“I knew I wasn’t going to be an old bluesman,” he said in a 2010 interview with Shock magazine. “But hanging out with these blues guys in Chicago made me want to emulate them. I wanted to be like them, sound like them, and write like them — but write about the things that are about who I am and who my people are.
Upon his return to Detroit, Pop set about realizing his vision – which largely involved intersecting the harsh urban sound of the blues with the energy of garage rock pioneers such as The Sonics and The Kinks. To achieve his goal, he recruited brothers Ron and Scott Asheton on guitar and drums, respectively, and brought in Dave Alexander to play bass. Looking back, it was more or less predestined that the new outfit would be called The Stooges, as Iggy explained in 2010.
“Ron came up with the idea,” Iggy said Shock magazine. “It was inevitable that whatever creative Ron did in his life would go to the Stooges, as he had already spent probably 17,000 working hours watching the Three Stooges films.”
Originally billed as “The Psychedelic Stooges”, the embryonic band made their live debut at their joint home on State Street in Ann Arbor on Halloween night 1967. By early 1968 they were playing well-known Detroit venues such as the Grande Ballroom, often in support of local heroes MC5, who were impressed by the Stooges’ bold left-field leanings – notably the kind of onstage antics that, in years to come, would make Iggy Pop the one of the best rock singers.
“You had to admire that kind of courage – assuming he lived!”
The Stooges also impressed Elektra Records A&R man and publicist Danny Fields, whose recommendation led his label to sign the group, with MC5, in 1968. Elektra boss Jac Holzman trusted the judgment of Fields and also dug the group in, although he was slightly alarmed. by Iggy’s antics on stage.