Now I Wanna Be Your Insightful, Respectable Rock Icon
June 2, 2009 9:57 AM   Subscribe

You wouldn't expect Iggy Pop to be the poster boy for rock stars who age gracefully, but he seems to be doing a pretty good job of it. At the age of 62, he's released Preliminaires, an album steeped in French Literature and containing jazz standards, hardscrabble blues, and the Louis-Armstrong-meets-Tom-Waits hit, King of the Dogs. NPR's Fresh Air has this interview with a thoughtful, avuncular Iggy Pop
posted by Jon_Evil (53 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
NOTE: Iggy Pop remains the only member of the American punk scene to play a Vorta on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:03 AM on June 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


I like Iggy. Sure, he's put out some crap records over the years, but at least he's no Ted Nugent (at least I hope not: I'm a little fearful of reading about the political views of my few favorite remaining celebrities anymore.)
posted by metagnathous at 10:11 AM on June 2, 2009


Why do I feel like taking a sea cruise all of a sudden?
posted by Joe Beese at 10:14 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, the "ageing gracefully" thing has taken a bit of a knock since he started advertising a car insurance company in the UK. A car insurance company that, it turns out, won't insure people who work in the music industry.

That said, the new album looks pretty good.
posted by bokeh at 10:14 AM on June 2, 2009


"He's not dead, Sick Boy saw him last year."
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:17 AM on June 2, 2009 [7 favorites]


I'd say he doesn't age because he's actually the undead, but he's actually kind of plumping out a bit now and looks a lot less like he might try to eat your brains.
posted by Artw at 10:17 AM on June 2, 2009


I like Iggy too, and it's pretty impressive that he can pull off the "aging rock star does standards album" thing without coming off like Jimmy Thudpucker. The interview with Terry Gross was great, and I particularly liked the way he informed her that préliminaires means 'foreplay' in French.
posted by languagehat at 10:20 AM on June 2, 2009


Does this ever happen to you? There were two or three years when I couldn't remember if Iggy Pop was alive or not. Every time it came up I'd go, "Gee, the last time we looked this up I was surprised by the answer." But I couldn't remember which direction the surprise was in — was he alive-against-all-expectations or dead-despite-rumors-to-the-contrary or what? — so we had to look it up all over again.

I have the same problem finding some stores that I don't go to very often. I'll remember that it was on the other side of the block from where I expected but OH FUCK WHICH SIDE OF THE BLOCK DID I EXPECT IT TO BE ON?

Is there a name for this shit already? Or can we name it after Mr. Pop? He seems like the kind of dude who could use a cognitive fallacy named after him.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:20 AM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Come to think of it, that bit in Trainspotting probably didn't help matters any.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:22 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


James Newell Osterberg Jr. is many things - but I refuse to believe that avuncular is one of them.

Next you'll be telling me he no longer does batshit insane amounts of heroin, or that he drives a Volvo.


/me wishes my avuncule was Iggy freaking Pop.
posted by namewithoutwords at 10:23 AM on June 2, 2009


I'm still sticking with the multiple head-transplant theory...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:24 AM on June 2, 2009


Dammit. I wish I had time to tell my Iggy Pop story. It's a good one. Fuck this work shit.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:47 AM on June 2, 2009


Iggy Pop meets Tom Waits.

I saw Iggy Pop and the Stooges at Coachella in 2003, and that man was frenetic. I only wish to rock that hard in my 60s.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:49 AM on June 2, 2009


I listened to that interview in the car yesterday. He's far more interesting than I gave him credit for being. I might have to check out some of his recent albums.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:50 AM on June 2, 2009


You wouldn't expect Iggy Pop to be the poster boy for rock stars who age gracefully...

True, but I also can't think of anything in the known universe where the expected answer would be "Iggy Pop".
posted by FishBike at 10:50 AM on June 2, 2009


I don't believe in it, but if there is in fact a heaven, St. Peter surely looks and acts exactly like Iggy Pop.
posted by milarepa at 10:52 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


(as a Vorta)
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:04 AM on June 2, 2009


this as opposed to the last interview he did on Fresh Air, where he answers a question from Terry Gross about how he stays in shape by talking about how often he has sex. i might be remembering the moment as more scandalous than it was, but i felt like he was trying to get old Terry into the sack after the interview.
posted by radiosig at 11:08 AM on June 2, 2009


I remember around 1982, when I really got into Iggy, being bummed that I'd probably never get a chance to see him live because he was getting too old to tour. Of course I was only 16, so most rockers seemed like they were getting too old to tour. Little did I know at the time that I'd get to see him at least 5 or 6 times, and who knows how much touring he's got in the tank.

Iggy records can be hit and miss, but his genuine enthusiasm comes through even on the clunkers, which at least makes them interesting and worth hearing.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:12 AM on June 2, 2009


Iggy and his Stooges perform Madonna's "Ray of Light" at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony.

You've been warned.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:16 AM on June 2, 2009


Iggy Pop's great and all, but The Weirdness was a terrible, terrible record.

