The rider is always a test to how much of a rock star you truly are, is it a pre-match meal of sparkling water and kale salad before you take to the stage or is it something a little less nutritious which provides energy in a completely different form, or perhaps just completely insane, like Iggy Pop’s.
Iggy Pop is a difficult character to pin down, on the one hand, you’ve got James Osterberg Jr. who is an endearing and calm radio presenter on BBC 6 Music. On the other hand, when he transforms into Iggy Pop and he steps foot on stage he is a different beast altogether who offers anything frenetic energy and vibrancy.
There are few people who are as legendary on a stage as Iggy Pop which gives him more leniency for ludicrous demands which other artists haven’t earnt. The godfather of punk has therefore taken full advantage of his stripes and dreamt up a rider as the ultimate pisstake.
Jos Grain who acted as the production manager for Iggy and The Stooges in the mid-2000s shared the band’s rider from this era. Iggy, it was safe to say, was having fun when it was being conjured up. The Stooges man had his own separate rider and we’d love to know how many venues managed to fulfil his following wish: “Somebody dressed as Bob Hope doing fantastic Bob Hope impersonations and telling all those hilarious Bob Hope jokes about golf and Hollywood and Bing Crosby.”
“Oh God, I wish I’d been alive in those days so that Bob Hope could have come and entertained me in some World War 2 hell-hole before I went off and got shot. What joy they must have experienced…”
If that wasn’t possible, the rider requests an alternative which of course is: “Seven dwarves, dressed up as those dwarves out of that marvellous Walt Disney film about the woman who goes to sleep for a hundred years after biting a poisoned dwarf, or maybe after pricking her finger on a rather sharp apple… or something. What was the name of that film? Was it Cinderella?” Ever the egalitarian, Iggy follows up, “Taller people are acceptable, of course. It’s attitude, more than height, that’s important here. Don’t forget the pointy hats!”
Iggy’s catering requests are also well worth a visit and picturing his wry smile while writing his list: “Some fresh ginger, honey, lemons, and a sharp knife. So we can make ginger, honey and lemon tea. God knows why. And some Chinese gunpowder tea. So we can attempt to blow up the dressing room. That’s a joke by the way. Good thing this isn’t an airport…” It’s good to know that even when looking at the confirmed Grandfather of rock drinking his tea that he’s still thinking of blowing the place up.
He also needed to make sure he was stocked up on alcohol before the show, which he wasn’t as precise about unlike his earlier requests: “6 bottles of Grolsch or decent local beer.10 16oz plastic cups and 4 glass wine glasses and a corkscrew to open wine bottles. 2 bottles of smooth, full-bodied, Bordeaux type red wine. Probably French,” it reads.
The tongue-in-cheek patter continues, “And something we’ve heard of, but still can’t pronounce. Look, there’s fucking loads of good red wines. Ask the man in the wine shop. Or here’s a number of suggestions: 1st choice – a Medoc, St. Emilion, Pamerol, or Pauillac, years ’86, ’89, ’90 or 2nd choice – a Barolo or Barbaresco ’89 or ’90. 4 large, clean towels.”
Iggy then ended the rider perfectly with the line: “See? Not all that bad, is it?” It’s hard not to draw comparisons between Iggy and ageing like a fine wine. Instead we’ll just imagine the 50 year career that is sandwiched between those towels being covered in blood and now stained with fine red wine.