VOGUE: “I stare at myself in the mirror and I think, Wow, I’m really great-looking . . . I think I’m the greatest, anyway,” the great-looking musician, occasional actor, and undisputed style icon Iggy Pop once said. Pop was born James Newell Osterberg, Jr., in Muskegon, Michigan, on April 21, 1947, which means he is 68 today! Unlike so many of his angry punk brothers and sisters, he has nothing but lovely things to say about his upbringing—his parents even gave up their master bedroom in the trailer where they lived so that Jimmy would have a place big enough for his drum kit. We can only assume that they have also supported him throughout an extremely ambitious sartorial career that began when he donned a maternity dress, white face, and an aluminum Afro wig for the very first Stooges concert, nearly a half-century ago. In the ensuing decades he has embraced transparent plastic trousers, body glitter, and, on at least one occasion, a costume that made him look like a praying mantis. “My parents wanted to light my artistic candle,” he remembers, “but over time, the definition of ‘the arts’ began to stretch. And as I got older, they suddenly realized, Oh, my God, we’re the parents of Iggy Pop.” MORE

PREVIOUSLY: Thanks to the many miracles of our modern affluent society, today’s super-rockers are kicking out the jams longer iggy2and harder than ever before. (Think about it: For the better part of the 70s, the smart money would have been on Keith Richards’ dad snorting his son’s ashes, not vice versa.) As Iggy Pop (aka, James Osterberg), who turns 60 next week, proved Wednesday night at the Electric Factory, men well-acquainted with the business end of a sigmoidoscope are still capable of rocking as hard and ferociously as a teenager. They just can’t write like one anymore. The Weirdness, the new album by the reconstituted Stooges, is like an old tin can — jagged, metallic, and its contents long past the Sell By date. But their incendiary live act remains peerless.

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. Wednesday 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 single-handedly 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 reveletory work-out of Funhouse’s free-jazz double freakout, “Funhouse” and “LA Blues,” accompanied by the hard-bop squawk of charter saxaphonist 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 Cool Time” upwards of 50 concert goers 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. — JONATHAN VALANIA, 4/8/07

PREVIOUSLY: Q&A w/ Stooges Guitarist Ron Asheton


French TV, 1977. Priceless.