Iggy Pop

Art & Culture | History

The Godfather of Punk and the History of Yuppie Scum

Iggy Pop performance east village

About Iggy Pop

 & why it made the Carpe City list

  • Nicknamed “the Godfather of Punk,” Iggy Pop is best known as a solo artist and former vocalist of the Stooges, a Michigan rock group formed in 1967.
  • Notable songs include Lust for Life, The Passenger, I Wanna Be Your Dogand Search and Destroy.
  • During concerts, Iggy is known for his erratic behavior, such as cutting himself and attempting to goad the crowd into fighting. His stage presence garnered enough attention for the Doors to approach him after Jim Morrison’s death; he declined the offer to join the group, out of respect for Jim.
  • After three albums and countless incidents at live shows, the Stooges went on hiatus in 1974, a relatively unknown group. Then, in 1976, the Sex Pistols began covering their songs and the Stooges found commercial success. They reunited again in 2003, before disbanding in 2016.
  • David Bowie helped produce Iggy’s first two solo albums and brought him on tour in 1976 and 1977. Iggy co-wrote Bowie’s popular MTV staple China Girl during their time together in Berlin.
  • Iggy Pop was one of the first owners in the famous Christodora House after its transformation to condos in the late 1980’s. He lived here when he released his album Avenue Bin 1999.
  • The conversion of this former settlement house to a fancy condo sparked outrage in the neighborhood, with the building becoming a symbol for gentrification. During the 1988 Tompkins Square Park Riot, some protestors targeted the building, smashing the doors in while chanting “Die Yuppie Scum.”
  • FYI – one-bedroom condos in the Christodora now go for a cool million dollars, so maybe those protestors were on to something.

Carpe City Trivia

Outlandish tour riders

Touring musicians with hectic schedules full of travel and rehearsal sometimes need a little help to keep everything in order. Most successful artists get that help from their tour rider, basically a list of demands or request for the venue to fulfill prior to the artist’s gig and as you’d expect, they can be strange.

Iggy Pop and the Stooges went viral with their hilarious 2012 tour rider in which some of the requirements included “one monitor man who speaks good English and is not afraid of death,” “someone dressed as Bob Hope” and “cauliflower cut into florets and thrown immediately into the garbage.” Maybe Iggy and his crew got some of the inspiration from these other outlandish riders:

    1. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails requests two boxes of cornstarch
    2. Motley Crue requested local AA meeting schedules and a jar of Grey Poupon
    3. Prince requested all food in his green room to be plastic-wrapped and only unwrapped by him
    4. Britney Spears once requested McDonalds hamburgers without the buns and a framed portrait of Princess Diana
    5. Eminen requested a wooden pond filled with koi carp – very relaxing.
    6. Justin Bieber requested a large glass-door refrigerator, 10 luxury sedans and 2 buses
    7. Jack White requests guacamole (with a provided recipe for how to make it properly) and a total ban on backstage bananas
    8. Cher must have a room for her wigs as well as a room for her massage therapist, Dr. Stacey

Before the Yuppies

The Christodora may be well-known for the anti-gentrification sentiment and the late ‘80s skirmish, but the building itself dates back to the Roaring Twenties and has quite the history. Opened in 1928, the Christodora stood 17 stories and included a concert hall, library, gymnasium, classrooms and more. It was the largest building ever dedicated to housing low-income and immigrant residents. The mixture of housing and recreational services in one building was unique at the time; it pointed toward the standard most public housing would follow in New York. Due to the surge in public housing around the area, the building was sold to the city in 1948. Sadly, the building was abandoned until 1975, and even after its purchase, ownership changed hands a few times before the 1986 transformation. The Christodora may no longer be a settlement house, but its spirit lives on through the organization, Christodora, which helps over 2,000 New York students learn about environmental science and urban ecology.

By: Owen Norris

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