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Rode Hard
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PostSubject: Interview with Paul Trynka   Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:50 am

Interview with Paul Trynka, Author of Iggy Pop: Open Up and Bleed
Written by Eric Whelchel
Published October 14, 2008

In his revealing and detailed biography Open Up and Bleed, Paul Trynka examines the life of Jim Osterberg, better known to music fans as Iggy Pop. Trynka, formerly the reviews editor of Mojo magazine from 1999 to 2003, uses both previously available information and new interviews he conducted to create an exhaustive, informative, and sometimes startling character study of one of music’s most celebrated and notorious personas. In the following interview, Trynka discusses a variety of Iggy-related topics, including the nature of this persona and the toll it took on the musician’s mental state, the musician’s intense ambition and lasting musical legacy, and why an Iggy Pop tune just might be the single worst song of the 1980s.

http://blogcritics.org/archives/2008/10/14/033536.php

Congrats on your wedding.
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Wed Oct 15, 2008 1:57 pm

hejhej Rode Hard Cyd good yr back on the forum cheers thanks for posting the announcement of this interview!

And congratulations Paul!!

Like to have the interview copy/past here if you don't mind:


Blogcritics (BC): A central theme of the book is the contrast between Jim Osterberg as a person and Iggy Pop as a musical persona. In many ways it’s hard to reconcile the polite, articulate, and almost genteel Jim Osterberg vs. the wild madman of Iggy Pop. Do you think it reached a point where the person was indistinguishable from the persona?

Paul Trynka (PT): The classic moment when Jim Osterberg lost control of Iggy Pop was, I think, when he was hospitalized in 1974. Although he was diagnosed with hypomania, a bipolar condition, the psychiatrist who treated him now thinks his problems were simply a product of his extravagant drug intake – and his out of control personae. Of course, it was gratifying to have a clinician confirm what others had suspected, and justify what became a central premise of the book.

BC: What do you think the biggest influences were in shaping this persona? Various people quoted in the book offer up a host of reasons for the musician’s behavior.

PT: Quite simply, it was audience hostility. Jim Osterberg took his ‘art’ very seriously – and when the early audiences rejected him, or mocked him, the Iggy character became a kind of psychic armor. It helped a lot – for a while. But, just as in the best, and worst, horror movies, the creation began to take on a life of its own.

BC: You suggest that maintaining this persona eventually began to take its toll on Osterberg’s mental state.

PT: Well, eventually the man had what was essentially a mental breakdown, and became a forlorn, pathetic figure. But I think it wasn’t so much maintaining the persona that caused the breakdown, as coping with his own apparent failure. Because Jim Osterberg was a very ambitious guy.

BC: This persona is one of the most infamous in music history. In the various interviews and research you conducted for the book, how difficult was it to sort the facts from the myths?

PT: After a while, you develop a nose for the stories that aren’t true, and of course there was endless cross-checking. I felt horrendously guilty about going back to people again and again to refine a story – but did it nonetheless. That said, there were events where different people’s accounts were simply incompatible, so I’d simply choose one person’s version and construct my account from that, mentioning this in the notes. Along the way, I had to drop a lot of juicy stories that turned out to be fictitious – but then I found just as many juicy new ones, including Iggy’s bizarre involvement with voodoo practitioners in Haiti!

BC: The book offers an overall sympathetic depiction of the musician, yet there are still plenty of unflattering moments included.

PT: Of course I felt a duty to be honest, to illustrate a man who was, in terms of dealing with other people, almost entirely selfish. But his gift to other people, to all of us, was his music – and, of course, the person who suffered most in the making of it was himself.

BC: What was the most thrilling or memorable thing about seeing Iggy Pop perform? What was the atmosphere like?

PT: Those who saw him in the '60s and '70s describe a visceral thrill and excitement – and also fear, that sense that anything could happen. Even today, you get a sense of that. I found it absolutely inspiring how he’s still borne along on the music, how this 60-year old gentleman with a bad limp becomes a carefree child, skipping onto the stage like a spring lamb.

BC: Even now, the way he would confront the audience seems startling. It’s hard to imagine any band today doing this.

PT: I guess I've seen plenty of bands out on the edge, with the sense that it could all fall apart at any moment – that’s what makes music exciting. But these days, it seems like it’s simply a career that’s at stake; in Iggy’s prime, it seemed like it was his life that was at stake.

