ISSN 1551-8086
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   poets list
   Francisco Dominguez & Aire Celeste Norell
   Marie Lecrivain & Angel Uriel Perales
   Sheikha A.
   Steve Abee
   L. Ward Abel
   Carl Abt
   Han Adcock
   Elizabeth Addis
   Aderemi Adegbite
   Adeolu Emmanuel Adesanya
   Neil Aitken
   M.I Akande
   Shahd Al-Shemmari
   Lynn Albanese
   Gwyndyn Alexander
   Nicole Alexander
   Alaina Renee Alexander
   Scott Alexander
   Inalegwu Omapada Alifa
   Maureen Alsop
   Rafael Alvarado
   Steven Alvarez
   Veronica An
   Amy Anderson
   Kristine Anderson
   G.D. Anderson
   Zack Anderson
   Lori Anderson-Moseman
   Grace Andreacchi
   Renae Andruse
   Arlene Ang
   Roger Angle
   Stephen Anstay
   Azure Antoinette
   Theresa Antonia
   Aurora Antonovic
   Maria A Arana
   Carlye Archibeque
   Joseph Armstead
   Feral Artist
   Baron James Ashanti
   Charlene M. Ashendorf
    Askew
   Gregory Austin
   Shawn Aveningo
   maeghanne ayers
   Goodness Lanre Ayoola
   John-Patrick Ayson
   Jim Babwe
   Sophie Bachard
   Vasile Baghiu
   Bridget Bagne
   song-hue bahk
   Michael Baker
   Prerna Bakshi
   Anna Balint
   David Banuelos
   Jared Barbick
   J. Mae Barizo
   Peter Barlow
   Matthew A. Barraza
   James Barros
   Jeni Bate
   Jonathan Beale
   Richard Beban
   Gary Beck
   Gary Beck
   Lytton Bell
   Hakim Bellamy
   Michele Beller
   Laura Bellotti
   Stefanie Bennett
   Hayley Berariu
   Lawrence Berger
   Kevin Berger
   Mike Berger, Ph.D.
   Tom Berman
   luis cuauhtemoc berriozabal
   Craig Berry
   Nick Bertelson
    Besskepp
   Mary Rose Betten
   Cheryl Beychok
   Gwendolyn Beyer
   François Biajoux
   Heitham Black
   Jarvis Black
   Beau Blue
   Rose Mary Boehm
   Bonnie Bolling
   Julie Bolt
   Lek Borja
   Cristogianni Borsella
   Gerald Bosacker
   Amanda Boschetto
   Wendy Bourke
   Jack G. Bowman
   Jennifer Bradpiece
   Bob Bradshaw
   Marcielle Brandler
   Peter Branson
   Sumiko Braun
   Adam Bresson
   Quiana Briggs
   Jack Bristow
   paulo brito
   Alan Britt
   Michelle Brodeur
   Lynne Bronstein
   Charles Brooks
   Leah Brown
   Deborah Edler Brown
   Adam Levon Brown
   Jason Sanford Brown
   zoey brown
   Bob Browning
   Sir Mark Bruback
   MC Bruce
   Jeffrey Bryant
   Kate Buckley
   Robin M. Buehler
   Ron Burch
   Graham Burchell
   Maria Rose Burgio
   Betsy Burke
   Matt Burns
   Richard Burrill
   Tony Bush
   Zachary C. Bush
   Elissa Calvin
   Joseph Camhi
   Dana Campbell
   Velene Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Neil Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Luis Campos
   Janine Canan
   Lyn Cannaday
   Pasquale Capacosa
   Joey Capone
   HélÚne Cardona
   Britton Laine Carducci
   D.J. Carlile
   Julia Carlson
   Alicia Carpenter
   Jonathan Carr
   Patricia Carragon
   Oscar Carrasco
   Jared Carter
   Michael Aaron Casares
   John Casey
   Lisa Castro
   Rachael Kelechi Caulker
   Nika Cavat
   Michael Caylo-Baradi
   Steve Ceniceros
   Michael Ceraolo
    Cerise
   Robert Cesaretti
   Cheryl Chambers
   Lita-Luise Chappell
   Shibani Chattopadhyay
   Lisa Cheby
   Beth Cheng
   Ralph-Michael Chiaia
   Juhi Chowdhury
   David Christensen
   Terry Clark
   Phil Clark
   Terry Clark
   Darice Clark
   Charles Claymore
   Jeanette Clough
   Kim Cochran
   Ed Coet
   Tobi Cogswell
   Megan Coker
   Bruce Colbert
   Karen E. Cole
   Merrill Cole
   Christopher Coleman
   Larry Colker
   Beverly M. Collins
   Christiane Conésa-Bostock
   David Concepcion
   Christiane Conesa-Bostock
   Brendan Connell
   Alice Constantine
   Jack Cooper
