I NEED MORE - The Stooges And Other Stories
Iggy Pop with Anne Wehrer
"I Need More" is the story of a man who stands up to tell the truth in a house full of lies . . . bridging the schizophrenic gap between fact and public image" - William Burroughs
Burroughs nailed it on the head there. I Need More is essential for the complete Pop-file, crucial for the rock and roll historian and, above all, makes for great reading while you're on the john. Look at the cover: Iggy's sucking on the tit of a Grecian statue. (If he needs more, that's certainly not the place to find it). Inside, Iggy's assorted tales, anecdotes and flat-out hilarious moments that are inscribed on the book's pages are priceless. As the saying goes, "everything you ever wanted to know, and more." It's all here: the formation of The Stooges, their breakup, Iggy losing his virginity, Iggy's solo career. The book also takes a, sometimes wonderfully blunt, look at the colorful cast of characters Iggy's worked with over the years. Bowie [link to individual page], The Stooges, Andy Warhol, Ivan Kral, various record executives - they're all here. With his mighty pen, Iggy has taken his life and thrown it onto paper in the most perfect of ways. It's out of order, it wanders from decade to decade, and sometimes it doesn't even seem to make much sense. In other words, it's fucking perfect. With that in mind, we invite you take a look into the mind of Mr. Iggy Pop. We hope you enjoy your stay.
--- Steve Gizicki
Note: Virgin is posting this invaluable text here, through the kind generosity of Mr. Pop himself, and the tireless phone work of Art Collins and Ted Mico. The original I NEED MORE is out of print and damn hard to find, a problem that will be rectified soon by Henry Rollins' 2.13.61 publishing. Please note, our electronic version is no substitute for the original, which is so chock-full of amazing pictures by famous photographers that we gave up trying to get the rights to post them all here ---- so go buy this book as soon as it comes out, and pay a visit to 2.13.61, because you know if they are putting this out they must publish a bunch of other great stuff as well!
Forward by Andy Warhol
Anne Wehrer introduced me to Iggy Pop at a party at her house. It was after a performance of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in 1966. He was just a kid in a band, still in high school. He was Jim Osterberg then. I thought he was cute. That's when he first met Nico and John Cale. It was the beginning of all that ... his affair with Nico, a record produced by John Cale, a movie by Francois deMenile (with Iggy, Nico, Tom Wehrer and Chris Daley); later Danny Fields became his manager. I don't know why he hasn't made it really big. He is so good.
Wanted for Murder
Yeah, so when I was in the Stooges a lot of dumb things used to happen to me. I remember one night I was sitting up, just sitting up all night with our road manager, John Adams, shooting coke with a hypodermic needle. John was this funny guy. He was a junkie, you know. At this point, 1970, the band was really beginning to disintegrate. I was staying on the 26th floor, room 26-G, actually, which happens to be the size hypodermic needle I used to stick shit in my arm. This was the 26th floor of Ann Arbor, Michigan's only high rise, only penthouse building. I had to have one - being the lead singer type, you know. I had to have a room at the top. We should all have a room at the top.
So anyway, I'm sitting up there all night shooting coke, and the sun starts coming up. You could see practically the whole town from my window, and, me and John, we're looking down watching the day sort of slowly take shape and we notice that there are police cars cursing the city - two of them at first and then four and later six - cruising the city in large squares, tracing configurations reminiscent of the Hellstrom Chronicle (i.e., insect tactics, making square patterns on the street), closing in on the square. Obviously, it was a dragnet of some sort. So we watched. You know, we really used to get off on stuff like that, me and the Stooges. We sort of had this strange love/hate relationship with all authority - that is, police action in general. So we were looking at these guys, right? And we wondered - wow! Who are they after? What's it all about, right, and la de da. Why is this dragnet closing in tighter and tighter.
Half the reason I was staying up was because the banks didn't open until nine, and I wanted to cash this check at the bank across the street, which is actually a bum check but I did a lot of business with this back because there is a lot of quick money in rock, especially the way I play it. It wasn't like it is now - all this touring - we were a weekend band. We just sort of played this wild music, and people would ask us to come and we'd take the money and it was no big deal, no management or agents or anything. We actually had a so-called agent, but it was in name only: he never really understood the subject, though he did wire me a C-note (100 dollars) to cover golfing expenses at the Doral County Country Club, Miami, Florida, summer of 1970, during my final stages of a protracted Methadone-Golf-Valium treatment (first time for that one).
So, it's closing tighter and tighter, this dragnet, and John and I are watching, and I've got to cash this bum check at nine o'clock because I have to go with my Wurlizer electric piano to Detroit in this rented car, which was basically stolen - a Ford Galaxy that I had taken out for one day and kept for a month, right. I just took my chances, you know, cause I had to score.
So anyway, I was standing there to cash this check for 3,000 bucks. I'm standing there, pretty nervous in the sunlight and everything. I can't bear standing in lines of any sort, for any time, anyway. So I'm really uptight. I hate being around regular people anyway; even worse, I hate the bustle of anything that resembles an office or where business is being done in an organized form. So I'm standing there, and all of a sudden I hear a sound like the thunder of hooves to my left. Well, I look determinedly and here are these two enormous, broad, heavy-muscled men in cheap suits with crew-cuts. Early morning at the bank, rush hour, a lot of people, and low and behold they run straight up to me, straight up to me, pick me up in the air, pick me up in the air - I mean they didn't say a word. They didn't say a word, and I didn't either. I didn't know what to do. They picked me up in the air and just ran straight out of the bank with me up in the air. One of them quickly opens the ! door of their car and throws me in the back seat - just throws me in the back seat. This is the kind of cop car that has grill-work between the front and back seat.
I was petrified. Petrified! I mean, beyond petrifaction and fear. I just thought, well, this is it. The gig's up. They've got me now, right, you know? I was sure they had me, right? I didn't know what was going to happen next, so I just sort of went crazy. "What did I do? What did I do? What are the charges?" That sort of thing, and they didn't say anything.
Well, as it turned out, they were looking for a murderer. That was the day I was picked up for murder. They were looking for a murderer, and I fit the description exactly. Which is a good lesson for a young musician - don't hang out by yourself.
