AT THE CORNER OF DESPERATE AVENUE
AND LONELINESS ROAD
I fødselsdagsinterview i Rolling Stone er der links to splinternye, tyst og dirrende (og nydende) inderlige sange, "Every Day" og "Loneliness Road", som Iggy har indspillet sammen med en jazz-trio - her nogle bidder fra selve interviewet:
"I was just listening to them in the car in stolen moments at first,
and I took a lot more time with this than I normally would. "Every Day"
was the one that just kind of flew out of my mouth in little bits. The
other ones took more thought – "Gee, how would I structure a melody and
phrasing that swings it a little?" I tried to keep everything small, in
keeping with the quietude about the tunes.
The house I have [in
Miami] on a little river, there's a back door with a washer and dryer
and a little old chair that I bought on Fifth Avenue in the Eighties –
it's an African chair, one of the oldest possessions I have. I sit there
with a boom box and mumble some stuff. For some reason, Third Man
Records had sent me a bunch of these little tiny books. Anyway, I wrote
these lyrics in little tiny notebooks in very bad handwriting. Just
kinda worked 'em up that way – as long as it had the feeling and I'd
done the proper planning, so that I wasn't gonna dick around.
went in and did them, and they were basically first-take on each one. I
was a little surprised at how feeble I sounded on certain parts of it [laughs],
but I thought that was OK. You know, I kinda thought that the feeling
fit. I thought it was my best effort, and I sent 'em in. I thought about
it a couple of weeks, and I thought, just let it be what it is.
"Every Day," to me, sounded like something that, if he wanted to,
Barry White or Donny Hathaway or Teddy Pendergrass could have really
wailed on. "Don't Lose Yourself," I thought the music sounded a little
Doors-y, and so I tried to sing something a little against it – I was
looking for phrasing that would make it swing a little. And "Loneliness
Road," I kept thinking of Floyd Cramer and his chord voicings. So I had
stuff within me emotionally that I wanted to say, on all three – and
then, technically, you're influenced by what the music is. "Every Day"
would have sounded really terrible if there were a lot of sophisticated
verbal images. Better to me if it's plainspoken. Some of the lines are
lines you've heard in other songs or in other ways, like "What you see
is what you get."
You alter the cliché, though: You say "What you see is what you're gonna get."
Well, yeah [laughs].
There's a little bit of desire and fidelity kind of mixed in there, and
also, you know, a little bit of need for love, which is different from
desire. Everybody has that, but there are ways to get around it when
you're younger. Then, when you're older, there's not.
The music that you're singing over is full of the little
imperfections of jazz. There's a lot of wisdom in it, and it's kind of
open and unguarded.
Yes, that's what appealed to me. There's no
big, bashing thing or echo trick to hide behind. And then there are
little things where it kinda goes on and on, rises and falls, and it's a
trio – they were doing what they wanted within their own boundaries. I
tried to come in and live in it, basically.
Was that the challenge?
to get inside it. That's the big one. Listening very, very carefully is
an art. Sometimes it's just like cooking an egg – there's steps you
gotta do to get to know it – but at other points you've got to do it in a
state of extreme enjoyment, almost bliss, to allow something happen, to
come out of yourself, to connect with the thing.
For instance, in
"Loneliness Road," I noticed, OK, Steve's coming in with the bass line
early. Suddenly the soundscape suddenly changes. I thought, "Ooh, that's
the place to come in with a certain pickup line." It just matched. I
knew that in my register it would be good.
Later in that one, there were bits where they kinda started swangin', a little bit like a show band, and you'll hear me up the ante a little bit and give a little discreet shout once in a while.
This reflective guy you inhabit on these songs on Loneliness Road – he's a persona. I feel that we've seen him before. What else do you know about that guy?
right – they kind of pop out, these guys. I don't really sit around
working on them. Well, you know, he's lonesome, a little bit of an
airhead, a little bit head-in-the-clouds, maybe. A little bit weary of
the game he's in. Yeah, you know. You know. Like so many other
people. In a way this started back when I was at the height of the
touring machine with the re-formed Stooges, when I wrote a song called
"I Want to Go to the Beach." That was a very melancholic song – it's the
same guy. I wrote it in that little house with a feeling of
hopelessness that I would ever be able to find a place to record it, how
would I put it out, where would it find a home. And with a feeling of
hopelessness that I would ever overcome that melancholy. But I've made a
habit of writing out my pessimism, and it tends to lead to a
surprisingly optimistic outcome.
And then a few years later this guy brought me a bottle of wine to
the gig in Lyon. He owns a very nice wine shop in Lyon, and he said,
"Every so often I order 25 copies of Apres and I put them on the counter next to the cash register, and they sell out."
I like being at the wine shop! I like that idea! Yeah! But I look at
the albums I've done and I think there's some good in there, and I'm in a
fortunate enough area right now to kinda let them all sit, and there
are people who will check them all out and enjoy them if I don't deluge
them with a bunch of albums. But I like singin'. So I kinda like being a
guest. Different position.
I have heard that you are about to turn 70.
[Laughs] Yeah, I keep hearing about it too! I haven't made it yet. I gotta get to Friday.
me something. ... I would guess that for you, 70 is arbitrary: just a
number. But I would expect that as a worker, you are looking at the
precedents that have been set, scanning around the history of music,
looking at singers who got to that exact age and were making great
things at that age. Is that true?I haven't really thought about it that way. Maybe I should.
definitely think prosaically about "what kind of work can I do," "what
kind of work would I be comfortable doing," and "what kind of work can I
get." But on the other hand, there's this other guy [laughs]. There's this other thing going on. I really like Sleaford Mods, and they have a particularly vicious track called "Chop Chop Chop."
I covered it the other day in rehearsal, and I put my own verses in
there about the most scathing episodes in my life history.
Anyway, you get a little more circumspect. If you manage to live this
long, that's O.K.; you want to live longer, but at the same time you
don't want to do that just for the sake of breathing.
But it's really do a little bit here, do a little bit there, and try to be a decent hang."