Iggy Pop on youth, ageing, success and death

Every year at Cannes Lions, the music legends come out to be interviewed. This year was no different, with Iggy Pop being quizzed by Grey Advertising’s,  Nils Leonard. 

Prior to the event Leonard had persuaded Iggy Pop to record a version of Welsh Poet, Dylan Thomas’s famous work, Do Not Go Gentle, stating that Iggy Pop was one of the last true icons of rock & roll. The 69-year-old musician did not let anything get in the way of how he wanted to live his life.

The comforting thing about hearing what The Stooges legendary frontman had to say about a life lived as if each day were his last, was that essentially, it mirrored the human condition. Insecurities, regret and self-destructive tendencies were all in evidence. Admittedly, the rest of us don’t all get lost barefoot and stoned in the Armenian district of LA on the way home at night, but there is much here that will resonate with all of us.

Here are his best bits:

On success: “I had a lot of insecurity because it took a long time to generate the numbers and it was hard to keep going. It took me quite a while to get across to quite a few people. Half of my life has been saying, ‘well I will keep going and keep going and get a little bigger.’ Maybe, I don’t think I have that problem today. I feel pretty good.”

On youth: ”I lived like a wild creature from 18 to 25; there was nothing I would not do. From 25 to 35, I became relatively sensible. Why? You know, the proximity of death, poverty, hopelessness and getting my nose rubbed in all of that.”

On ageing: “I suppose to me when I think of old, I think of a process of giving up and giving ground and a shrinking of the sphere of life. There are those tactical situations that arise as you live longer. In my case, I have kind of a pass on that as I actually feel better now than I did when I was aged 18 to 21.”

On his fear of undergoing surgery: “Rather than do that I would buy a funeral yacht, sail off to Cannes and party myself to death,” he laughs. “These are the things I think about when things are not going too well.”

On regrets: “It must have been really hard being my parents, who did everything they could for me, and I wasn’t as available to those two people as I later knew I would have liked to be.”

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