Music

Iggy Pop to Punks: Don't DIY

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Iggy Pop, major label punk rock legend back on the road with The Stooges, slams the DIY ideology that has attached itself to punk since the Minor Threat days over at Pitchfork:

…that's what always annoyed me most about the American alternative/do-it yourself scene when I came up. It was simple. If you were the artist you were supposed to be cool, and the agent was supposed to be a crook, and the manager was supposed to be a creep, and everyone administrating was un-cool and the publicist was cheesy. You know, we all have our roles. But then the DIY guy says I am the guitar player, I'm the publicist, I'm the agent, and I'm the lawyer, too. So I look at the guy, and I'm like, okay, you've convinced me. You're a greedy, cheesy crooked creep with a guitar. Fuck you. I want nothing to do with you.

Does this sophisticated Misesian understanding of the importance of the division of labor prove that the Igster is a libertarian? Well, allright! He has always been aware that any old time, he has a right to move.

My 1997 reason cover story on the complicated attitudes toward capitalism and marketing among the indie rock and comics scenes.

NEXT: Welch on McCain: The Book

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  1. Iggy Pop ceased to be relevant the moment his music started being used to sell cruise ship vacations. Getting name checked in Trainspotting was merely a blip in an otherwise uninterrupted downward trajectory.

  2. If the artist is supposed to be cool, and the lawyers and whatnot are cheesy, why wouldn’t the cool person seek to eliminate the cheese?

    Methinks Iggy Pop is more into the perks of being famous than making music…and well, I think his music sucks anyway. If he weren’t a self-destructive prick, nobody would give a crap about his music.

    I guess one should expect a man of limited intelligence to feel threatened by people who are capable of taking on more roles.

  3. I googled “Iggy Pop Cruise” to get the name of that song. What word should pop up? “Crumbelievable”

    That’s Iggy Pop: Crumbelievable.

  4. Two words: Stooges reunion.

    A truly cool punk woulda let it lay, Ig.

    Sorry.

  5. Lawyers write better music than cool people and that has been true since at least 1993. The proof:

    farceswannamo.com

  6. Did Iggy own the rights to his music or did someone else sell ‘Lust for Life’ to the cruise line?

  7. I saw Iggy and The Pretenders on the same stage and it was a great show, notwithstanding the fact that both frontmen/women are full of shit.

  8. I vasn’t in ze Stooges.

  9. Repeating ad infinitum “I’m a punk rocker, yes I am”? This is a song?

  10. poco
    Yes, in the same way punk rock is music

  11. Let’s not forget his soundtrack entry in “Crocodile Dundee II”.

    Sorry Iggy, not all of us have Bowie around to supplement our income.

  12. So Iggy doesn’t dig the new values?

  13. Even as someone who deeply loathes punk rock, I think Iggy is full of crap on this. Perhaps he was too fucked up to see it back in the day, but all of those cheesy, creepy music industry types saw Iggy and his peers as little more than performing monkeys, whom they could exploit for fabulous riches in return for a few dollars and a handful of drugs.

    Most relevant to today, perhaps Iggy hasn’t noticed that the music industry is in the process of imploding. The infrastructure no longer exists to allow guys like Iggy to wander around in a heroin haze while leaving others to worry about the details. Musicians in virtually every genre are now producing and releasing their music themselves, and actually reaping the rewards for their efforts.

    Maybe if Iggy had bothered to read the fine print in 1971 or so, he wouldn’t have to sell his songs for cruise ship ads.

  14. Punk rock?

    The multi-disc Complete Fun House Sessions confirmed my long held suspicion that Iggy is actually a Jazz artist.

  15. Lamar,

    and well, I think his music sucks anyway. If he weren’t a self-destructive prick, nobody would give a crap about his music.

    He may only have the three Stooges albums and a handful of other tracks to which this statement applies, but…

    Iggy Pop is the most important rock artist in the last 35 years. Only so much of that can be attributed to his over the top performance antics.

  16. Iggy hating?!

    No.

    No. No. No.

    Well, okay, but only because it makes him that much more punk rock.

