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Less with the raw, still with the power: James Williamson resurrects lost Iggy & the Stooges songs
10.29.2014
06:32 am

Topics:
History
Music
Punk

Tags:
Iggy Pop
James Williamson
Stooges


 
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?

I’M NO IGGY POP!

*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.
 
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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.
 
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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!
 
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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!
10.09.2014
10:34 am

Topics:
Heroes
Movies

Tags:
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
Iggy Pop and Peggy Lee in mesmerizing mashup video of ‘The Passenger’ and ‘Fever’
09.25.2014
08:51 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Iggy Pop
mashup
Peggy Lee

Iggy Pop and Peggy Lee
 
The audio portion of this fantastic mashup of Iggy Pop and Peggy Lee has been around for a while, but a former New Yorker now living in Shanghai named Eric Bochene, has put together a hypnotic video he calls “I Say Passenger La-La Fever,” that blends Lee’s classy Rat Pack world with Iggy’s drug-soaked panic attack, perfectly.

You can hear a few more of Bochene’s mashups over at his YouTube channel
 

 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Real Wild Child: Iggy Pop’s electrifying 1980s appearances on ‘Late Night with David Letterman’
09.15.2014
08:07 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Iggy Pop
David Letterman

Iggy Pop
 
“I like to mix the dirt with the music.” Iggy Pop on Late Night with David Letterman, 1988

Iggy Pop appeared on NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman three times in the 1980s, and they were all memorable TV events. Iggy is, of course, as only Iggy can be, giving uninhibited performances in which he dances wildly and alternates between turning his back on the audience and confronting them. These were totally thrilling talk show segments and worth staying up (or setting your VCR) for back in the day. The Ig was also a charming and quotable interviewee; he and Dave, on the surface, seem to be hugely mismatched individuals, but they have a surprisingly great rapport, likely finding an unsaid common ground in the their shared midwestern sensibilities.

Iggy continued to pop up on Late Night and has been seen frequently on the subsequent Late Show with David Letterman over the years. You can’t beat these 1980s appearances, but he’s always waaaay more entertaining than the average boob tube talk show guest. This is, after all, Iggy Fucking Pop!

“Eat or Be Eaten,” December 8th, 1982 (unfortunately, the interview portion isn’t online):
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
Iggy Pop and the roots of his ‘white suburban delinquent music’
06.26.2014
08:16 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Iggy Pop
The Stooges


 
James Newell Osterberg, Jr. was raised on a trailer park in Michigan, Carpenter Rd, just off old U.S. Route 23. His parents were low-wage, lower middle class, but as Iggy Pop later said, the people in the trailer park were “nicer than some of the more accomplished members of our society.”

Osterberg was friends with a family from Tennessee who killed a chicken once a week for Sunday dinner by asphyxiating it on a tail pipe. The family had a son who played Duane Eddy-type rock on a guitar. It was the young James’ first taste of inspirational “working class music”—the grip and thrill of those goosebump chords gave him a sense of ambition and a growing awareness of the chip on his shoulder.

At thirteen Osterberg attended school in Ann Arbor, where he met kids who had guitars, amplifiers and albums by Ray Charles, Duane Eddy and Elvis—that was when he got “seriously corrupted.”

School was an annoying “buzz” (or so Iggy has claimed) that he had to get away from—music was a passion which he saw as a way out. Though he was clever at school, well-liked and, according to one old school friend in Paul Trynka’s biography, smart enough to become President of the United States. But nice boy James opted out and became drummer with a high school band The Iguanas—hence his nickname Iggy. Like a lot of drummers, Iggy wanted to get out from round back and up front under the spotlight. He honed his skills playing drums with black R&B bands across the state, as Iggy said in Legs McNeil & Gillian McCain’s Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk:

So I hooked up with Sam Lay. He was playing with Jimmy Cotton and I’d go see them play and learned what I could. And very occasionally, I would get to sit in, I’d get a cheap gig for five or ten bucks. I played for Johnny Young once—he was hired to play for a white church group, and I could play cheap, so he let me play.

It was a thrill, you know? It was a thrill to be really close to some of those guys—they all had attitude, like jive motherfuckers, you know? What I noticed about these black guys was that their music was like honey off their fingers. Real childlike and charming in its simplicity. It was just a very natural mode of expression and life-style. They were drunk all the time and it was sexy-sexy and dudey-dudey, and it was just a bunch of guys that didn’t want to work and who played good.

I realized that these guys were way over my head, and that what they were doing was so natural to them that it was ridiculous for me to make a studious copy of it, which is what most white bands did.

