that moment on, when people asked me what I wanted to be, I would say, “A singer.” As I got older, I realized that might not be realistic. So then I thought, I’ll become a politician.

All I can say to that is right fuckin’ on. Here’s the commercial. It’s been uploaded to YouTube by a fair few users, but every single upload has a ridiculously low view count, which seems to me absurd for such a gem.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
‘Knockin’ ‘Em Down in the City’: Iggy Pop on Cleveland local news, 1979
Iggy Pop was on ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’
Iggy & the Stooges playing at a high school gym in Michigan, 1970

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Meet Iggy Pop’s childhood friend, the ‘imaginary Mexican’
06:09 am


Iggy Pop

Today’s happening young person has every reason to invest in a copy of Iggy Pop’s memoir, I Need More. One compelling reason is right there in the title: Iggy needs more, and it is your duty to give it to him.

But dude, I hear today’s happening young person whine, the book is like out of print and Iggy will collect like no royalties from my purchase on the secondhand market. Pull your pants up, junior, because this lame attempt to shirk your duty only brings us to an even more compelling reason: on Amazon, a used copy of the original 1982 edition is now cheaper than the reprint published by Henry Rollins’ 2.13.61 (pictured above). That’s two compelling reasons right there, without even mentioning the content of the book.

Among the treasures that await you inside this handsome volume is a high quality, suitable-for-framing reproduction of Iggy’s closest childhood friend, the “imaginary Mexican.” (Sorry, that’s a lie—the portrait, reproduced in the margins of the book, is actually the size of a large postage stamp.) During his asthma-haunted childhood in the Osterberg family trailer, stoned on Quadrinol, Iggy fantasized about a life of high adventure on the Brazos or somewhere with this bandoliered character:


As a kid I had a character in my brain. I drew him over and over and over. He was my imaginary Mexican; well, you look at him and figure it out for yourself.

You’ll notice that the rude health of the imaginary Mexican’s right side (from his point of view) compensates for his withered left side, and that he has one great birdlike talon exploding through the toe of each shoe. Does the body’s muscular right side indicate a left-brain predominance? I’m no doctor, but I’m pretty sure the boy was destined for greatness if this righteous dude was his ideal playmate.

Watch Iggy dance with a refrigerator in the little-known music video for “Dog Food” after the jump..:

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Open Up and Bleed: WILD footage of Iggy & The Stooges performing ‘1970’ IN 1970!
08:00 am


Iggy Pop

Iggy and The Stooges at their most primal proto-punk prime, filmed at the Goose Lake music festival in Michigan in 1970.

If the Stooges sound a bit “thin” here, this performance was done without original bassist Dave Alexander, who arrived at the gig too fucked up to stand, let alone play.

Alexander was promptly fired. A heavy drinker, he died at the young age of 27 in 1975. He was name-checked a few years later in Iggy’s spoken-word intro to The Idiot’s “Dum Dum Boys”:

“How ‘bout Dave? OD’d on alcohol.”


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Blood, Guts and Cocaine: Ivan Kral tells us what it was like to write, record and tour with Iggy Pop
07:11 am


Iggy Pop
Ivan Kral

Ivan and Iggy, 1979
Ivan and Iggy, 1979 (courtesy of Ivan Kral)

Ivan Kral sure has led an interesting life. The Prague-born songwriter and musician had his first brush with fame at the age of sixteen when a track by his band Saze broke the top ten in Czechoslovakia. But just as the song was breaking, his family relocated to New York City. In the early ‘70s, Ivan played in glam bands and, for a brief period, was part of Shaun Cassidy’s backing group. In 1974, he played guitar with an embryonic version of Blondie before joining the Patti Smith Group. As part of Smith’s unit, Ivan played guitar, bass and keyboards, appearing on all of her early records (including the seminal Horses ), and was involved in writing a number of her songs (he co-wrote “Dancing Barefoot,” one of Smith’s pivotal tunes). He’s also a documentarian, having had the foresight to capture Iggy and the Stooges on film, as well as the burgeoning punk scene happening at CBGB’s in the mid-‘70s, which became the documentary, Blank Generation.
The Patti Smith Group, 1975
Ivan, center, with the Patti Smith Group, 1975

