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Iggy Pop Takes Moscow

Iggy Pop / ATP Festival / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Iggy Pop’s song “In the Deathcar” from the 1993 movie “Arizona Dream” might be a bit too close to Russian economic reality for comfort. On the other hand, if you’re depressed, the song might be just what you need.

The legendary punk musician, who just turned 70 this year, is performing in Moscow this week as part of the world tour for his Post Pop Depression album.

“A lot of geezers my age don't work out of their comfort zone anymore because once you become legendary, you don't want people challenging you,” Iggy Pop said in a press statement for the album release.

This is not true for Pop, who still has a cult-like following among different generations, even though he is not someone you would associate with the more accessible classic rock and roll.

Iggy Pop (real name: James Osterberg) and his band, the Stooges, debuted in 1969, but their music didn’t reflect Woodstock and hippie pastoralism.

The proto-punk singer's now-infamous nihilism onstage — cutting his chest with glass, smearing peanut butter over his torso, and banging the microphone against his teeth — was last seen in Moscow in 2010 together with the Stooges.

This time he will be alone on stage. The Stooges, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, are now reduced to less than half their original lineup — Iggy Pop and guitarist James Williamson.  Bass guitarist Dave Alexander died in 1975, a year after the band's second breakup, followed by guitarist Ron Asheton in 2009, drummer Scott Asheton in 2014, and Steve Mackay, the band’s tenor saxophone player, in 2015. The final break-up happened last year when Williamson said that the Stooges were no more.

But throughout all this, Iggy Pop’s spirit has not dimmed. A few years ago he greeted the audience in a New York club with, "Thank you, upscale corporate New York ***holes," making even those corporate executives laugh. The same spirit should be on display in Moscow, where American punk still rocks, despite all of the sanctions.

"I like aggressive music. It should sound like iron pounding on glass," Pop once said. Russian audiences should love that. 

This concert might be one to remember.

Iggy Pop will play Thursday at 8 p.m. at Stadium Live. Tickets available online  here and here

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