One night Iggy went down to the sewage treatment plant by the Loop to smoke a joint, where he thought:

What you got to do is play your own simple blues. I could describe my experience based on the way those guys explained theirs…

So that’s what I did. I appropriated a lot of their vocal forms, and also their turns of phrase—either heard or misheard or twisted from blues songs. So “I Wanna Be Your Dog” is probably my mishearing of “Baby Please Don’t Go.”

Iggy was creating “white suburban delinquent music.”

In 2004, when Iggy and The Stooges were on a European tour, the then leather-fleshed, diamond-eyed 57-year-old singer was interviewed at length about his life and career by Melvyn Bragg for The South Bank Show.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Iggy Pop found tortured with the Dalai Lama and Karl Lagerfeld!
06.18.2014
11:48 am

Topics:
Activism
Amusing

Tags:
Iggy Pop
Karl Lagerfeld
Dalai Lama

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“The future of rock is Justin Bieber”—Iggy Pop

Torture a man and he’ll tell you what you want to hear. It ‘s the message that launches Amnesty International’s new campaign, in its Francophone version, to raise public awareness on the issue of torture. In addition to Iggy Pop, they also “tortured” the Dalai Lama (“A man who does not have a Rolex at 50 years of age is a failure”) and German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld (“The height of elegance is the Hawaiian shirt with flip-flops.”).

Truly incroyable.
 
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Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
Iggy Pop has a wider vocal range than Whitney Houston?
05.21.2014
06:59 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Iggy Pop
Whitney Houston


 
At least, that’s the word from concerthotels.com’s list, “The Vocal Range of the World’s Greatest Singers.” Obviously, “world’s greatest singers” is a pretty subjective category, and I’m not quite sure how extensive their research is on each singer, but the data is nonetheless compelling. The ranges measured are obviously from each artist’s catalog (not like they could trap them in a room and make them do scales, especially since quite a few of them are dead), and you can see everything in an easy-to-read graphic, as stretches of notes across a keyboard.

It actually makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Anyone who’s ever heard “Candy” know’s Iggy’s quite a crooner, and Houston was most famous for her belting—a vocal technique that one can only achieve in a narrow range. I was surprised at Axl Rose’s top ranking, but even more so by Sam Cooke’s spot almost at the bottom—I suppose sometimes brilliance is just doing more with less, eh?

Below is a slice of how the graphic is arranged, but you really need to see the whole thing to get the full effect.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Happy Birthday Iggy Pop!
04.21.2014
08:40 am

Topics:

Tags:
Iggy Pop
Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Idiot: Iggy Pop totally charms square daytime TV audience, 1977
04.16.2014
10:45 am

Topics:
Music
Punk
Television

Tags:
David Bowie
Iggy Pop


 
Iggy Pop’s classic album, The Idiot, is now 37 years old. It still sounds as good today as when it was released in spring of 1977, although the times have caught up to it. Somewhat at least.

Produced by David Bowie, who co-wrote all of the songs with Iggy, save for one (Bowie’s longtime guitarist Carlos Alomar co-wrote “Sister Midnight), The Idiot has very little in common with the rest of the Igster’s output, even his next record, Lust for Life, also produced in collaboration with Bowie. No, The Idiot‘s Teutonic-sounding industrial drone had almost no connection whatsoever to the sound of The Stooges, or really even most things of that era, come to think of it.

Bowie’s own Low album had just come out in January and was considered mind-blowing, even controversial at the time. The Idiot, released just a few weeks later (but mostly recorded first), was an equally chilly-sounding affair, but way darker and with a much bigger whomp. It’s sort of the perfect marriage of their talents.

As Bowie told Kurt Loder in 1989:

Poor Jim, in a way, became a guinea pig for what I wanted to do with sound. I didn’t have the material at the time, and I didn’t feel like writing at all. I felt much more like laying back and getting behind someone else’s work, so that album was opportune, creatively.

The Idiot was the first Iggy album that you could easily buy in a small town. I was eleven when it came out and I already owned both Raw Power and a blue vinyl Metallic ‘KO—both purchased unheard via mail order from a Moby Disc Records ad in CREEM magazine, a monthlong round trip—so when I brought The Idiot home from the mall and slapped it on the turntable, I was perplexed at first, but ultimately thrilled. “Dum Dum Boys” and “Mass Production” were my favorite tracks. The druggy, nightmarish vamp “Nightclubbing” was another. I played the shit out of that album.