   Flavia Cosma
   Rachel Coventry
   R. Paul Craig
   David Cravens
   William Crawford
   Natalie Crick
   Rosemarie Crisafi
   Carla Criscuolo
   Chris Crittenden
   Benjamin Crowley
   Susan Culver
   Joe Cyr
   Jim D Babwe
   Morgaine d'Abney
   Karen Corcoran Dabkowski
   Daniel Daian
    Dalton
   Catherine Daly
   Iris Dan
   Marie Lecrivain & Daniel Gallik
   Dan Danila
   Michelle Daugherty
   Piper Davenport
   Kathrine David
   Gareth Davies
   Holly Day
   Frank De Canio
   Gregory De Feo
   Steve De France
   J de Salvo
   J. de Salvo
   kumari de Silva
   Pijush Kanti Deb
   Shalla DeGuzman
   JD DeHart
   Diane Dehler
   Aurelius Demarco
   Darren C Demaree
   Gloria Derge
   Chris Derrico
   Lea Deschenes
   Maurice Devitt
   Theo Diamantis
   Mike Dias
   Martin Dickinson
   Edward J DiMaio
   Mark Dixon
   Peggy Dobreer
   Rosemarie Dombrowski
   Francisco J. Dominguez
   Linsly Donnelly
   Lisa Helene Donovan
   Kevin Doran
   Marvin Louis Dorsey
   John Dorsey
   Marvin Dorsey
   Laura A. Lionello & Douglas Richardson
   Doug Draime
   Donelle Dreese
   Dale Duke
   Jawanza Dumisani
   Henri Dumolet
   Max Dunbar
   Robin Wyatt Dunn
   t. joseph dunn
   Tyler Dupuis
    Durenda
   Walter Durk
   Douglas Dvorkin
   Ron Dvorkin
   Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi
   Alfie Ebojo aka alfie numeric
   Elisabeth Adwin Edwards
   Patricia J. Edwards
   Sabrina Edwards
   Miguel Eichelberger
   John Elison
   Julian Ellis
   Neil Ellman
   K. Eltinaé
   R.M. Engelhardt
   Margarita Engle
   Jon Epstein
   Sufi Erter
   Eli Eshaghian
   Michael Estabrook
   Alexis Rhone Fancher
   Richard Fein
   John Feins
   Emily Fernandez
   Melissa Fischer
   W.S. Fisher
   Jamie Asae FitzGerald
   Amelia Fleetwood
   Jake Fleshner
   John Jay Flicker
   David Flynn
   Arthur Charles Ford
   Liz Fortini
   Sesshu Foster
   Heather Fowler
   Clint Frakes
   Sarah Francois
   Amelie Frank
   Amélie Frank
   Alex M. Frankel
   Allie Frazier
   E.L. Freifeld
   M. Frias Frias-May
   Suzanne Frost
   Delia J. Fry
   Elliott Gabay
   Steven Gabriel
   Timothy Gager
   Daniel Gallik
   J Gamble
   Ishmael Garay
   Jerry Garcia
   Daniel Garcia-Black
   Gabriella Garofalo
   Vince Garofalo
   Yvonne Garrett
   Nelson Gary
   Donna Gebron
   Ulrike Gerbig
   Janice Gero
   Ursula T. Gibson
   Rebecca Gimblett
   Tony Gloeggler
   Steve Goldman
   Vesna Goldsworthy
   Melanie Gonzalez
   Jeffrey Graessley
   Allison Grayhurst
   Jeff Green
   Timothy Green
   Jeanie Greensfelder
   Rhoda Greenstone
   Amos Greig
   John Greiner
   John Grey
   Summer Griffiths
   Danielle Grilli
   Brian Grillo
   John Grochalski
   Wendy Grosskopf
   Andrew Grossman
   Ro Gunetilleke
   Kenneth Gurney
   John R. Guthrie
   Debashish Haar
   Erik Haber
   Hedy Habra
   Tresha Faye Haefner
   Matthias Hagedorn
   James Hall
   Tom Hamilton
   David Harrington
   William Harris
   Matt Harris
   Dawnell Harrison
   J. Alana Hauenschild
   Kari J. Hayes
   KJ Hays
   Ann L. Healey
   Eloise Klein Healy
   Jessica Healy
   Jim Heavily
   Dan Hedges
   Paul Hellweg
   Samantha Henderson
   Jack Henry
   David Herrle
   JD Heskin
   Kenneth Hickey
   Jerry Hicks
   Marvin R Hiemstra
   Ed Higgins
   Carlos Hiraldo
   Sherri Hoffman
   Guy Hogan
   Ali Hosseiny
   Dave Houston
   Nate Howard
   David Howard
   Eric Howard
   Bryon D. Howell
   A J Huffman
   Hunter Lee Hughes
   Roger Humes
   Trista Hurley-Waxali
   Elizabeth Iannaci
   Thea Iberall
   Armine Iknadossian
   Gedda Ilves
   Alegria Imperial
   Victor Infante
   Victor D. Infante
