All About Iggy (Pop)

Who did you think I was referring to? Iggy Azalea? Jarome Iginla?

“I Made It to 2020”.

I don’t want to jinx the man as anything can happen in the next four months, but someone needs to get Iggy Pop a T-shirt with this saying on it, tout suite!

The past twenty years have seen everyone’s favourite barechested stagediver improbably resurrect a career thought to be all but over as the millennium odometer turned over. James Newell Osterberg Jr. not only survived the Y2K scare but has flourished, uncontent to simply ease into retirement as an elder statesman of modern music. The Stooges were one of the first high-profile band reunions at Coachella, and were eventually inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame thanks in part to a little voter influence from fellow Michiganian Madonna. There was the collaborative Post Pop Depression album with members of Queens of the Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys that almost culminated in a Grammy Award (which he understandably lost out to David Bowie’s posthumous Blackstar). Jim Jarmusch made a documentary on The Stooges called Gimme Danger, and a book entitled Total Chaos was also put out, written exclusively from Pop’s lucid perspective. If this wasn’t enough, a collection of lyrics from 100 of his songs along with personal collectables is being published by Penguin Random House under the title ’Til Wrong Feels Right.

Photo I took of Iggy and the Stooges at Riot Fest Toronto in 2013

While The Stooges are no more due to the deaths of punk saxophonist Steve Mackay and cofounding members the Ashton brothers, Iggy refuses to grieve in a prolonged manner for anyone or give up the proverbial ghost. The abnormal, now 72-year-old continues to perform around the world to rave reviews, displaying a vivacity artists half the showman’s age would literally kill for. Iggy Pop is at liberty to do whatever he damn well pleases, so it’s somewhat appropriate that the 24th album in his incredible lifetime is entitled Free. And if that includes loungingly singing a song that goes, “She Wants to Be Your James Bond”, so be it.

Pop’s impact has been such since he started beating out garage rock standards like “Louie Louie” in the mid-’60s as drummer for the Iguanas that it is impossible to capture it all, although Liss Gallery in Toronto’s star-struck Yorkville neighborhood sure as heck tried. They hosted a combination listening party and still frame exhibition showcasing the well-preserved singer in various promotional, concert and social poses throughout Iggy’s SIX decades in the biz.

His skin may have ironically become as leathery as a reptile’s and he tends to snakily writhe around on stage, but the “Real Wild Child (Wild One)”’s music stylings have been more akin to that of a chameleon, changing things up to never stay stale while ingeniously blending in to what’s going on at the moment. The Stooges’ avant-garde “protopunk” gave way to Pop’s own brand of new wave and friendships with Blondie. Synths were prominent in the ’80s, although so was glammy metal, which eventually morphed into grunge by American Caesar’s 1993 release. It may not be as prestigious as the questionable Time Magazine covers that adorn Mar-a-Lago, but Iggy Pop – who’s stuck it out through thick and thin – is easily my Person of the 2000s. Take that, GQ Lifetime Achievement Award.

Congratulations Iggy; after all this time…you’ve made it!