Iggy Pop

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I believed I was playing the actual music that was appropriate and good to reflect that time and place. ... Frankly, I've always felt I was completely innocent.

James Newell Osterberg, Jr. (born 21 April 1947), more widely know by his stage name Iggy Pop, is an American punk rock singer and actor considered to be one of the most important innovators of punk rock and related styles. He is sometimes referred to by the nicknames "the Godfather of Punk" and "the Rock Iguana", and is widely acknowledged as one of the most dynamic stage performers of the rock era.

Quotes[edit]

I'm fifty-two now and I call myself a singer. Before I kick it I want to be able to carry a tune in a living room if called upon. Of course, mine come out all dark and twisted and weird.

Peter Gzowski's 90 Minutes Live interview (1977)[edit]

Iggy Pop, punk pioneer, on Peter Gzowski's 90 Minutes Live (March 1977)
  • I'll tell you about punk rock: punk rock is a word used by dilettantes and, uh... and, uh... heartless manipulators, about music... that takes up the energies, and the bodies, and the hearts and the souls and the time and the minds, of young men, who give what they have to it, and give everything they have to it. And it's a... it's a term that's based on contempt; it's a term that's based on fashion, style, elitism, satanism, and, everything that's rotten about rock 'n' roll. I don't know Johnny Rotten.. but I'm sure, I'm sure he puts as much blood and sweat into what he does as Sigmund Freud did. You see, what, what sounds to you like a big load of trashy old noise... is in fact... the brilliant music of a genius... myself. And that music is so powerful, that it's quite beyond my control. And, ah... when I'm in the grips of it, I don't feel pleasure and I don't feel pain, either physically or emotionally. Do you understand what I'm talking about? Have you ever, have you ever felt like that? When you just, when you just, you couldn't feel anything, and you didn't want to either. You know, like that? Do you understand what I'm saying, sir?
  • What I do on stage has utterly no purpose.

Interview interview (1999)[edit]

"Message from under the rock - musician Iggy Pop" in Interview magazine (September 1999)
  • I feel like God peed on all my enemies. For a long time I was very bitter that the people who controlled the means of anybody ever hearing my songs were never gonna play them. They only favored music that I specifically and particularly hated, and I wanted them dead. Suddenly, there was another avenue. I started hearing my stuff coming out of bars and then it started to happen little by little — a movie song here or a TV ad there.
  • You know, I'm fifty-two now and I call myself a singer. Before I kick it I want to be able to carry a tune in a living room if called upon. Of course, mine come out all dark and twisted and weird.
  • Everybody's a little more worldly now, and there's more exposure to things. When I made Fun House, back in 1970, nobody wanted to interview me. It was wonderful. I was like one of those little white things you find living under rocks, that every once in a while people pull up by mistake and go, "aagh!" But now everybody has a video camera, and that may have changed the nature of "the message from below," as it were.

Rolling Stone interview (2003)[edit]

Quotes from "Iggy's Trail of Destruction" in Rolling Stone (19 November 2003), including some quoted from previous interviews.
What did Christ really do? He hung out with hard-drinking fishermen. And when they asked him, "Why are you hanging out with prostitutes and fishermen?" he said, "Because they need me." ... But what your martial society really wants is blood.
  • I wore that because it makes me look beautiful. I stare at myself in the mirror and I think, "Wow, I'm really great-looking." ... I think I'm the greatest, anyway.
    • On wearing leotards and fishnet stockings in his early performances.
  • This town is diverse as shit. I like it here a lot.
    • On Miami
  • Yeah, she's heard the war stories ... I tell it all to her. I think one has to, because one wants to know somebody, and one wants to feel that somebody knows one. I mean, the embarrassment quotient has been going down for a long time, and the fond amusement has been rising.
    • On discussing his past escapades with his girlfriend.
  • As society has changed, what had formerly been unacceptable has become colorful, even the broken-glass thing. Although, you know, there's an archetypal element to that anyway. ... It's about the blood ... The Christians used that riff with Christ. What did Christ really do? He hung out with hard-drinking fishermen. And when they asked him, "Why are you hanging out with prostitutes and fishermen?" he said, "Because they need me." What a line, you know? But what your martial society really wants is blood. We need some blood. We need some suffering. Like, the individual must suffer for the good of the whole. I toy around with that. Early on, I wasn't looking at Jesus Christ, saying to myself, "What an angle." I wasn't trying to be Christ-y. But, after all, on one level, this is showbiz.
    • On his stage performances, including acts where he would crawl and roll on broken glass.
  • You say I look goofy? OK, great. You say it's comedy? Great. Whatever anyone thought, I didn't care. Could be goony, could be sexy, could be stupid, could be cool. I didn't know, but as long as it was something, you know?
    • On his performances
  • This is the key thing that has always been misunderstood about me. All this fucking crap they said I did ... I only did it because I believed I was playing the actual music that was appropriate and good to reflect that time and place. ... Frankly, I've always felt I was completely innocent.
  • Nobody understands me, I'm really sensitive. Everyone thinks I should be so happy, fucking all these chicks, and all the drugs and being a star. But I hurt. And I'm lonely.
  • I used to catch myself — maybe we'd be having dinner with the future king of Spain, and I'd be grumpy, like, "What are we doing here, hanging out with these swells?" And then, right away, I'd realize, "Dude, you're jealous." It got very hard on a certain level. He was a person of affairs, in the worldly sense, with a lot of choices laid out on his smorgasbord. I had no choices whatsoever. I was a pariah. But a very fortunate one, in that he saw something worthwhile in me, and he made me two terrific records. He gave me the break I needed to continue living life. He is my benefactor.
  • I've never had any sort of macho revulsion of fags, but Bowie and I — never, never, never, never. Everybody would think that, but I never saw him be that way anyway. I'll tell you this. That guy got more p-u-s-s-y. I couldn't believe it. Talk about a bitch magnet. Damn! Actresses, heiresses, waitresses, skateresses. And me? I was just left holding my dick most of the time. I had this short haircut, and I looked like a duck. But I got lucky sometimes. I got a good song out of a girl I was knocking off at the time, and it became "China Girl."
    • On rumours that he and Bowie were lovers.
  • I'm really not good with the pickups. I'm a klutz and don't have a line of gab. I'm only good if they know who I am. So I'll just sit and wait for somebody to say, "Aren't you ... ?" and then go from there.
  • I almost always pee in the yard or the garden, because I like to pee on my estate.
  • If I don't terrorize, I'm not Pop.
    • An earlier statement, quoted in the article.
  • Have you ever noticed that a small creature, like a mouse or a mole, when faced with danger, they just stop? I've had big, long periods in my life when I was a lot like that. I just froze. It was not fun, but it was what I thought I had to do. And that's how I lived, pretty much, at one time. I have a hot memory, but I know I've forgotten many things, too, just squashed things in favor of survival. The only thing missing from my life right now is what I've got, and it's peace. I have more than I ever had ... and not as much as I would like.

