The first time Iggy Pop heard the Stooges' "Search and Destroy" played back in the studio, "I knew I had something. I thought, 'This is that immortal shit.' "
The revelation is just one of many packed into Search and Destroy: Iggy and the Stooges' Raw Power, a making-of documentary included on the recent Raw Power deluxe reissue that earned a perfect five-star review from Rolling Stone. At a special screening Friday night at New York's 92Y Tribeca, legendary rock photographer Mick Rock, who shot Pop for the album's iconic cover, shared some of his memories of the band's brash 1973 album.
During a Q&A session hosted by Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis, Rock, who also photographed the covers for Lou Reed's Transformer and David Bowie's Space Oddity, said Raw Power's cover featuring a rail-thin Pop in lipstick, "Gets voted in the top 30, 40 record album covers of all time, but at the time it was a loser." He recalled doing the shoot in a dingy basement in London when he was 22 and compared Pop's image on the cover to an iguana, noting, "I think that's part of the reason why it became fixed in so many people's minds."
The documentary traces the album from its earliest stages, when the newly signed Stooges flew to London in 1972 to write and record with David Bowie. Then-new guitarist James Williamson worked up riffs like the psychedelic "Penetration" on an acoustic in his bedroom and passed them over to Pop, who wrote lyrics on breaks from reading Time magazine. In the film, Pop recalls he saw Time as the establishment he wanted to challenge. "It was my job to make [the lyrics] memorable and human," Pop says. "And to make them reflect the enormity of Western culture at that juncture."
The now-62-year-old Pop sits at a mixing board in the doc, marveling at the original playbacks. He says the bluesy stomp of "I Need Somebody" reminds him of "a whorehouse" and recalls he'd nod out for 14 hours at a time during the drug-fueled sessions for the album. "With all due respect to Johnny [Rotten] and Sid [Vicious] and the boys, that was pretty sane stuff compared to what the Stooges were up to several years beforehand," Rock said of the Stooges' wild days.
It's been a busy year for the Stooges. In March, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In September, they'll perform Raw Power in its entirety at All Tomorrow's Parties New York.