Iggy Pop's career began in the late 1960's, and over the course of more than four decades of rude behavior and even ruder music, he left behind a trail of stories. And anyone who's heard or seen Iggy Pop has one: Something as simple as the first time they were exposed to the sonic assault of Iggy And The Stooges, or tales that are more complicated and give an actual sense of the hilarious dichotomy between James Osterberg and his frenzied, shirtless on-stage persona.
For the latter, I must direct your attention to the writer and singer Henry Rollins, former frontman of the hardcore band Black Flag, whose utterly hysterical story of trying to outdo Iggy’s on-stage antics is a "must see."
Though Iggy Pop has been on Soundcheck a couple of times -- casually cursing at one point and immediately realizing what he’d said and apologizing profusely -- my story actually dates back to 1977.
Back then I caught Iggy and his friend and producer David Bowie on TV, on perhaps the most unexpected talk show they could have chosen: The Dinah Shore Show. Here was Dinah, elegant, Southern, and absolutely baffled by Iggy -- though, oddly not so much by Bowie, who looked elegant and handsome himself, even though all of his answers had a smirk behind them. Shore had clearly been told that this was the guy who crawled over broken glass on stage and usually ended his concerts smeared in mud and blood.
“But Jimmy, why?" Shore asked him. "Why do you these things to yourself?"
While the episode seems to have largely disappeared, there is an excerpt of the audio on YouTube that is definitely worth checking out…
I also recall an Iggy concert in the early 80s where Iggy began, as usual, in what Jon Pareles of the New York Times once winningly described as that strange state “somewhere between wearing and not wearing pants.” If I were going to tell the story – and I’m not – it would involve Iggy suddenly deciding to either wear or not wear his pants.
So, what’s your favorite Iggy Pop story? Did you see him in concert? Have a favorite memory of his music? Tell us in comments section below, on Twitter at @Soundcheck, or a call us and leave a voice mail at 866.939.1612.