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Iggy Pop recounts chaotic history of The Stooges in Total Chaos

The book, out this week from Third Man Books, revisits the band's history in explicit, expletive detail.

Iggy Pop surprised Jeff Gold, author of Total Chaos: The Story of The Stooges/As Told by Iggy Pop, by how much he remembered.

Courtesy Third man books

Iggy Pop surprised Jeff Gold, author of Total Chaos: The Story of The Stooges/As Told by Iggy Pop, by how much he remembered.

What began innocently as Iggy Pop reminiscing over items from his past with memorabilia collector Jeff Gold turned into the definitive oral history about one of the most influential rock bands ever.

Total Chaos: The Story of The Stooges/As Told by Iggy Pop, out this week via Third Man Books, revisits in explicit, expletive detail how these Michigan misfits were unappreciated, commercial failures during their initial run from 1967-1974. Their legend as punk pioneers, however, grew exponentially in the three decades that followed.

The Stooges reunited in 2003 at the Coachella Music Festival, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and continued to experience an unexpected renaissance that has dovetailed into Iggy Pop enjoying his most successful year to date.

“We were completely unprepared for how much (Iggy) remembered,” Gold said prior to a book launch event with Pop in New York City. The habitually shirtless vocalist has had a long-standing reputation for drug use. “I was astounded at the breadth of his recall,” which put the collector-turned-author at times in a “bizarre situation of having to cut him off periodically. You knew this wasn’t a guy making it up, that he actually did remember all of this.”

Gold modestly sees himself not so much as a writer, but more of a wrangler. “I had this incredible interview, I had these incredible pictures. (Total Chaos) went from being interesting to being important history. I felt like I had an obligation to history to get this right.” Well yeehaw to that!

As for Third Man Books, the imprint offshoot of Motor City-raised rocker Jack White, Gold said he already had a publisher for what would eventually come to be Total Chaos, but “was just absolutely blown away at how (Third Man) have reinvented the record business” with everything they’ve got going on in Nashville and now Detroit’s Cass Corridor.  “It was just so natural” for them to be home to his Stooges book. Limited Editions from Third Man will not only have Iggy’s John Hancock, but also a 7” vinyl record of him singing over I’m a Man, a song by his first band The Prime Movers. Way, way cool.

“People who are interested in Iggy and the Stooges, I think it’s a natural,” says the biographer who’s become a friend of the frontman.

He solicited the opinions of several A-list rockstars about the effect this uncharacteristic band has had on them. A definite highlight of Total Chaos is the amazing story Dave Grohl relates about how his life was profoundly changed by Pop in 1990; the Iggster plucked him from pre-Nirvana obscurity to perform before a room of record executives at Toronto’s Bovine Sex Club of all places.