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Iggy Pop

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The original wild man of punk rock, Iggy Pop made his name as a half-naked thug rolling on broken glass onstage and yowling sex rants like “Lust for Life” and “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” Four decades ago, with the Stooges, he defined the brutal aggression of Detroit punk, so Miami is not exactly the place you picture him; but this is the city he has come to call home. “It’s a town for bums. This is really the edge of America, the rim of the cup,” Iggy says fondly. “I could come down here and think for myself. People here, they see a guy with long hair and a decent car and they just stay the fuck away.”

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Leather
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At 62, Iggy remains an oddity of nature: He has the lean, muscular physique of the young studs on the beach, a face more weathered than their grandmas on the shuffleboard court, and a central nervous system that’s taken more abuse than the Gulf Coast in hurricane season. In June he releases his 15th studio album, Preliminaires, an excellent collection of jazzy numbers. Yes, the maniac who used to smear his chest with peanut butter now croons suave ballads like “King of the Dogs.” It’s hard to say which is weirder—the fact that Iggy has become a respectable rock legend or the fact that he’s lived long enough to see it. “I guess me and society kind of met halfway,” he says with a Michigan chuckle. “I got closer to normal, and the world got Iggier.”

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Pop-Eyed World
To make Preliminaires, Iggy holed up in his man-cave. “The clubhouse is kind of my installation piece of a typical Michigan band house,” he laughs. “Except there’s just room for me. I have a couple of guitars there, amps, a toy drum kit, so I can write songs without a producer or a band sniffing around. Once you become a man of age and wealth, then you’ve got all your bullshit to drag around—you don’t have room for anyone else’s. So I got my own little urban jungle going on.”

The clubhouse is deep in the ’hood, on the edge of Miami’s Little Haiti district, miles away from his McMansion in the burbs. It’s a one-room bungalow packed with Haitian art and Stooges memorabilia, with antique Persian rugs and cushions all over the floor. A busty blue woman with a gigantic Afro sits in the corner—a shock at first, until you realize she’s a mannequin. At the back there’s a garden with thick vines and Greek sculptures. Says Iggy, “I got the estate with my wife and dogs and cats and pool and tikis. I go home to work on my normality bit, but the clubhouse, that’s where I go to be me. Artists need a place like that, because we’re dangerous people. In my case, that’s a great excuse for my twisted personality—hey, I’m artistic, that’s why I’m such an asshole!”


On the Jukebox
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Iggy Central is a music geek’s dream play-ground—crank it up as loud as you want. These days the man blasts everything from Lil Wayne and Aphex Twin to dance hall reggae and young punk bands like No Age. (“They’re really fuckin’ strong.”) Still, longtime fans might be stunned to learn how much he worships Sinatra’s 1950s bel canto albums, such as Only the Lonely. “That’s one of my all-time favorite records,” Iggy says. “Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra, that’s what I listen to for pleasure. If I put on MGMT, I’m impressed, but that’s work, motherfucker!”

Even after 40 years of making music, he’s never stopped playing records by tough old bluesmen like Junior Kimbrough. “My favorite artists of the past 20 years are black, impoverished, over 60, with an average of 25 kids. When the spaceship finally comes down and Will Smith isn’t there to protect you and the human race is over and the aliens start picking through our records to see which one to keep, guess what, motherfucker? It’s gonna be a Junior Kimbrough record. It’s not gonna be Beyoncé.”


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