The Patti Smith Group ended in 1979 when Smith began her self-imposed retirement, which left Ivan looking for a gig. He hooked up with Iggy Pop in time to play on the Ig’s 1980 album, Soldier, and subsequently became Iggy’s right-hand man, touring and writing a number of songs with the Godfather of Punk. Eight of those co-writes appeared on Party (1981), and while Ivan came up with some catchy and interesting tunes, Iggy’s lyrics often left much to be desired, and the production generally felt lifeless. If you’re in the mood for it, Party has its fair share of goofy charm, but it’s hard to imagine it appealing to fans, critics, or the general public at that time—and it ultimately didn’t. Party was a disappointment both critically and commercially, with Ivan quitting Iggy’s band before the year was out.
Ivan is a rock star in his native land (there’s even a mid-‘90s documentary about him, with another in the works), and has released ten solo records in the Czech Republic; the most recent is called Always. For some time now he has resided in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which is somewhat ironic, as the college town is also the birthplace of the Stooges.

The following interview was conducted via email. A big THANKS to Ivan for letting us use some photos from his personal archive.

How did you meet Iggy?:

Ivan: There was an unknown blonde guy in a yoga pose—naked in my living room. He gets up, extends a hand and says, “I’m Iggy Pop and I’m producing your next album,” for Luger, my 1973 glam band. I was thinking, “Yeah sure, he’s just another nobody with big plans.” After I saw the Stooges I realized that I was the nobody with big plans.

So, I went to The Stooges show at the Academy of Music in New York City. He owned the crowd. Fans were begging to be humiliated by him. He’d spit and they’d thank him. Never saw anything like it. I was filming with my “movie camera” (no sound) anticipating his next move so I wouldn’t waste film. Every second counted. I’ve posted a few clips on YouTube.

More from Ivan, plus a live Iggy video, after the jump

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
‘Motor City’s Burning’: The incendiary 60’s Detroit music scene from Motown to the Stooges
10:43 am


Iggy Pop

Martha and the Vandellas
Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

Below you’ll find Motor City’s Burning: Detroit from Motown to the Stooges, A 2008 BBC documentary that gives a brief summary of the musical trajectory and evolution of Detroit’s music scene through the riotous decade. It’s a little overly ambitious in scope and far more focused on MC5 and the Stooges then it is on Motown, but it’s worth taking a look as it traces a path from John Lee Hooker to Berry Gordy’s slick Motown production, through the Detroit riots of 1967 and the emergence of the MC5, the Stooges, George Clinton and Alice Cooper. The music scene is necessarily tied to the history of Detroit and the rise and fall of the auto industry and the 1967 Detroit riots.
Motown Doc
There are many luminaries interviewed here including Johnny Bassett, Lamont Dozier, Martha Reeves, Mary Wilson, Mike Davis, Wayne Kramer, John Sinclair, Ron Asheton, Scott Asheton, Lenny Kaye, Iggy Pop and Alice Cooper.
The MC5
Some of the best commentary in film talks about the dichotomy between views of the city in the sixties. Inner-city African Americans had a clearly different experience from the largely suburban white acidheads freaking out to the likes of the MC5 in places like the Grande Ballroom (shown in contemporary footage and in complete dilapidated abandon) where the MC5 had a residency. John Sinclair, the MC5’s headline grabbing manager and White Panther Party founder, discusses the fact that white kids came to inner city Detroit looking for “urban adventure.”  African Americans on the other hand felt intimidated and provoked by white police and increasingly infuriated over the ghettoization their neighborhoods. While groups like the Motor City 5 lived right in the middle of the unrest, their largely white audience often did not.
John Sinclair’s arrest for two joints and the John and Yoko support concert is discussed, while Iggy Pop talks about the early Ann Arbor scene, and there’s good footage particularly of John Lee Hooker, MC5, the Stooges and George Clinton throughout the film.

The documentary leaves a lot to be desired with kind of Cliff’s Notes oversimplification but it has some notable anecdotes and perspectives. If you’ve got an hour to kill or you just don’t know much about the Detroit musical phenomenon, one could find a worse primer.

