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Iggy Pop pleases with last two home town appearances

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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DETROIT -- Iggy Pop finished his Michigan homecoming on Tuesday night, Oct. 25, with a pair of hometown-centric events promoting a couple of his latest projects.

Following a full day of press in Birmingham and a dinner at Selden Standard, he Rock and Roll Hall of Famer from Ypsilanti attended a screening of "Gimme Danger," a documentary about his band the Stooges, at the Detroit Institute of Arts and sat for a Q&A with director Jim Jarmusch afterwards. Following that, the two and their entourage drove a few blocks south and west to Third Man Records, where Pop -- and, later, Jarmusch -- did another Q&A, this time with Jeff Gold, author of the new book "Total Chaos: The Story of the Stooges/As Told By Iggy Pop," on Third Man Books.

And being back for the past few days -- including an appearance for the Grammy Foundation's Living Histories Live series Sunday, Oct. 23, at the Majestic Theatre -- clearly meant a great deal to the rock icon born James Osterberg.

"This is where I'm from -- that's the best thing I can say," the 69-year-old Pop said towards the end of the Third Man session. "I always feel like this is where I'll end up -- spiritually, at least," he added to thunderous applause.

Earlier at the DIA -- where Pop's wife Nina Alu saw "Gimme Danger" for the first time -- Pop told the DIA crowd that, "I'm here in Detroit. It was just an honor for me...that you all would have enough interested to check (the movie) out. And I enjoyed the bits where you laughed. That's really specific to us here. That was really enjoyable."

Jarmusch, meanwhile, told the 1,100 at the DIA -- where "Gimme Danger" opens a two-weekend run on Friday, Oct. 28 -- that after screening the film at festivals in Toronto, New York and Cannes, France, the Detroit rip was very special to him and the team that worked on it. "Honestly we've been waiting to really show it in Detroit," he said, though complimenting the Detroit Film Theatre he joked that, "I don't think (the Stooges) would ever be allowed in here, let alone you lowlifes."

Though there was plenty of talk about philosophy and filmmaking, Pop filled both events with anecdotes, primarily about the Stooges and their early years -- and periodically connected with his past. During the DIA discussion, moderated by WDET air personality Ann Delisi, one question came from an audience member whose mother was one of Pop's counselors at the Varsity Day Camp. Pop, in response, related that the bag he used to carry some marijuana he had cured -- which is depicted in the film -- came from the camp.

Recalling the days playing the Grande Ballroom during the DIA talk, Pop remembered a band he liked but whose name he didn't know. After describing it and remembering a song title ("Blow Me"), several in the crowd identified it as Fruit Of The Loom, to Pop's obvious delight.

Over at Third Man, where the session was longer and a bit looser, partly thanks to the store's more intimate setting, Pop, prompted by Gold, told stories about the Stooges original manager (Ron Richardson) and chaotic early gigs -- including one in Romeo where he was arrested and taken, briefly to the state penitentiary in Jackson after the zipper broke on his ribber pants and he did an ill-advised strip tease. He recalled seeing Bob Seger perform at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School, and he even surprised author Gold by relating that his father played semi-pro baseball via the Rogers Hornsby Baseball College.

Asked about the summer 2003 Stooges show at Pine Knob that was postponed by the large regional blackout that day, Pop said that "we were lucky the blackout happened because the local promoters had provided an inadequate P.A." Back at the hotel, however, he had to deal with his "very energetic Maltese puppy" that was barking and running around the room non-stop. "It was driving me crazy," Pop remembered, and I couldn't get out 'cause downstairs was something worse -- a reporter for Rolling Stone. So I just gutted it out and tried to get a little sleep."

Figures from Pop's past turned out for both events, including MC5 manager and Stooges champion John Sinclair, music contemporaries Scott Morgan, Johnny "Bee" Badanjek and Gary Rasmussen, as well as a bandmate from his first group, the Iguanas. And when asked about his most recent concert during April at the Fox Theatre, Pop reiterated that Detroit remains a top priority in his life.

"It's the big one...because of live and pride," he said. "It's the biggest thing for me."

In addition to the movie, Pop will release "Post Pop Depression: Live at the Royal Albert Hall," a CD and home video from his tour this year, on Friday. The "Total Chaos" book publishes Nov. 15, though copies were on hand Tuesday night at Third Man.

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