Anyway, so they are taking me down to the cop shop, right, and they don't even get halfway there when they take a closer look at me and check out some shit with their buddies on the radio and they realize I'm not the one they thought I was. They know it's not the one they thought, but from the look of me and everything they decide to take me in anyway.
Ann Arbor, Michigan, where this took place, was veritably - during the mid-sixties, and into the seventies - a police state. I've been all over the world and, perhaps excluding Russia, I've never seen fascism more in force than in the Detroit area.
They just decided like we've got the town to play with and we're going to do what we want. It was strange because Ann Arbor was one of those funny Midwestern towns where, already in the sixties, the residents, the people who actually lived there, had a much more laissez-fair, live and let live, attitude than any of their hired guns. The police force thought more like Oakies than they did like educated, civilized people. So it was a funny discrepancy, you know. You had this town full of peaceful kids at the mercy of these lunatics.
So they took me down, and as it turned out, they found marks on my arm - because I was really stupid enough to shoot things into my arm. And I was very, very stoned and very, very scared. And the phone at the Stooges' main house was disconnected, and John had split, so I had no one to call, you know, and I didn't have a lawyer.
So what they wanted from me, what it came down to, was that they'd let me out if I let them search my place, you know. If I didn't let them search my place it would mean detention - 72 hours - too long for a junkie type. Much to their surprise - they thought I'd say yes out of sheer fear or dumbness - well, I did say yes.
And so they went up to my place - a sergeant, a lieutenant, and me. As it happened, there was nothing there that was incriminating, just a whole lot of methadone and, I don't know, the remains of 99 fits (hypodermic syringes) and needles and things and pieces of this and that just lying all over the floor.
Unless you could bust a person fro having lice and things like that - I was very louse-ridden at the time; personal cleanliness was not my forte - there was nothing they could really bust me for, but they said they could make an issue of things: the methadone and everything (which they probably could have, because it wasn't prescribed), and the needles and things.
So they worked on me in my place for about two hours trying to get me to rat on my friends and to set somebody up. And I liked myself at the end of that day because I found out something about myself, and that something was this: I couldn't do hate's hurt no matter how I felt or who it was or how much trouble it might make for me. I thought that they could probably throw me in jail. I mean, John Sinclair went a few years for two joints just before that, and it would have meant a nice promotion for one of them, busting my ass.
But I couldn't contemplate screwing over a friend. I couldn't contemplate that. That's what my whole band the Stooges was all about for me: friendship. I found friendship as a musical style much more relevant than whether what we played was the Blues or this or that. We were a band of friends. I need friends. As it turns out, the cops were bluffing.
Something about Myself
Maybe I should tell you something about myself. I used to go to high school. By the time I was 20 I had this band of my own, the Stooges. I wanted to be a lead singer, you know, and write songs, you know, and la de da.
None of us were real musicians - I had been a good drummer, but that's not being a singer, right? The rest of them had been in this band they called the Dirty Shames. They used to play along with records, at least whatever notes they knew on the record. When they didn't know a note they didn't play. So that's the Dirty Shames - a one-note samba band.
Anyway, we formed a band and did nothing but talk bullshit for months and months. I actually provoked the fellows into practicing by, mainly, scoring a quantity of grass or hash. We were young and just getting into smoking, you know, we loved it.
When we first started rehearsing, it was in the winter and I was living with my mother and father because I had no money. I'd get up in the morning, and my mom would leave me $2.50 on the kitchen table. We lived in a trailer court about five miles across town from where Ronny and Scotty Asheton - our bassist and drummer - lived. It was about ten miles by bus, and I'd take the bus hither and yon, over hill and dale. I'd also have to walk. I'd put on all these heavy clothes, and then I'd take a little bit of hash or grass or whatever I had in my pocket, la de da. I was very serious about rehearsal. I was very ambitious, you know. I never wanted to be anything but at the top, the most noticed or the most famous. Anyway, I'd have to walk about a half mile through the snow to the bus stop. Then, after a 40 minute bus ride I'd have to walk another ten minutes to get to their rather remote house.
We had to practice, and we and to start in something resembling the morning because their mother got home at three-thirty from work and wouldn't allow loud music. She wanted to relax when she got home from work.
But these guys were the laziest juvenile delinquent sort of pig-slobs ever born, right? Really spoiled rotten and babied by their mothers - white bread and chocolate and you name it, literally spoiled rotten. In fact one of them, Dave, was spoiled to death. It was terrible. He was just too drunk to live.
I'd make that trek and then the trick would be to get one of them to open the door because they'd always sleep roundly, soundly, until noon. They would always be asleep and I'd ring, ring, ring, ring the bell. Sometimes they'd answer, and sometimes they wouldn't. So I had to turn on the garden hose and spray their windows, throw rocks, yell weird things, throw snowballs. Finally I'd get in, and then I'd have to wake them up a couple more times. They were really moody guys - very hard to wake up. I'd spin a few records to get them in the mood. Later on Dave, who lived down the street, would pop over. But at this time it was just the three of us: me, Rhonny, and Scott.
Finally, by about two I'd actually gotten everybody to where they'd play some music, and we'd go down to the basement. We'd go down to the basement and turn off all the lights, and once we'd get down to it these guys had a fairly strong degree of concentration to give something like music - something fanciful. They'd been just such totally free, undisciplined, spoiled, derelict guys for so long that they were really good at things like TV watching or making wonderful creations, like collages out of advertisements and things. Of course, feeling real stoned was a necessity - only on smoke at this time.
They were very good dreamers, very good dreamers, which is mostly what my dusty Midwest is all about. The land that time forgot. It produces a lot of great minds that revolutionize, it really does, the Midwest of America. Pete Townsend says something nice about that. He says it must be really difficult for a bright person in the Midwest because you don't have a London or a New York City that can provide you with fresh input, that can rub against you and rub off any illusions. In New York you learn who you are just by learning who you're not. It takes away your illusions. If you're really good at anything in a big city there are thousands of people better at it than you are; whereas in some dusty dump like Ann Arbor, Michigan, the lowest of geniuses is easily the best mind in town - Superman in a small pond.
So we're trying to practice, right, and make this band, the Stooges, in 1967. We'd go down there to the basement, all the lights out, only the Christmas tree lights and sort of an amber lamp on the floor, and I'd play this sort of wild Hawaiian guitar with a pickup that I invented, which meant that I made two sounds at one time, like an airplane. That's the only way I can describe it - it sounded like an airplane. It sounded like early Stooges stuff, which much later became early Sex Pistols.
