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Real Wild Child: Iggy Pop’s electrifying 1980s appearances on ‘Late Night with David Letterman’
08:07 am


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’
08:16 am


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!
11:48 am


Iggy Pop
Karl Lagerfeld
Dalai Lama

“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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Iggy Pop has a wider vocal range than Whitney Houston?
06:59 am


Iggy Pop
Whitney Houston

At least, that’s the word from’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!
08:40 am


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


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

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.
Patti Smith and stylist.
This is not a doggy bag, Iggy.
There’s a cat in there somewhere with Joey Ramone.
Tupac Shakur and a future internet meme.
Bjork and a kissing cousin.
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
05:44 am


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

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”


“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.

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
06:05 am


Iggy Pop
Ryuichi 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
03:37 pm


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
Iggy Pop’s tour riders are hilarious
11:58 am


Iggy Pop

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
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 2006 rider
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:

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘FLicKer’: Brion Gysin’s Dreamachine, tripping without drugs, w/ Iggy Pop, Kenneth Anger and more

Some artists, like Picasso and Dali, were discovered when they were young and their talents grew to maturity before the public eye. Sometimes, however it takes… well, dying before the art world sits up and takes notice of you, This was certainly the case with Brion Gysin, the Canadian/British painter and author who long stood in the shadows, figuratively speaking, of William S. Burroughs, his lifelong friend and collaborator. Burroughs once said that Brion Gysin was the only man he ever truly respected.

Gysin is an artist whose work must be seen in person to be truly appreciated. Of course this is said about every artist’s work, but it’s particularly true with Brion Gysin. What might appear to be random chicken scratch calligraphy when reproduced in a book, becomes ALIVE when seen in person. Seemingly careless hash marks become scenes of hundreds of people around a bonfire or a crowded Arab marketplace when you’re staring right at it.

The man was a master. And he left an awful lot of work behind. Although there were various Gysin gallery exhibits in New York while he was still alive—I recall being astonished by some large works on paper in a great 1985 show at the Tower Gallery—there was never a museum-level retrospective of Gysin’s work in the United States until 2010 at the New Museum in Manhattan:

One of the things Gysin is best know for is inventing the Dreamachine—a kinetic light sculpture that utilizes flicker effect to induce visions—a drugless turn-on.

FLicKer is a 2008 Canadian documentary about Gysin’s Dreamachine, directed by Nik Sheehan. Kenneth Anger, Marianne Faithfull, Gysin biographer John Geiger, Iggy Pop, Genesis P-Orridge, Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, DJ Spooky and yours truly are interviewed.

H/T R.U. Sirius

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Iggy Pop: ‘America today is a nation of midgets led by dwarves’
03:31 pm


Iggy Pop

Here’s an amusing letter written by Iggy Pop to journalist Joshua Berger following an interview they did together for Plazm magazine in 1995. Iggy was in Warsaw at that time on a tour of Europe.

I have no idea how the hell he fit all that text on Delta stationery. But he did, thankfully. There are so many choice quotes from this letter…

TIL Iggy Pop hates Led Zeppelin.


PHLASH: nation of midgets

the arts in America today are above all else. Successful artists live like gods. They are REMOTE and useless. the painting and sculpture generally on offer ranges from coy & cute to incomprehensible & huge. Everybody’s sick of it, but it’s exactly what it’s patrons deserve. These people are corrupt and frigid. America today is a nation of midgets led by dwarves. The midgets are small and normal. The dwarves are small and warped. The sickness comes from the top down.

The ‘music’ is mostly 60’s and 70’s rehash, esp. LED ZEPPELIN, who i never could stand in the first place. Also ‘folk-rock’ is back as ‘alternative’. gimme a break. the ‘bands’ dress this mess up in various ‘HIP’ clothes and ‘political’ postures to encode a ‘lock’ on social belonging which you can open by purchasing a combination of products, especially their own, none of them have fuck-all to say.

I hate the inane worship of gross ‘supermodels’ and i positively loathe Calvin Klein ads and that whole school of photography. it is not beautiful. Our gods are assholes.

There are continual ‘shock and rage’ movements in the performing/conceptual arts, but are they bringing anybody a good time? they bring filth death & loathing of self as fashion. I understand them, though. People are lost and frustrated, AND UNSKILLED.

Our country is stupid and degenerate. Nobody is here. People are starving. No one talks to you. No one comments. You are cut off. No one is straight. TV morons. A revolution is coming, and in reaction, a strongman will emerge. Everything sucks. Don’t bother me.

i hate it all. heavy metal. hollywood movies. SCHPOLOOGY! YeHEHCHH! - Iggy Pop

Tell us how you really feel, Jim! Shit, this was written in 1995. Imagine how pissed off Iggy must be in 2013!