  17. While I think Iggy’s logic, taken literally, is dubious, since it obviously can work either way, he has a certain point, if only semi-inadvertently. I’m a DIY musician trying not to be. Why? Cause I wanna make music and let all those others take care of all that other crap. Perhaps the insight Iggy had that he didn’t articulate very well is that all that other crap is crap. It doesn’t mean a musician is crooked or cheesy if they wanna try to take it all on themself, but it means they’d have to deal with the crap that invites all those crooks and cheeseballs into those professions, rather than just play music. Ultimately, I don’t think there’s any right or wrong either way, it’s just what you choose for yourself, and there’s pros and cons whatever you choose. Just don’t tell me your shit don’t stink cause of that choice.

  18. Did Iggy own the rights to his music or did someone else sell ‘Lust for Life’ to the cruise line?

    To speculate:

    Given that it is a Bowie, Pop, Thurston production of a Bowie, Pop composition recorded in 1977, it seems unlikely that Iggy Pop wouldn’t have some say in what happened. I’ll bet Bowie has more power, however, in making those kinds of decisions. No way Bowie would have given complete control to the label by that point in his career, however, imho.

  19. It’s just funny the way some of these DIY punks produce music and run their own labels and still (at least pretend to) hate the concept of business. It obviously follows that some people who work their asses off, like publicists and managers, deserve scorn for what they do.

  20. “The Passenger” and “TV Eye”(for some SUV–they shoulda used “Dirt”) have been used for commercials as well. I counted 4 or 5 Iggy songs in TV ads on one day a few years back.

    I quit worrying about these sort of “sell-outs” back when Lou Reed started shilling scooters.

  21. “Iggy Pop is the most important rock artist in the last 35 years.”

    Oh dear. This whole time I thought it was Bad Brains. There, I out-cooled you.

  22. from about age 20 or so i have lived under the assumption that there are these undiscovered great things out there…like bands and books and art no one has paid attention to waiting to be discovered and consumed by me.

    Anyway that is why I like DIY…to bad 99.9% of their music is crap.

  23. “Iggy Pop is the most important rock artist in the last 35 years.”

    For Neu, I woulda guessed the bands as “Rage Against the Machine” or “Consolidated”.

  24. “The Weirdness” rocks. “My Idea of Fun” and “The Weirdness” are both great songs and got some heavy rotation on my favorite station KUSF. And I say that as a big time “computer turd” who works on “surf engines” 😉

  25. Three of the most over-rated (read: completely shitty) acts in rock & roll history are as follows:

    Velvet Underground

    The Stooges

    MC5

    Any of you aging I-was-there-man “punks” who will argue otherwise can suck pungent, festering baby boomer ass for all eternity.

  26. Michael, may we be enlightened as to the names of the artists in the popular music scene, past or present, which you deem worthy of your erudite praise?

  27. Michael,

    Fuck you for thinking the Velvet Underground is overrated. Lou Reed solo, maybe.

    List to CRASS! They’re the only punk rock I can stand these days, which is a damn shame because they broke up, never to return (I hope to god), in 1984.

    The generals and politicians who advocate war should be made to wade in the truth of it,
    They should spend sleepless nights shivering with fear and by day time should crawl in the deathpit.
    -“Major General Despair”

    Never mind the hackneyed remix of that song, “The Unelected President,” after GWB’s 1st election. Since when do anarchists care if politicians are elected or not?

  28. And MC5 is great, if only for comedic value. You know, they started the “White Panther Party,” supposedly as a white auxiliary to the Black Panther Party. Like the BPP, the WPP came up with their own 10-point program. Their first point was: We support all 10 points of the BPP program. All 9 remaining points had to do with free pot and fucking in the streets.

    Oh, the yippies and their ilk. Good times.

  29. How exactly does this make him a libertarian? What is un-libertarian about wanting to produce music on one’s own? This doesn’t make him a libertarian. It makes him a corporate shill.

    Unless those are the same thing.

  30. “How exactly does this make him a libertarian?”

    It doesn’t. It makes him a hipper-than-thou prick who hangs around with Bam Margera, as if Pop wasn’t a douche enough on his own merit.