   Augustus Invictus
   Susan Irvine
   Alexandra Isacson
   Natalie Itzhaki
   Amber Jacob
   Scott Jacobson
   Larry Jaffe
   Sonika Jaggi
   Emmanuel Jakpa
   Matthew James
   Andrea Janov
   T.A. Jennings
   Ivan Jenson
   Dani Jimenez
   Alex Johnson
   Michael Lee Johnson
   Lois P. Jones
   Tao Jones
   Strider Marcus Jones
   Georgia Jones-Davis
   Jasmin Jordan
   Quentin Josephy
   Liu Jue
   Ruth Juris
   Gene Justice
   Gary Justice
   Pete Justus
   Mikel K
   Scott C. Kaestner
   Sheema Kalbasi
   Peycho Kanev
   Rachel Kann
   Jay Kantor
   Paula Sfier Kattan
   Russ Kazmierczak
   James Keane
   Gretchen Keer
   Aaron Keller
   Collin Kelley
   Kamuran Kelly
   Raud Kennedy
   Bernard Kennedy
   Kathleen Kenny
   Stephen Kerr
   Hari Bhajan Khalsa
   Just Kibbe
   Jerome Kiel
   lalo kikiriki
   Robert S King
   Franklin Lafayette King
   Ashley King
   Sofia Kioroglou
   Rusty Kjarvik
   Kenny Klein
   LeAnne Kline
   Deborah P Kolodji
   Tracy Koretsky
   Edith Kornfeld
   George Korolog
   Dimitris P. Kraniotis
   Thomas KrÀmer
   Mark Krewatch
   Chris Krueger
   Amanda Krut
   Gerard Kuc
   Christopher Kuhn
   Donna Kuhn
   Len Kuntz
   Craig Kurtz
   Tammy Ho Lai-Ming
   Daniel Lambert
   Anthony Langford
   Donald Langosy
   Ray Lanthier
   Phillip Larrea
   Phillip Larrea
   Kasandra Larsen
   Wolf Larsen
   Ethan Latham
   Lisa LaTourette
   Marie Lecrivain & Laura A. Lionello
   Marianne LaValle-Vincent
   Kevin Lavey
   Judith A. Lawrence
   Eric Lawson
   Richard Leach
   Marie Lecrivain
   Anne Lecrivain
   Noah Lederman
   Pete Lee
   Kevin Patrick Lee
   Emma Lee
   N.M. Leepsa
   Alexandra Leggat
   Laura LeHew
   Gary Lehmann
   Sharmagne Leland-St. John
   Kevin LeMaster
   Michal Lemberger
   Kim Leng
   Roland Lesterin
   Tiffany Lettieri
   P.A. Levy
   Martin Lewis
   Cheyenne Lewis
   Anthony Liccione
   Cynthia Linville
   Laura Lionello
   Zachary Locklin
   Jessica Lopez
   Harold Lorin
   Tess. Lotta
   B.D. Love
   Adam Lowis
   Ron Lucas
   Andrew Lundwall
   Rick Lupert
   Suzan Lustig
   Radomir Luza
   Stosh Machek
   John MacKenna
   Sarah Maclay
   Stefanie Maclin
    Magdalena
   Gary Maggio
   Holly Magill
   Anthony Magistrale
   Marieta Maglas
   Suvi Mahonen
   Donal Mahoney
   Robert Maiolo
   Kelly Ann Malone
   Michael Malota
   Shahé Mankerian
   Angela Consolo Mankiewicz
   Chris Mansell
   H.E. Mantel
   April-May March
   Rick Marlatt
   John Marshall
   Agnes Marton
   Francis Masat
   Anthony Mason
   Lee Mason
   Hyatt Mason
   Johnny Masuda
   Mira N. Mataric
   Ellyn Maybe
   Michelle Mazzetti
   Mary L. Mazzocco
   Ted Mc Carthy
   Austin McCarron
   Terry McCarty
   Paul McConnell
   Brendan McCormack
   Deborah McCreath-Akbar
   Catfish McDaris
   Bray McDonald
   Karen J McDonnell
   Matt McGee
   Allen McGill
   Afric McGlinchey
   Terance James McGunigle
   David McIntire
   Cat Angelique McIntire
   david mclean
   Isobel McQueen
   Fernando Meisenhaulter
    Mephistopheles
   Corey Mesler
   Melissa Michaels
    Mike the Poet
   Scott Miller
   Richard Lee Miller
   Robert John Miller
   Hany Haggag Abdl Mobdy
   Richard Modiano
   William Mohr
   Sonnet Mondal
   Jason Monios
   Leslie Monsour
   Amanda Montei
   Patrick Mooney
   Greggory Moore
   Carl Moore
    Albert Lee Moran
   A.J. Morelli
   Christopher Mulrooney
   Frank Mundo
   Barbara-Marie Mundt
   Augusto Munoz
   Mark Murphy
   Craig Murray
   Kristine Ong Muslim
   JL Nathan
   Nimah Nawwab
   Leslie Maryann Neal
   Jason Neese
   Raghab Nepal
   Robbi Nester
   Mindy Nettifee
