Party by Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop's Party

By John Saleeby
December 1st, 2005

"I've always found that negative life conditions have produced great work conditions. The worse my life has been, the better my work has been."
- Michael O'Donaghue

This article will not attempt solve the great mystery of Iggy - how does he stay so thin?

In 1981 Iggy Pop, a man who rocks right up there with Elvis and Hendrix but gets about as much respect as that little freckle faced tot who shook a tambourine in The Partridge Family, had gone from inventing Punk Rock with The Stooges (Yay!) and reinventing Art Rock with David Bowie (Eh . . . ) to dragging his drunken butt in and out of one stinking night club after another making such an appalling spectacle of himself that even the kids in his back up band were disgusted with him. "I didn't realize he was living by playing on the road." says Rob Duprey, one of his guitarists "Now I realize how his existence was a skanky one - Living in hotels for fifteen years." Skanky? You think that was bad, Rob, after The Stooges split up Iggy was living in abandoned buildings and waking up in the morning covered with weird green puke! Yeah, Iggy's a pretty zany guy, but he's so zany you'd have to go to France to find a completely different word for it.

In those days Iggy was recording for Clive Davis' Arista label. Davis wasn't particularly ecstatic about this relationship but those long hours of pouring black coffee down Iggy's throat were valuable preparation for Clive's current situation with Whitney Houston. Iggy's objective during his career with Arista was to prove to The World that he could make great records without The Stooges, without David Bowie, and without getting so Stinko that even people like Keith Richards and John Belushi wouldn't invite him to their New Year's Eve Parties. Iggy succeeded with the first two but as for the third, by 1981 not even The Stooges and Bowie would let him in on their New Year's Eve plans. Hhhmmm . . . was that the New Year's Eve that creepy little guy was crawling around the front yard spewing weird green puke at the cats?

Even more of a problem, Iggy's previous Arista releases "New Values" and "Soldier", although very good, didn't exactly set the World On Fire as far as sales go and it was subtly hinted that if Iggy's next record was not a Big Hit Smasharoo Arista was going to give him the Ol' Heave Ho. With a guy as out of it as Iggy a subtle hint was taking out a billboard in Times Square reading "HEY IGGY! IF YOUR NEXT RECORD IS NOT A BIG HIT SMASHAROO WE'RE GOING TO GIVE YOU THE OL' HEAVE HO - ARISTA RECORDS"

Ivan Kral to The Rescue! Who? Ivan Kral was the Czech born leader of Iggy's back up band and, as Iggy writes in his autobiography "I Need More", a "dumb ass-fuckin'-guitar-player-twit". Funny, that's exactly what I called Wil Forbis just this morning. (Editor's Note: And I've had to rescue your ass more times than I can count. Remember Tijuana, 2002? - wil) Between Eastern Europe and Iggy Pop Ivan was in The Patti Smith Group so next time you're bellyachin' about what a Hard Life you've had just thinka Ivan Kral and holler "THANK YOU, JESUS!! THANK YOU, LAWD!!" Just to do a little research for this article I went to the record store and bought "Horses", which everyone agrees is The Patti Smith Group's Big Masterpiece - BIG MISTAKE! That album is so bad Fiona Apple fans are petitioning to have it taken off the internet. I would recommend spending three months in Czechyugostan over buying "Horses". Buying? I'd recommend spending three years in Czechyugostan over listening to "Horses". But anyway, after years of trying to get a hit record out of Patti Smith - Springsteen covers only count if you're as cute as The Pointer Sisters! - Ivan was determined to get one out of Iggy. Hasn't that old saying about how you can't get a silk purse out of a sow's ear ever been translated into Czechyugostanese? Somebody get this plucky lil' immigrant a job playing guitar for Jon Bon Jovi, awready! I guess no one bothered to tell Ivan the story about when Clive Davis went backstage one night and Iggy was lying on the floor bombed out of his bean begging Clive to piss on him. "Aw, Hell! If I had known about that I woulda went with Richard Hell or David Johanson! Crap!"

And so Iggy n' Ivan created "Party" and I guess I don't have to tell you that, no, it was not a hit and ,yes, Iggy got canned from Arista. Hey, I bought it! Played it for my Mom one time while she was doin' the dishes an' everything! Strike up a conversation with one of them Crazy Black Guys you see at punk gigs and he'll probably tell you that "Party" is "The Red Headed Step Child" of Iggy Pop records. Poor "Party"! Forced to stay up all night doin' the dishes while "New Values" and "Soldier" go to the MTV Awards with some crazy David Bowie disco album.

Why don't "Party" get no respect? Probably on accounta it being so damn unhip. I mean, look who produced the thing - Thom Panunzio.. David Bowie produced "The Idiot" and "Lust For Life", Stooges guitarist James Williamson produced "New Values", Bowie and Williamson were supposed to co produce "Soldier" until they got in a cat fight while Iggy demanded "What are you doing to my tape!? Who are you, PHIL SPECTOR!?!" (Did he actually say that? "Who are you, PHIL SPECTOR!?!" God, I bet that was funny! Did they get it on tape? I'd rather hear that than most of what made it onto "Soldier") but "Party" gets Thom Panunzio. With a name like Panunzio you'd think he was the Door Man at some Brooklyn Disco Iggy was having a hard time getting into cause Bowie was outta town that weekend. Did Panunzio's nose get longer when he told a lie? "Yeah, Iggy, that sounded great!" Bwwoooppp!! Turns out that Panunzio was Tom Petty's engineer. Huh? Was Rod Stewart's gardener busy? Actually this was some time before Tom Petty began his quest to become Rock's Youngest Geezer (If Hollywood still made Westerns Petty would be Ben Affleck's grizzled sidekick - "Ah jes' knowed them redskins was up tuh no good, Ben!") and if I had known that Iggy's next album was being produced by his engineer I probably would have thought that was a cool idea. Hey, this was 1981! We were so confused by The Clash and that fucking "Sandanista!" we didn't march on New York to kill everyone involved in MTV.