  31. I guess one should expect a man of limited intelligence to feel threatened by people who are capable of taking on more roles.

    Iggy Pop may be many things, but unintelligent is not one of them. He’s remarkably fast-witted, articulate and sharp — even after all those years of self-abuse.

  32. I’m a DIY musician trying not to be. Why? Cause I wanna make music and let all those others take care of all that other crap. Perhaps the insight Iggy had that he didn’t articulate very well is that all that other crap is crap. It doesn’t mean a musician is crooked or cheesy if they wanna try to take it all on themself, but it means they’d have to deal with the crap that invites all those crooks and cheeseballs into those professions, rather than just play music.

    Well, sure. On that same theme, I’d love to have someone else do my job for me so that I could spend more time doing fun things like playing guitar. Life occasionally requires one to do non-fun things to put the food on the table, even if music somehow becomes your job.

  33. Lamar,

    Bad Brains are great, but pulling a Bad Brains card in an “out-cool” competition is pretty lame.

    Not even up there with The Ex or Mission of Burma … what else you got in that deck, a Fugazi?

    ;^)

    Iggy Pop may be many things, but unintelligent is not one of them.

    Here

    http://www.ucd.ie/cai/classics-ireland/95/Pop95.html

    is a link to Iggy’s publication in a journal of classical scholarship.

  34. Lester Bang’s Ghost:

    Mere blips those two.

    I will give Consolidated, but their sister band The Beat Nigs are more to my taste.

  35. Um

    That’s

    I’ll give Consolidated props for good beats…

  36. Mission of Burma? Perhaps you are unaware that Moby…..he he he…..can’t stop laughing….Moby…..not MOBs fault…but ha ha ha ha ha….

    I’d say Ian MacKaye’s punk rock credentials tower over Iggy’s, and I don’t even like Minor Threat or Fugazi, and have an even worse opinion of The Evens.

    However, you apparently didn’t catch the snark in citing Bad Brains. As far as punk is concerned, Iggy sort of an old gramps we say we love out of respect, but secretly we wish he’d die. Hell, I’d put the Dwarves over Iggy Pop.

  37. Lamar,

    I caught your snark and snarked back… did you miss it?

    Taste in these things is entirely subjective.

    Objectively, Iggy has probably influenced more rock bands than anyone else we’ve discussed here, but whether that makes him important or not is entirely a subjective decision.

    As for Ian MacKaye…when we played shows with his bands back in the day (“out-cool” card laid down, your move;), he seemed a nice enough guy (a bit self righteous), but he only towers over Iggy in terms of punk rock cred. because Iggy predates punk by half a decade. Iggy was never a punk. He just laid the musical foundations for punk.

    I didn’t claim he was the most important punk rock musician. But the most important ROCK musician. Punk is a small slice of the rock world.

    Snark back at will…

    For cool band reference: Tupelo Chain Sex, best show ever!

  38. “But the most important ROCK musician.”

    And yet, I’d put many punk rock musicians above Iggy even in the overall rock category. The reason I used the Bad Brains snark was because people cite to Bad Brains as a big influence but really haven’t heard much of their music. I’ve found the same true with Iggy Pop. People say he influenced them because he cut himself once in NYC.

    “when we played shows with his bands back in the day “

    Thank god I’m already on record as saying his bands suck. Otherwise, you might think it was just a hipster response to say that I’m unimpressed.

    If you said you’d met Iggy Pop, now that would be impressive. Not ’cause I think the guy is worth a damn, but because it would be really cool for you to get to play a show with your idol like that.

  39. you iggy dissers are so wrong!!!!!!!!

    the stooges “funhouse” and iggy’s solo works “the idiot”, “lust for life”, new values” are CLASSICS. and the man is a very intelligent, funny guy.

  40. and it is impossible to overrate the velvet underground. no matter how many annoying kiddie hipsters like them, they are indisputably great. and much of lou’s solo career is great too.

  41. Well, sure. On that same theme, I’d love to have someone else do my job for me so that I could spend more time doing fun things like playing guitar. Life occasionally requires one to do non-fun things to put the food on the table, even if music somehow becomes your job.

