Who is the backing band on The Idiot? There's been rumors throughout the years that it's the Sales brothers, that it's Carlos Alomar ... the album doesn't list credits except for lyrics?
It varies. On some of the tracks, the rhythm section is Dennis Davis and George Murray. On others, it was a French bassist who also engineered the album. One of the drummers was in a Celt rock band from England ... most of the guitar work was done by Ray Davies nephew, who I can't remember his name except that it was Phil.
Was Ricky Gardner, who played on Lust for Life and was on tour for The Idiot with Hunt, Tony, and David, on it?
No. He was just on that tour you mentioned as well as Lust For Life.
What ever happened to him?
He's raising potatoes in Wales. His wife is an artist and they send me giant art projects from time to time plus many thanks every time they get a royalty check for "The Passenger." That one song has enabled him to raise potatoes which is what he wanted to do.
What ever happened with that much talked about Stooges reunion? First there was the rumor that you were gonna reform for Oliver Stone's The Doors. Then, there was talk of you playing on Lollapalooza.
People have asked me and basically I just tell them the truth and then they tend to take it farther with their own imagination. The truth is I have a great affection for both Ron and Scott Ashetons, I'd loved to do something with them. I also have a great affection for this part of the country. It's a nice thought that if I were to have the time and space to do something musical with those guys that was new and if we had something to say to each other on that basis, then I'd love to do something. But do I want to go out and play our old hits? No. I have no interest in doing that whatsoever. It wouldn't serve me or them. And furthermore, I don't have to.
Well, then what's the difference between that and doing Stooges songs year after year after year as a solo artist? Isn't that a contradiction of why you won't reform the Stooges?
When I do them solo, they're included with stuff from my first solo album, The Idiot. It's certainly different than going out and trying to recreate what made the Stooges special. It wouldn't serve the band well. It would be a big mistake.
Moving on to tampering with history ... I read in last month's MOJO that you remixed Raw Power because the record company was going to do it with or without you so you gave it a go.
That was true, but the record needed a remix and the CD was even worse. I was pretty hopeful and after hearing the first track, I knew it was going to be a motherfucker. To my ears, it really, really an awful lot of stuff that's come out, that came out at the time since or contemporary stuff. It killed all the top neo-punk and grunge.
A few years ago I read a quote from you that with exception of the gawd awful Big Chief, where you said, "Detroit is full of a bunch of has-been losers who stay up all night trying to be the New York Dolls." Well, now you're on tour with Sponge, who have gotten pretty successful outside of Michigan. Still feel that way?
(Laughs) Since then, I've had some good gigs with the (Demolition) Doll Rods (local Detroit band). I enjoyed that. I don't have a clue about what's happening hear right now.
Well, legendary producer Kim Fowley is coming here in two weeks to record an album. He's actually staying at my house.
Well, there must be something going on if he's sniffing around. There's probably some kid sitting in his rec room right now in Livonia (Detroit suburb; also name of 4AD band His Name is Alive's first album) thinking up something cool that no one has heard yet.
Why R.O.A.R.? It seems the antithesis of what you're about.
It has always been to my regret that I've never had the opportunity to play places like Pittsburgh, Davenport, Milwaukee, Huntsville on a good stage with good sound. I've never had that chance and I wanted to show people what I do before I can't do it anymore. My last 12 years in America touring has been up `til now has been pretty much the same 12 theaters in the same 12 towns unless I was supporting some gawd awful media band.
Like the '87 tour with The Pretenders?
Well, whatever. At least she can sing.
The general consensus among people is that The Idiot and Lust for Life are your best solo works. Any chances, plans or interests in working with Tony Visconti or David Bowie again?
I have no plans. Never plan. Just do it.
Anything different on the next Iggy Pop album?
Standards like Sinatra. Standards.
--Colin C. McDonald