The overwhelming influence of Iggy Pop on the punk scene is undisputed. Although the Velvets, and later the Ramones, defined the terms to this emerging genre of music, Iggy is justly glorified as the “Godfather of Punk.”
Iggy’s early days with the Stooges laid the foundation for the musical anarchists, imitators, and wanna-be rebels who eschewed the prevailing pop music formula. The late 60’s were ripe for all kinds of revolution, and for some, the Beatles and the Stones weren’t up to the task anymore. Stooge’s anthems like “T.V. Eye” and “Raw Power” were a violent sonic wake-up call to the musical establishment.
Iggy was a true individualist (a trait that is sorely absent in modern times). On stage, he would smear his body with peanut butter and carve bloody lines into his naked chest. Iggy danced the precarious high-wire between insanity and circus act. He was the embodiment of heroin chic before it was hijacked by the fashion industry.
While Iggy was in the Stooges, he formed a working relationship with David Bowie. They ventured to communist-era East Berlin to soak up the sights and sounds of post-modern industrialism (a throwback to Iggy’s Detroit upbringing). The albums that followed evidenced the bitter and unforgiving dystopian society that influenced Iggy at the time. The Passenger is my favorite track from this era. Check out the clip.
Iggy made an appearance on The Dinah Shore show with Bowie. I am certain the producer who scheduled this appearance was given a dressing down of sorts. Iggy explained to Dinah about how his teeth started falling out after he started performing. Dinah asked if it “was from eating too much candy.” Comedy gold. Dig how Bowie is desperately trying to control his Iggy’s media image (unsuccessfully) from an adjacent seat.
Blokes like Iggy would never make it in the contemporary music scene. Free-thinkers and risk-takers are relegated to the indy circuit (where few minds can be influenced). It is quite a shame really. That is why Johnnypeepers lives in the yesteryear with his extensive vinyl collection and endless supply of powders.
“Punk Rock” is a word used by dilettantes and 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. It is a term that is based on contempt. It is a term based on fashion, style, elitism, Satanism, and everything that is rotten about rock and roll ~ Iggy Pop