Anyway, so I played that and Ron played the bass and Scotty I taught how to play drums, with a drum set I designed. We felt we should buy him real drums, but I had already worked for a month a two jobs - one serving burgers, fries, and colas; the other as a stock boy at Discount Records of Ann Arbor - and that month of employment was the end of my rope. I worked long enough to buy a small Fender Princeton amplifier and a Kustom piggy-back amp that sounded like shit and was covered in tuck and roll naugahide - like any other country Nigger, I couldn't resist. I found myself unable to continue work to finance a set of proper drums.
So, using 55-gallon oil cans which I got from a junkyard and rigged up as bass drums, I homemade a drum set. For drum sticks I designed these semi-plastic molded hammers. Scotty beat the shit out of these cans; it sounded like an earthquake - thunderous. We lit all these drums in black light, and they were scrawled with obscenities like &tits& and "pussy."
On the front of these drums were written Indian symbols for like love and regeneration. (The Stooges had two sides, you know: one side was just totally foul, very weird, very into fascism, into violence.) Then we proceeded to play just this thunderous, racy music, which would drone on and on, verying the themes. It was entirely instrumental at this time, like Jazz gone wild. It was very North African, a very tribal sound: very electronic.
We would play like that for about ten minutes. Then everybody would have to get really stoned again. The entire band, after ten minutes, would be blown: "Oh, wow, man, I'm exhausted." But what we had put into ten minutes was so total and so very savage - the earth shook, then cracked, and swallowed all misery whole.
We'd woke up again to play. I'd play the organ, and Ron would play guitar. And we'd just play this exploratory, very emotional music.
We weren't interested in anything like writing a song or making a chord change. I didn't bother with anything like that until I had a recording; once I had the contract I thought I'd better really learn how to write some songs - so I did.
Our music was flowing and very conceptual. We'd have just one given song, called "Wind Up" or I'd change the title to "Asthma Attack" or "Goodbye Bozos," or I don't know, "Jesus Loves The Stooges." So, la de da, that's how we started out.
We finally decided we needed our own house so that we could really practice, right? As you can see, practice wasn't going very well: not exactly cost efficient, or time efficient. So we got this house in the middle of the University of Michigan campus. We were on some tree-lined street - Forest Court - a very beautiful old house, actually. Within a week the kitchen was boarded up. You know, it was your typical rock tenancy, except we weren't rockers. We couldn't possibly play our way thorough a Chuck Berry song.
That house made all the difference. We were still trying to find our sound. We didn't know where to start until Ron and I heard Harry Partch. We used to listen to a Harry Partch record (look it up if you don't know) with four or five friends. Ron would dart around the house made up like a hunchback, with tissues stuffed in his cheeks and a towel for shoulder padding, and doing a poltergeist or something, and we'd make strange "Hooooooo" noises, like spooks, along with Partch. We made a little funhouse out of it, locking all the doors and turning the lights off and on. One guy, Craig Sutherland, somehow found LSD, and we were doing that. He had a bad trip and spent the night in the bushes. He had an expensive guitar - he couldn't play nothing on it, and I bet he still can't. People said we were very unfriendly. It was true, but all good bands tend to be insular.
I've always enjoyed living with a bunch of men, you now. Even living with your band in a house can be really nice at times. When you want to play some music or do something else it's just nice to have friends around, to be that close, you know. It's economically necessary, and a big help.
And this house was where I first got fucked. We would always have girls over and shit - for me, I didn't get fucked until I was twenty. Before that I used to come - just rub it against some jeans or something, or just touch a nice ass was very enjoyable. I didn't want to get fucked.
There was this chick, Chuck's chick, who had her eye on me. A couple of them sort of had their eye on me for quite awhile: being a drummer and all, they thought, "He's a young thing; I'd like to try him out," you know. This one was a grad student - she was 25, which seemed ancient to me at the time. Being 20, I thought people 25 were, like God! That was old!
Anyway, she'd follow me. She had a kid. I don't know, I don't like screwing chicks with kids. I just don't like it. It's like, I don't want to be there with that kid, and that kid's probably been there already, sloppy seconds; or you could sock yourself with some heavy jealousy with that kid.
Anyway, she was a good looking kid. She was being very nice and she'd keep turning up, you know, making scrambled eggs. She kind of cultivated me.
She was trying to get me to fuck her. One time, I was kissing her and stuff on her couch over at her place, and I was laying on top. I was humping her, actually, and she was saying, "Why don't you go all the way? Let's go all the way." I was put off. Then finally, one night in my room - I had this really weird room with a little balcony. I used to shit on it, shit on my little room with a little balcony. I used to shit on it, shit on my little balcony and let it dry. And I had all the furniture in my room, including two single beds, all the furniture tipped on end. I made a maze out of it so that you couldn't see more than two or three feet in any direction at any given time. It was an interesting room, a little room of its own. Anyway, she got me really stoned on good stuff. I'd only had a little marijuana in my life, so it was still fresh in my blood.
I had just learned to smoke (cigarettes and grass), and I was excited about it. I had always had asthma and couldn't smoke. One day I was walking down the street and someone blew a puff in my face from a passing cigarette on a fall day, which is always the worst season. So it was, us, "Smoke - I'm gonna fall down any second," and nothing happened. So I thought, AH HA! And immediately I became a two pack a day Camel smoker, which was really bad for me and causes me a touch of asthma even today.
I don't remember how I got my clothes off, but we were on the balcony - I cleaned the shit off the balcony and put a bed out there because she was coming over that night. "It" wasn't hard, and I wasn't aware exactly what was happening to us. Somehow she managed to sort of do it herself. And then I came. It was very much like a dream sequence. I just sat up, didn't say a word, and took off. I ran downstairs and got on my bicycle and rode - just as fast as I could - away. I was very upset, and I turned a corner on the wrong side of the street. I was in a frenzy, and I ran head-on into a car. And flipped into the air. I flew over the car and landed on my feet.
We Got Lucky
We had this house once, this farmhouse, and it has always bothered me. You know I am a reasonably sensitive, well mannered sort of ... well I love people, you know, sort of a decent young man. On the other hand, anything the Stooges would touch turned to shit. We destroyed homes with the greatest of ease, four dashing baboons on a wicked trapeze. I mean we were hooligans, right? As the Stooges I was a hooligan, right? But on my own time I was different.