When Iggy and Bowie toured that spring in support of The Idiot, they made a stop on daytime television’s Dinah! show, hosted by singer Dinah Shore. Bowie had been on Dinah! to promote Station to Station (with fellow guests Nancy Walker and Henry Winkler) and seemed to have a good rapport with Shore, so it was arranged that he would guest with Iggy, who sang a live “Sister Midnight” after Shore introduced him—her show was on at 10am in the TV market I lived in—with a photograph of him covered in blood! Dinah! may have been a middle-of-the-road daytime TV show, but to her credit, Dinah Shore didn’t shy away from asking him about it either (as Bowie laughs and shakes his head “No!”). Shore’s square studio audience, too, seem to actually be charmed by Jimmy Osterberg’s tales of his misspent youth, drug addiction and self-harming, because, hey let’s face it, the man was charisma personified during this delightful chat
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Rock stars with their cats and dogs

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Cool pictures of musicians with their pet dogs and cats, which show how even the most self-obsessed, narcissistic Rock god has a smidgen of humanity to care about someone other than themselves. Though admittedly, Iggy Pop looks like he’s about to eat his pet dog.
 
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Patti Smith and stylist.
 
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This is not a doggy bag, Iggy.
 
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There’s a cat in there somewhere with Joey Ramone.
 
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Tupac Shakur and a future internet meme.
 
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Bjork and a kissing cousin.
 
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O Superdog: Laurie Anderson and friend.
 
More cats and dogs and musicians, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Iggy Pop belts out two immortal Joy Division songs at Tuesday’s Tibet House benefit
03.13.2014
05:44 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Iggy Pop
Joy Division
New Order

Iggy Pop and New Order
 
The lineup that the Tibet House US put together for the 24th Annual Tibet House US Benefit Concert at Carnegie Hall two nights ago was the kind of collection of noteworthy musical talents that was guaranteed to make a certain kind of discerning fan of rock music quiver with excitement. The program promised the following enticements:
 

Philip Glass
Nico Muhly
Matt Berning, Aaron Dessner, & Bryce Dessner of The National
Bernard Sumner, Phil Cunningham, & Tom Chapman of New Order
Iggy Pop
Robert Randolph
Patti Smith and her Band
Techung

With an invocation and closing by
Monks from the Drepung Gomang Monasteries

 
The evening would prove to have an impressive number of impromptu guests and collaborations not depicted here, including the surprise appearance of Sufjan Stevens, who sat in with The National; Nico Muhly playing together with Philip Glass; and a special gesture of tribute to recently departed Lou Reed from Patti Smith, who covered Reed’s classic “Perfect Day.”

But most exciting of all, perhaps, was Iggy Pop teaming up with three of the members of New Order (no Peter Hook, of course; Sumner was the only original member present) to play two of Joy Division’s most enduring songs, “Transmission” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” As all dedicated Joy Division fans know, when Ian Curtis hanged himself on May 18, 1980, Iggy’s 1977 album The Idiot was spinning on the turntable just a few feet away.
 
Iggy Pop and New Order
 
Earlier in the evening, Sufjan Stevens joined The National for “I Need My Girl” and “This is the Last Time” off of 2013’s Trouble Will Find Me and “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” off of their 2010 album High Violet (video for which can be found here; scroll down) before Sufjan played two songs from The Planetarium, the somewhat proggy collaboration involving Muhly and the National’s Bryce Dessner from 2013. Then Nico Muhly and Philip Glass joined forces for “The Chase,” a track off of Glass’s 2004 soundtrack for Undertow.

When New Order’s time to perform arrived, they played “St. Anthony” before introducing Iggy, who joined the band for “Californian Grass,” off of New Order’s 2013 album Lost Sirens; Sumner said that the band had never played the song live before. The next two songs were the immortal Joy Division numbers “Transmission” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”

What follows are fan videos, but both the video and the audio are in fairly good shape. 

“Californian Grass”

 
“Transmission”

 
“Love Will Tear Us Apart” after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Raw Power: James Williamson of The Stooges this week on ‘The Pharmacy’


 
Gregg Foreman’s radio program, The Pharmacy, is a music / talk show playing heavy soul, raw funk, 60′s psych, girl groups, Krautrock. French yé-yé, Hammond organ rituals, post-punk transmissions and “ghost on the highway” testimonials and interviews with the most interesting artists and music makers of our times.

This week’s guest is James Williamson of The Stooges. Topics include:

—Iggy nearly choosing to a see movie over meeting David Bowie.