   Martina Reisz Newberry
   Beth Escott Newcomer
   Peter Nezafati
   Scott Nichols
   keith niles
   Dave Nordling
   Aire Celeste Norell
   Steve Norwood
   Laura Nye
   Toti O'Brien
   Charlotte O'Brien
   Suzanne O'Connell
   Katie O'Loughlin
   Peter O'Niell
   Tom O'Reilly
   Akor Emmanuel Oche
   A.J. Odasso
   Rita Odeh
   Kirsten Ogden
   Daniel Olivas
   Maurice Oliver
   Marc Olmstead
   Philip ONeil
   Nzingah Oniwosan
   Chika Onyenezi
   Nina Orlovskaya
   Sergio Ortiz
   David Ishaya Osu
   Scott Thomas Outlar
   Holly Painter
   Lizbeth Palma
   Heather Palmer
   Greg Patrick
   Miss Natalie Patterson
   David E. Patton
   Tim Peeler
   Steve Pelcman
   Angel Perales
   Alice Pero
   Angela J. Perry
   Helen Peterson
   Brenda Petrakos
   Adam Phillips
   James G Piatt
   Rebecca Pierce
   Gareth Pike
   James Pinkerton
   Rob Plath
   Kushal Poddar
   Contributors to poeticdiversity
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   Traian Pop Traian
   Bethany W Pope
   Wayne E. Popelka
   Elisha Porot
   Adrian Potter
   Ren Powell
   Frank Praeger
   Luke Prater
   Kristena Prater
   Shannon Prince
   Stephany Prodromides
   Hattie Quinn
   Octavio Quintanilla
   Beverly J. Raffaele
    Raindog
   Catherine Rajca
   Steve Ramirez
   Mauricio Alejandro Ramos
   Vishnu Rao
   Ingrid Rattay
   James Rauff
   Kasey Ray
   Bili Redd
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   Marie Rennard
   Luivette Resto
   E.W. Richardson
   John Richmond
   Francisca Ricinski-Marienfeld
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   Lillian Ridgeway
   Dee Rimbaud
   Elijiah Rios
   Cat Risinger
   Ariel Robello
   Ebi Robert
   John D Robinson
   Paula Rodriguez
   Nydia Rojas
   Daniel Romo
   Emily Rose
   Rina Rose
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   Poet-broker Rosenthal
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   Walter Ruhlmann
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   Cody Rukasin
   Cody Rukasin
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   Maryann Russo
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   April Salzano
   Bryan Sanders
   Lisa Marie Sandoval
   Cecile Sarruf
    Sasparella
   Ethan Sassouni
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   Lorraine Sautner
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   Anthony Seidman
   Oleg Semonov
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   Dahn Shaulis
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   Lee Sloca
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   Danielle Smith
    smzang
   Kate Soto
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   Jonathan Taylor
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    The Unarmed Man
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   Ilona Timoszuk
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    TJungle
   Chrys Tobey
    tolbert
   Imani Tolliver
   A. TOMIC
   Anthony Torchia
   Mary Torregrossa
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   Ryan Tranquilla
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   Pedro Trevino-Ramirez
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   Maja Trochimczyk
    Troy
   The TruthHearse
   Tatiana Tulskaya
   Yelena and Roman Tunkel
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   Brenda Varda
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   Carmen Vega
   Ms. Veronica
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   Clee Villasor
   Ajise Vincent
   Curran D. Vinson
   Jason Visconti
   Anca Vlasopolos
