Iggy Pop takes us on a tour of New York City’s Lower East Side in 1993
We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vaults to take a look back at some candid footage which shows off Iggy Pop on his old stomping ground.
In this rare footage from 1993, a semi-young Iggy takes a rag-tag camera crew through a tour of the notorious Lower East Side of New York City—the singer’s old stomping ground. The Stooges frontman offers some inspirational commentary on the state of the area and the impending gentrification to come.
At the time of filming, New York was just beginning to wake up from the bankruptcy of the seventies and find it’s commercial feet once again. Coffee shops sprung up like weeds, the streets were cleaned, and the slow creep of glass and steel began to find its way inside the core of NYC’s creative hub and added an unwelcomed sheen. It cornered many artists into the Lower East Side.
We’re going back to the same setting that produced Sonic Youth, the street-art of Zephyr and became the bowels of creativity in the bubbling Big Apple. Surrounded by incredible local venues like punk’s natural home CBGB’s and the lesser-known Brownies, the area positively brimmed with a snarling menace of uncompromising imagination.
As Iggy Pop, Alphabet City resident, says in the clip: “Around here nobody would think of shutting you up for making too much noise.”
The footage shot with Dutch filmmaker Bram van Splunteren, begins with a jovial introduction from the iconic forefather of punk, as he stands at the beginning of his tour brimming with energy. “It used to be a lot hairier down here. I used to come down here to score drugs all the time,” he says with the giddy mischief of a school kid, “Now, they’ve moved at least three blocks that way!”
As Iggy fawns over the tangible guttural grandeur of the area, the pair make their way to Iggy’s favourite bodega where he proclaims he lives when his wife’s not in town. But before they get there, Iggy purrs poetically about the district, enjoying the local sounds of the street market, appreciating the rap that pours out of walking boomboxes. It’s clear that Iggy is at his most comfortable when surrounded by vibrancy.
Arriving at the bodega, as the New York sun shines in, Iggy makes his order and then forgets he has no cash, mocking himself he says, “I don’t carry cash, man”. He then divulges that he is left to his own devices he lives on a diet of “sandwiches, cake, and strong coffee, that’s what I live off” — note to all those searching for the Fountain of Youth, it may be at your nearest cafe.
The mercurial frontman compares the other places he’s lived, like Berlin, London, and the “regrettable” time he lived in Los Angeles, with the city surrounding him as the conversation pootles along. They talk about the epic Jim Jarmusch short film that featured Pop and American crooner Tom Waits smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee, titled Cigarettes & Coffee obviously. He details Iggy’s only real foray into ‘rap’, his track ‘Death Car’, and then his strong fear of the police. Why? “Because I was always doing something illegal!”
In fact, when watching this rare footage, it’s clear that the pair enjoy the kind of day that would make any couple of folks happy. In truth, it’s the kind of day your mum would love to spend with you.
Walk around your area, telling her about the neighbourhood eccentrics, pass a vibrant market, listen to some music, grab some lunch, and talk about your latest events and achievements. Except this wasn’t a leisurely stroll around New York’s Lower East Side with your mum, it was with the Daddy of punk, Iggy Pop.