So we got this house. We got lucky, and we got this beautiful white house, and it helped our music so much. We got so good we had to die. We got so good that eventually the record industry wouldn't produce us. It was a big old beautiful white farmhouse with twelve rooms that had been built by this old man named Mr. Byalis - Farmer Baylis - built with his own hands from foundation to furniture. He had already gotten very rich by selling bits of his huge farm, first to the public school for an elementary school, then to a couple of people for single house dwellings and later a trailer camp. The farmhouse was on three or four acres with a beautiful long garden and a tree-lined driveway. It was just an exquisite house. I loved it so. It was almost hand-crafted - the paneling inside and the floors, parquet floors, a huge picture window, such a beautiful pastoral setting, beautiful trees in the garden. His garden was lovely - quite inspiring what one man, who worked with his heart! , could do.
I lived in the attic of the house, and it was one of the most beautiful times anybody could have. Up in the attic, high in the air with beautiful trees, two windows that made a cross-breeze. The attic was cedar wood, and I had a huge, they call them ship beds, which he had built himself with thin mattresses, and I had no sheets or pillow slips. I just had a pillow, and I had my guitar and a Marshall 50-watt amplifier - not huge, but big for your own room. It could really blast out. In the room was a big commode with a really nice mirror that he had built himself - he was quite a nice carpenter - and I sort of trashed that too, and, you know, by the third week the bathrooms didn't work anymore, etc., etc.
And the guy, he would come over. I'll never forget the way he would come over. He loved his home. It was as if he felt somehow he was forced to leave his house, even though he was willfully dismembering it for money. It probably no longer made sense for him to live there because he wasn't a farmer anymore and he wasn't young. It was all his wife's doing - she had the most horrible hairdresser - she led this poor old noble bear straight down the lifeless path to the joyless garden-gate. Good-bye sunshine; hello zoo. He probably moved to some ranch style thing, with no stairs, on doctor's advice. Is this so different form being railroaded to Siberia? He loved his home so much. The house outlasted the man.
He would turn up at the oddest times, as if he were a ghost hanging around his home. And he'd say, "Hey fellows, would you like some carrots or something I grew?" But we weren't as nice to him as we should have been. Everybody was a bit paranoid because we smoked grass, right, and at that time it was a heavy deal in Michigan. So that was a shame, that grass should get in the way of us being nicer to him. He never did kick us out of the house. Old farmer man Baylis was the Fifth Stooge.
Then finally, shortly after we broke up in 1970, the house was torn down. It's now an expressway, Eisenhower Parkway. So their lies his life somehow. The farm's gone but I was there to bear witness.
We had some good rehearsals in that house. Nico came to live in that house for awhile. I met her in New York. She was really lovely, and we were like boyfriend and girlfriend for awhile. I told her, "I have to go to Michigan to be with the band" - being Michigan boys they never really had any interest in being anywhere but near Detroit - and she said, "Jimmy, I go with you." She spoke like that. And I thought, "What; is a sophisticated lady like her, what does she want to do out where I am? She must be nuts." She was, and I owe her the world. She taught me all about, like, well you know, I'd never licked pussy before. I got into that, and I liked having sex with her a lot. And she taught me all about wine, real wine.
Whenever we rehearsed, she'd always be right there really enjoying it in a way that you love to see someone enjoying something that you are doing - a very good listener she was. And she'd try to cook for us. She'd cook pots of brown rice every day and sometimes serve fresh fruit, but mainly brown rice and vegetables. She'd try to cook for us. She'd cook brown rice in a pot and throw vegetables in, and it would always have so much Tabasco and hot sauce that nobody could eat it, but she tried.
So, I'll tell you the story of my first band. Let's see, I'll start with Dave, Dave Alexander. He ended up playing bass guitar. He was a friend down the block, a friend of Scott Asheton's, our drummer. David was kinda pink, because he had a really bad complexion, He used a whole lot of Clearasil, because Clearasil was advertised on Dick Clark for zits. I should mention that Dave's dead now.
Anyway, he had this orange hair, real long hair, and he used to carry a knife in his pocket. He was about 5' 7" and he would wear these stretch Levi's - stretch Levi's being denim Levi's but made out of stretch material. They were always ... he didn't have much of an ass, Dave, and they were always - they would cling real tight, right, but they were too big around the waist, the elasticity was lost on him - and they would always be coming down over the hips, you know, which did look funny sometimes because they really came down, plus his pockets were loaded and all of these things pulling - combs and knives, bottles of gin or whatever he was drinking, and wallets and things. They were what you call in Michigan high water. High water refers to when your pants are too short, hence "high waters" - you expecting a flood or what, right? And then he'd wear Beatles boots because he and Ron Asheton (our guitarist) had skipped school at one time and gone to England, gone to! Liverpool to be near The Beatles for an entire semester when they were in high school.
These guys are a couple years younger than I am. David's father was a butcher and his mother a housewife - very nervous type, a pretty nervous chick, you know. Dave was from this little hamlet of about 150 people - it was called Whitmore Lake, Michigan, and it used to produce these really degenerate kids. He was from Whitmore Lake, but then he moved to Ann Arbor. By the time he was 12, he was on glue and Romilar and, I don't know, Seconals too, I think - God knows what he was on. He was always on something bad, and had to be at all times. he always liked to live at home. He was spoiled rotten, like filthy rotten spoiled to the core, right? If he had to work more than ten minutes he would whine. But he wanted to be in the band, and he had a car and money, which was a big attraction, He could get an amplifier and buy a bass, so he was in.
Dave used to do some funny things. I remember once, he saw Jimmy Hendrix set his guitar on fire in some movie. So Dave decided one night at the Silver Bell Hideout in Birmingham, Michigan, he was going to set his bass on fire. He'd seen it done, and it didn't hurt the finish, right. I don't know what his deal was but he was on something, and he planned it. As it happened, that night I let him borrow a shirt, one of my favorite shirts. So he's wearing my shirt up there playing on stage, and we're singing a couple of songs, and Dave ceremoniously lays out his bass - ha, ha, ha - he's going to set it on fire. So he lays it down on stage doing some appropriate gesture, and he pours some lighter fluid on it. But when he lit it, it went up like a torch. You didn't have to fan it or anything. It went up about three feet, a good three foot burn going. And he looked at it in utter - I'll never forget it - he looked at it in utter shock and horror: "Oh, what'll I do now?" S! o he decided - to maintain the stagemanship of this ploy - he would put it out with his body. He just fell on it and put the fire out with his chest ... with my shirt. He wasn't badly hurt, you know. There's this big fucking ring on his - whoops, my - shirt! He wasn't really burned, but it didn't look too good. So he didn't get that right. He missed. Bit I guess it was the thought that counted.
