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Iggy Pop: Forty Years as the World's Wildest Punk

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Do you ever wonder how much longer you can be a Stooge?
I am working at what passes for full metal jacket for a guy of my vintage – promoting, touring, running the band business, the whole fucking ball of wax. It's Ron Asheton's bloody fault [laughs]. We'd still be rehearsing if it was up to me. But he'd leave me these phone messages, usually between two and five in the morning: "Jim, you know when the commander tells the squad to take that hill? They just take it. They don't think about preparation. They just go, fast, now!" It's Pork Chop Hill for him.

I cannot keep it up forever. But I will work hard. These boys are hungry. And I owe them something. I was getting to a place in my career, before this hooked up, but I got here on their watch. My attitude is, I have the luxury and sanity to go out and see what happens. And when it begins to feel wrong in any way, then you withdraw.

Is that Jim talking – or Iggy?
That's an interesting question. [Pauses, then grins] We do these things together. Because Iggy knows a lot of shit. One thing about Iggy – he pays for Jim's life.

I'm saddled with a gigantic past to live up to, live down and generally live out. It has a humbling quality. It makes you realize, "Oh, I didn't always have this nice house." I wasn't always so shrewd. And it's not my favorite part of my life. I would rather be like a nice new penny that everybody loves [laughs]. But that is not my fate.

No, you are Mr. Pop.
And that's OK.

This story is from the April 19th, 2007 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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