Via Letters of Note

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Iggy Pop in the late 70s/early 80s, previously unseen photographs taken by his girlfriend
08:26 am


Iggy Pop

With mannequins in a comic book shop in Boston, 1980
With mannequins in a comic book shop in Boston, 1980
On February 21 of this year the well-regarded German newspaper Die Zeit ran an exclusive interview with Esther Friedman, who was Iggy Pop’s girlfriend for seven years, from roughly 1976 to 1982. They met while Iggy was living in West Berlin with David Bowie, where the two rock stars were hoping to dry out after a period of heavy drug use. Iggy and Bowie lived at Hauptstrasse 155 in Schöneberg. At that time, Friedman was a prolific photographer, and she took many revealing photographs of Iggy Pop in various locales. The cover photo for Iggy’s 1982 album Zombie Birdhouse was taken by Friedman during a 1981 vacation to Haiti.

At Hansa Studios near the Berlin Wall, Iggy recorded The Idiot and Lust for Life, both produced by Bowie, while Bowie cut his three legendary “Berlin period” albums Low, Heroes, and Lodger during the same period.

In the interview, Friedman spoke openly about her life with Iggy. He comes across as rather different from his public image—shy instead of outgoing. Friedman discusses the origins of one of Iggy’s greatest songs, “The Passenger,” as well as the sharp differences between Iggy’s frenetic stage persona and his offstage self, whom Friedman called “Jim,” as in James Osterberg, Iggy’s real name. Obviously, the interview is in German—but here are some excerpts from Friedman’s interview with Die Zeit, or actually ZEITmagazin, which is sort of the German equivalent of the New York Times Magazine (translation by Martin Schneider):

ZEITmagazin: Did you call Iggy Pop “Jim” from the very start?

Esther Friedman: Yes, his proper name is James Osterberg, but I always called him Jim, never Iggy. He named himself Iggy when he was 18. His first band was the Iguanas, so that’s where that came from. David [Bowie] always used to call him Jimmy in Berlin, his parents called him Jim. Iggy is his stage name. And there are actually two characters, there’s Iggy, and there’s James.

ZEITmagazin: What is the difference between the two?

Esther Friedman: The difference is rather large. Iggy is 99 percent unbearable. And James, Jim, is 99 percent bearable.


Esther Friedman: Berlin left Jim alone. In Berlin Jim could just be Jim when he wanted to, he could live, sit in the local bar next door and drink a beer. He loved it. David had studied the literature and art that came from Berlin or took place in Berlin. Christopher Isherwood’s book Goodbye to Berlin from 1939, the works of the “Die Brücke” group—all of that fascinated David, and he took Jim with him. They often went to the Brücke Museum. “The Passenger” ...

ZEITmagazin: ...Iggy Pop’s greatest hit…

Esther Friedman: ...well, it’s a hymn to Berlin’s S-Bahn [Stadtschnellbahn, light rail system]. Jim went on the S-Bahn almost every day. Those trips inspired him to write the song, especially the section that goes out to the Wannsee. Jim and David also frequently traveled together to East Berlin, in a Mercedes-Benz 600 that David’s chauffeur took care of.


ZEITmagazin: Is it true that Iggy Pop was in a telephone booth and some punk locked him in from the outside?

Esther Friedman: Yes, that happened at three o’clock in the morning. Telephone booths actually used to have locks. Jim had just come from the Dschungel Club in Nürnberger Strasse and called me: “Listen, I’m locked in a telephone booth here! You have to help me!” I said, “Think up a better story. How come you’re calling me at three in the morning and waking me up?” Then I hung up.

ZEITmagazin: Why?

Esther Friedman: Maybe I can explain it this way: When he called at three in the morning, it was not Jim on the line, but Iggy.

ZEITmagazin: The boisterous punk rocker.

Esther Friedman: The poor guy, he sat in that phone booth until six in the morning. A taxi driver discovered him and was able to open the door with a master key. To this day we don’t know who locked him in there.

Esther Friedman and Iggy Pop were together for seven years.
Esther Friedman and Iggy Pop were together for seven years.
Esther Friedman in Berlin-Schöneberg, photographed by Iggy Pop
Esther Friedman in Berlin-Schöneberg, photographed by Iggy Pop
Iggy Pop during the
Iggy Pop during the “Lust for Life” tour in the US, 1978
In Berlin, 1977
In Berlin, 1977
After the jump, more photographs of Iggy Pop…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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