Posted by Jason Schafer | Leave a comment
Photo of David Bowie & Iggy Pop’s 1976 pot bust for sale on eBay
08:07 am


David Bowie
Iggy Pop

I have heard—on very good account—that David Bowie is meant to be a total eBay addict and that having a conversation with him might often see his attention divided between what you’re saying and him furiously bidding on something. Apparently eBay is a great way for the thin white duke to discover all of the various ways people made money off him during his long career, that he was never previously aware of. If I were him, I’d do the exact same thing!

Well, an unusual Bowie item is currently on offer on eBay with four days to go, and although the price has dropped 25%—or $5000—it’s still got a starting bid of twenty grand. Perhaps Bowie himself is the only one who could afford this, but what a weird little memento it is: an original vintage photograph taken precisely at the moment when undercover cops in Rochester, NY slapped the cuffs on when Bowie and Iggy Pop were arrested for someone else smoking pot in Bowie’s hotel room in 1976.

The story is told in greater detail in this post I put together previously of the local news reporting of the Bowie bust.

Here’s the description from the eBay seller:

For offer, a very rare photograph. Fresh from a prominent estate in Upstate NY. Never offered on the market until now. Vintage, Old, Original, Antique, NOT a Reproduction - Guaranteed !! This photos came from a man who was present when Bowie and Pop were arrested in Rochester, NY, March 25, 1976. Most people have seen the famous mug shot. But this is a “behind the scenes” photo taken with undercover officers. Officer on left putting the cuffs on Bowie. Kodak paper. In excellent condition.  Please see photo for details. If you collect 20th century American Rock history, Americana crime photography, pop culture, etc. this is a treasure you will not see again! Add this to your image or paper / ephemera collection.

Worth mentioning is that the Rocester mugshot was not taken when Bowie was processed at the station that night, but rather when he showed up for his court date, hence the change of clothes.

h/t Hadrian Von Paulus

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Iggy & The Stooges playing at a high school gym in Michigan, 1970
09:03 am


Iggy Pop
The Stooges

If you’ve got room for more 1970 Detroit so soon after yesterday’s John Lee Hooker post, then feast your eyes on these wonderful snapshots of Iggy Pop, shirtless (does he even own any shirts?) and becollared (because you know what he wants to be) for a Stooges performance at suburban Detroit’s Farmington High School (GO FALCONS!) in December of 1970, which was historically noteworthy as James Williamson’s first gig with the band. I found them on the wonderful blog Black Coffee Bonus Cup, but they first made their way to the web via Detroit rock lifer Jim Edwards of the Rockets, who posted them to Facebook. (I can no longer find that album, so I presume it’s either deleted or set to friends-only, now):

I got these slides from a guy at work. He walks up to me and says, ‘You’re a musician, right? I got these old slides from a show at my high school, Wanna see ‘em?’ I held the first one up to the light and nearly shit myself!

Black Coffee Bonus Cup offered this info about the gig:

The gig was late due to Iggy being arrested earlier that evening and The Stooges played only four songs but I bet it was the end of innocence for all the unsuspecting teen students attending this show when the 23-year-old Iggy appeared shirtless, wearing a dog collar and jeans with cut-out crotch, revealing his red briefs, and performed his legendary on-and-off stage stunts…





More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Iggy Pop reunites with director Alex Cox for ‘Bill, the Galactic Hero’
06:10 am


Iggy Pop
Alex Cox
Bill, the Galactic Hero

Good news for fans of the Repo Man soundtrack: Iggy Pop, who wrote and performed the song “Repo Man” (with help from Sex Pistol Steve Jones), has also contributed the theme song to Alex Cox’s latest movie.

Cox made the Kickstarter-funded Bill, the Galactic Hero with his film students at the University of Colorado Boulder, where the movie premiered last month. It’s adapted from the 1965 book of the same name, the first in a series by author Harry Harrison. The director describes Bill as “a classic anti-war science fiction novel” and a “counterblast to STAR$HIP TROOPERS.” I haven’t read the book, but Cox sure makes its prole’s-eye view of war sound timely:

It’s told not from the flight deck but from the engine room: or to be more exact, the fusebays, where ranks of expendable Fusetenders Sixth Class wait to replace burned-out fuses, or die.

You can hear about a minute of Iggy’s theme song in the movie’s latest trailer. Apparently, life has a lot in common with pizza.

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘Knockin’ ‘Em Down in the City’: Iggy Pop rocks the Cleveland local news, 1979

Not sure how or why this happened, glad it did: Cleveland-by-god-Ohio’s blandly caucasoid time-filler news magazine show Afternoon Exchange visited Iggy Pop during his rehearsal/soundcheck at the Agora Ballroom one day in November of 1979. Iggy’s touring band that year featured founding Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock and guitarist Brian James in-between his stints in the Damned and Lords of the New Church. Further name-drop action: the video was posted by Zero Defex bassist turned Zen Master (I’m not kidding) Brad Warner.

This all-star band performed “Knockin’ ‘Em Down in the City” from the then-forthcoming LP Soldier. Iggy being Iggy, he put on a full show for the local news cameras to benefit an afternoon audience of homemakers, unemployed, and shut-ins, all of whom surely changed their plans for that evening to come out for the concert. Iggy also gracefully endured the goofily clue-deprived questions from milquetoasty interviewer Bob “The Real Bob James” Pondillo, whose enthusiasm is appreciated, but seriously, safety pins in the cheeks? It’s amazing that so many suburban normals seemed to think that kind of thing was standard practice. And how weird is it that he couldn’t name-check the Dead Boys or Pere Ubu, but he knew who the Lepers were?

Iggy’s performance after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
When Iggy Pop was on ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’

In 1998 Iggy Pop guest-starred on an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as a Vorta overseer named “Yelgrun” from the planet Kurill Prime. Admittedly I never watched the Deep Space Nine series, but had I known back then that James Osterberg was going have a small role on it, I would have definitely tuned in.

Producer Ira Steven Behr was a massive Iggy fan and had always wanted him to be on the show. According to Memory Alpha:

...Behr made a point of visiting the set during production of the episode, which was something of a rarity due to his busy schedule. “For Iggy I would not be denied!” Behr joked. “I was a happy boy.” Similarly, Hans Beimler recalled, “Ira was thrilled! For cryin’ out loud, Iggy Pop has been a hero of his for years. I’ve heard about Iggy Pop since I’ve known him. I’ve seen Iggy Pop posters in his home. What can I say? The man was in heaven.”

Though he was excited to have Pop onboard for the episode, Behr did have concerns that the character perhaps wasn’t the best match for the singer, known for his wild stage presence. “I knew that the role was going to be tough for Iggy, because he’s a very kinetic performer”, Behr commented. “His physicality is certainly part of who he is, and unfortunately we cast him as a Vorta, one of the most immobile of characters.”

Behr declared that Pop was wonderful to work with and thought he nailed “...that demented quality the Vorta have, like Weyoun has-think Caligula! He was just a delight.”

Ira Steven Behr and Iggy Pop

Below, a video montage of Iggy’s most memorable scenes as “Yelgrun” from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “The Magnificent Ferengi.”

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Less with the raw, still with the power: James Williamson resurrects lost Iggy & the Stooges songs
06:32 am


Iggy Pop
James Williamson

The last five years must have felt like a triumphant return for Iggy and the Stooges’ James Williamson. After a decades-long alienation from the music business, during which he improbably landed a job as an electronics executive—not even a slightly typical afterlife for a proto-punk rager—the man best known for his sick guitar playing on the epochal 1973 album Raw Power reunited with his old band in 2009, and recorded the album Ready to Die with them last year. But with that band on hiatus again after a 2013 world tour, Williamson turned to some long-unfinished business. There was a very very large pile of old songs, dating back to the ‘70s, that he’d written with Stooges singer Iggy Pop for the intended follow-up to Raw Power, but which had never been recorded in a studio. A few were on the live Metallic K.O. album, some had circulated among obsessives as really rough-sounding bootleg dubs, and many of them turned up on the Open Up And Bleed! live collection released by BOMP! Records in 1995. But those were the only traces of those songs; sketchy-sounding live versions.

