When it comes to Iggy Pop, nothing is too weird to be true, but the latest development out of the Stooges’ camp sure is a head-scratcher. Though they’d planned to take all of 2014 off, the band does have a new LP planned for this year — without their fearless frontman.
Guitarist James Williamson, who originally played on Raw Power and returned to the fold following the death of founding axeman Ron Asheton, is leading the Stooges on the recording of Re-Licked, an LP of the band’s rarities featuring guest singers such as Mark Lanegan, Ariel Pink, Jello Biafra, the Orwells’ Mario Cuomo, and Le Butcherettes’ Teri Gender Bender. The band performed songs such as “Open Up and Bleed,” “She Creatures of the Hollywood Hills,” “Wild Love,” and “I Got a Right” in the early ’70s but they were never properly recorded until now.
Still, as Rolling Stone reports, Iggy’s involvement or lack thereof is a bit murky. First, a rep for Pop said, “Iggy was never given an opportunity to participate on the album. He found out about the project in December of 2013 after it was rejected by a Chicago label.” Then, Williamson said, “He gave me his blessing and wished me success. But it’s a hard pill to swallow when someone is doing all your songs with your band and you’re not on it. I think he’s cool with it so far. We’ll see how things progress… I hope he maintains his positive attitude.”
Finally, to not actually clear the air, Iggy offered RS this written explanation: “I don’t have a problem with anything, I don’t oppose anything. This statement about the ‘hard pill’ sounds kind of passive aggressive to me. The guys in the touring group have been phoning and emailing me and my rep before during and after the recordings, wondering how I felt about this. These guys are my friends and we’ve all worked together many years. I am glad someone is paying them; they are working musicians and they need to play. I want to thank all the wonderful singers on this record for covering my songs.”
So, there you don’t really have it. So far, Williamson has recorded eight songs for Re-Licked at Dave Grohl’s 606 Studios and plans on tracking five more. No plans are in the cards for a tour, and he says the Stooges are still eyeing a return in 2015.