Pop Life

When I’m 64 (to borrow a phrase), I hope I can throw my lithe, half-naked body into a sea of outstretched hands and land back on stage, on my feet, “a street-walkin’ cheetah with a heart full of napalm.” Somewhere Iggy Pop has a portrait of himself aging, because at the Stooges’ show Thursday at the Hollywood Palladium, I swear Mr. Osterberg looked younger than any of the dozen other times I’ve seen him in the last few decades. Pop is the punk-rock Peter Pan. His body is now permanently curved into the impudent-child pose he’s adopted since the late 1960s. See him offstage, and he’s crippled with scoliosis, the incredibly hard-drug years he’s lived now permanently etched into his limp. But with his old bandmates, and a couple newer ones, behind him (including fellow San Pedran Mike Watt), he inhabits that body with all the fuck-you insouciance of his eternal adolescence.

Iggy was playing just down Sunset Boulevard from where in the mid 1970s, he once staged a near suicide in a rare concert at Rodney’s English Disco. Last week, Runaways lyricist Kari Krome had reminisced to me how they used to have to hold the then-heroin-loving singer up in front of the club, as we drove by the old Rodney’s. “I used to live here, so that makes you my homies,” Iggy told the Palladium crowd. Nowadays, Pop’s savoring his lust for life. Just a few songs into the set, he urged all the freaks and actors and everyone else to join him  — “Occupy Hollywood,” he snorted. The result was several minutes of unscripted anarchy, as a couple hundred people went crazy on stage for “Shake Appeal.” Iggy still risks bodily harm on a nightly basis — in fact, this show had been rescheduled after he fractured his foot in a performance.

The concert made me want to pull my guitar out of the closet and shake this middle-aged motherly dust off my ass. “This is a song about my cock,” Iggy said before an encore number. I mean, really every rocker thinks that — yeah, the girls too — but who says it? At his age? God bless this dirty old man. Long live the Stooges.

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Filed under Queens of Noise, Recommended listening

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