January 6, 2011

The houses are real and the garden is real
And everything looks nice enough to steal

Burt Glinn, Half Note bar, NYC. The band is standing on top of a liquor cabinet, 1959.

* David Bowie and Iggy Pop in Berlin, from a 1979 Rolling Stone article. The article begins:

David Bowie moved to Berlin because it was a world as far removed from Los Angeles as he could find. In Hollywood, he'd fallen in with the wrong crowd. Living on stimulants of all varieties, he'd flirted with ideas of power, ascension, dictatorship - the glorious figurines that may seem strange to you and me, but seemed amusing to one who had tasted the crowd's hysteria from the lucky side of the footlights.

He'd gotten to be quite a high-hat.

In Berlin, a city that had known other takeover artists, he got humble. Rock & roll was no longer a vehicle for driving to the throne. But it was a living. It would finance a movie career, anyway.

Jim Osterberg moved to Berlin around the same time as Bowie, the spring of 1976. Going under other names, like Iggy Stooge and Iggy Pop, he had, more than a decade ago, originated in Michigan what later became known as the punk-rock masque: maniac music with a death-warmed-over pose. He had the lean, suspicious face of a young American hoodlum, and the pose was not always fashionable. He too found himself living on the Coast, and what he was in Los Angeles was a sun going down. Carrying a junk habit around, he became a street person, a drifter, crashing where he could. Finally, he committed himself to UCLA Hospital.

His only regular visitor there was David Bowie. Iggy was told that if he cleaned up, he could join Bowie's Station To Station tour. So he kicked and joined as a companion. He started another life in Berlin.

Soon after Bowie ushered Iggy into a recording studio overlooking the Berlin Wall and produced 'The Idiot' (1977), a sad album but brilliant if you could tolerate it. Bowie - thought by his fans to probably be a mighty weird nogoodnik - must seem refined and reliable next to a real article like Iggy. Iggy's power and Iggy's curse is that he has always lived out his show, unlike those who make a production out of the pose, Alice Cooper, Kiss... or Bowie...

* "Illusions are important. What you foresee or what you remember can be as important as what really happens." -- Javier Marias


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