   Daniela Voicu
   Claire Walker
   toren wallace
   r.k. wallace
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   Denise R. Weuve
   Rev. Dave Wheeler
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   Kelley White
   Leigh White
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   Martin Willitts, Jr
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   Jessica Wilson
   Robert D. Wilson
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   Seth Woolf
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   Omar ZahZah
   Mariano Zaro
   Michael Zeltser
    
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G. Murray Thomas
December 2008
   

 

IGGY POP

Part 1: The Stooges


I discovered Iggy Pop because of a record review. Specifically, Lenny Kayes review of Raw Power in Rolling Stone. Kaye said, The Ig. No one does it better. No one does it worse. No one else does it, period. I said, I need that album.
Im trying to put myself back in my living room that afternoon, as I first listened to it. I was 16. It was certainly something I had not heard before, hard rock pushed to a level I had never experienced. There was a level of danger and aggression that even Blue Oyster Cult didnt come close to. As a committed guitarophile, James Williamsons guitar grabbed me as much as Iggys screams.
And then, that was it. The album existed in a vacuum. The first two Stooges albums were out of print (I could only imagine what a song called I Wanna Be Your Dog could possibly sound like). The Stooges never came close to Rochester, NY (although I remember almost drooling over an ad in the New York Times for a New Years Eve double bill of Iggy and the Stooges and Blue Oyster Cult at New Yorks Academy of Music). The only way I could get any more Iggy was to read about him.
Which, in fact, was not such a bad way to experience Iggy Pop. Especially in the Stooges days, his reputation was built more on his antics than on the music he produced. I read about the peanut butter and the broken glass, the fights with the audience. Alice Cooper might play at danger, but it was just a performance; with Iggy, it was reality. I memorized a couple of quotes about him, which I would repeat to anyone interested (limited primarily to my best friend Greg). One particular quote gave Iggy credit over other practitioners of shock rock because Iggy liked to make himself bleed on stage.
The other went something like, And then there were the Stooges. They were the ultimate. Total nihilism in a band. And when they learned to play their instruments, they were even better.
And here we run into the same question as with Blue Oyster Cult -- why did this maniac appeal to me? The answer is similar, but deeper. With BOC I knew, deep down, that they were play acting. They werent evil Satanists, they were clever middle class white boys writing fantasies.
Iggy, on the other hand, was unquestionably the real thing. Not evil. Just unrestrained Id.
Let me tell you something about myself. If my personality is out of balance, it is weighted too heavily towards the superego. My id is almost always kept under control. But dont think for a second that I dont feel the tug of that id, even as I, again and again, dont act on it. So how I could help being, not just attracted to, but totally fascinated by a rock star who was the exact opposite, whos id seemed to win out every time?
I could argue that Iggy Pop is the ultimate rock star. For isnt rocknroll all about releasing the id? Unleashing those animal passions? Without a doubt, Iggy took that notion farther than anyone else.
