The Smoking Gun has done everyone a great service by publishing the backstage riders that Iggy Pop and the Stooges send to their concert venues in advance of arrival. They’re completely irreverent and silly and down-to-earth and ramble on like a demented monologue by Monty Python’s Eric Idle himself.
The genius behind these shaggy comedic documents is Jos Grain, who has been Iggy’s road manager since 1986—his term is “Marvellous and Most Instructive Information Document…. Including Utterly Confusing Comments and Asides.” The Smoking Gun posted the 2006 rider for Iggy and the Stooges, which was also written by Sharp, who then expanded the document for the 2012 tour. (I’m linking readers to the page in the riders where the fun requests for bottled water and so forth start—there’s plenty of amusing and informative stuff before that about stage setup and amps and lighting and all that. If you want to read the full 2012 rider more easily on a single page, you can go to Grain’s own website, where he’s posted it as well.)
Jos Grain, setting up for an Iggy and the Stooges show in Melbourne, Australia, in 2013. Photo: Mike Watt
As a prime example of Grain’s sense of humor, in the 2006 rider, Iggy’s demands for the backstage area included “Somebody dressed as Bob Hope doing fantastic Bob Hope impersonations and telling all those hilarious Bob Hope jokes about golf and Hollywood and Bing Crosby. Oh God, I wish I’d been alive in those days, so that Bob Hope could have come and entertained me in some World War 2 hell-hole before I went off and got shot. What joy they must have experienced…” In the 2012 rider this is updated to include an alternate option: “OR Seven dwarves, dressed up as those dwarves out of that marvellous Walt Disney film about the woman who goes to sleep fro [sic] a hundred years after biting a poisoned dwarf, or maybe after pricking her finger on a rather sharp apple… or something. What was the name of that film? Oooh, it’s on the tip of my tongue. Was it Cinderella? Doesn’t matter, we just want the dwarves. Taller people are acceptable, of course. It’s attitude, more than altitude, that’s important here. Don’t forget the pointy hats! If neither of the above are available we will settle for a belly dancer. In fact, she can use my belly to dance on…”
In th 2012 rider, Grain gratuitously goes after Oscar-winning director and Arrested Development voiceover actor Ron Howard: “Apparently Iggy met that Ron Howard once. You know, the ugly, baldy one out of Happy Days. Directs films. Got one of those faces you’d never get tired of punching.”
There’s hardly a paragraph or sentence that isn’t adorned by an aside or silly joke of that sort.
Iggy Pop’s 2006 rider
Since I have no experience in venue management, I can’t tell if Grain/Iggy are masking what in fact still ends up being a fairly diva-ish list of demands or if what they request is totally par for the course for big national touring acts. I suspect it’s the latter, but even if Iggy is asking for a lot, with a rider this amusing you have to like him for it, so it makes fulfillment of his Grolsch beer, ‘86 St. Emilion red wine, deck of cards, recent copy of USA Today “that’s got a story about morbidly obese people in it” and all the rest seem far less arduous.
Here’s Iggy and the Stooges in Glastonbury in 2007: