IGGY AND THE STOOGES: Bring the Weirdness

Soon enough, Iggy teamed with producer Don Was for the widely acclaimed 1990 album Brick By Brick, landing his first ever RIAA Gold Certification. The set spawned “Candy,” a duet with Kate Pierson of The B-52’s that became his first and last U.S. Top 40 hit. Although Iggy continued to release records over the last 17 years exclusively for Virgin-including 1999’s Avenue B, 2001’s muscular Beat ‘Em Up and 2003’s star-studded Skull Ring-he became just as noted for his cameos with U.K. dance act Death In Vegas, foul mouthed Peaches, now defunct punks At The Drive-In and his contribution to the Buddyhead compilation Gimme Skelter, as he was for his solo career.

That compilation song, “New York Is Beating Its Chest Again,” was an explosive pisser that put Iggy back on solid ground while taking the piss out of Moby. Laughing aloud at the mention of it, Iggy says, “I only did that because I owed someone a favor, and they were a fairly influential friend of that obnoxious kid from Buddyhead [Travis Keller]. And so I thought, ‘If I’m going to appear on this thing, OK, we’ll play obnoxious.’ I want to make it clear that the joke is on me-not Moby-in the thing. I did that rant on Moby and then I go, ‘Yeah. I called him up. He didn’t return my call.’ A couple people grumbled, but it was funny.”

Alongside collaborations with Green Day and Sum 41, the aforementioned, highly-regarded Skull Ring also marked the Stooges’ first recordings in 30 years, paving the way for The Weirdness. “The riff to ‘Trollin” dated back to Skull Ring,” Iggy says. “Everything else was written between January 2004 and June of 2006. So it was two and a half years and then two full weeks of rehearsal before recording, but the nut of the thing was eight days.”

As for being back in the studio with Ron and Scott, Iggy acknowledges that “The past stuff is quirky. We come from a really very odd and particular forgotten kind of hick musical valley. It’s as if Southeastern Michigan music 1965 to ‘70 was like some little forgotten Kentucky town deep in a valley and inbred. It’s subject to its own values.

“About twice a week Ron would tell me about another moment of insanity or depravity that I just don’t remember,” he continues, “And then I’m like, ‘Why do I need to know this?’ And then he’ll touch on colorful roadies, contentious girlfriends and other stuff. But somehow we have managed to skip the in between part. We really have just managed to continue. And as far as conflicts go, we avoid some of it, we ignore some of it, we face some of it, and a lot of it we just work through.”

As for the bass wares of Minutemen and fIREHOSE veteran Mike Watt, Iggy says he was never a fan of the underground punk bassist’s work. “But Ron and Scott were already working with him,” Iggy says, “when they were touring around with J Mascis [Dinosaur Jr.] and he was peeing on our material in the second half of his set. And then that morphed into some sort of a touring outfit that Ron and Scott had, and they were going out and doing our stuff. When we got offered a gig-and I had a lot of other stuff to do anyway-I was thinking about getting one of my metal band boys to come in and play bass…but Rob was campaigning for Watt. And I wasn’t sure. I was wondering, ‘Do I get just the sandwich or do I need the combo?’ So the deal breaker for me was that the gig got closer and closer…and with Watt we could rehearse for two days; with anyone else, it would have taken two weeks. So he got in that way and then I grew to quite like and respect him. I liked what he did for the band once I wrapped his knuckles a few times for playing too many notes.”

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