Boy, I'll never forget Dave. One time, before our first-ever Stooges concert, he said that he was on acid and wanted to paint my ancient Hawaiian guitar (which was central to our sound then) in a day-glo floral design. So I said, yeah, go ahead and paint ... day-glo some butterflies on it, you know. But he painted over the pickups, which are little magnetic microphones. So my guitar was broken the day before the gig. As it turned out, the course of history was changed because I had to play standing up. I had to play the stand-up guitar instead of the sit-down Hawaiian, and my pants fell down slowly during my debut. Everybody thought it was part of my act, which included an aluminum Afro wig and whiteface and a maternity smock that I was sporting with my golf shoes. So that was Dave. He started out with us doing little odd things. He had a special talent for that, you know. So, that was Dave.
Scott Asheton - he was the juvenile delinquent. He was this Elvis Presley looking character; a really quite handsome young lad, you know, somewhere between Elvis and Fabian, real tough dude, real badass, good fighter and shit like that. He used to always wear his sleeves rolled up. He also had the stretch Levi's and pointed boots, and he had a big Elvis hairdo or pompadour, which he called his pomp or my do. He was a pretty interesting kid. He dropped out of school. His dad died, his and Ron's - they were brothers - so they didn't have much discipline at home. He used to hang out on the street near where I worked in this record store at the time I was drumming with the band. He started hanging out at our Prime Movers rehearsals. He'd hang out on the stairs with a couple of his buddies. He was like a hick kid. You know, a hick kid who's tough and hip - a tough, hip hick kid somewhere between a groove and a tough, but very young. So he used to hang around the rehearsal room, an! d he asked me if I'd teach him to play drums. I liked him. He was a pretty neat guy, you know. So I said, & quot;Yeah, I'll teach you how to play." And I started teaching him some things, and he sat down at my drum set one night and started drumming. Through Scott I met the rest of them: Dave and Ron. They all used to hang out in front of the drug store, Marchall's Drug Store, where later I used to go to get my fix. I'd used to say I was a diabetic. You know how those small town drug stores are.
Stooges Slide In
One of the nice things about being the Stooges was that we lived almost always, absolutely, completely penniless, or near to it (we are almost Phoenix-like), even after we got our record contracts - without any visible resources except what we could make for ourselves, what we could earn on our own merits. We had no backing, nothing, nobody. One guy, John Adams, invested just enough to get amplifiers. He was the roadie who eventually turned the band into junkies. H was an ex junkie, philosophy major, and card shark - a dangerous combination. He was also a rich kid. So he put up three grand for us. But really we had no support from any official quarter. DJs would come, and I would give them the finger. Everybody stepped hated what we did, but the bids were already coming our way. We never once, not once, were affected by apparently total rejection and utter private.
Sometimes we'd have to practice in parkas and mittens, but it didn't matter. We were fanatics. Each obstacle became more of a laugh. Through all this, I was calculating - I was the smart one in the band - I was concerned very much with where we could gain points with a DJ and how much we'd lose. But still it would never get to my heart. I played it as a game. We never played villains. We only played music. We may not have played it very good, but then time goes on.
By 1970 I had a huge ego, so I felt on top, which I suppose makes for interesting performances. A lot of people liked the band and knew who we were and what we stood for. We had a sound, and we always delivered. It was a sweeping sound, like Mongolian horseman charging in, thousands of them, little Tartars with swords, frequencies only a geek can hear.
The other band members began to develop jealousies around this time: they'd tease me and make little posters about me around the house - COME SEE IGGY, HE SHITS GREEN. It's true I used to shit green sometimes. There were a lot of funny things in the air as nature took its course, and the name Iggy and the Stooges sort of slid in to stay. Promoters saw my name as money and latched on to it. I couldn't stop them. The Stooges disbanded in 1970, but the promoters, even now, continue to re-release us on records and tapes. The last episode of the Stooges came after the dismal sales failure of Fun House (released in 1969). Bill Harvey (vice President of Elektra) and Don Galucci (producer of Fun House) flew direct, first class, from New York to Ann Arbor to listen to and appraise the commercial possibilities of a third Stooges album.
The answer was NO! We were dropped.
However, I'll never deny in my memory the joy of watching the physical discomfort of these prissy assholes having to wait for five hours and being too uptight to make contact with a wall, sit in a chair, or go to the bathroom.
By this point, despite the soon to be lethal elements of disarray, we had put together the best Stooges ever. The songs they heard on that afternoon in June zombied these mother fuckers into stiff and embarrassing physical postures, including what must have been quite painful frozen smiles.
We may have been a bunch of mixed up jerks but there are things in the world better than...
We had the most tough, maniacal, poker-faced, ready-to-fight-at-all-times killers for roadies you can imagine - every one of them. My pride and joy. Our kind of band needed them. We had to have soldiers when the going got rough, 'cause we were rockers, right?
So we had Dave the Dogman, who had been a Marine captain and served in Vietnam. He had machine guns - including a beautiful AK47 Russian-made submachine gun - and everything else; a genial, mustachioed, Stacey Keach or Burt Reynolds looking man from Pontiac, Michigan, whose last name is Dunlap. I'll bet you're laughing, Dave, when you read this name - why don't you drop me a line c/o F.B.I., 250 West 57th Street, New York City 10019? And we had Leo Beatty. Leo was another badass from Pontiac, a narcissist badass. Last I heard he was in a mental hospital somewhere . He's got some brain problem - narcissistic, long-hairdo, wiry, tall, kick-ass, beautiful boy, all grace and tiptoes. All my roadies were very good. " The streets are fields that never die." Jim Morrison.
Then there was Bernie. Bernie had been a tank commander in Vietnam. He killed a lot of guys; in fact, after the Stooges broke up he re enlisted.
