Iggy Pop And The Stooges
Extremism in Rock is no vice.
If self-abuse were the sole criteria for Rock greatness, Iggy Pop would be king. If crazed, out of control performances ruled, Iggy would rule. Iggy's entire career, whether as the Stooges frontman or solo, has been a monument to the wild, fierce and deranged. He got interested in a Rock career after seeing a Doors concert. His life answered the question, "What if Jim Morrison had lived?" Actually, Iggy took up where Morrison left off but gave it a Midwest spin - a tonic of angst, fear, defeat and resentment - that charged his performances.
If it was worth thinking, Iggy was up for doing it. Smearing peanut butter on himself, rolling around on broken glass or just thrashing about, Iggy was a man surging to extremes. Drugs? Sure. Maybe Iggy's just a couple genomes short of the entire DNA cocktail. Who knows? He was Punk long before the term was coined, and he in turn, inspired a generation.
After a couple decade hiatus, Iggy recorded with The Stooges, bassist Ron and drummer Scott Asheton (the surviving members), on the '03 release "Skull Ring." Iggy was also backed by Green Day and Sum 41.
Following the success (nobody died) of the "Skull Ring" sessions, it seemed evitable that there would be another full-fledged Stooges album. Aptly titled, "The Weirdness," hit in '07.
"Ready To Die," released in '13, was Iggy And The Stooges first studio album of all-new material featuring Pop, guitarist James Williamson and Scott Asheton, since '73's "Raw Power." Mike Watt, a Stooge since '03, filled in for the late Ron Asheton on bass.
Pop told NME that it was important for the group to continue recording. "It's just a pig-headed thing I have that a real group when they're an older group, they also make records," explained Pop. "They don't just go and twiddle around on stage to make a bunch of money."
Iggy And The Stooges performance on Comedy Central's Colbert Report to promote "Ready To Die" was one of those magical TV moments. The comedy show that sometimes got taken seriously met a serious Punk whose actions were often comical.
A shirtless Pop darted around the studio encouraging - even demanding - audience members sing along with "Job," a song probably few had heard until that very moment. The audience was on its feet and all the host could do was lean against his desk and smile at the absurdity unraveling in front of him.
Iggy then received a tribute before giving one.
Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Duff McKagan (Guns N' Roses), Mark Arm (Mudhoney) and Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees/Mad Season) created a one-night only supergroup to pay tribute to Iggy And The Stooges. They performed on the roof of Seattle's Pike Place Market.
The following year, Iggy remembered the late David Bowie (a onetime collaborator and close friend), who passed just weeks earlier, by performing two Bowie songs, "The Jean Genie" and "Tonight," at the Tibet House Benefit.
Resuming his recording career, Iggy with producer Josh Homme (Queens Of The Stone Age), released "Post Pop Depression," an album recorded secretly a couple of months earlier.
Iggy Pop And The Stooges Albums:
1969 The Stooges
1970 Fun House
1973 Raw Power
2007 The Weirdness
2013 Ready To Die
Iggy Pop Albums:
1977 The Idiot
1977 Lust For Life
1979 New Values
1982 Zombie Birdhouse
1986 Blah Blah Blah
1990 Brick By Brick
1993 American Caesar
1996 Naughty Little Doggie
1999 Avenue B
2001 Beat 'Em Up
2003 Skull Ring
2016 Post Pop Depression
"The Stooges" ("1969" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog"), "The Stooges' Fun House" and "Raw Power" (produced by David Bowie) are the essential Stooges recordings. These records came out between '69 and '72. Speed Metal, Heavy Metal, Thrash, Punk - everything that would keep Rock crazed and unchained is here. A non-stop blast.
On his own hook (solo) Iggy Pop produced "Lust For Life" and "The Idiot." These are the Iggy's most fiercely Rockin' albums. "Brick By Brick" delivers a broader emotional and stylistic range. But you can get that stuff just about anywhere. Go for the full-tilt, in your face Rock.
Iggy's "Skull Ring" has a clever concept. The Stooges, namely Ron and Scott Asheton, are around long enough to provide the set's best tracks, "Skull Rings," "Little Electric Chair" ("frying up your hair in the little electric chair") and "Dead Rock Star." Rather than fall into mediocrity, the rest of the album employs the talents of Sum 41, Peaches and Green Day - all of whom owe Iggy and The Stooges for blazing the trail.
Iggy and Peaches are a kick on "Rock Show" while Sum 41 checks in with the splendid "Little Know It All." Green Day's contributions "Private Hell" and "Supermarket" are also strong. Through it all, Iggy is out front growling and wailing away. Seems like old times.
What ultimately makes "Ready To Die" important is not the defiance - but that people can still make compelling music without bowing to commercial considerations.