Sunday, January 24, 2010

Iggy Pop: Open Up and Bleed (2007)

It's hard to believe, this late in this game, that here we have what amounts to perhaps the first substantive, more or less "authorized," and well-received biography published of Iggy Pop, who turned 60 the year it came out (setting aside Iggy's own odd 1982 picture book, I Need More). Brit journalist Paul Trynka delivers an admirably workmanlike account, covering it all from grade school to the launch of the Stooges' reunion gigs of recent years. The organizing conceit—the psychic war between Jim Osterberg and Iggy Pop—can grow tedious from getting banged on so frequently, but that doesn't mean it doesn't explain an awful lot of the mystifying goings-on. I came to the story with a fairly good sense of the general outlines: the fizzled catapult to fame out of Michigan, the subsequent drug addiction problems and institutionalization in Los Angeles for reasons of mental health, the return to form with the aid of David Bowie, and much of the turmoil that followed. But there was still a lot I didn't know, particularly about the bleak mid-'70s LA period. Or, the best part of this book, the details of the Berlin years and of Iggy's really you have to call it heartwarming friendship with David Bowie, which Trynka finally clarifies for those, like me, who have may have watched Velvet Goldmine too many times and generally picked up (and/or believed) too many urban legends to really understand the nature of it. Or even little fun facts like that Iggy (make that "Jim") was a student council member notched Most Likely to Succeed in junior high. Well, didn't he? This is as welcome as it is long overdue.


  1. really happy to have you back, jpk! cheers, K

  2. Thanks -- good to see you've kept your blog going all this time. Seem to be a lot of changes out here...