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Iggy Pop: He’s the Godfather of Punk, the former lead singer of The Stooges, famous for his explosive bare-chested performances and for the verbal abuse he hurls at his audiences. Also for his self-mutilation and heroin addiction. But last year the artist once known as James Jewell Osterburg Jr. turned 60, and his newest work reflects the changes that have come with age. His album Preliminaires, in fact, takes inspiration from sources that may surprise some: Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong and French novelist Michel Houellebecq. It features standards like “Autumn Leaves” and “How Insensitive.” The result? Iggy Pop, like you’ve never heard him, on today’s Fresh Air.


PREVIOUSLY ON PHAWKER: Loud, lewd and anarchic, The Stooges emerged from the dark side of the 60’s like a bad moon rising, and while they were largely misunderstood if not altogether despised back in the day, both their sound (the prototype of both punk and metal) and vision (hearts full of napalm, 10 soldiers and Nixon coming, apocalypse now) would prove prophetic as the Age of Aquarius curdled into the 70s. iggystooges1969.gifWednesday night, Iggy and his Stooges — which includes charter members Ron and Scott Asheton on guitar and drums respectively, and ex-Minutemen legend Mike Watt filling in for the deceased Dave Alexander on bass — played like their hair was on fire, opening with Funhouse’s classic one-two punch of “Down On The Street” and “Loose,” and then following it up with “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”

Iggy — the man who no shirt can hold, who more or less singlehandedly invented the notion of lead singer as human cannonball — swung his ripped physique about the stage like a bullwhip, while Watt dug in deep, Scott Asheton beat the drums like they owed him money, and brother Ron unloosed his patented six-string cosmic roar. Thuggish new material like “Skull Ring” and “Electric Chair” drew the same crowd response as a dog shown a card trick, but deep-cut selections from the old albums — including a revelatory workout of Funhouse’s free-jazz double freakout, “Funhouse” and “LA Blues,” accompanied by the hard-bop squawk of charter saxophonist Steve MacKay — were greeted like conquering heroes. As if to prove that chaos remains his greatest ally, just four songs into the set, Iggy demanded the audience break down the crowd barriers and join him on stage. While the band laid rubber on “Dirt” and “Real soundopinions.jpgCool Time” upwards of 50 concertgoers pogoed and slamdanced on the Electric Factory stage. Which only served to underscore the deathlessness of the Stooges’ prime directive: Rules are made to be broken. MORE


Show #183: 05.29.09
Jim and Greg sit down with electro-pop wizard Dan Deacon for a conversation and live performance. Plus they’ll review albums from Wilco and Grizzly Bear. 9 PM on WHYY

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