Before Iggy Pop’s more refined years cohabiting with David Bowie in Europe, he was the ever-entertaining and controversial figurehead on the battleship that was The Stooges. In the late 1960s, a time when popular music was colourful pop-rock, usually influenced by or performed by The Beatles and their British invasion pals. It was the era of the hippie; peace, free love, flowers and happiness was the consensus. However, in the shadows looming just around the corner on the approach to the 1970s was an art form that was going to change the world.
If we were to call The Stooges a punk group, we would be incorrect by most people’s standards; the most accurate name for their genre would be proto-punk. The band came with a simple yet effective sound that drew inspiration from the heavier rock groups of the time, such as The Who or Led Zeppelin, and also from the characteristically salacious and dingy lyrics synonymous with The Velvet Underground. While The Stooges didn’t single-handedly invent punk, they were undoubtedly among the forefathers of the genre.
The 1960s had ended, The Beatles were kaput, the Vietnam war was still ongoing, the hippie dream was over, and The Stooges were soaring to public recognition with a harsh dose of reality. The group made a violent statement that permeated western culture and agitated parents and priests across the States. The group’s performances became increasingly plagued with self-mutilation, indecent exposure, violence, drug abuse and Iggy’s strange sexual performances.
In February 1973, the group found a new creative spurt with their iconic third studio album, Raw Power, but they were on a one-way train to total destruction with Iggy Pop’s rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of excess reaching boiling point. After a few months of touring later on in 1973 and into 1974, The Stooges finally disbanded indefinitely due to diminishing professional opportunity and Iggy’s worsening relationship with heroin.
Following the break-up of The Stooges, Iggy Pop found new success in Europe with Bowie, who helped him carve out a solo career with his first two albums, The Idiot and Lust For Life. It wasn’t until April 27th, 2003, with an iconic reunion set at Coachella Festival in California, that Iggy and The Stooges regrouped after three decades apart. The legendary group took to the stage following a set by The White Stripes.
Some of the footage from the emphatic performance can be viewed below.