Artist and Musician Biographies


If you were only going to listen to one song by Iggy, we would recommend "Search and Destroy"

While the Velvet Underground is recognized as the biological parents of punk rock, Iggy Pop is considered 'the godfather.' Although this title refers to his notorious acts of destruction and self-mutilation in early live performances with The Stooges, it also credits him as being a primary source of inspiration for bands that would follow in the wake of early American Punk.

Born James Osterberg in 1947, Iggy spent his high school years playing drums in various blues bands, including the nick-name inspiring Iguanas in 1964. After seeing the 1966 performance of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable in his hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan Iggy, now on vocals, formed the Psychedelic Stooges with original members Ron and Scott Asheton, and Dave Alexander in 1967.

The band combined the wild and often shocking on-stage pranks by Iggy with a raw, blues-based garage rock that emphasized the darker side of rock and roll, reflecting influences from the Velvet Underground's New York underground sound to the lewd and surrealistic hostility of Doors front man Jim Morrison. After dropping "psychedelic" from their name, the Stooges signed a two-album contract with Elektra in 1968, the first of which would be produced by John Cale of the Velvet Underground.

However, in late 60's America, the Stooges were noticed less for their musical efforts that reflected the sounds of Detroit's industrialism as heard in bands like the MC-5 (Motor City -5), and more for the bizarre and often masochistic antics of Iggy. Operating noise-producing domestic gadgets on stage such as blenders and vacuum cleaners, or smearing his body with peanut butter and diving into the crowd was one thing, but carving his chest bloody with broken drum sticks proved too difficult for the mainstream.

The music itself was too intense, aggressive and vulgar for the mainstream, although part of its appeal to the underground was its raw and immediate power that partly came from the incessant beat. As an avant-garde sensation, they achieved a certain artistic success, but were just too weird and too dangerous for the mainstream public at that time.

It's difficult to imagine the godfather of punk, Iggy Pop, mowing lawns in Florida for a living, but that's exactly what he did in 1970 following the release and subsequent lack of success of the Stooges first two albums. It wasn't until 1973 that Iggy, still battling heroin addiction, was encouraged by glam rock icon David Bowie to resurrect the band for a third, and final album. Recorded in England, "Raw Power" is considered to be one of the quintessential early punk recordings, and it became a catalyst for Iggy's pursuit of a solo career.

Continuing to work creatively with David Bowie through the 70's and early 80's, it wasn't until 1982 that Iggy finally kicked drugs completely. By 1986 he had achieved mainstream success with "Blah, Blah, Blah", highlighted by the little known 50's cover, "Real Wild Child", which became his first British hit. His most commercially successful solo effort, "Brick by Brick", followed, featuring his only American top 40 hit "Candy", a duet with B-52's vocalist Kate Pierson.

Although Iggy has continued to produce a fairly consistent stream of records to this day, including the 1999 release of semi-acoustic ballads and spoken word tracks titled "Avenue B", none have exhibited the ground breaking and gloriously raw energy exhibited in the recordings and live performances of the Stooges.

from "Raw Power", the third and last album by the Stooges.

Page author: A.E.