Saturday, April 21, 2007

Happy 60th, Iggy!

Yep, the Stooge hits the big six-oh today. Not only is it hard to believe that he's lived this long, but also that he's still rocking like a wildman after all these decades.

Iggy was born just nine days after David Letterman, who likewise turned 60 the week before last. Iggy performed on Dave's NBC show at least two times I know of in the early '90s, and once on his CBS show in 2003. It's always funny when they shake hands, with Iggy standing about a foot shorter than Dave.

I don't know if Iggy ever met Evel, but Kurt Cobain astutely drew a parallel between these two idols of his. In the 1993 book, Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana, Michael Azerrad writes that "two of Kurt's favorite stuntmen" were Evel and Iggy. The impressionable Cobain said he rode his bicycle off the roof because of Evel, and he tried heroin because of Iggy. Azerrad quotes Cobain saying that, as a grade-schooler, "Evel Knievel was my only idol." Later, Cobain says, "Iggy Pop, he was my total idol."

I've always thought of Iggy as the Evel Knievel of rock 'n' roll; neither of these pioneering, reckless performers seemed like they'd live to see the '80s. It's amazing that both guys are still alive. So's Letterman. Not so with Cobain.

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