And then to really get the Talking Heads fans fluttering all over the place, the suits at Arista decided Panunzio's work wasn't "commercial" enough and sent Tommy Boyce, who had produced The Monkees back in the sixties, in to record a coupla surefire hit singles. The Monkees' producer? Is that a cool thing to be? I can't keep up with the In Crowd's Offical Stance on The Monkees, it changes as often as my nephew's plans for what he's going to do after High School. I give up! Producing The Monkees has gotta be cooler than Engineering Tom Petty, right? Huh? Geez, with guys like that for Producers maybe Iggy will hire my nephew to produce his next album. He already had Green Day and Sum 41 on his last record, for all I know my nephew told him to do it. Boyce brought in a boatload of bother when he had Iggy record a couple of covers, remixed a song Panunzio had been fiddling around with called "Bang Bang" (Probably the best thing on "Party"), and chased Kral out of the studio and locked him up in a closet. Say, this Boyce really sounds like an Acid Logic kinda guy! I was going to hire him to produce Wil Forbis' album but then I found out he had died. No, Forbis hadn't died - That wouldn't be a problem - Boyce had died. I don't know how, I'd just like to think he tried to lock someone bigger and meaner than Ivan Kral up in a closet and got killed.

We're supposed to get all pissy over Boyce's covers - "Time Won't Let Me" and "Sea Of Love" - but what's wrong with covers? Tell Van Halen there's something wrong with covers and they'll be so relieved to hear something different from the usual David Lee Roth-Sammy Hagar jibber jabber they'll ask you to be their new lead singer. Covers are NEAT-O MOSQUITO! Like "Sea Of Love" - How can you not get all choked up when Iggy gets all Brando on us with "Do you remember the night we met? That's the night I KNEW YOU WERE MY PET!!!" What, you got icewater flowin' through your veins? You piss Slushie? You freak! If only Stanley Kowalski coulda come up with suave lines like that insteada just yellin' "STELLA!! STELLA!!!" Man, no wonder them morons in Hollywood put Iggy in "The Crow 2" and that episode of "Star Trek-Deep Space Nine". Amazing the crap you get away with when you do "That's the night I KNEW YOU WERE MY PET!!!" as good as Iggy does on "Party". If Robert Plant had done it that good on that sappy Honeydrippers version he'd be doing Shakespeare instead of begging Dave Grohl to come over and make mitt der Bonham. So take a cue from Iggy and give em the ol' "That's the night I KNEW YOU WERE MY PET!!!" routine from "Party" the next time you get yourself into a Jam, a Fix, or - Lord help you! - a Pickle. How do you think Jude Law gets away with his shit?

Butcha know what? Ivan Kral, Thom Panunzio, Tommy Boyce, whoever wrote "Time Won't Let Me" and "Sea Of Love" may not have been enough for David Bowie or Bruce Springsteen to make records with, but "Party" has one Heck of a lot more Life to it than whatever those Ding Dongs were doing at the time. What makes "Party" a Motherfucking Masterpiece? Because it's a Motherfucking Iggy Pop Record, that's what! If you ever buy an Iggy Pop record and aren't overcome with Happiness from just listening to it, run over to the hospital and get a brain scan cause you've got a tumor the size of one of Iggy's eyeballs inside your head. Actually you don't need to spend the money getting the brain scan, listening to an Iggy Pop record and not being overcome with Happiness is the most accurate diagnosis of Head Cancer known to Modern Medicine. Worried that you are about to come down with a bad case of Head Cancer? Hop on down to the Acid Logic Head Cancer Clinic and take your choice of three (3) diagnostic tests

1) The George Romero "Spooky" Test
2) The Bill Murray "Funny" Test
3) The Iggy Pop "Spooky-Funny" Test

I recommend the "Spooky-Funny" Test cause my niece ate my "Ghostbusters" DVD and I just found out Forbis has been showing people that crummy remake of "Dawn Of The Dead" for the Romero Test. Geez!

Ya think Clive could resist a chance to piss on Whitney?

John Saleeby wrote for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand up comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines, Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him earlier. Email -

Dude, partake of some other Motherfucking Masterpieces!

Iggy Pop's "Party" by John Saleeby
With the arrival of the 80's, Iggy Pop turned to one man to resurrect his career: Ivan Kral!
Heavy Metal by Wil Forbis
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Scanners by Johnny Apocalypse
Was Scanners a parable about out of control corporations or just an excuse to show exploding heads?
Repo Man by Wil Forbis
Packed with dead aliens, punk rock angst and Harry Dean Stanton in the role of his career, Alex Cox's cinematic masterpiece defined the term "cult film."
RoboCop by John Saleeby
Peter Weller shines as the clanking crimefighter in need of axel grease.
Falling Down by Wil Forbis
The final defense of the angry white male.
Office Space by Wil Forbis
Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butthead, satirizes the modern deskjob.
Mr. Bungle by Wil Forbis
The maniacal album that inspired tens, even dozens of musicians to become agro/metal/funk fanatics. Remember the clowns!
Body Count by Cody Wayne
Ice-T's hardcore metal group, famous for their ode to cop killin', get their due.
John Carpenter's "The Thing" by Cody Wayne
John Carpenter redefined the horror genre with his study of arctic isolation and shape shifting aliens.

And here's more!


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