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 Fame and Fortune: Iggy Pop (Bankrate.com)

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Registration date : 2007-03-06

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PostSubject: Fame and Fortune: Iggy Pop (Bankrate.com)   Fame and Fortune: Iggy Pop (Bankrate.com) Icon_minitimeSat Dec 20, 2008 3:38 pm

Iggy Pop
Raw and rude, punk rocker's music gains a new life, commercially and financially.

Celebrity interview

Fame & Fortune: Iggy Pop
By Larry Getlen • Bankrate.com

Posted: Dec. 12, 2008

Not only was Iggy Pop punk back when the term actually meant something, he inspired so many performers toward punk, metal and other hard music styles that it's difficult to imagine what rock over the past 40 years would have sounded like without him.

His music, raw and rude and not for hit radio, has been absorbed solely by Iggy die-hards for most of his career, but the influx of rock music into commercials and video games -- we've all heard his "Lust for Life" in commercials for Royal Caribbean cruises -- has given his career new life commercially and financially. These days, Iggy lives in Florida and still occasionally tours with his classic band The Stooges. Bankrate spoke to Iggy about what his life is like and the nature of the success he's enjoyed throughout the years.

Bankrate: How does playing with The Stooges compare to all the years you played as a solo act with various background musicians?

Iggy Pop: It's not painful, and the other was. It feels immediately satisfying just on the simple basis that I've got two ears. I go out there and the first thing that comes to mind is, whoa ... sounds good. So I don't have to make some sort of leap of discipline to make it work.

Bankrate: So The Stooges have been very difficult for you to replace over the years?

Iggy Pop: They're irreplaceable, but they're not the whole world either. I've done all sorts of really satisfying things without them. But when it comes to a live rock show, there are only a few groups of people in the book that are the real thing, and this is one of them.


Bankrate: How important was your friendship with David Bowie to your career?

Iggy Pop: He made me much richer than I would have been otherwise, although that didn't kick in until about 20 years after the work was done. Albums like "The Idiot" and "Lust for Life," (which Bowie co-wrote and co-produced), particularly. The songs on those function in the new world as hits. They just didn't come up the old radio-play way. Now they're played on the radio -- much more especially outside the U.S. -- and also between movies, television, clubs, remixes, cover versions, licensing, you name it.

Then people buy the albums in greater quantities (now) than when they were put out. All that took place not in the '70s, when I made the music, or in the '60s, when I made the music of The Stooges. It started happening toward the end of the '90s and really, really kicked in in the new century. So it changed my life.


Bankrate: Before that, Bowie's recording of "China Girl" (which Iggy co-wrote) was also a big financial step for you, wasn't it?

Iggy Pop: That was one thing, although you'd be surprised. At the time, it was a big deal for someone who was basically penniless, and it gave me a chance to take a deep breath and begin to organize myself. But the amount of money a co-writer makes on mechanical sales of a huge hit record alone is not that humongous in the first few years.

It's the old story where people think, oh, rock star, you must be rich. It takes quite a combination to achieve that, to generate large amounts of money in rock and roll. A combination of various things, not just one thing, not an instant thing. So it's still a steady ... it does just fine, but I didn't wake up one day and suddenly I was a millionaire. It doesn't work like that. It gave me a hand up.


Bankrate: "I Wanna Be Your Dog" is in (the video game hit) "Grand Theft Auto IV." What has your presence on that game meant to your popularity with the younger generation?

Iggy Pop: I don't know yet. I did a voice for them as a DJ, too. I don't really know yet, but we'll see. I've noticed, in general, we'll go out and play concerts, and it's very common to see hundreds of people bogarting the first four rows, and they're all under 18. That's very typical, and that's been building for a while.

But on the other hand, you have your basic old pervert, the over-50s pervert who still has his dirty copy of our first album standing in the shadows there somewhere, too. So we have quite a range. I was happy to hear it was on there, that's for sure. That song is actually beginning to get what's called commercial radio play in the U.S. now. A very modest amount, about 500 to 600 plays a quarter, but that would have been entirely unheard of back in the day. It's kind of like the world is meeting us halfway.


Bankrate: So many bands call themselves punk nowadays. As one who really helped define the word, what's your take on punk today?

Iggy Pop: It sure as hell doesn't have anything to do with me directly. But within the parameters of what (punk) means today, you'll hear a good track by Pennywise or Against Me, and when they're at their best, they're very well done. It may not be to my particular taste, but it's very well done. It's safer in intent and content than what I was doing early on, or what I was involved in. But that's understandable because the world's different. I hear an earnestness in the best of it.

I think the next generation that came after our group, they picked up on what we were doing. The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, they emphasized more (of) the sneering. With me, if you listen to those early records, the sneer isn't actually in your face, it's just kind of a latent thing that's there. But then the next step was people sneering in your face ... I think white rock has just become so embarrassing, the whole thing. It becomes, every year, more and more ... it's just a big lie, frankly.


Bankrate: You live near Miami Beach these days. You don't seem a Miami Beach kind of guy. Why Miami?

Iggy Pop: I came down originally because I'd been 20 years in New York, and before that, three or four years in Berlin and a couple of years in London. I just wanted some light and space. You hit a certain age and you have to do this whole Ginsberg thing (in New York), and I wasn't going for it.

When I first came here, what I really liked about it was that there wasn't anybody else like me, and nobody knew me. That was really nice ... I keep a cottage in Little Haiti to do music and art and greet people when they come to work with me and that sort of thing. It's more like a sharecropper shack from Mississippi.

I've always had a thing for the South, and it's just been easier for me here. Boris Becker lives here, too. I bumped into him on a plane once, and he said, (with accent) "Ja, I like Miami. I can be me." He's a heavy dude. I understand what he meant. It used to be particularly quirky, and it's just as diverse. We have all the population groups we have in Queens and Brooklyn. Manhattan has kind of gotten ... it's changed. I don't know what you've got there anymore. (This place) has been good for me.

We've got a place called Mindy's in Miami Beach. They're Sikhs with the turbans, selling The New York Times and The Post and The Daily News right in front. They don't have egg creams, but they have everything else. It's a total New York newsstand. And people honk at each other here, they litter -- they do all those things.

Larry Getlen is a freelance writer in New York.

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http://iggypop.org
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