BC: Many times Iggy Pop seemed on the verge of mainstream success, both with The Stooges and later as a solo artist, yet it eluded him. What do you think were the major factors that contributed to this?

PT: They say pioneers get all the arrows. I think that’s true. It’s generally the band who put a gloss on something new who clean up in the charts. But it’s always the pioneers that are remembered, a decade or two on. Today, who remembers that Pat Boone had more pop hits than Little Richard?

BC: The drug use documented in the book is pretty staggering, and it’s been suggested that The Stooges’ music would have sounded far different without chemical assistance.

PT: A lot of their inspiration came from drugs – they certainly wouldn’t have sounded the same, and likely wouldn’t have sounded as good, without it. But it was a Faustian pact that left two bassists dead, plus plenty of other friends.

BC: David Bowie’s motives in hooking up with Iggy Pop have been questioned for years. What’s your take?

PT: The quick answer is that, first time around, their friendship benefited David, and that second time around, it benefited Iggy. But it’s more complex than that. I think Iggy’s own description of David, when he first met him, is pretty apposite. He called him “a not unkind person.”

BC: Has the Stooges’ limited recorded output somehow enhanced their legacy? Music fans sometimes find the idea of a band that releases a few brilliant albums, lives like complete lunatics for a while, and then flames out quickly quite romantic.

PT: Well, yes, that’s a large part of their appeal, that they had three albums that were, in a fucked-up kind of way, absolutely perfect. We don’t need anything else to justify their existence.

BC: Who did you find was the most surprising band or artist to cite The Stooges as an influence?

PT: I remember Robbie Williams namechecked him to me once. Go figure.

BC: Favorite Iggy Pop/Stooges album and song?

PT: It changes every day... I'll say Raw Power, because I’m in a London frame of mind at the moment. And the song would be “Success,” which (in the supreme example of ‘critics’ being wannabe musicians) I sang for my wife at our wedding two weeks ago!

BC: Least favorite Iggy Pop/Stooges album and song?

PT: There is a particularly horrible song called “Happy Man” – a few correspondents have attempted to get me to back down, but I maintain not only is it the worst song in Iggy’s catalogue, it’s one of the worst songs of the 1980s, and that’s saying something.

BC: Any particular favorite stories or anecdotes about Iggy Pop that either did or didn’t get included in the book?

PT: I remember doing a photo shoot with him in the mid-'90s, in the Lower East Side on a sweltering hot day. There was a broken fire hydrant spouting water, and we were asking him to splash himself. Some local wags saw what was happening, sneaked up behind with a cold bucket of water and emptied it over him. I still have the photos that show him laughing. Whatever his faults, I can’t imagine anyone else doing the same.
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TED
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:20 pm

Great interview, interesting read
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:35 pm

Thanks Man, This was really intresting! Smile
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G, F#, E
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:07 pm

ZinZin wrote:
PT: Of course I felt a duty to be honest, to illustrate a man who was, in terms of dealing with other people, almost entirely selfish. But his gift to other people, to all of us, was his music – and, of course, the person who suffered most in the making of it was himself.

I think that sums up Iggy perfectly.
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:23 pm

G, F#, E wrote:
PT: Of course I felt a duty to be honest, to illustrate a man who was, in terms of dealing with other people, almost entirely selfish.
To my opinion this is the only unnecessary sentence in the whole interview.
In a small interview like this..the content of the sentence obtains a disproportionate attention.
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:04 pm

I would disagree with you ZinZin. In an autobiography you need to show both sides to the individual not just "I LOVE THEM! I LOVE THEM!". The interveiwer comments on how Paul is on Iggy's side but Paul's just tellng him how he likes and dislikes parts of Iggy's personality - the same as anyone else. Iggy's a great guy but Paul's right, he is selfish when dealing with other people.
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:33 pm

I am talking about the short interview with Paul not the book GFE.

Paul was sort of asked to give 'his side' in the interview. So he must say something.
I think it would have been just enough if he would have answered something like..that he has his own idea's about
Iggy his character and behaving towards other people. Point. cuz if you read the book...it's getting pretty clear...
also what Paul thinks about Iggy his character.

