Fame & Fortune: Iggy Pop
Not only was Iggy Pop punk back when the term actually meant something, he inspired so many performers toward punk, metal and other hard music styles that it's difficult to imagine what rock over the past 40 years would have sounded like without him.
His music, raw and rude and not for hit radio, has been absorbed solely by Iggy die-hards for most of his career, but the influx of rock music into commercials and video games -- we've all heard his "Lust for Life" in commercials for Royal Caribbean cruises -- has given his career new life commercially and financially. These days, Iggy lives in Florida and still occasionally tours with his classic band The Stooges. Bankrate spoke to Iggy about what his life is like and the nature of the success he's enjoyed throughout the years.
Bankrate: How does playing with The Stooges compare to all the years you played as a solo act with various background musicians?
Iggy Pop: It's not painful, and the other was. It feels immediately satisfying just on the simple basis that I've got two ears. I go out there and the first thing that comes to mind is, whoa ... sounds good. So I don't have to make some sort of leap of discipline to make it work.
Bankrate: So The Stooges have been very difficult for you to replace over the years?
Iggy Pop: They're irreplaceable, but they're not the whole world either. I've done all sorts of really satisfying things without them. But when it comes to a live rock show, there are only a few groups of people in the book that are the real thing, and this is one of them.
Bankrate: How important was your friendship with David Bowie to your career?
Iggy Pop: He made me much richer than I would have been otherwise, although that didn't kick in until about 20 years after the work was done. Albums like "The Idiot" and "Lust for Life," (which Bowie co-wrote and co-produced), particularly. The songs on those function in the new world as hits. They just didn't come up the old radio-play way. Now they're played on the radio -- much more especially outside the U.S. -- and also between movies, television, clubs, remixes, cover versions, licensing, you name it.
Then people buy the albums in greater quantities (now) than when they were put out. All that took place not in the '70s, when I made the music, or in the '60s, when I made the music of The Stooges. It started happening toward the end of the '90s and really, really kicked in in the new century. So it changed my life.
Bankrate: Before that, Bowie's recording of "China Girl" (which Iggy co-wrote) was also a big financial step for you, wasn't it?
Iggy Pop: That was one thing, although you'd be surprised. At the time, it was a big deal for someone who was basically penniless, and it gave me a chance to take a deep breath and begin to organize myself. But the amount of money a co-writer makes on mechanical sales of a huge hit record alone is not that humongous in the first few years.