IGGY POP

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. Funhouse 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.

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