sorry if this was already postedhttp://www.nationalpost.com/arts/story.html?id=1361645
Iggy Pop is nursing some brand new scars. His beloved Michigan is baring the brunt of America's crippling recession and on January 6, 2009, he lost Ron Asheton, The Stooges' guitarist and Pop's brother in arms. As part of War Child presents Heroes, Pop, along with artists like U2, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder and The Ramones, was asked to pick a performer to record one of his classic tunes. The 61-year-old chose the Canadian dance punk Peaches, and here he tells us about the record, his new jazz album, and how he's weathering his most recent storms.
Q How long did it take you to pick Peaches to cover Search and Destroy?
A About twenty minutes, more than fifteen, way less than a half hour. She has a voice capable of causing problems. A great arranger and producer, probably unsung. Basically, her s--t rocks.
Q Are you feeling the Michigan-Canadian connection?
A I think she's an escaped Canadian like I'm an escaped Michigander. I bet she couldn't have gotten away with her stuff in Toronto. I couldn't get arrested in Michigan.
Q Do you like listening to people cover your tracks?
A When I first heard this, I was in the kitchen and my wife was on the computer. I was walking by, going to the dog bowl, and as I got closer, I realized, ‘Damn, they finally did it.' Covers are cool.
Q Were The Stooges cool with covering Madonna at her induction at the Rock ‘n' Roll Hall of Fame?
A My Like a Virgin is 15 seconds long. A lot of grumbling from the late great Ron Asheton. "I don't want to do some damn song by some b---h in a corset, goddammit." I never could get him to do Burning Up, but I was able to get The Stooges on Ray of Light. "That's one riff over and over again," Ronnie said. "I can hold my nose."
Q What made you want to get involved with War Child?
A Even what's happening in Detroit kills me, even without a war. Look at the world, as a recent article in the New Yorker said, "Slum dogs, but no millionaires." I get my Adam's apple shaken when I think about it. I've become a pretty privileged character, but I still get misty here.
Q You were involved in the Rock the Vote campaign. Do you think President Obama can right America's wrongs?
A Look at the Roman Empire. When it was at its peak, when it was slightly over-reached and see where they went right and wrong. If Obama can make eight years of sensible decisions and improve the situations by five or ten percent, do some things that allow the country to be more credible in the long future, that will be a great contribution. I'm nervous about the whole deal.
Q Were you nervous about the album? There's covers of lots of your cronies -- Blondie, The Ramones, The Clash. Did kids like TV on the Radio, Beck and The Hold Steady do justice to your peers?
A The Yeah Yeah Yeahs did good with The Ramones' tune, but they still can't quite get it. It showed what a melodic singer Joey Ramone was. When they were at their peak, he wasn't spotted for that and she can't quite carry the melody where he could. I love Duffy's cover of Live and Let Die.
Q What did you think about Franz Ferdinand doing Blondie?
A Who? Franz Ferdinand. They're Scottish dance rock.
Q Franz Ferdinand...good, good. Who did [Roxy Music's] The Strand?
A That's the Scissor Sisters, a gay dance act from New York. It probably sounds good at an evil nightclub at four in the morning.
Q When's the last time you were there?
A I have no direction in life whatsoever other than to try and live, be sensible and enjoy myself. I don't feel I have anything to say to anybody and that's what attracted me to my work with Mr. Houellebecq's book, along came somebody who was saying something.
Q That's your French jazz album about The Possibility of an Island, right?
A There are some guitars on the album. Only one song is vaguely raucous; three have jazz-like instrumentation, one with a New Orleans structure. Basically, it's score music. I was scoring a film called The Last Words of Michel Houellebecq, a documentary about Mr. Houellebecq and his attempts to make a film of his novel.
Q What attracted you to the book?
A It's about a guy at a certain age and he's done well and it follows him during the period between retirement and whatever comes next, the big one.
Q You're not talking about...
A He has some adventures and misadventures left in him. There's also a sci-fi subplot I like which builds on an idea not unlike William Gibson's Neuromancer, where seas are a puddle and land is a desert, people are electronically fenced into these secure communities where everything is handled by computer. Life becomes eternal, just not very satisfying.
Q You seem to keep coming up with interesting projects. How is it that a 61-year-old is suddenly singing in French?
A On one of the songs, Autumn Leaves, they couldn't buy me the rights to sing it in English, however, if was willing to sing in French... Anyway, I did it and my French record company Virgin France wanted to put it out. They had a liaison with Virgin America, my owners and masters in the States, we worked it out and then out it popped. That's how music gets made.
-War Child Canada presents Heroes is available at warchildcanada.ca. For more Iggy Pop, see iggypop.com.