Release Date: May 17, 2011
Record label: Shout! Factory
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Album Rock, Hard Rock, Detroit Rock, Proto-Punk
Few artists have more dodgy-sounding live bootlegs on the market than Iggy Pop. Thankfully, Iggy himself sorted through three decades of tapes to assemble this killer four-disc package. The first CD features material from Pop's legendary 1977 tour with Bowie on keyboards, and you can hear the Thin White Duke wailing in the background. Iggy's 1990s backing band is less impressive, but it can still bash its way through "Louie Louie," and his lone hit, "Candy," with great skill.
How much Iggy is just enough? Or maybe the question should be, how much Iggy is too much? With literally hundreds of albums released over the years, including a spate of recent live recordings and reissues, there has been an abundance of Iggy Pop “discoveries” to satisfy even the most ardent fan. The sound quality of those releases, particularly the live gigs, varies from surprisingly good to all-but-unlistenable. But the question remains, is the world ready for four more hours of previously-unreleased Igginess? The qualified answer is: why the hell not? Iggy rocked punk before punk existed, helped create the template for grunge before grunge existed, and has stayed resolutely true to his vision ever since the Stooges’ first album melted speakers in 1969.
Iggy Pop has had a few retrospectives in his career, none of them especially persuasive. At a mere 17 tracks, the single-disc Nude & Rude in 1996 proved so cursory as to be insulting: No “TV Eye”? No “Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell”? Seriously? Nine years later, A Million in Prizes more than doubled the tracklist, but it still sounded like a superficial dip into his rich catalog, with too much obligatory emphasis on his late-career duds. Despite so many excellent songs, Pop simply may not be a musician who lends himself to that sort of retrospective.
For any other artist, the idea of issuing four discs of moldy live recordings-- particularly for a performer who's been anthologized a couple of times already-- would reek of the worst kind of barrel-scraping, fan-fleecing cash grab. But to summarize a career as unlikely as Iggy Pop's, it makes perfect sense. Despite the enduring import of his first three albums with the Stooges and mid-70s collaborations with David Bowie-- the influence of which can still be heard today in everyone from Fucked Up to LCD Soundsystem-- those albums tell only part of the story.
There are few if any major rock artists who seem to have a more laissez faire attitude toward bootlegging than Iggy Pop; his catalog is riddled with semi-authorized live albums from various mysterious labels (mostly based in Europe and the United Kingdom) that document literally dozens of live shows from various points of his career (and in various degrees of fidelity). Only the most obsessive Iggy fan is capable of keeping track of all these semi-legit (or wholly non-legit) releases, and in recent years Iggy himself has taken it upon himself to try making sense of this aspect of his recorded legacy; he's authorized a pair of box sets from Easy Action Records, Where the Faces Shine, Vol. 1 and Vol.
There aren’t many still active rockers who can claim they have remained vibrant and challenging over four decades, but Detroit’s Iggy Pop isn’t like most rockers. Following similar artist approved official bootleg sets from Todd Rundgren and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Shout! Factory unleashes this sprawling four disc, five hour summary of Pop’s live work during the titular timeframe. Unlike his occasionally tame, well tamer-er, studio work, Pop is a loose cannon in all the best ways when he hits the spotlight.
Iggy Pop's live output should be accompanied by an asterisk – a reminder of the extreme distress of his confrontational stage presence. He's the original hot mess, with a primal magnetism and human pinball routine as traceable in the scars on his torso as by the countless bootlegs that followed suit. The 4-CD Roadkill Rising scans the canonical vault of Iggy's solo career, opening in the wake of his Berlin makeover for The Idiot and closing in a Paris radio station with an exquisite five-song suite of the French jazz-noir on 2009's Préliminaires.