The Stooges, minus Iggy, have remedied that. With the Stooges’ touring band, that being bassist Mike Watt, drummer Toby Dammit, and saxophonist Steve Mackay, Williamson has recorded Re-Licked, a 16-track collection of those old songs, with a revolving door of singers. The lineup of vocalists is impressive—it HAS to be right? They’re standing in for a young Iggy Pop! I’d love to call it an all-star lineup, but a lot of these people aren’t really quite “stars,” though pretty much all of them kick high ass. The BellRays’ amazing Lisa Kekaula, Jello Biafra, Ariel Pink, ex-Dicks Gary Floyd, former Foetus honcho J.G. Thirlwell, Mark Lanegan, Alison Mosshart, and Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie all make appearances. Last April, a Record Store Day 7” teaser single was released, with the gifted Austin, TX blues belter Carolyn Wonderland singing “Open Up and Bleed” and “Gimme Some Skin.” Both also appear on Re-Licked, which saw its release this week.

Williamson was kind enough to make some time to talk to Dangerous Minds about the album.

You joined the Stooges after Fun House, but they broke up. Then when they were reconstituted as Iggy and the Stooges, you played on Raw Power. After that, you appeared on a couple of Iggy albums, and that’s pretty much it, right? What did you do in all the years since then?

After we were unsuccessful at finding a record label, Iggy and I kinda gave up on the Stooges. He went off with Bowie, who’d offered to take him under his wing, and that launched his solo career, and I was kind of fed up with playing music at that point so I went to work at a recording studio in Los Angeles. I learned a lot there, but one of the things I learned was that I really wasn’t cut out to be a recording engineer. It was the disco era by then, and I couldn’t stand the work. One thing is worse than playing with musicians you don’t like, and that’s recording them every day. It was a training ground for me, though, because it got me interested in electronics, and since those were the early early days of the personal computer, that led to an interest in the possibilities of computers, so I decided to become a real electronics engineer. I got a job in Silicon Valley, and I’ve been here ever since.

And what got you back into playing?

I had a 25-30 year career in electronics, and ended up as an executive at Sony. Around when Ronnie Asheton died in 2009, I was toying with taking early retirement. With the economy, these companies were offering that, and it looked attractive. At the same time I got a call from Iggy asking if I wanted to rejoin the band. At first I turned him down. I couldn’t imagine doing it, and I wasn’t even sure I could do it, since I hadn’t been playing at all. But I decided I owed it to them to give it a try, and I could do it because of the retirement. Then it turned out that Sony didn’t want me to leave so they hired me back as a consultant, but still I had some time to do some woodshedding, and I got good enough to play the first gig in Sao Paolo, Brazil, to a HUGE audience compared to anything I’d ever seen before. So I was back. A lot of things happened all at once.

So the material you recorded for Re-Licked was late Iggy and the Stooges stuff that never got released on an LP. There’ve been two Stooges albums since their reunion, The Weirdness, which you’re not on, and Ready to Die, which you’re on. None of these dormant songs turned up on either of those albums. How come?

We did discuss it. We had that conversation. The fans always wanted that album, and the bootlegs are out there, so people are familiar with it. What we decided was if we did an Iggy and the Stooges album, it was a given that it’d be compared to Raw Power, and it probably would be a difficult comparison with the old Stooges vs the young Stooges. Iggy’s voice has changed a great deal, like everyone’s does, with age, and I’m not even sure he could sing some of these songs now, they’re not all easy to sing. In the end we decided that rather than beg that type of comparison, let’s just write new songs. Sure, it’s still going to get compared, but it’s going to get compared as new stuff. I’m very proud of Ready to Die, we spent a lot of time writing it, Iggy stepped up on the lyrics and the vocals, it’s a good album.

The fact was that we still hadn’t done these songs, though, and I had it in mind that I really wanted to do them. Once we stopped touring last September, I had the time. I only started out with one song, I rearranged “Open Up and Bleed,” and my wife and I were talking about it and thought it would be great to get a Janis Joplin type singer for it. So I searched and searched and searched, and finally an old friend of mine In Austin sent me a link to Carolyn Wonderland. She did like three takes and it was over, and I was so blown away I said, even before I came back from Austin, yeah, I can do this, I could do a whole album. Luckily for me I found a lot of people of that caliber who could do it.