Rolling Stone interview (2007)[edit]

Quotes from "Iggy Pop: The Rolling Stone Interview".
  • You write about things of importance to you. And it's gotta be for real. Do I think about my dick? Oh, yeah, all the time. If I think about it all the time, I got a right to sing about it. If I wasn't thinking about it all the time but thought, "It's time to write a rock song, I'd better mention my dick," then I wouldn't even be able to say "dick" right. Besides, it's an ecological line. It's not, "My dick is all bad, motherfucker, wickety wackety woo." It's nature-oriented. [Pauses, looking serious, then laughs] It is!

Quotes about Pop[edit]

  • You know, I love Iggy Pop, and I respect him, but I don't think I could live with him. But Jim, Jim is sweet and peaceful and romantic; when we're having dinner or making love, that's Jim, and sometimes I'll catch him just looking at the trees and birds. It's endearing and almost childlike, just the way he looks at the world with those big eyes.
  • The best of all of them is what happened when he played the Whisky in Los Angeles ... It was a very star-studded, Jack-and-Anjelica-and-Warren night. He was waiting for his dealer, to cop, intent on getting his shot of heroin before he went on. But he had no money. So he went to the VIP booths one at a time and explained the situation. He said, "Look, you're here to see me, and I can't go on until my dealer is here, and he's waiting to be paid, so give me some money so I can fix up, and then you'll get your show." He got more than enough money. He stood off to the side and shot up. The lights went down, the music went up, he stood onstage and collapsed. Without a note being sung. He'd OD'd in front of everyone. And had to be carried off.
    I think that was one of his greatest shows ever ... It was so minimally perfect. It just says a very great deal.
  • Nothing makes sense unless you know who Iggy Pop was. Back then, right around 1969, while the rest of the world was going psychedelic, he presided over quite some reign of perverted rock & roll terror. He would slather his body in peanut butter; barf on his audience; cut himself up with broken glass; wear silver-lamè evening gloves onstage; shoot heroin; make frequent use of his big, beautiful penis; crash his car into trees; beg horrified record-label executives for drug money; pass out in bathrooms with the spike still in his arm; check himself in to a mental institution and score coke off David Bowie while there. Just in general, he lived the totally messed-up life and wrote the totally messed-up songs without which there could have been no angry punk-music explosion of the 1970s, much less anything that has evolved since, angry-punk-music-related. .... It's been twenty years since he last did heroin, four since he smoked dope or snorted coke, five since he enjoyed a cigarette. Except for a nightly glass of red wine and too much strong Cuban coffee, he's clean and leading a very regular kind of life. For love, he's got his statuesque, extra-buxom, super-sweet girlfriend, Nina Alu, who is half Nigerian, half Irish and twenty-five years his junior; for extra warmth at night, he's got their fluffy little dog Lucky.
  • He didn't lose his virginity until he was twenty, but once he did, he went on a decade-long sex bender. He had a penchant for girls in their early teens: At the age of twenty-one, he was briefly married to a fourteen-year-old; at the age of twenty-two, he had a child (his only, Eric, now thirty-three) by another teenager; and at one early point, he had a thing for a thirteen-year-old named Betsy, of whom he has said, "She looked at me penetratingly. So I suppose you can figure out what happened next." After shows, he'd return home with some fan or other, have sex with her and tell her to get lost.
    • Erik Hedegaard, in "Iggy's Trail of Destruction" in Rolling Stone (19 November 2003)

External links[edit]

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