—The final Stooges show that saw a rain of bottles, cans, glass—even cameras—hurled by angry bikers at the band.

—How Raw Power got made while management was preoccupied trying to break David Bowie in the USA.

—Elektra records dropping the band due to drug use and Ron Ashton’s Nazi paraphernalia-filled room.

—When James got fired from the band temporarily and found himself working as a projectionist at a porn theater.

—How The Stooges had no idea what effect their sound would have on future bands.


 
Mr. Pharmacy is a musician and DJ who has played for the likes of Pink Mountaintops, The Delta 72, The Black Ryder, The Meek and more. Since 2012 Gregg Foreman has been the musical director of Cat Power’s band. He started dj’ing 60s Soul and Mod 45’s in 1995 and has spun around the world. Gregg currently lives in Los Angeles, CA and divides his time between playing live music, producing records and dj’ing various clubs and parties from LA to Australia.
 
Setlist

Mr.Pharmacist - The Fall
Ramblin Rose - The MC5
Shake Appeal - The Stooges
Intro 1 / Honky Tonk Popcorn - Rx / Bill Doggett
James Williamson Interview Part One 
I Gotta Move - The Kinks
I Just Wanna Make Love to You - The Rolling Stones
Sonic Reducer - The Dead Boys
Sunshine of Your Love - Spanky Wilson
Intro 2 / Do Your Thang - Rx / Dennis Coffey
James Williamson Interview Part Two
Know Your Product - The Saints
I’m Bored - Iggy Pop
Try It ! - The Standells
Intro 3 / Guess I’m Falling in Love (Rx on Organ) - Rx / Velvet Underground
James Williamson Interview Part Three
Let a Woman Be a Woman , Let a Man Be a Man - Dyke and the Blazers
Gone and Passes By - the Chocolate Watchband
Intro 4 / Twin Stars Of Thence Ra - Rx / Sun Ra
James Williamson Interview Part Four
Gimme Danger - The Stooges
Mr.Pharmacist (Outro) - The Fall
 

 
You can download the entire show here.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Iggy Pop and Ryuichi Sakamoto’s ‘Risky,’ a video tribute to Man Ray
01.13.2014
06:05 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Iggy Pop
Ryuichi Sakamoto

pop/sakamoto
 
In 1987, the same year he won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Grammy for scoring The Last Emperor, pioneering composer Ryuichi Sakamoto released an interesting LP called Neo Geo, an exploration of world musics and high tech. If the acutely ‘80s pop production doesn’t put you off, it’s a wonderful LP full of great ideas. And it damn well should be—its credits are laden with names like Sly Dunbar, David Van Tieghem, Bootsie Collins, Bill Laswell and Iggy Pop. Here’s the full album:
 

 
It’s Iggy Pop’s contribution that concerns us here. Smack in between his least edifying Bowie collaboration Blah-Blah-Blah and his return to hard rock on Instinct, Pop recorded an amazingly powerful vocal track for Sakamoto’s song “Risky,” which became a single. The award winning video, directed by Meiert Avis, is a lush visual tribute to the art of Man Ray, among others, and features loads of tropes from Ray’s work, notably the words drawn in light to an open camera shutter. Per Wikipedia:

The ground breaking video explores transhumanist philosopher FM-2030‘s (Persian: فریدون اسفندیاری) ideas of “Nostalgia for the Future”, in the form of an imagined love affair between a robot and one of Man Ray’s models in Paris in the late 1930s. Additional inspiration was drawn from Jean Baudrillard, Edvard Munch’s 1894 painting “Puberty”, and Roland Barthes “Death of the Author”. The surrealist black and white video uses stop motion, light painting, and other retro in-camera effects techniques. Meiert Avis shot Sakamoto while at work on the score for The Last Emperor in London. Sakamoto also appears in the video painting words and messages to an open shutter camera. Iggy Pop, who performs the vocals on “Risky”, chose not to appear in the video, allowing his performance space to be occupied by the surrealist era robot.

The video exists in two versions, one for the radio edit…
 

 
...and one for the 12” remix. This version shows loads more skin than the shorter one, so use discretion if viewing at work.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Iggy Pop’s really strange Christmas message
12.23.2013
03:37 pm

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
Iggy Pop


 
I don’t really know what the hell is going on here, but I think I like it! Maybe this is a few of Iggy’s Vines strung together? (Wait, Iggy’s on Vine?) Hard to tell WHAT this is…

Thank you Mr. Pop, for this very delightfully surreal (or is this dada?) Christmas message. MOAR cockatoo, next year!
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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