How did you choose the singers? There are some inspired choices. Gary Floyd doing “Cock in my Pocket,” I just love. And the guy singing the other version of that song, he’s from the Hellacopters, right?

Yeah, Nicke Andersson. Those were people who were recommended to me, so were a lot of people on the album. I got lots of recommendations. There was a lot of interest in doing this album, so I didn’t have any problem attracting people. Where I did have a problem was I didn’t know a lot of them, so I would go and if they had any material I could get access to or if I could watch them on YouTube, I’d get a feel for their style. So the people that actually ended up on the album were narrowed down from a very big list. I didn’t really have anyone who turned me down. There were a couple of people who couldn’t do it because they were busy, but no one was disinterested. That’s one thing I really like about this album, you can hear the singers’ enthusiasm about it, it just feels like they’re into it and they’re bringing their A-game to these songs.

It’s interesting that there are so many female vocalists on the album.

Well, it all started with Carolyn, and after her I thought, well, this works pretty well. The Stooges never had any women on anything, so it was a different thing, but it worked really well. This isn’t a Stooges album, it’s a tribute to those songs, so I didn’t want think about making it sound like the Stooges, but just bring the best people on that I could find.

Yeah, Lisa Kekaula, especially, she’s pretty fabulous.

Oh, MAN, yeah!

Have you seen the BellRays live? You must have, right?

No! What happened was I was down at Joe Cardamone’s, he’s the Icarus Line’s singer. I worked a lot with him, he let me use his little studio for stuff where a little studio would work, and I was sitting with him and was looking for another vocalist, and he asked if I’d ever heard Lisa Kekaula, and I said no, and he said to call her. She just came right over, and I only had one track available at the time, that was “I Got a Right,” and she came in and just NAILED that song.  My jaw dropped. Unbelievable. So I had to do a single with her, so later I came back and recorded “Heavy Liquid” for her. It was a lot of fun to do these sessions.

So is this it then, these are the canonical studio recordings of these songs? The Stooges won’t finally make the lost album?

I don’t see that as being in the cards. I made an open invitation to Iggy to sing on these. He wrote them with me, so he has every much a right to sing them as I have to play them. But I sincerely doubt that we’ll do that. Frankly I don’t know if we could improve on this.

How do you imagine it’ll be received? People who know these songs at all only know the really really gnarly versions from nth generation dubbed tapes, or else from K.O. or the Open Up and Bleed live thing.

So far the responses and reviews are incredibly good. It’s exceeding my expectations by a long shot. There’s always going to be people that don’t like something, and there’s a lot of “Iggy bigots” that are gonna hate it because he isn’t on it. I’ve always had to live with the people that wouldn’t recognize anything that came after Fun House. But so far, on balance, the responses are really amazing, if for no other reason than that, because of all the people singing on it, this is reaching people that possibly wouldn’t have listened to the Stooges. All of these different people bring their own audiences into play, so there’s this wider group you’re exposing this music to.

So is there anything happening with the Stooges in the future?

We haven’t discussed it. I’m beginning to have my doubts, because next year, Iggy’s going to be 68 years old. Think about going out and like, stage diving, at 68 years old. Think you could do it?


*laughs* Well, the only thing that makes me say it could happen is that if anyone will do it, he will. I have doubts. And I also have to admit I’m a part of that equation, and right now I don’t have to think about it, but if I had a serious offer to do it, I’d really have to think about it. I’m not getting any younger either, but then, all I have to do is play guitar. So I could go out and do that, but I also feel a kind of duty to uphold the honor of the name. I don’t want us to be like the Rolling Stones. To me, they’ve ruined their brand. They’re just too frickin’ old. They’re still really cool guys, but they’re really cool REALLY OLD guys. I’d never go see ‘em anymore. So do I want the Stooges to be like that? No, I want people to remember us like, even the last tour we did, we were still really burning up the stage, some people at any age can’t do that. That’s what I want the memory to be. At this point I’m open to it if we can pull it off, but there are lots of reasons not to do it, too.