And we had Zeke Zettne, my roommate in 26G, who's now passed away. He later played bass in the Stooges. He was about 6'4", somewhat quick-tempered but really sweet, a very beautiful boy - very beautiful.
Then we had the amazing Don Cool, "Don Cool from Liverpool." Don cool was so dirty at all times you not only saw the dirt but you smelled him from a few feet away - I mean a really strong stench. It was an honest sweat mixed with the smell of distress and deprivation. Don was semi-literate; he grew up in the middle of the ghetto of Detroit, one block from the Chrysler plant. He was the kind of guy who would walk with his palms backwards, a common Negro walk, you know what I mean - it's called pimping. He was unreal - one of the toughest guys I had ever seen - wiry strength. He was devoted to the Stooges, and me especially, entirely. He was my animal. He'd sleep anywhere, usually curled up on the floor. He'd do anything and do it with complete fervor and never raise his voice. Fanatic! Quite an interesting guy. He was very valuable. We were the first people, I think, who had ever been kind to him.
I went once to find out the kind of life Don had had before he found us, the kind of space he came from, I wanted to see if he was allright. It was just a personal thing I wanted to do. The neighborhood was very oppressive, falling down shacks and everything. I got to the house, and it was very filthy and dirty. His mother was disheveled and had - just what poverty can do to people - the pockmarked complexion from bad diet; bad teeth; that beaded look, just beaten down look. She was trying to be decent for me - she said, "No, Don's not here" - but she was dulled by life; she had no emotions. She spoke about everything the same. There was no bloom. Nothing happened to her insides anymore. But he wasn't there anyway, so I get back in the car and drive about ten feet, I'll never forget it, with the big Chrysler plant in the background, and this small child, about a year, just old enough to walk, a toddler, crawls across the street, unattended - a little girl. A car comes! along , a big car going too fast, some kind of GM. It was light blue. It was either an Olds or a Buick - some non-descript thing like that. And the kid was run over. And they took off. So there you go.
But my favorite of the crew was Lueere, Eric Haddix. I just really liked this guy - very, very narrow at the hips, extremely narrow, like almost no hips, maybe a size 26, and enormous at the shoulders; very, very lean, quite muscular, sort of lantern jaw, almost oriental eyes, from a farm community fairly near Detroit. He got kicked out of society early for something violent that he did - a lovely guy, though. He always wore these black gloves, just regular winter gloves, whenever he answered the door. You know what I'm saying? It made a big impression. He never smiled. Anyway, they were all very beautiful - cute boys. That was our team.
I was married. Once I got married - I was 21 or 22 years old - to a beautiful girl. Her name was Wendy Weisberg. She was Wendy Osterberg for awhile, legally. I met Wendy through a college friend. I met her when I was in college. I was 19. I was still young.
I tried college out for a semester. I found the people, the students, brutish - stupid. At that time I really had a fear of girls. I was so shy; I just thought she was so beautiful, and I liked her. She was tomboyish, with a very, very beautiful build - a Jewish girl from Shaker Heights, a wealthy suburb of Cleveland. Her dad ran a string of cut-rate farmer stores - the Giant Tiger - a very rich man, sort of a Joe Blow type. You know what I mean? I'm self-made, I'm tough, I got the house, I got attitude, you know. The kid's got everything. She was real sweet - a tomboy, you know - would do anything you'd like to do, not coquettish or anything, very, very beautiful - a dark beauty - with long straight black hair, down well past her waist. She'd wear it in braids sometimes. She had Indian blood from her mother's side, almost black eyes, with a look of surprise and fear at the same time - like a deer caught in headlights - very beautiful to look at. So, I met her that one time, ! but I didn't even dare talk to her.
Years later, I was playing with the Stooges at a college. It was in Delaware, Ohio. We had a record out by that time, but the public, especially in colleges, didn't know who we were, Will they show or will they not show? So we attracted, I don't know, maybe about 60 people in this huge auditorium; maybe not even that, maybe like 20 or 18, and probably only 12 of those paid. And Wendy turned up. I was her before the gig. I was shocked. I remembered her immediately. She was someone you always kept in your mind, maybe to encounter again: you think you never will, but I've always believed that if you want to see somebody in the future you always do. It has always held true. So I say, "Hi;," just to be cordial, "How are you?" As it turned out she really wanted to see me and was surprised that I remembered her. So we chatted for awhile.
I was looking very spiffy that night. I was in my white period. I wore white thin ankle socks and continental semi-sandals. They used to sell them at the Regal Shoes in Times Square that caters to Blacks - a casual kind of shoe, right? What the pimp wears around the garden. And I had a pair of size 28 soft, brushed denim jeans - no flare - just a little bit short, and a real clean white pull-on T-shirt and hair down half-way between my shoulder and my breast - auburn, my natural color, a little wavy, a curl on the ends - and I had very long bangs. And, yeah ... there she was.
There she was, and we made an arrangement to speak after the show. She was with her boyfriend but that didn't faze me. Apparently she had been a big fan of my work. She thought I was real visionary. She'd only heard us on record, where my vocals were much more drawling and laid back.
So meanwhile we went out to join the 12 or 18 people out there. There may not have been that many. So we came out to play, and, the first song, I was really into it. It was a lovely room to play in: the stage was nice, and I was trying to do a good gig for her, too, you see, so I really got into it. It was really great. But I didn't feel enough response from the audience. Somehow, I guess it wasn't what I wanted. I didn't hear the bells ring or whatever. So in the second song I started hurting myself: flinging myself about and hurting myself, messing myself with a drumstick. And, as I was doing it (it didn't hurt or anything), the music sounded better and better and better. It was just great - strange overtones, beautiful overtones. It sounded enchanting. I felt very good and then it was over.
We got done with our usual short and sweet set - about 20 minutes - and we were the only band on that night. A 20 minute show for 12 people. So we get off, and I was quite pleased with myself. Then again, it's not like I cut myself badly but blood was flowing. It was like a little prick here and there with a broken drumstick and maybe a little slap on the face. I felt I wanted to commune with the ground in some strange way. I misjudged a little bit: maybe a little cut on the lip, from the microphone - sometimes you try to eat the thing - a nick here and there. You know what I'm saying? Nothing you wouldn't get from a crown of thorns. Also as the gig went on my mood got blacker and blacker. I just wanted something.
