I've been into Iggy since discovering The Stooges whilst at school in the mid 1970s. Everything I found out about him appealed to my troubled teenage self. My fascination has continued into adulthood and middle age. I was at the Virgin Megastore in Marble Arch, London in 1979 to get my copy of the then newly released "New Values" signed by Mr Pop (and I happened to notice Scott Thurston hanging about in the background and got him to sign it too). As a sixteen year old, on the night before my Maths O'Level examination, I was at the Music Machine in Camden Town, London watching Iggy live (it *was* worth it - and I passed the exam). Over the years I've seen him play live over ten times, and consider watching Iggy and The Stooges play Raw Power live in 2010 at Hammersmith Apollo, London to be one of the greatest nights of my life.
So, whilst not an über-fan, I'm pretty keen: Raw Power, Funhouse, Lust For Life and The Idiot would feature in my list of greatest albums of all time. Despite this enthusiasm I've never read a biography of Iggy. Until now.
Paul Trynka, ex-Mojo Magazine editor, has produced the definitive biography here. He appears to have spoken with everyone who has been involved with Iggy over the years and seems to have been completely honest, and has certainly included plenty of examples of Iggy's selfishness and unpleasant behaviour. As a reasonably well informed fan, I discovered a wealth of information I hadn't known previously and much of this information has added to my understanding of his work and personality. It also sent me straight back to the music - always a good sign.
I do wonder how much a non-fan, or even casual fan, would get out of this book. There is plenty of depravity, in amongst the creativity, and incessant highs and lows, but would this be enough for a reader who has no interest in, or history with, the Ig?
For this fan it's unquestionably a five star read: well written, exciting, redemptive, informative, and inspirational. My only complaint is that, since its publication in 2008 more has happened: the induction into the Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame; Ron Asheton's death; the return of James Williamson; another Stooges album; and more solo Iggy albums (including the current French obsession). That's a very minor gripe though, as this is unquestionably the final word on Iggy, and provides in-depth coverage of the all important Stooges' years and the late seventies, post-Stooges renaissance with David Bowie. A classic.