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SXSW: Iggy Speaks!

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Stooges_lJust got out of the Iggy Pop panel, where the punk-rock icon was interviewed along with Ron and Scott Asheton, his cohorts among the legendary proto-punk firebrands the Stooges. The group reunited recently after more than three decades of silence — “We needed a break,” guitarist Ron quipped — and they are here in Austin to support their comeback disc, The Weirdness, just released a couple weeks ago. Somehow, despite years of self-inflicted abuse, Iggy (center, photographed late last year with Ron, right, and Scott) seems preserved in amber; wearing a white wife-beater, he looked like a happy-go-lucky surfer dude, complete with streaky blonde hair and those famously wiry and tan muscled arms of his. Over a 75-minute conversation, the trio covered a long list of topics, including why they never received much commercial success and the genesis of some of their greatest songs. It’s too much to detail in one blog post, but here are a few highlights:

• To promote one of their albums,  Elektra records sent Iggy to go visit the  “very horny editor” (Iggy’s words) of a teenybopper magazine at her apartment. “They wanted to see if we hit it off.” Iggy said. Long pause. “I was on the cover.”

• The band’s garage-soul favorite “No Fun” was inspired by three songs. The “no no no” line from the Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” the Beach Boys’ frequent use of the word “fun,” and the structure of Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line.” Not sure if I get it, but it worked.

• The Stooges loved all the critical trashing their albums received when they were released. “Bad reviews are better,” said Ron Asheton. “It’s like, come see the circus freaks!” Iggy added his own bit of peculiar wisdom: “What passes for intelligent generally isn’t.”

• Iggy’s first attempts at writing and recording music were pretty hippy-dippy. “I was a flower child, wearing beads and a Hindu-style moustache,” he recalled. “And I sat in my bedroom writing a rock opera about little mouse in a bucolic world.” We’re glad he outgrew that phase.

addCredit(“Stooges: Robert Matheu / Retna”)