So we get done, and I was rather pleased. I thought the sound was terrific. Everybody played well, and I loved what we were doing, though I still tended to be a bit insecure since our music was so totally outside the realm of what was around.
Anyway, she came back and said hello. She was almost in tears. She had been crying. And she was angry - like, "How could you do that to me?" I felt so bad. I had never thought that anyone (except, of course, my mother and father) ever cared about me, in Army way; in fact I still don't believe it very much. I think humans, if they care for you and respect you. it's often not really you they are caring for and respecting but rather what they want you to be. Actually, they don't care for you, they just learn how to prick your emotions at certain times: prick this string or that string. You may respond, but I wonder how much real caring there is.
So Wendy made me think about some things. Her boyfriend was with her but somehow we talked into the night, and I told her that I loved her and I had to have her. She said, "I have a boyfriend," and I said I didn't care. So I rented a car the next weekend and drove down four hundred miles alone to Columbus, where she was, and spent the weekend. I went down there against all odds: against her father and her boyfriend and her pleasant university. I just pushed until I got my way, and I got my way.
Before I actually rescued her, there was an interlude when she had her own apartment and I used to visit her. She was set up in an apartment in Shaker Heights, and she had a stereo. It was the first time I really listened to the song "Heroin" by Lou Reed. I'll never forget sitting in the apartment with her - this nice life - nice college - and I was a nice boy too, then. You know what I mean. I'd never taken a downer or anything, and I was listening to the song "Heroin" in this bare room. She didn't have all the nice furniture yet that she later acquired. It was a very bare room. It was very chic, the apartment section of the Sunday paper chic.
She was a virgin at the time. I just had to have her. We'd go to the lake or to the movies and then to our favorite hamburger joint. She was the only one who could get me to eat a hamburger. Then we'd play the juke box. She was really into Junior Walker, his beautiful love song, "What Does It Take" - it's just such a beautiful love song - that and Frank Sinatra's "My Funny Valentine," and other just badass rock. We'd just sit and listen to music on the juke box, preferably the kind where you had the selector right at your seat.
Then we got married.
Her parents didn't come. My parents came. We had the wedding on the front lawn of the Stooges farmhouse. It was beautiful. It was a nice summer day. The bride wore white and long black hair. All in all, it was an interesting affair. First of all, Danny Fields, my publicist at Electra - the "architect" of my career - flew down. I had called him up the night before and told him. He just about swallowed his tongue. I was such a straight young man, and he didn't know quite how to say anything like, "What; about your image?" So he said, "I'll see you tomorrow." He flew out from New York.
The WABX disc jockey, Russ Gibb, from Detroit called up the house to find out what the hell was going on without telling me that the call was live on the air. So I stumbled into learning something about publicity: the human interest angle. WABX's attitude was that they didn't believe it: WHO would marry Iggy Pop?
Meanwhile, the boys in the band were sitting on the front porch drinking beer, flipping coins, and taking bets on how long it was going to last. Really loud, you know what I mean. "Hey, I'll give you 5 to 4 on two months." "No, one day I say, you watch, I know Pop." Danny is saying, "Jim, what are you doing? Think about your image." And my macrobiotic Zen manager, Jimmy Silver, is going, "Hey, reality, truth - that's where Jim's at." Danny just looked at him and said, "Fuck reality! Who cares about reality?" - really disdainful. I was very Zen at the time - a complete health nut - a peace-loving Zen health nut who was into stabbing himself with drum sticks. Anyway, I was on the cover of 16 magazines that month.
The best man was Ronnie Asheton. He was dressed in a full SS colonel's uniform - a real one - head to toe. My manager did the honors as the minister. He had sent in his $12.00 to the Universal Life Church so it was legal. And we'd gotten the blood tests and the license and all that. Some band friends of mine from Ann Arbor showed up. Plus her friends. Everybody was very skeptical about the whole thing, except us. She never looked more beautiful; I loved her so. And so we got married. My father said, "Jim, you've got good taste."
But then what happened ... First off, she tells me that all of her girl friends at the wedding are going to stay for a few days. These girls I didn't like, right - loud, strident, fat, and seriously distasteful in every way. Suddenly I realized that it was going to upset the chemistry of the house. In fact, not only that, I realized that, while the guys were sitting on the porch loudly making bets, they in some weird way, for all their masculinity, were jealous. I intuited it. It wasn't something at the time that I was sophisticated enough to consciously think of. They were jealous. All boys are queer. They were jealous.
So her friends were going to stay for a few days after the wedding ceremony. I wasn't really that fond of her friends. Plus it was a very special occasion, I felt, to be shared by we two in private.
Then came the possessions. Up, up, up the stairs came boxes and boxes. Remember, I had this garret upstairs. Just the Marshall, a pillow and a mattress and that was it. A few clothes - a bare room - in the attic. She had a convertible Pontiac LeMans. That I didn't mind. Suddenly I had an AM-Fm radio whit an alarm on it. This is a guy who works two hours a week at most! I've got an AM-FM radio with a clock and an alarm! I've got a fancy rattan wickerwork coffee table with a glass top and this little setting for - I don't know - things. What else do I have? I have a throw rug - a beautiful throw rug. I have a bottom sheet and a top sheet and four pillows and two blankets (one electric) and a bedspread with a yellow, green, and white flower motif - cherry flowers. And I have a lot of stuff. Suddenly I had this perfect little laid out world: I guess I was a Jewish prince. It was then that I began thinking of how to get rid of her. I still loved her, but...
So the sun's starting to set, you know. It's the wedding night, or thereabouts. My drummer, Scotty Asheton, was a very, very, very attractive, good looking guy. And he liked Wendy, so she had a crush on him, right? And I'm the world's most jealous man. So she wakes up in the middle of the night, and, half awake, she tells me that she had this dream about Scotty.
I completely flipped out, automatically. It put me right off. That was the first thing; the second thing was she wasn't me to stop smoking pot. She said it was bad for my health, and she also said that my band was a bunch of derelicts and dummies and that they were dragging me down and I should get on my own and do something and she'd help me, right? I was in shock. I couldn't believe my ears - that this fucking nobody, this underachiever, could so grossly overlook the limitations of her role: to me she was just a place to bottle my romantic notions. I liked smoking pot, and I liked my band.
