is known for three things: He's one of the most important archetypes of punk rock, he's not a fan of shirts, and he's really, really
good at acting bat-shit insane. There was that one time he challenged a group of bikers to a fight onstage and the entire battle was recorded, resulting in the vicious Metallic K.O.
live album. Or there was another time where he gave a fan a concussion with a watermelon. There was even a point in the 70s where the Stooges frontman became so well known for literally making himself bleed onstage that rumors began circulating that he planned on straight-up killing himself during a performance at Madison Square Garden.
Like the select, lucky rockers who should have never lived to see 30, Pop is still alive, kicking, and shirtless at 70, albeit much
more sober than he was before. In fact, he's currently wrapping up a tour for his 2016 album Post Pop Depression
, which he did in collaboration with Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme. Though he's still recording music, Pop has hinted
at the prospect of retirement, and looking back at the decades' worth of electric shows and nearly killing himself on multiple occasions, he more than anyone deserves to slow down. In honor of the punk legend's illustrious career, we wanted to revisit one of the weirdest and most memorable misadventures featuring Pop being a complete lunatic, his 1979 appearance on Australian TV show Countdown
. It's not as well known here in the US, but Australian punk fans consider this one of the best Countdown
appearances of all time, and the surreal moment is even still shown on the air from time to time.
After finding significant success in New Zealand and Australia with his '79 album New Values
, Pop paid a visit to the countries for the first time in his career, hoping to make some live appearances on various TV shows. The trip was soured when Pop soon learned that while he was going to appear on Australian TV, he wasn't actually going to play live at all. "I think what happened was the record company bribed my manager at the time or tricked me," Pop recalled in a 2016 interview
on Australian radio station Double J. "I thought I was going to meet up with my band and play shows and play with my group on various TV shows. And then instead it was, 'You're doing playback,' and I was pissed off
As some readers may remember from our recent piece on Nirvana
, it's never a good idea to tell a punk rocker to fake it. However, Kurt Cobain and co. weren't interviewed during their lip-synch appearance; Pop started off his Countdown
spot with a Q+A with host Molly Meldrum, and he took full advantage of that pre-music chat. In what was supposed to be a typical surface-level TV interview about his new album, it was immediately clear Iggy had no intention of taking it seriously when he started of the segment by screaming, "Hiya, dog-face!" at Meldrum. Unable to sit still and looking like he just ingested a bag of...well, something
...a glossy-eyed Pop clearly annoyed Meldrum to no end, who sounded like he was talking to a 5-year-old on a sugar rush.
After yelling "G'day!" a couple times in a mock Aussie accent, getting through a grand total of one question, and excitedly exclaiming "Hi, Davie!" at the sight of a clip featuring collaborator David Bowie, Pop took the stage to mime his way through the New Values
cut "I'm Bored." As you probably already guessed, his lip-synching was anything but convincing, and that's exactly why it's so incredibly memorable. Aside from barely singing into the mic, Pop's rag-dolling across the stage was pretty spot-on with his typical performances, albeit with a lot less blood and nudity. There have been many theories as to what Iggy was on to get him in such a, as Meldrum put it, "popping" state, but Pop claims it was nothing more than jetlag and a need to stick it to someone. "I remember talking to [Molly] and there was an interior dialogue, there was a voice telling me 'Do not let yourself take this guy seriously.' I don't know why I thought that, but I felt somehow to take that whole thing, well I didn't feel like being reasonable that day. Let's put it that way."
Never change, Iggy. Never change.