There's a reason why many consider Iggy Pop the godfather of punk: every single punk band of the past and present has either knowingly or unknowingly borrowed a thing or two from Pop and his late-'60s/early-'70s band, the Stooges. Born on April 21, 1947, in Muskegon, Michigan, James Newell Osterberg was raised by his parents in a trailer park close to Ann Arbor, in nearby Ypsilanti. Intrigued by rock & roll (as well as such non-musical, monotonous, and mechanical sounds as his father's electric razor and the local automobile assembly plants in Detroit), Osterberg began playing drums and formed his first band, the Iguanas, in the early '60s. Via the Rolling Stones, Osterberg discovered the blues and formed a similarly styled outfit, called the Prime Movers, upon graduating from high school in 1965. When a brief stint at the University of Michigan didn't work out, he moved to Chicago instead, where he played drums alongside the city's bluesmen.
His heart remained with rock & roll, however, and shortly after returning to Ann Arbor, Osterberg decided to form a rock band. This time, he would leave the drums behind and be the frontman, taking inspiration from the likes of the Velvet Underground's Lou Reed and the Doors' Jim Morrison. He tried to find musicians who shared his musical vision: to create a band whose music would be primordial, sexually charged, aggressive, and repetitive (using his early electric razor/car plant memories for reference). In 1967, he hooked up with an old acquaintance from his high-school days, guitarist Ron Asheton, who also brought along his brother, drummer Scott, and bassist Dave Alexander, thus forming the Psychedelic Stooges. Although it would take a while for their sound to gel -- they experimented with such nontraditional instruments as empty oil drums, vacuums, and other objects before returning to their respective instruments -- the group fit in perfectly with such other high-energy Detroit bands as the MC5, becoming a local attraction.
It was around this time that the group shortened its name to the Stooges, and Osterberg changed his own stage name to Iggy Pop. With the name change, Pop became a man possessed on-stage, going into the crowd nightly to confront members of the audience and working himself into such a frenzy that he would be bleeding by the end of the night from various nicks and scratches. Elektra Records signed the quartet in 1968, issuing their self-titled debut a year later and a follow-up effort, "Fun House", in 1970. Although both records sold poorly upon release, they've since become rock classics, and can be pointed to as the official catalyst for what later became punk rock.
The Stooges were dropped from their record company in 1971 due to the public's disinterest and the group's growing addictions to hard drugs. Pop's continuous death-defying acts also worried the label, whose decision to drop the band led to the Stooges' breakup the same year. One of the band's more celebrated fans, David Bowie, tracked Pop down and convinced the newly clean and sober singer to restart his career. Pop enlisted guitarist James Williamson (who was briefly a second guitarist for the Stooges before their breakup) and, after the pair signed to Bowie's Mainman management company and relocated to England, they eventually reunited with the Asheton brothers, with Ron moving from the six-string guitar to the bass.
Signed by Columbia Records and hoping to follow in Bowie's footsteps toward a major commercial breakthrough, the Stooges penned another punk classic, the brutally explosive "Raw Power". Pop's plan for the Stooges' third release was equally brutal; he wanted to create a record that would be so powerful, so sonically over the top, that it would physically hurt the listener as it poured forth from the speakers. Although the resulting album wasn't quite that extreme, it came fairly close, with Bowie lending his own contributions as the album's producer. Once again, the album sank without a trace. By 1974, Pop and most of the Stooges had fallen back into the world of heavy drugs, and with their star fading, the band called it quits for a second (and final) time.
After spending a brief spell homeless on the streets of Hollywood, during which time there was an unsuccessful attempt to form a band with Pop and former Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek, Iggy Pop checked himself into the Neuropsychiatric Institute in Los Angeles. During his stay at the hospital, Pop made an attempt at writing and recording some new tunes with Williamson, but when no labels expressed interest, the two went their separate ways. (Completed demos of the sessions would surface on the "Kill City" release in 1977; they would also appear on the 2005 compilation "Penetration", which featured a number of widely circulated demos, outtakes, and alternate mixes from the "Raw Power" sessions.)
During his hospital stay, another old friend came to visit him: David Bowie, whose career was still in high gear. Bowie offered to take Pop on the road with him during his tour in support of "Station to Station", and the pair got along so well that they both moved to Berlin in late 1976, during which time Bowie helped Pop secure a solo record deal with RCA. Bowie had become interested in European electronic rock (Kraftwerk, Can, etc.) and later admitted that he used Pop as a musical guinea pig on such releases as "The Idiot" and "Lust for Life" (both issued in 1977 and produced/co-written by Bowie). Both albums sold better than the singer's previous efforts with the Stooges (particularly in the U.K., where Pop was looked upon as an icon by the burgeoning punk rock movement) as Bowie joined Pop on his world tour as a keyboardist. Shortly thereafter, a surprisingly muddy-sounding live album was culled from Pop's most recent tour, titled "TV Eye (1977 Live)". It was also around this time that Pop severed his ties with Bowie and struck out on his own.
The bootleg "Jesus, This Is Iggy" was recorded in 1977 in Ohio.
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Iggy Pop - Jesus, This Is Iggy (Bootleg, 1977)
(192 kbps, cover art included)