Pop Goes the World
ROCK ’N’ ROLL REBELS IGGY POP AND JOSH HOMME PROVE THEY’RE KINDRED SPIRITS ON POST POP DEPRESSION
IGGY POP IS a really nice guy. You get that when you talk to him—he’s warm and personable, with none of the pretensions that one would expect from a man who once rolled around in glass and smeared his body with peanut butter on stage (while on acid). After the breakup of his legendary punk band the Stooges in 1974, Pop kept making music, most notably in collaboration with David Bowie in the late ’70s. Last fall, he initiated yet another phenomenal creative partnership when he reached out to Queens of the StoneAge frontman Josh Homme to ask if he wanted to work on something new.
The pair spent three weeks in a recording studio in the California desert, and the result, Post Pop Depression, is one of Pop’s finest works to date. It even hit No. 1 on the Billboard rock charts, something that none of his other records have ever done, despite his broad influence in popular music over the last 40 years.When I talk to Pop, 69, he’s resting up for another stop on his U.S. tour. On stage, he’s all high-energy jumps and contortions. One can only describe his performances as cathartic; he gives his all every night. But when he’s not on the road or recording, he lives a quiet life in Florida with his wife and pet cockatoos. “My family duty is to walk the cockatoo,” he says. “He is a large Moluccan. I take him out and parade him around and play with him. I’m just like every other stroller dad, like, I get sick of it after about 45 minutes. But he is a wonderful creature.” [Check out @biggypop on Instagram for pix of this crazy bird.] As for the experience of working with Homme, whom he clearly respects, Pop says, “[Homme] has an incredible range of skills. But I was still very surprised at how quickly he was able to apply all that to something that left some room for me to be me.” Ultimately, the story behind the album is one of two artists who’ve never worked together before, trusting each other implicitly. When I ask Homme, 43, in a later conversation, about how the process went for him, he explains, “[Iggy] took a chance. He put himself out there. He said, ‘Hey, you want to try this?’ and sent me this FedEx package full of writing that he cared about. That was a very vulnerable step. But I thought what he sent me was wonderful. It was like he was trying to say, ‘Are you willing to understand me?’” Homme says he wasn’t nervous to work with Pop because he was prepared to create something new.
"Ultimately, the story behind the album is one of two artists who've never worked together before, trusting each other implicitly."
Clearly, “you don’t want to try to out-rock the Stooges,” Homme says. “But we could communicate and find things together. You know, the 68-year-old rock ‘n’ roll icon contemplating what it all means—that perspective is very unrepresented. I’m proud of the record. Making good music when you’re 68 is tough. Most people lose the plot, quit, or just fucking blow it. ”Clearly, Pop isn’t your typical sexagenarian. Case in point—in addition to writing hit records, Pop also recently posed nude for a life drawing class held at the Brooklyn Museum. “I was nervous about it,” he admitted, “being able to stand or sit still for that long. The third pose was the most difficult. It wasn’t a flattering pose at all, but it’s a classical pose. You might see it in an old Velázquez or something. Basically, a seated warrior; they had me sit just flat-footed, nude, on a plinth [pedestal] and hold, instead of a spear, a pole. It wasn’t pretty, baby! It was interesting the way different people approached it. Some of the fellas just did busts of my head. They were more interested in my face. And some of the girls were very, very interested in the seated frontal. So different people saw it different ways.”
By Laurie Henzel
This article originally appeared in the August/September 2016 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!
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