Williamson was right about these songs getting compared to the old versions, because we’re going to do that right now. Here’s the Stooges’ demo for “I Got a Right.” This has ended up on various bootlegs, and even got a small but legit release, on a super limited deluxe edition of Raw Power. This song completely fuckin’ smokes.

And here’s a teaser of the version with the BellRays’ Lisa Kekaula. This also completely fuckin’ smokes. If you’re watching at work, be advised there’s a stripper in the video.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Three DVD box set pays tribute to Lou Reed, Velvets, Iggy, Bowie and punk

Seemingly just as Lou Reed left this earth, I noticed this box set on Amazon called Lou Reed Tribute from Chrome Dreams, a UK company that has put out some cool DVDs (this one, Frank Zappa, Keith Richards, etc.) and some stuff that puzzles me (Springsteen, Prince, Britney Spears?).

I wasn’t sure about it but it had three DVDs in a nicely designed box and it was so inexpensive that I had to get it. I had just learned about another product of theirs that looked great, a double DVD documentary about Zappa and Beefheart called When Don Met Frank: Beefheart Vs. Zappa, only to read in the reviews that it was a total ripoff and that it was two old documentaries repackaged in one set without any mention of this anywhere on the product. I was prepared for the worst.
Surprisingly, these were actually pretty good! First up is The Velvet Underground Under Review—yes, the awful title sounds like a science project, but inside is a concise and interesting documentary featuring interviews with at least one person I’d never seen interviewed before (Norman Dolph, who did their first demo acetate that’s been floating around the last few years and is, in fact, on eBay now for $65,000). I really liked the Billy Name segments as he was actually there on the inside in those early days, which they go into pretty deeply, including the pre-Velvets Pickwick Records budget-goofy rock ‘n’ roll recordings Lou was doing, which I love (and which were not all goofy as there was some true garage greatness in there as well). Also great are the Moe Tucker and Doug Yule interviews.

It had a good approach and really, I can watch stuff like this all day.
The second DVD is The Sacred Triangle: Bowie Iggy & Lou 1971-1973. I really enjoyed this one, though as I started to realize, Chrome Dreams is a bit of a “quickie” company and similar people were overlapped in this and the other DVDs making me realize that these were probably not originally intended to be watched back to back. This also has some amazing interviews, and again really delves into the early days of Bowie’s more whimsical period in the sixties when he was already obsessed and ripping off (and covering) The Velvet Underground, having been given one of the first and only pre first album demo acetates in 1965 or ‘66.

It goes into great detail about Bowie’s “cool beginnings” when the cast of Andy Warhol’s play Pork were in London and looking for bands to see and decided to go see an unknown David Bowie because he was wearing a dress on his then-current album cover. These people (Tony Zanetta, Cherry Vanilla, Wayne County and Leee Black Childers) all became Mainman Ltd., the bizarre company that ran most of Bowie’s affairs and mutated him into Ziggy Stardust in no time. Seeing Leee Black Childers (R.I.P.) interviewed, with him in his rockabilly best and with a big Band-aid® on his forehead said it all as far as who he was and how much he gave a fuck, one of the first true punk rockers, ever.

Similarly but multiplied by a hundred is Wayne, now Jayne County (“now” meaning for the last 35 years or so!) who is amazing in a huge red chair with a wild matching red outfit, makeup and her trademark fishnet stockings over her arms like long gloves, talking matter of factly about what really went down. Everyone knows Jayne County as a glam and then punk rock innovator, but we forget (or some don’t know) that Jayne was a real Warhol Superstar along with Candy Darling, Holly Woodlawn and Jackie Curtis. And Jayne starred in Warhol’s Pork (as Vulva, a characterization of Viva). The interviews with Angie Bowie, as always, are insane and classic. This DVD was really great and informative about my favorite small moment in rock n roll. The only annoyance is that they didn’t know who Cherry Vanilla is, and they talk about her a lot as she starred in Pork but kept showing a photo of someone else every time they referred to her!
The last DVD, Punk Revolution NYC: The Velvet Underground, The New York Dolls and the CBGB Set 1966-1974 is also really great, surprisingly. Believe me, with a title like this, where I come from this should be a real groaner, but it wasn’t. Not to discredit some of the interviewees, but I think that a lot of bigger names wouldn’t talk to Chrome Dreams, or couldn’t, so they had to dig deeper and get some people that did not become famous, but certainly are people I know that most definitely deserve to be interviewed and put a new spin on a now pretty tired subject. So it actually worked in their favor.