Of course, our great-grandparents said the same thing about jazz. There was even a time when the waltz and the minuet were considered too sexually suggestive. Its not just rocknroll which releases the id, its all music. More than any other art, we react to music through our emotions (id), not our intellect (superego). So it should come as no surprise that music sometimes stimulates extreme emotional reactions, awakens our animal passions.
Which raises a question: If music taps into our animal nature, why dont animals react more to it? In my experience, animals mostly ignore music (or are bothered by it, but that seems to be mostly a question of volume). I would propose that its because animals are always in touch with their animal nature. Its only when you have a well-developed intellect that you need tools to help you short-circuit it, or perform end runs around it (or whatever metaphor you choose).
So, does that make Iggy Pop a truly great artist? If that were the only function of art, hed be the greatest. But art serves many other purposes; art does interact with all sides of human nature, emotional, intellectual, philosophical, spiritual. I would be the first to admit that, at least in his Stooges days, Iggys art worked primarily on the one, emotional level.
If one subscribes to the cathartic theory of art -- that art is a way of working out and through those emotions and desires we dont want to enact in real life -- then Iggy is, at the least, a very useful artist. He certainly gave me a way to explore sides of my personality I wasnt going to unleash on the world.
However, since I only had the one album to listen to, my Iggy induced catharsis was limited. In fact, I didnt so much experience the catharsis as intellectualize it. I could ponder the idea of unrestrained id, but not really see, hear, or feel it. Which, again, says a lot about the kind of kid I was.


Part 2: Solo Career


I finally saw Iggy Pop in the fall of 1977, a much longer wait that Id endured for Blue Oyster Cult. By that time, much had changed, in my life, in music, for Iggy.
After the Stooges disintegrated in 1974, Iggy disappeared from the public eye. (Turns out he checked himself into a mental institution for part of that time.) But rumors abounded. Primary was the rumor of an imminent solo album, with David Bowie at the helm. That rumor first surfaced as early as the spring of 76, and persisted for the next year, before that album actually appeared.
But, first, there was one last hurrah from the Stooges. In the spring of 77 I saw a review in Creem magazine for an album called Metallic K.O. Metallic K.O. was a recording of the final Stooges concert, in their hometown of Detroit, complete with Iggy taunting an angry crowd, You pricks can throw everything in the world, and your girlfriend will still love me, you jealous cocksuckers! You might as well wrap your car around a telephone pole, the review raved, because after youve heard this album, youve heard it all.
I was amazed. I needed that album. But it was only available as an import, and there were no copies to be had in Rochester, NY. In fact, I soon began to doubt that it existed at all. It would not have been the first time Creem reviewed an album which did not exist (they once ran a deadly serious review of Pete Townsends version of the Bible).
Then the rumored solo album, The Idiot, finally came out. Over heavy industrial music (years before such a genre even existed), Iggy examined his previous nihilism with a jaundiced eye. Harsh and unrelenting, the album actually scared me the first time I listened to it. There is something I havent done in my life, I wrote in my journal, that makes me unprepared for this album.
That summer, punk rock broke. (Relatively speaking, of course. It didnt break into the big time, or even the charts, but it broke enough to overturn the world of underground rock.) Punk rock was everything Iggy had been doing five or more years ago. Iggy was crowned the Godfather of Punk Rock and his career was given another chance.
That fall I was back in college (Hampshire College, in Amherst, MA), punk rock all around me. I was in heaven. Punk rock excited me like no music had in years. And Iggy was a big part of it. His second solo album, Lust for Life, had come out, and the first two Stooges albums had been re-released, as well as a handful of Stooges outtakes. And there were people I could talk to about Iggy who actually knew who he was.
Also, Metallic K.O. had surfaced, in all its glory. It is truly one of the most amazing records in all rocknroll, especially if you take the word record to mean not a piece of vinyl, and not an artistic creation, but the record of an event. In this case, the event of Iggy facing down a crowd of angry bikers and calling their bluff. The story is that Iggy had made some disparaging comments about bikers in a radio interview, and every biker in Detroit showed up to pelt him with anything and everything. It is the only live album I know of where you can hear bottles hitting the stage. Truly amazing.
Another thing about being in college was that I had much greater access to concerts than I had had in Rochester. Many of the punk bands came through town, playing the colleges. New York City was only four hours away, Boston was only two. So when Iggy played the Orpheum in Boston, I was there.