    Let’s make a distinction. One which Iggy didn’t. But then, no one else here has either, or at least not clearly. There are people who are DIY because they essentially have no choice. They’re not making enough money to make it worth it to hire agents and lawyers. If Iggy was dissing these folks, that’s fucked, and I can see ChrisO’s point. But I have a hard time imagining that was what his comment was about. There’s also an ethos, a very lefty constructed one, that says that you’re more moral and more pure if you don’t get your hands dirty by working with lawyers and agents and publicists (and labels!) and thus you should do it all yourself, and you’re “better” for that. I think that ethos is what Iggy was taking aim at, and while I don’t especially agree that handling your own business and legal affairs necessarily makes you crooked or cheesy, I can see the point you’re getting yourself into areas that are really not about the music itself and you’re gonna pay a price for that. It’s not like your hands are gonna stay clean that way! Anyway, I think the larger point is that there’s simply nothing wrong hiring other people to do what you’d rather not, if you can. If you can’t, or would rather not, well, nuthin wrong with that either!!

  42. There’s also an ethos, a very lefty libertarian/self-reliant one, that says that you’re more moral and more pure if you don’t get your hands dirty by working with lawyers and agents and publicists (and labels!) and thus you should do it all yourself, and you’re “better” for that.

    Well, I agree with it now. Some musicians are rock stars, some are process-people, some care only about music, some care about some sort of societal impact, etc. Iggy’s a rock star. Nothing wrong with that.

  43. Lamar,

    Not ’cause I think the guy is worth a damn, but because it would be really cool for you to get to play a show with your idol like that.

    I wouldn’t call Iggy my musical idol by a long stretch, despite my opinion that he has been very important for the development of rock and the fact that I still listen to Fun House and Raw Power on a regular basis.

    By the time I was playing shows, it would have been during Iggy’s lamest solo days… it would have sucked to play shows with him then.

    As for the influence of the Stooges on Punk Rock…

    As best as I can determine the first band to claim the term “Punk Rock” was Suicide. The first to popularize the term was The Ramones. Both bands cite The Stooges as their primary musical influence. Musically, there are hints of punk rock as far back as the early sixties, but the people who first labeled themselves “Punk Rock” are direct descendants of The Stooges. I think, however, that the bigger impact of The Stooges is on more mainstream acts. Just his influence on Bowie sends waves out through the rest of the AOR world to this day.

    people cite to Bad Brains as a big influence but really haven’t heard much of their music

    As a musician I have been influenced by musicians based on a phrase in one of their songs without having heard anything else by them. There is nothing disingenuous about claiming influence from someone you don’t have an archivists appreciation for.

    I was in a band once that largely stole our sound from a single song I recorded off of the radio. We never even figured out who it was.

  44. Lamar,

    The closest I have come to playing a show with a musical idol (if that is a useful term), is attending a workshop and getting to meet Max Roach. As a drummer it don’t get much cooler than that.

  45. Next card in the “out-cool” game.

    I see you like Dwarves.

    Have played shows with them…Blood, Guts, & Pussy era, iirc. Once on a big bill, seems like Rocket From the Crypt was on the bill too, and the Adolescents, but I may be misremembering.

    Our opening gig for KMFDM got canceled.

    Silly exercise really.
    But I guess better than working…to which I now return.

    😉

  46. Anyway, I think the larger point is that there’s simply nothing wrong hiring other people to do what you’d rather not, if you can. If you can’t, or would rather not, well, nuthin wrong with that either!!

    That’s a statement I can certainly agree with.

    BTW, Black Sabbath is the most important rock band of the last 35 years.

  47. I put the Dwarves, and that glorious album cover that they’ve tried to retread 3 or 4 times now, as one of the coolest bands ever. However, their music, like Iggy Pop’s, is just mediocre. And I’m not particularly impressed with name dropping, whether we do it now or the Ramones did it in the 70s. I think the Dwarves are awesome, and the fact that hewhocannotbenamed faked his death is badass, but I’d rather take guitar lessons from Esteban.

  48. There’s also an ethos, a very libertarian/self-reliant one, that says that you’re more moral and more pure if you don’t get your hands dirty by working with lawyers and agents and publicists (and labels!) and thus you should do it all yourself, and you’re “better” for that.

