Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Book Review - Iggy Pop: Open Up and Bleed by Paul Trynka (Broadway Books, 2007)

This is a biographical account of Jim Osterberg, better known as rock 'n' roll singer Iggy Pop. This very detailed book follows its subject from growing up in a trailer park in Michigan as a suburb student to falling in love with blues music and eventually becoming a drummer in various blues and rock bands. The formation of The Stooges is covered in great depth, and Osterberg's development of the Iggy Pop persona is presented as an example of a split personality that would have repercussions in the future. The rise and fall of The Stooges, one of rock 'n' roll's most influential bands is a highlight of the book, as is the coverage of the complex relationship Pop has with David Bowie during the 1970's and 80's. The book drifts a bit when covering its subject's mercurial solo career, into a haze of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Band members, girlfriends and producers come and go at such an alarming rate that it's impossible to keep track of all of the characters. Despite the book's drawbacks, it is an intriguing portrait of one of rock music's most fascinating personalities and foremost survivors. Trynka's dept of research is commendable, he literally left no stone unturned. If that level of detail leaves us focused more on the trees than the forest, it still presents a memorable narrative.

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