Just I still can't see the value of putting a sort of stigma on Iggy about his selfishness.
Simply because nobody can say that Iggy IS a selfish person.
Paul's opinion stands out way too much in this small interview.

Yeah... most of the people think Iggy was selfish and not always nice.
But.. about what exactly are they talking; how often was that...when...why did Iggy do that and behave like he did...
and what's the difference with other people???? Not that i need the answers.. My point is...What's exactly the issue
of hearing such an opinion from somebody who has written a biography of Iggy..is it really an issue?
I really don't get that.


Last edited by ZinZin on Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:43 am; edited 3 times in total
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homesickjameswilliamson
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:22 pm

i dont particularly think its cause iggys a bad guy, and in a way i agree with both of u, but i think maybe cause iggy was an only child or something, that he may have difficulty being social or in dealing with ppl, thats a better way to put it

plus he was probly so whacked out on coke or heroin he didnt know what he was saying lol
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:30 pm

yeah there are a lot of reasons HJW.. I do understand that very well.. knowing them also.
well guess it's clear that it bothers me that this 'selfish imago' is getting a stigma...which Iggy doesn't deserve.
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:49 pm

I saw an interesting documentary a few days ago on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and I think Iggy might have a few traits.
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:45 pm

mc wrote:
I saw an interesting documentary a few days ago on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and I think Iggy might have a few traits.

hope you're not gonna stir up a hornet's nest with this one mc!
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:59 pm

Nadja wrote:
mc wrote:
I saw an interesting documentary a few days ago on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and I think Iggy might have a few traits.

hope you're not gonna stir up a hornet's nest with this one mc!

Hope not we don't need another thread like the one on the Pistols Smile I actually think Iggy would probably agree to some extent.
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:03 pm

mc wrote:
Nadja wrote:
mc wrote:
I saw an interesting documentary a few days ago on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and I think Iggy might have a few traits.

hope you're not gonna stir up a hornet's nest with this one mc!

Hope not we don't need another thread like the one on the Pistols Smile.

haha...you're absolutely right there!!
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G, F#, E
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:13 pm

Laughing The Pistols thread wasn't even about the Sex Pistols. Somebody just sugested they tour together. Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:46 am

Nadja wrote:
mc wrote:
I saw an interesting documentary a few days ago on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and I think Iggy might have a few traits.

hope you're not gonna stir up a hornet's nest with this one mc!

Name me one lead singer who isn't a narcissist!


Oh, and Happy Man really is a piece of crap. It is probably describing exactly what he WASNT feeling at the time?
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:58 am

mg196 wrote:
Nadja wrote:
mc wrote:
I saw an interesting documentary a few days ago on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and I think Iggy might have a few traits.

hope you're not gonna stir up a hornet's nest with this one mc!

Name me one lead singer who isn't a narcissist!


?

yeh but 'narcissistic personality disorder' makes it sound scarily official!!
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:14 pm

Nadja wrote:
yeh but 'narcissistic personality disorder' makes it sound scarily official!!

Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Tue Nov 11, 2008 5:08 pm

ZinZin wrote:
yeah there are a lot of reasons HJW.. I do understand that very well.. knowing them also.
well guess it's clear that it bothers me that this 'selfish imago' is getting a stigma...which Iggy doesn't deserve.
Hi, I've only just seen this.

I understand your point. To say simply that Iggy is selfish is judgemental. It's something I don't say in the book. I said it here, in the assumption that many people would have read the book and understand the totality of his life. I stand by that pair of sentences: he wasn't particularly kind to other people. But he was kind to us, because he gave us that music.

I could have gone into this further, because I thought about it quite a lot. Some of musicians i know a bit, or a lot, like say Keith Richards or Peter Hook, from New Order, are kind. THey will really go out on a limb to help the people they admire. I don't think Iggy's really done that. But he has helped a lot of kids, inspired them to form a band, transformed their lives. And this probably has more enduring value than any transient treatment of those immediately around him.