A good “for instance” is Elda Stiletto (Gentile), someone I knew and someone who is the perfect bridge to the exact time frame of this documentary. Elda was married to Warhol Superstar Eric Emerson. Emerson started pretty much the first glitter band in NYC, The Magic Tramps, only to be steamrolled by the New York Dolls and all that came in their path. Eric Emerson was also the upside down figure on The Velvet Underground and Nico LP’s back cover, who sued hoping to get some quick dough, but was foiled when he just caused the LP to be delayed, first with a big sticker covering him, then with his image being airbrushed out of the photo entirely. (Why none of this was mentioned is beyond me.) Elda Stiletto then went on to form The Stilettos with Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, a sort of “glitter doo wop” group that morphed into Blondie after all the other girls were gotten rid of. Two of the other gals in The Stilettos were Tish and Snooky who would go on to sing in The Sic Fucks and founded Manic Panic, a small punk store (that is now a large corporation—I was their first employee!) on St. Marks Place (just a few doors down from where The Dom was, where The Velvets played, later to become The Electric Circus where The Stooges and many others played).

Also interviewed are Suicide’s Alan Vega, Richard Lloyd from Television, Leee Black Childers and Jayne County, this time in the most insane outfit ever! She’s on a big black couch, reclining on her back, facing the camera completely covered in a ton of black fabric so she looks like a demented floating disembodied head! Ha ha!! To top it all off she’s wearing a black witchy wig and crazy electric blue makeup that is just insane looking. She never fails to blow my mind! They also talked to Richard Hell, Ivan Julian from The Voidoids, photographer Roberta Bayley, Danny Fields and more. There was oddly, no mention of The Ramones!

Ultimately all three DVDs come off like extremely dry BBC docs and there is a lot of overlap, but it doesn’t totally take away from the experience. The punk DVD just suddenly says “End of Part One” and stops, which is annoying because it actually was good. Where is part two? Sprinkled throughout these documentaries are critics like Robert Christgau and Simon Reynolds, biographer Victor Bockris and other experts.

Below, here’s the lead doc, The Velvet Underground Under Review. The quality is “eh” so you might want to get the DVDs. The Lou Reed Tribute DVD box set sells for less than $20 on Amazon. Used it’s under $10.

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
Death Trip: How would YOU like to be killed by Iggy Pop in Dario Argento’s new movie? Here’s how!
10:34 am


Iggy Pop
Dario Argento

Dario Argento The Sandman staring Iggy Pop
According to the master of Giallo himself, Dario Argento’s upcoming release will be a Christmas movie called The Sandman. The film is a tribute to Argento’s vast film career and will star everybody’s favorite punk, Iggy Pop. Based on a short story written in 1816 by German author E.T.A Hoffmann, Iggy is set to play a serial killer who takes pleasure in murdering his victims with a melon spoon, scoops their eyes out with with said melon spoon then, saves the unfortunate peepers as trophies.

Says Argento about the premise and inspiration for The Sandman:

On this Christmas a child witnesses his mother murdered by a serial killer. I am tired of these Christmas movies showing goodness. Beauty, snowflakes, sleds being pulled by reindeer. I’d rather have a Christmas movie where there is also violence, strength, and horror. And this is what I’m going to do. Christmas is coming and so is The Sandman!

Argento is using funding site Indie Go Go to raise $250,000 to make The Sandman. Below is the highly amusing teaser for the film that features Iggy who confesses that making this film with Argento would be a “dream come true” for him. A pretty tall order coming from a man who’s pretty much done it all.

And speaking of dreams that could come true, the reward for a $15,000 donation will not only get you a role in the film, it will also give you bragging rights to saying you’ve been killed killed by Iggy Pop while under the watchful direction of Dario Argento. Wow!

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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