10 Things You Never Knew About… Iggy Pop

Pinning down the Godfather of punk...

Today we thank God (or indeed, him downstairs) for the existence of one of the greatest frontmen operating within the realms of rock music.

Happy birthday, Iggy Pop!

Anything but a passenger we thought we’d take a closer look at the enigmatic contortionist.

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1. Raised in Michigan to a working-class family, they originally sacrificed a bedroom for Iggy to practice drumming. The first band he was in called the Iguanas had him on drums, not leaping around the stage as we know him for now.

2. After meeting Dave Alexander, Scott and Ron Ashton, Iggy formed the band with them in Michigan where they would originally call themselves the Psychedelic Stooges.

3. For his album ‘Post Pop Depression’ Iggy enlisted the help of Josh Homme to create the record. Initially starting the conversation with a simple text, it led to them spending time together in the desert with Homme’s bandmate Dean Fertitia and Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders.

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4. When David Bowie came calling to work with the band on their third album ‘Raw Power’ the band set out on a trip to London. Although, they were originally turned away from customs, only spared by Bowie’s manager Tony DeFries, who turned up to persuade customs otherwise.

5. Whilst DeFries had saved the band, he soon regretted it, playing a show in London the performance was so shocking that DeFries ensured that the band would never play in the UK again. He later rejected every recording that the band made over in London, before leaving it to Bowie to finish ‘Raw Power’.

6. Iggy has over 58 acting credits on IMDB and his film debut was in Nico: Evening of Light a film about the Velvet Underground singer. He was put in whiteface carrying a large cross and made out with bloody mannequins which is just another day in the life really.

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7. Iggy Pop is often hailed as the inventor of the stage dive, something that has become a staple of the Rockstar performance. The earliest recording of him doing this is from 1970 at the Midsummer Rock Festival. He first lathered himself in peanut butter, which we’re sure was a delightful experience for the crowd.

8. Iggy Pop’s live shows have been known to occupy two very different ends of the spectrum.

On one hand he could be seen either shirtless, in a latex bikini and maybe even dry humping the microphone. But there was a terrifying aspect to his performance too, where he would stab himself with broken glass or knives on stage, once even carving an X into his chest. Later dubbing the performance The Murder Of A Virgin.

Iggy was once even involved in a bar brawl with a biker gang after having eggs hurled at him, something that you can hear on The Stooges live album 'Metallica KO'.

9. Iggy’s real name is James Newell Osterberg Jr. He chose his stage name because he thought it sounded good for show business. Let’s be honest James and the Stooges doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

10. The production of Iggy’s song ‘Lust For Life’ shows just how intelligent the man is. You wouldn’t think it but most of the lyrics on the song are ad-libbed, meaning that one of his most successful tracks was made purely in the moment and utterly instinctual.

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Iggy Pop will release expanded editions of 'The Idiot' and 'Lust For Life' on May 29th.

Listen to our audio interview, Punk's Great Survivor with Iggy Pop here.

Words: Matthew Pywell
Photo Credit: Barry Plummer

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