Ultimately, with this book, my aim wasn't to set him up as a nice person. It was to mark him out as a great person, an important artist, who has changed the face of today's music. Some people felt I went over the top on that, too, but I guess all you can do is lay out the facts and see if they convince people, or not!
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:48 pm

Hi Paul, good to hear some on this from yourself. Thanks for your reaction.
I agree with you that fact's laid out... are speaking for themselves.
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:20 pm

Ivan Kral tells a story in "The Wild One" about two ugly girls coming back stage after a show. They walked up to Iggy and said it was a great show and they were big fans. Iggy takes one look at 'em and says "Get them outta here." They went away crying. Guess he doesn't like ugly girls. haha Ivan Kral doesn't have hardly anything nice to say about Iggy from what I read.

Then there's all those stories about how Iggy was mean to Ron when Iggy was with Williamson and Patti Smith. He would make fun of Ron right infront of him. Make fun of his clothes and the way he looked. I think Ron told those stories in "Please Kill Me."

And some of those old videos from the 80's! Yikes. He's vicious to those dumb ass interviewers. That one where he's drunk on his back on a sofa. Loves it.

When I saw Iggy with the Trolls in NY he was constantly on Whitey. Picking at him to play faster and at least try to keep up. In a mean way. You could see poor ol' Whitey was hurt. Oh that Iggy.

Somehow I get the impression Iggy is downright mean to the core. Unless you're Madonna--he slobbered all over her at the HOF show.
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:45 pm

I think Iggy (like Lou Reed) could be incredibly charming one minute and a horrible asshole the next. All depending on his mood. Hes a fantastic innovator and I'll respect him forever but hes been so mean to so many other people its sickening.

PS. I love the Uncyclopedia quote Rode Hard Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:27 am

Don't see the point at all..
to come with these old cows and let it work again in peoples brains. It's pure lust to create this glowing 'egoist' stamp and joy to burn it in somebody's skin. For what?..to give Iggy his share.. a hundred years afterwards? oh yeah of coarse there r a 1000 reasons to burn the guy. Actually what really matters is what do you do with this kind of information Question
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:51 am

Rode Hard wrote:
Ivan Kral tells a story in "The Wild One" about two ugly girls coming back stage after a show. They walked up to Iggy and said it was a great show and they were big fans. Iggy takes one look at 'em and says "Get them outta here." They went away crying. Guess he doesn't like ugly girls. haha Ivan Kral doesn't have hardly anything nice to say about Iggy from what I read.

Then there's all those stories about how Iggy was mean to Ron when Iggy was with Williamson and Patti Smith. He would make fun of Ron right infront of him. Make fun of his clothes and the way he looked. I think Ron told those stories in "Please Kill Me."

And some of those old videos from the 80's! Yikes. He's vicious to those dumb ass interviewers. That one where he's drunk on his back on a sofa. Loves it.

When I saw Iggy with the Trolls in NY he was constantly on Whitey. Picking at him to play faster and at least try to keep up. In a mean way. You could see poor ol' Whitey was hurt. Oh that Iggy.

Somehow I get the impression Iggy is downright mean to the core. Unless you're Madonna--he slobbered all over her at the HOF show.

I think I've read the complete opposite somewhere else, probably Paul's book where Iggy berates someone who dismisses a couple of fans as they weren't hip or good looking. Think this was earlier on in the Stooges career.

What I think it does show is the two sides to his personality.
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PostSubject: Re: Interview with Paul Trynka   Wed Nov 12, 2008 1:14 pm

From the people I've spoken to, the times Iggy was nasty, it was usually the drugs talking. He's not dismissive of people and usually not nasty to fans (altho he would take all their drugs and leave them standing there). There are problems between him and Ivan too complex to go into here! There are moments of gratuitous cruelty, as with Bob Koester, but those are explicable. In this respect I think Iggy and Lou are entirely different. You also have to remember that in Please Kill Me, most of the people questioned were very bitter, their recollections were coloured, and the authors were perhaps more interested in drugs and carnage rather than the music. But with Iggy, it was all about the music in a way.

I personally don't think of Iggy as a nasty or mean person, I think of him as a rather noble one. The point I was trying to make in the Q&A is that he has an entirely different agenda: namely, that he thinks about himself, and his ambitions, first.

How much of this is selfishness, and how much of this is about the music? That is the prime question, and the answer depends on whether you're a friend, or an audience member! If you're the latter, there's no question but that he's the most generous front man there is. WHo is there, at the age of 60 or so, that puts it on the line for the audience, like he does?
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