The Godfather of punk, Iggy Pop, has threatened that his new album Post Pop Depression, recorded with Josh Homme and Arctic Monkey’s Matt Helders, could be his last. Yet the Detroit wildman has been on a rampage against good taste since his original band The Stooges released their self-titled debut album 1969, preceding punk by at least seven years and helping to invent the genre before going solo. He has, of course, had some pretty bonkers moments in that time.
“Why are you bleeding?”
This 1980 appearance on US talk show The Tom Snyder Show is a fairly strong contender for Iggy’s maddest onscreen moment. Missing a tooth, he talks about his history of bleeding and vomiting on audience members (“out of frustration”), Ancient Greek art and why, above all, he’s just having fun. Nevertheless, Synder feels compelled to ask: “Why are you bleeding?”
Going nutty in Cincinnati
Weirdly, this clip from Cincinnati Pop Festival in 1970 features a commentator, like it’s a football match rather than Iggy Pop collapsing into the crowd and smearing himself with a jar of peanut butter handed to him by a fan. “That’s peanut butter!” the commentator sagely notes.
Blowtorch in Bondage
In 1977, legendary rock critic Lester Bangs (he’s played by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in Almost Famous) penned an infamous Village Voice article headlined Iggy Pop: Blowtorch In Bondage. A description of Pop’s gig at The Palladium in New York, it found him shouting at the crowd of “hostile” bikers: “All right, you assholes wanna hear ‘Louie Louie’? We’ll give you ‘Louie Louie’!” His band then played a 45-minute version of the song, improvising such lines as: “You can suck my ass / You biker faggot sissies”. Iggy ended up jumping off the stage and getting in a fight, which he lost.
This one’s infamous. The years is 1979 and Iggy is on especially strange form, writhing about in his seat and yelling G’day! G’day!” at host Molly Meldrum, who is impressively assertive, grabbing Iggy’s guns and imploring: “Iggy, will you concentrate on the questions.” Pop snottily declares that David Bowie is simply the pianist in his band, then performs ‘I’m Bored’, dancing about like Mick Jagger after 80 years in solitary confinement.
Iggy sells out
Yes, in 2009, Iggy did an insurance advert, which involves him gyrating around and throwing insurance forms in the air. Hardcore fans were devastated to find their idol is as susceptible to that filthy lucre as the rest of us. Things took an even stranger turn when the advert was banned. Because it was just too punk? Because the world just wasn’t ready for all those jumpcuts? No, because Swiftcover doesn’t offer cover for musicians and so the ad was deemed misleading.
… And then goes a bit Zoolander
There probably more punk things than fancy perfume, but at least this advert for Paco Rabane Black XS looks cool. Still, you could argue that it stinks a bit that the Godfather of punk is flogging luxury smellies.
Madonna was inducted into the Rock’n’roll Hall of Fame in 2008, an occasion Iggy marked with this ill-advised, quite tuneless cover of her 1998 song ‘Ray of Light’. It’s a bit embarrassing when he starts singing into the faces of suited-and-booted industry types, but probably more embarrassing that the cameras follow him into the kitchen afterwards. Bizarrely, he bumps into Madonna back there. Damning Pop with faint praise, she says she quite likes the horns in his version.
Havin’ an Iggy Christmas
2013, and Iggy is feeling festive. Naturally, he uploads an eerie, 20-second-long YouTube clip – entitled Merry Christmas Message From Iggy – that sees him chilling in a hot tub in a Santa hat, hanging with a parakeet and lounging by the pool. At the end, he half-heartedly mumbles: “Merry Christmas.” Rolling Stone said the (extremely weird) clip is “like a cross between a snuff film and a drunken vine”.