I had mixed reactions to the show. First, I was amazed and excited that I was actually seeing him live after all these years. Still, I found his performance both frightening and disappointing. I had never seen a performer who looked so close to the edge on stage; he seriously looked like he could barely keep himself under control. Yet he never went over the edge, and we knew he wouldnt. This was the new Iggy, barely under control, but still, under control.
Ive seen Iggy many times since then. I saw him three times in a year, between late 1979 and late 1980, in New York City, Hartford CT, and Denver. (Coincidentally, I hitchhiked, more or less, to all three shows). By that point, Iggy had developed a stage persona, playing up on his bad boy image, but totally under control at all times. He would lean out into the audience, but he never left the stage. He consistently insulted his audience. One favorite schtick was to check his watch about half way through, and say, Weve done our contracted hour. We could just stop playing right now.
He played similar, but by no means identical, sets at each show (according to my journal, he didnt play any Stooges songs at the Hartford show), drawn heavily from Soldier (which came out in January 1980). He had a top notch band with him, changing from show to show, but including at times Brian James of the Damned and Ivan Kral of the Patti Smith Group on guitar, and original Sex Pistol Glen Matlock on bass. They rocked hard at every show, nothing flashy, but a consistently solid underpinning for Iggys antics.
Iggy on stage was no longer a madman. He had turned himself into a consummate performer, putting on consistently high energy shows for a loving audience, while keeping up his punk rock image by repeatedly insulting that loving audience.
Actually, everything I have just said I have to take back for the Denver show (except for the quality of the band -- which had changed some of its personnel by then, but was still whip crack tight). Iggy put on no show that night. I dont know if he was junked up, genuinely ill, or just not feeling it, but he barely moved for the entire concert. No leaping around, no contortionism, no leaning into the audience. In fact, he could barely be bothered to insult them. Since it was my third Iggy show in less than a year, I was able to find it interesting, but had it been my first, I would have been severely disappointed.
The next day I was in the Denver airport, and there he was! I went up to him and said something like, What happened last night? Were you bored or tired or what? He, not looking at all well, scowled at me and growled, What are you, a critic? Rather than saying something sensible like, No, just a disappointed fan, I mumbled Kinda. So he snarled back, Why dont you just fuck off! So, although I now feel pretty stupid about the whole thing, it does sound fitting to be able to say, I met Iggy Pop, and he told me to fuck off.
For a while I bought every Iggy solo album as soon as it came out. I continued to do so long after it became obvious that, at least as far as albums go, he was quite inconsistent. Or perhaps I kept buying them because of their inconsistency -- through much of his solo career, Iggy continued to be musically adventurous. On each album he seemed to be trying out a slightly different musical style, all based in hard rock, but some harder, some poppier, some tame, some extreme. Some of the styles worked for him, some did not.
My favorite of his solo albums is Soldier, often dismissed by critics as a throwaway, but which I find to be an artful try at a new style of pop music (no pun intended), anchored as much in Barry Andrews' bouncy keyboards as Ivan Krals snarling guitar. Other favorites are his two mid-80s stabs at commercial success, Blah-Blah-Blah and Brick by Brick, almost for opposite reasons: Blah-Blah-Blah has a solid, consistent sound throughout, whereas Brick By Brick plays with a number of different styles.
Some sort of honorable mention must also be made for his most adventuresome disc, 1999s Avenue B, which is essentially a spoken word album. Which is not as surprising at it might seem, for Iggy often played with spoken word. Cuts such as Turn Blue (off Lust for Life), Im a Conservative (Soldier) and even We Will Fall from the first Stooges album, were all spoken word pieces, long before such a notion existed in pop culture. Iggy again proves himself to be ahead of his time.
But by the early 90s, more or less with American Caesar, Iggy pretty much settled into a basic hard rock groove, and his solo albums started to all sound the same.
Something similar happened with his live shows. Dont get me wrong. Even today, Iggy puts on one of the most high energy shows you will ever see. I saw him just a couple of years ago with the reformed Stooges, and it was an amazing concert. But the sense of danger has vanished entirely. Iggy is totally in control.
Which maybe means that Iggy has learned to control his demons. That whatever drove him such extremes early on still burns within him, but hes learned to control it. Which means, I guess, that hes no longer pure id; that even Iggy Pop has a superego.

copyright 2008 G. Murray Thomas