The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

By Paul Trynka



The story of Iggy Pop is a rollercoaster of rock n’ roll, drugs, sex, drugs, more drugs, madness, redemption, more drugs, voodoo, madness, backstabbing, ruthlessness, love and hate and yet more drugs – and Trynka does a very good job here in tying all the elements together chronologically and coherently.


Jim Osterberg was an independent, too smart for his own good, kid in middle America in the Cold War fifties, who somehow transformed himself into one of the most iconic figureheads of the alternative rock revolution, embracing the cultural zeitgeist of the 60s whilst completely (overly!) embracing drug culture as much as anyone else.


Deliberately sabotaging his own career – and personal life – on several occasions, what Trynka does most completely here is explain how Jim Osterberg and Iggy Pop co-habit the same man’s body and the power struggle that they have been fighting now for 40-something years.


For all the tales of drug abuse and depravity, these subjects were better covered in Danny Sugarman’s biography “Wonderland Avenue” – Trynka concentrates more on Iggy’s musical endevours and how the drug abuse and personal degrees of being unhinged affect them, rather than delve too deeply into the many, possibly apocryphal, tales of drug mayhem and bisexuality by which most others set a benchmark.


Trynka is a former editor of English music mag MOJO, and he brings a deft hand in not only making sense of Pop/Osterberg’s career, but also successfully intellectualises his problems, battles, abuses and high profile outbursts of violence and betrayal.


I confess to having some issues with Trynka’s assessment of Iggy’s body of work – he dismisses albums such as “Instinct” as “mind numbingly dull corporate rock” which seems to completely miss the point of the album’s sound and his collaboration with former Sex Pistol Steve Jones. Certainly the album didn’t sell brilliantly, and certainly the rock is more base than The Stooges art/drugs hybrid wall of sound, but surely that was the point?


His latter day albums are roundly criticised as well – some rightfully so as his songwriting wasn’t always up to scratch, but to dismiss an album or a song because it is heads down rock without a lot of subtlety merely says the author isn’t a rock man, not that the artist has failed.


These quibbles aside, this book paints a thoughtful and interesting picture of both Jim Osterberg and Iggy Pop, a solid chronology of the man’s life, and many fascinating insights into the man and his work.


Shane Rockpit