The other thing was she liked to sleep at night, of all things, and I liked to sleep whenever I wanted to. I like to play my guitar any old time. So one night I got an idea for a song - just right in the middle of the night - but here's this woman in my bed. It suddenly hit me, then and there: it was impossible. It had to be one or the other: her or a career. Mind you, I loved her very much.
I then proceeded to write one of my best tunes ever, "Down; on The Street." I went into the closet with my amplifier and played my guitar muffled and quiet - a real stomp, very tribal, very tribal beat. It sounded nice - muffled, intense. But then I wanted to go to the next musical idea for the song, and I thought, "Oh, I gotta be quiet." And then I thought "NO man! You don't gotta be quiet!" So I stepped out of the closet and the next part was this huge noise, a thundering fucking chord. That just shattered her immensely. But it was OK: I had the song stuck together. That was a funny moment - birth.
So finally I had to tell her to go. There were many tears. She didn't want to give up. So we decided maybe she should split for a couple of days: come back in a week or so. So she left as soon as possible.
I was free again. I could go out on the streets like I used to - roam the streets, looking. I walked into a hamburger joint where the kids went after school. It's actually where I wrote the Stooges' first record. It was a coffee shop and a bathroom. I'd come in before the kids were out of school, and I'd just sit in the back of the balcony and observe their social patterns. Which became material for my songs.
And so I went there and saw Betsy. I never saw anything like that. She was very cute. She was the exact opposite physically of my wife - blonde, white as snow. She was 13 and she looked at me penetratingly. So I suppose you can figure out what happened next.
You know, it's funny, I can't begin to count the times when I'll be with a friend after a gig, and maybe if it was pretty good, maybe they'll say, "I liked it." "Did you really like it?" I'll ask. "Did you relly like it? are you sure you liked it? How good was it? What did you like? Did they love me?" On and on, until finally, "You didn't really like it, I know your really didn't like me," etc., etc. That's really bad taste, but what can I say? You want people to like what you do so bad, but at the same time it ain't shit if you're not gambling. That's why I got into music - to have a gamble. I was slipping past 15 and breaking into the routine end of my high school phase and had to quite rapidly choose some sort of life, you know.
I was very well spoken and could have been a lawyer or even a politician: I was a super salesman. But I looked around me, and one thing I noticed about, for example, the parents of the kids I went to school with - some pretty successful people - was that their lives seemed fragmented. These men in their forays, with many beautiful features still - big bones, I'm into beauty, beauty and luxury - had no white in their eyes and no room for their wives.
Let's put it this way, I didn't meet any great personalities. They all seemed to say that I could get fat and stale. They never wanted to carry on a conversation about anything deep. They weren't poetic. They weren't poetic, these people; they weren't enchanted. They had no identity. They were out there in the world of property and power.
It's funny because I come form a trailer camp, but my father made sure I'd be in the Ann Arbor school system - on the other side of the border - so that I'd go to school with the upper class kids - substantial kids, a lot of overachievers.
It's real sad. I wanted to live in an enchanted forest, you know. I wanted to be under a spell. And I saw all these people who were settling for their nice lawn, their very nice neighborhood, very nice house, you know, classy looking wife, good job and guys to boss around, political power and office. You know what I mean: things people can count. And let's not forget kids to indulge.
I just got a bad feeling from what I saw of bourgeois life, and I certainly didn't want to be a laborer. I just found everything around me very brutish, especially the kids at school. so I decided to gamble with music - it was the only thing that was really fun to do - to escape from all that. I'd just die not to gamble a big gamble - something natural, something you could touch and grasp.
Plus I was in love deeply, was completely hooked on the apparatus itself. Just the sheer presence of electricity in large doses had always made me feel real comfortable and calm, especially the way a very large amplifier with an instrument plugged into it will push air, the way the speakers push air - that's basically what amps do, they push the air and push me too. And even just the beauty of the microphones appealed to me. And the beat of the drums. It was like, I gotta get out of here, I gotta get out of here. I hate this life! I hate everything about it! I can't live with it. It hurts me. I feel odd around these people, and music is the only place to hide. The refuge, really.
The original gamble was taking a full time gig, five sets a night, six nights a week, with $55 a week as my cut. But I had to. We had a bare house to flop in. But it was a big gamble - am I going to be able to stop in time or am I going further and further from being able to go back and face some ... corporate claw: I was three days out of high school.
I had no idea I would have records or anything like that. It was just a refuge, like getting lost in a poem can be for an adolescent, like a love affair. And, sure enough, once I got a taste of it ... This was the summer of 1965 when Bob Dylan's "Bringing It All Back Home" came out, as well as the new stones album. I was listening to a lot of Dylan.
Anyway, I tried to go back to school, and I couldn't do it. I was in this college band, the Prime Movers, and I met with Paul Butterfiled's guitarist, who said if you really want to play you've got to go to Chicago. So I went to Chicago with $.19. I knocked on the door of the great drummer Sam Lay, who was with the original Paul Butterfiled lineup. He lived on 65th and Homan. He lived way down deep on the West Side. I was scared stiff on my way down through the neighborhood, and he took me in. He found me a place to live in the basement of the Delmark Record Store, run by this guy Bob Koester, who tried to attack me every night. I didn't care: I had a place to practice in the store and a good connection to get gigs. Bob loved the blues, knew his shit, and was very involved in the black Chi-town scene. He still puts out some great records on a label called Delmark (Grand Street, Chicago, Illinois).
I started getting gigs playing with these black guys: I was still very young and raggedy at this time, but I started getting gigs. The first thing I noticed about playing with these black guys - older guys - their music was like honey off their fingers - real childlike and charming in its simplicity and lack of any real arrangement, not like any Chicago blues played by the white groups, who really misinterpret. There was no actual arrangement. Each guitar player had about 20 understood riffs, and everybody knew what to do depending on what was appropriate for the song. They all played so it fit. They listened to each other. It was so high powered. One night I was sitting by the Chicago River - I used to hang out by the sewage treatment plant across from the Marina Towers where Steve McQueen in a movie crashes a car off the 65th floor into the Chicago river; I'd sit there and think sometimes - and I was thinking about structure: maybe you don't have to play these complex lyric! s; may be I'd like to do some writing and singing.
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