Dr. Detroit's Reviews > Iggy Pop: Open Up and Bleed

Iggy Pop by Paul Trynka
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it was amazing

When it comes to The Stooges and their slightly troubled front man Iggy Pop, attempting to separate myth from reality, contextualize it, understand it, and then shape the whole mess into something that doesn’t make you want to grab a razor blade and run a warm bath after reading it, dances a fine line between brave and foolhardy.

Despite the title, Paul Trynka’s chronicle is as much about The Stooges as it about Iggy, the specter of the Asheton brothers, Dave Alexander, and James Williamson bothering his every step during the 30-plus years since the wheels came off, reunion questions, rumors, and propositions unanswered until a few years back. And in true Stooges fashion, their first studio album since Hector was a pup, “The Weirdness,” was greeted with a universal “huh?” last month.

Tellingly perhaps, Trynka’s prologue picks up the plot at what is arguably the band’s nadir, the February, 1974 Michigan Palace dust-up which spawned the glorious “Metallic K.O.,” an album chock full of physical and psychological warfare and the sound of Iggy with his finger on the self-destruct button, where it would remain throughout a very dark period in L.A. which made John Lennon’s lost weekend look like a Promise Keepers convention.

Trynka paints a stark picture of what the boy voted “most likely to succeed” in high school had been reduced to; often homeless, drooling, desperate for Quaaludes or heroin, and boasting an arrest record which included impersonating a woman. He was about as far gone as any muso has ever been, perhaps less concerned with dying than not living. The fact that he eventually made it back out into the light with most of his grey matter still basicallypreserved goes in part toward my theory that he was dropped off in that Ypsilanti trailer park from another part of the cosmos after being fortified with the Detroit equivalent of Kryptonite.

When he was inevitably institutionalized for the first time after being given an ultimatum by the LAPD, even the head shrinkers’ panties were in a bunch trying to diagnosis him, eventually settling on hypomania, a disorder on the bipolar side of the chart characterized by wide swings between euphoria, irrationality, and depression. Copious drug intake and the daily grind of hopping on and off the Iggy and Jim Osterberg treadmills is a lot of pressure for even someone with Iggy’s constitution to weather.

“Open Up and Bleed” is a wellspring of Iggy/Stooges minutia, much of which even a life-long Detroiter like yours truly hadn’t heard or read before, like the five-stitch cut on Iggy’s chin suffered during the photo sessions for “The Stooges” album cover which had to be airbrushed out or the audition arranged as singer for Kiss he never bothered to show up for. Imagine…

Despite an unnecessary maligning of “Happy Man” as the worst thing Iggy’s ever recorded (surely most of “Avenue B” trumps it), Trynka delivers most everything you’d ever want in a sozzled Murder City saga; druggy madness, over-amplified, dirt-under-your-fingernails rawk, and a happy ending (Stooges reunion and a girlfriend with boobs as big as his head, natch!).

Talk about your American dream.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 1, 2007 – Finished Reading
October 8, 2009 – Shelved

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Nigeyb Brilliant review Doc.

Dr. Detroit Nigeyb wrote: "Brilliant review Doc."

Thank you, sir.

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