Also, several years ago my stepson became enamored of the phrase, "that's like hypnotizing chickens" and would try to work it into as many conversations as possible.

Me: Take the garbage out, please.
He: But ...but... that's like hypnotizing chickens!
Me: You don't really know what that means, do you?
He: Neither do you.
Me: True. Now take the garbage out.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:18 AM on June 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


Seems like the Brits are a little more indignant and outraged about the whole "whoring his bag of bones" situation than Americans are, especially considering that Mr. Pop's "Lust for Life" has been shilling Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines for years now (see Joe Beese's comment above).

In any case, it's difficult to get outraged anymore in a country where the Temptations' "Get Ready" is used to try to convince you to buy bottom-of-the-barrel crap Comcast services.
posted by blucevalo at 11:24 AM on June 2, 2009


The point where I realized that Iggy wasn't just a primal rock machine came in a TV interview about 20 years ago, where he described going to the U Mich library to look at books of propaganda, to see the sorts of words that made people react, and that's how he'd start to frame the Stooges lyrics.

He's done the jazzy thing before, on Avenue B. But I hear that's awful, and this sounds pretty cool.
posted by bendybendy at 11:43 AM on June 2, 2009


i love iggy. but a lot of what i love about iggy is that for a number of years it was a good bet that not only would he not be alive to be interviewing with terry gross on npr, but that terry gross would never sully the airwaves with someone like iggy. face it: the man was a Mess. he pretty much personified every parent's punk nightmare.

he may still turn in a frenetic performance, but now that he's bulked up, drives a rolls, and shills insurance, my love has cooled considerably. don't get me wrong; i very much admire the man, and am somewhat flummoxed that not only has he lived this long, but he's in better shape than i am. sigh.

and as much as i love iggy & love and adore tom waits, coffee & cigarettes was pretty much a crap movie.
posted by msconduct at 11:44 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


It was better than Tank Girl.
posted by Artw at 11:47 AM on June 2, 2009


The only thing I really know about Iggy Pop was that he had a few memorable cameos as Nona's father on The Adventures of Pete & Pete. That, and he once had occasion to say I HATE CANOES.
posted by JHarris at 11:49 AM on June 2, 2009


What is the French connection? From a few years back, Iggy's duet with French chanteuse and ye-ye icon Francoise Hardy, I'll Be Seeing You.
posted by cazoo at 11:49 AM on June 2, 2009


After years and years of putting out bad to very bad albums, Preliminaires is actually pretty good, even though his French accent could, well, hypnotize a chicken.

And you can't take whatever it is that Iggy says very seriously. I've seen and read many interviews of his over the years, and my conclusion is that he'll simply say whatever he thinks will serve him at the moment.

Still, he deserves our eternal gratitude for the Stooges and his Bowie albums.
posted by VikingSword at 11:59 AM on June 2, 2009


I've been saying for years that I would pay CASH MONEY to see a talk show hosted by Tom Waits and Henry Rollins. And Iggy Pop would have to be one of the first guests, for sure.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:02 PM on June 2, 2009


Iggy Pop's Concert Rider.


It is one of my favorite things.
posted by The Whelk at 12:11 PM on June 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


I kind of stopped watching the Rollins talkshow after the novelty wore off.
posted by Artw at 12:24 PM on June 2, 2009


I remember around 1982, when I really got into Iggy, being bummed that I'd probably never get a chance to see him live because he was getting too old to tour. Of course I was only 16, so most rockers seemed like they were getting too old to tour. Little did I know at the time that I'd get to see him at least 5 or 6 times, and who knows how much touring he's got in the tank.

Iggy records can be hit and miss, but his genuine enthusiasm comes through even on the clunkers, which at least makes them interesting and worth hearing.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:12 AM on June 2 [+] [!]


Its totally weird that you would say this, Slack, 'cause I swear that I saw him perform in 1982 when I was 16 in Detroit MI! I didn't know much about him then, but man was it a wild show. I didn't know that spit and sweat could travel so far. His entire wardrobe was a cumberbun, I think. He was pretty much naked.
posted by ameliajayne at 12:24 PM on June 2, 2009


Who would have thought that Lou Reed & Iggy Pop would still be making decent music in the second millennium?
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 12:32 PM on June 2, 2009


Iggy Pop's Concert Rider. It is one of my favorite things.

Here's the current version from Jos Grain, the author of the above.
posted by zippy at 1:28 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


i love iggy. but a lot of what i love about iggy is that for a number of years it was a good bet that not only would he not be alive to be interviewing with terry gross on npr, but that terry gross would never sully the airwaves with someone like iggy.

