Pop Offers Thoughts on Bowie, Making His First #1 Record

12/17/2016

Iggy Pop Offers Thoughts on David Bowie, Making His First #1 Record

–Joe Lund

Iggy Pop is rarely at a loss for words. Still, when David Bowie passed away earlier this year, Pop kept his feelings about his longtime friend and collaborator fairly close to the vest. In a new interview with Billboard, however, the punk icon was asked what it was like to perform the songs that he and Bowie wrote together for Pop’s classic ‘70s albums, The Idiot and Lust for Life, on his recent tour. Pop’s feelings about his much-missed creative partner shone through.

“… We had a [first tour] rehearsal in L.A. scheduled for the morning of the day that the news broke that David had passed away,” Pop recalled. “My wife woke me up at 3:30 a.m. and told me, and I didn’t… I was numb anyway, it was 3:30 in the morning. But we did the rehearsal anyway and it was the first time I’d heard [the band] play those songs. The best way I can put it is, there are certain guitar parts or certain vocal harmonies — especially the guitar parts, for some reason — that he wrote. I had always heard them before as music, but in this instance I didn’t — I heard them as something done by this person who I knew well. And so it was very … [pauses]. I really can’t go beyond that.”

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Ironically, Pop’s most recent album, Post Pop Depression, garnered the singer his best reviews since he released those collaborative albums made with Bowie. Pop says he purposely set out to make an album that could potentially top the charts, which is precisely what he achieved. Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme figured prominently in that accomplishment. Together, he and Pop opted to finance the album themselves, and to record the LP in secret.

“I was looking to do something that could be a No. 1 album,” says Pop. “I like doing radical things too, but that wasn’t what I was looking for this time.”

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He continues: “… the secrecy was [Josh’s] insistence. I never would’ve thought of that but it was a great idea, not only because it kept it fresh, a little bit of a surprise instead of something you’ve heard about ad infinitum, but it created a nice tension for the people making the record – ‘We’ve got a secret here!’”

Fans who caught Pop on his recent tour no doubt noticed the absence of songs attributable to his pioneering punk band, the Stooges. Pop has an easy explanation. “[Homme] didn’t want to touch that on this tour and neither did I,” he says. “He didn’t want to be, as he put it, the guy in the band that did a version of a Stooges song that was almost as good. (Laughs) I’ve been doing the Stooges for 12 years — I got the group up to where it needed to be, it got its [overdue] recognition, everyone was well taken care of financially, the records are all re-released and selling and being licensed and streaming. The group was very, very successful.”

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