Tales of Rock: Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop has been around forever, and is responsible for that one song you definitely know, and several more you probably don’t. As a consequence of being around forever, there’s two distinct phases in his career: the drug phase and the post-drug phase.

First the drug phase–and hang on to your butts, because this is pretty nasty. Back in 1969-1970, Iggy and his original band, the Stooges, all hung out together in an apartment in Detroit, and, possibly because no one had invented the internet yet, they got bored and started doing a lot of heroin. A side note: One of the quirks about taking heroin intravenously is that after shooting up, you end up with a bit of blood inside the hypodermic. Which these guys started squirting out over the walls and ceiling. Imagine what that apartment must have looked like after a few weeks and months, and keep in mind that heroin is not known for being much of a motivator, and you start to realize why getting these guys out to a show might have been somewhere between difficult and your worst nightmare.

A Typical Day If You Were Iggy Pop’s Personal Assistant (Drug Phase):

You: No. I am not going back into that apartment. Because fuck you guys, that’s why. If you need me, I will be five thousand miles away and on fire, because I quit, and because I will light myself on fire having seen what I just saw. Fuck.

Since then, Iggy’s cleaned up a bit, which should make shepherding him around a lot easier of a chore. And by all accounts it is, aside from the hilarious contract rider he has for gigs. For those that don’t know, a contract rider specifies the required amenities that should be in a performer’s dressing room; snacks, beverages, that sort of thing. Iggy’s is one of the most extensive in the industry, and although it’s almost certainly a joke, has specific requests for:

“Seven dwarves dressed up as those dwarves out of that film about the dwarves. You know the one. Cinderella?”

“Two cans of red bull. Something with testicles in it”

“Cauliflower/Broccoli, cut into individual florets and thrown immediately into the garbage. I fucking hate that.”

Awesome.

A Typical Day If You Were Iggy Pop’s Personal Assistant (Post-Drug Phase):

Concert Promoter: …You: Look, you know the way these rock stars are. They’ve got an image to live up to…Concert Promoter: …You: And I don’t have to tell you that there is nothing more rock and roll than, uh,… drinking testicles and wasting food in the company of a dwarf.

 

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Tales of Rock – Metallic K.O.

“Listen, asshole, you heckle me one more time and I’m gonna come down there and kick your ass.”

Iggy Pop is one of the most flamboyant performers in the history of music. He has an incredible stage presence and has given credit to Jim Morrison for introducing him to a free attitude and wild stage antics. Iggy Pop is credited with being the first performer to do a stage-dive. Some of his more descriptive exploits include rolling around in broken glass, exposing himself to the crowd, and vomiting on stage. He has been known to spark riots and has the ability to whip the crowd into frenzy.

On February 9, 1974 The Stooges performed at Detroit’s Michigan Palace. It was the band’s last show together before they broke up for three decades. Before the 1974 concert, Pop gave a radio interview in which he challenged a Detroit motorbike gang (the Scorpions) to a fight. He called them all a bunch of cats. In response, the gang attended the show and pelted the band with broken glass, beer jugs, urine, eggs, ice, jelly beans, and shovels. Despite the hostility, Iggy continued to taunt the crowd and said: “You pricks can throw everything in the world… your girlfriend will still love me.”

The Stooges fed off the crowd’s anger and continued to perform. During the show Iggy finally told the bikers: “All right you assholes, want to hear Louie, Louie, we’ll give it to you.” The Stooges continued to play a forty-five-minute version of Louie Louie, which included improvised lyrics by Pop. During the song he continued to yell and verbally assault the gang.

The concert finally ended after Iggy Pop focused his attention on one particular heckler and said: “Listen, asshole, you heckle me one more time and I’m gonna come down there and kick your ass.” The biker told Pop to come over, so Iggy jumped off the stage and confronted him. The biker continued to beat the crap out of Iggy, which ended the event. Luckily, the concert was captured on a reel-to-reel tape machine and recorded live. In 1976, The Stooges released the recording in an album titled Metallic K.O. It is the only rock album where you can hear beer bottles breaking against guitar strings. The album remains a favorite among Iggy Pop fans.

 

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