But Dinah Shore loved him in the seventies. And so did Peter Gzowski, although the feeling may not have been mutual.
posted by maudlin at 1:32 PM on June 2, 2009


NOTE: Iggy Pop remains the only member of the American punk scene to play a Vorta on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

I love that episode. It's the only Ferengi episode that doesn't completely suck, AND it has Iggy Pop. He was an even better Vorta than Jeffery Combs.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:19 PM on June 2, 2009


I saw Iggy a few years back at Coachella around early 2000. It was about 100 degrees in the afternoon and no one in the crowd wanted to move around because it was so hot. Iggy comes out and rocks out like a man 1/3 his age thus making everyone in the audience look like old tired fools, and then he stage dived into my section of the crowd. I threw my arms up to catch him. The man's body was taught, muscles lean, and slippery with sweat, like how i would imagine trying to catch a marlin if it jumped out of the water at you. And he glided off our collective hands like a slip 'n' slide but in reverse. It was magical!
posted by cazoo at 2:24 PM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


I missed that DS9 episode somehow, but also noteworthy is his role as "Salvatore 'Sally' Jenko, a cross-dressing, Bible-reading fur trader at a campsite"* in Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man.
posted by harmfulray at 2:48 PM on June 2, 2009


Iggy doesn't recall ever being in Australia.
posted by onya at 3:01 PM on June 2, 2009


NOTE: Iggy Pop remains the only member of the American punk scene to play a Vorta on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Although he's not the only nominally-countercultural musician to appear on Star Trek: Tom Morello of RATM plays a random crewman on an episode of Voyager. The "nominally" qualifier is for him, not Iggy.
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:21 PM on June 2, 2009


saw this in Mojo mag. Thanks, though.
posted by snap_dragon at 4:07 PM on June 2, 2009


PLAY SOME FUCKING STOOGES
posted by Philby at 5:15 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


I would pay CASH MONEY to see a talk show hosted by Tom Waits and Henry Rollins

It's not quite the same thing, but have you seen the series Fishing with John, hosted by the one-and-only John Lurie? One of its six episodes features an ill-advised Jamaican adventure with an increasingly snarly Tom Waits. TV at its finest. (Though my personal favorite is the one where he goes ice fishing with Willem Defoe.)
posted by scody at 5:20 PM on June 2, 2009


Back in the Stooges days, Iggy Pop once hit on a friend of my whom I was secretly, hopelessly in love with. She lived along the Coast Highway in Malibu at the time, and he lived nearby and came to the house she was living in for drugs.

Although he did not get any further with her than I did, I have always hated him and have never been able to countenance his music.
posted by Danf at 6:18 PM on June 2, 2009


PLAY SOME FUCKING STOOGES

Ugh. Ron Asheton is dead; James Williamson is 59. Iggy is 62. The Stooges got underway over 40 years ago. Artists need to be allowed to change, and Iggy has more than paid his dues. He can play whatever he wants. Even if it blows, it's still Iggy: the man IS the Dionysus of rock n'roll (on that last point: the fact that the rock n' roll hall of fame still has not put the Stooges in there just shows what a joke that institution is).

In other words, I would actually rather let sleeping dogs lie. To me the three greatest rock bands in history are the Stooges, the Kinks, and the Velvet Underground. But I'm not eager to see any of these bands continue to perform: performers also need to know when to bow out. Now with the Stooges, I totally sympathize with the fact that they wanted to get back together. For one thing, the band never got anything like the money they deserved, and for another the band only got the respect it deserved long after it had disbanded. And the world owes a big thank you to David Bowie for both recognizing back when so few others did why Iggy was too important to be forgotten, and for helping Iggy reinvent himself. Iggy could make polka albums now for all I care: the man has earned the right to do what he wants.
posted by ornate insect at 6:19 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have the same problem finding some stores that I don't go to very often. I'll remember that it was on the other side of the block from where I expected but OH FUCK WHICH SIDE OF THE BLOCK DID I EXPECT IT TO BE ON?

Goddamn, I do that all the time. The terms I tend to use are "intuitive" and "counter-intuitive".

Iggy the Vorta? I did not know that.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:00 PM on June 2, 2009


Wait a minute. Iggy Pop is only 62? Jesus Christ, I thought he was older than Yoda. He makes Keith Richards look like a health nut.
posted by perilous at 8:36 PM on June 2, 2009


I saw Iggy Pop at Tower Books in Philly aeons ago. He got into a drunken shouting match with a heckler during his performance. I still can't decide if that was awesome or sad.
posted by crataegus at 8:46 PM on June 2, 2009


Damn the Stooges were great. Even the latest incarnation with Mike Watt filling bass duties rocked. Ig's acting appearances may have peaked early with John Water's Cry Baby, where he played Uncle Belvedere.
posted by pappy at 8:48 PM on June 2, 2009


He makes Keith Richards look like a health nut.

Iggy Pop looks athletic to me. He's 62 and has the body of a 40 year old distance runner.
posted by zippy at 9:09 PM on June 2, 2009


I saw an interview with Iggy Pop about 10 years ago, where he basically said he was completely surprised that he was still alive. He said he was more amazed than anyone.
posted by eye of newt at 9:19 PM on June 2, 2009


It was better than Tank Girl.

You shut your mouth. You shut your mouth right now.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:52 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ice T... Kangaroo...
posted by Artw at 9:55 AM on June 3, 2009


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