    Ridiculous. Sure, libertarians will preach against reliance on government handouts, and it takes all kinds so I wouldn’t say there’s no libertarian anywhere who says such things, but as a rule libertarians have no problem with commerical interaction as a means to improve one’s lot nor division of labor (that being Doherty’s point in the first place!). You seem to be confusing libertarians with survivalists.

  49. I’m just saying that entrepreneurship is no lefty construction.

    Neu Mejican: Though you won’t convince me that Iggy Pop isn’t Crumbelievable?, I bow down before your old school coolness. Time to go listen to more Big Business. 8)

  50. Iggy Pop is the most important rock artist in the last 35 years.

    BTW, Black Sabbath is the most important rock band of the last 35 years.

    http://www.vh1.com/shows/dyn/the_greatest/62188/episode_about.jhtml

    27. Iggy Pop
    26. Mot?rhead
    25. Cheap Trick
    24. Iron Maiden
    23. Judas Priest
    22. Deep Purple
    21. Pearl Jam
    20. Alice Cooper
    19. The Clash
    18. Ozzy Osbourne
    17. The Ramones
    16. Cream
    15. Pink Floyd
    14. Soundgarden
    13. Queen
    12. The Sex Pistols
    11. Aerosmith
    10. KISS
    9. Guns N’ Roses
    8. The Who
    7. Van Halen
    6. Nirvana
    5. Metallica
    4. AC/DC
    3. Jimi Hendrix
    2. Black Sabbath
    1. Led Zeppelin

    fwiw,
    95. Fugazi
    99. Bad Brains

    Individual artist in the top 30…

    Iggy Pop
    Alice Cooper
    Ozzy Osbourne
    Jimi Hendrix

  51. FWIW, Nirvana, Motorhead and, arguably, The Ramones are “individual artists.” Nirvana might as well be “Kurt and the Stooges” and Lemmy is Motorhead. Obviously I think Joey is the Ramones, but I can’t imagine the schtick working without the matching outfits.

    Also FWIW, I am completely embarassed that I cited anything on that list as cool, even if it was at 99.

  52. Lamar,

    What’s Dee Dee, chopped liver?

    And the two Phils (“Philthy Animal” Taylor, and Phil Campbell) might disagree with you about Motorhead.

  53. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dee_Dee_Ramone

    “Douglas Glenn Colvin) (September 18, 1952[1] – June 5, 2002) was a German American Canadian songwriter and bassist, best remembered as a founding member of punk rock band The Ramones.

    Though nearly all of the Ramones’ songs were credited equally to all the band members, Dee Dee was the group’s primary lyricist…”

  54. I’ll bend on the Ramones. Absolutely not on the Motorhead. And no, I don’t know how to do the nifty umlaut thing. I guess the consensus is that The Stooges were chopped liver. I’m surprised Tom Petty didn’t make it higher, and I’m thankful that Elvis Costello didn’t.

  55. Lamar,

    Stooges: not chopped liver.

    Iggy’s claim is predicated on their musical foundation…even if it is pretty clear that he was the leader of the band. Iggy, however, did enough good stuff post-Stooges to makes some claims on his own.

    As for Motorhead, you would have to convince me that the band did anything good without at least one of the two Phil’s around to allow Lemmy sole claim to their sound.

  56. I don’t hold loyalty against Lemmy, if anything, I salute him for it. It’s just another float in the Iggy is a douche parade.

    I was discussing this last night with a friend, and the best I can say is that Iggy Pop must be one of those “You had to be there” kind of acts. Like Elvis’ music is mediocre, but you have to give him props because he was the first rock star. Iggy’s music, aside from some classics, sucks, but you have to give him props because he was the first to do whatever it is people see in him.

  57. Neu Mejican:

    To play a very uncool card:

    Max Roach just died.

  58. Lamar,

    A true loss.

    (;_;)

  59. if one could find it check out the cd release 2001 “THE MOST POWERFUL MUSIC ON EARTH” 1975-1977 The Punks from detroit, mi. Unbeleavable Raunch!!!

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