Iggy Pop wears Jim Morrison, Los Angeles 1974, by Gijsbert Hanekroot
I thought they didn’t care for The Doors. Pretty funny.
The Doors, specifically Jim Morrison, actually inspired Iggy to start his first band!
The relationship between Iggy and The Doors is a long one, too rarely told – so ima tell it here at length. LOL
Iggy had already dropped out of the University of Michigan, but used his student ID to get into a Homecoming dance where The Doors played. Jim Morrison came out after the rest of the band had already started playing, drunk and/or high, insisting on singing only in falsetto (wtf) and generally abusing the crowd – who booed, then left in large numbers. Details here.
Needless to say, this was right up Iggy’s alley. As he told an interviewer in 2011:
So, here’s this guy, out of his head on acid, dressed in leather with his hair all oiled and curled. The stage was tiny and it was really low. It got confrontational. I found it really interesting. I loved the performance but the music sounded terrible because they didn’t have the sound system together. They had a really unique style and it wasn’t easy for them to sound good live, at first.
Part of me was like, “Wow, this is great. He’s really pissing people off and he’s lurching around making these guys angry.” People were rushing the stage and Morrison’s going “Fuck you. You blank, blank, blank.” You can fill in your sexual comments yourself. The other half of it was that I thought, “If they’ve got a hit record out and they can get away with this, then I have no fucking excuse not to get out on stage with my band.” It was sort of the case of, “Hey, I can do that.”
(btw, “I can do that!” was also Patti Smith’s reaction to seeing The Doors in New York, although it took her a few years longer than Iggy to actually make her way to the stage, which she first did as a poet with guitarist Lenny Kaye accompanying her in – you guessed it – 1971.)
Iggy had a lot more Doors ahead of him, particularly as he developed a relationship with Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek.
The photograph above was taken at a Jim Morrison tribute concert in LA organized by Ray Manzarek on July 3, 1974, the anniversary of Jim’s passing in 1971. After playing some of the songs off his new solo album, Ray sang “Light My Fire,” then brought out Iggy to sing “LA Woman,” “Maggie M’Gill,” and “Back Door Man.” Can you even imagine what that must have sounded like? You’ll have to, because no recordings have yet surfaced.
Right after this, Iggy was out of the Stooges, and signed Denny Sugerman to manage him. Denny had managed The Doors, and was managing Ray, who now retreated with Iggy for months of intensive rehearsals for a new band they hoped to form. (Info here, on Ray’s official site.)
There was at least one more concert together in October, the “Hollywood Revival and Trash Dance” at the Palladium, headlined by The New York Dolls, and featuring Iggy, Ray, and a band they put together for the occasion – including James Williamson of The Stooges on guitar! Violence, chaos, and a general mess ensued, but, says Ray, the band “rocked like a motherfucker.”
The band fell apart when Ray couldn’t find a way to fit his nuanced sound into James’s squall, closing what might have been a very interesting chapter in these fellas’ careers. (Details of the October show and the band here.)
I should note that a lot of information from this period is sketchy at best. There’s not even a solid consensus on who else played with Ray and Iggy at these various dates, although there’s some interesting speculation here.
Ray and Iggy apparently tried to form a band again in 1977, details here. Iggy’s 1977 tour had David Bowie playing keyboards, rather than Ray, and I have no idea what transpired between Iggy and Ray – both of whom wrote autobiographies, neither of which mentioned this period.
In fact, Iggy’s autobiography doesn’t mention Ray at all, and Ray’s autobiography only mentions Iggy once, in the context of that University of Michigan show. “It was a total fiasco,” writes Ray, “but the sheer audacity and outrageousness of Jim Morrison convinced Iggy that a life of anarchic rebellion was the only way to fly…and he’s been doing it ever since.”
This is, needless to say, more explanation than most people need LOL but still not the whole story, not by a long shot. Still, this is in fact the first time that I’ve seen even this much of the story gathered in one place. With the exception of the mysteries that I’ve mentioned that may never be revealed, the links I’ve included will get you a good long way down the road.
I’ve been meaning to write this for a while, so thanks for giving me the excuse. 🙂