Iggy Pop Says Original Mastering Made Stooges Sound ‘Wimpier’

Iggy Pop says the last few years of his career prove that people who’d written him off in the past “can shut the fuck up.” Still, he admits to surprise over the surge of success.

Changing attitudes and advancing technology contributed to a new take on his earlier work, which didn’t usually hit financial targets at the time, Pop tells NME.

“When I started out, I didn’t know what publishing was,” Pop said. “I didn’t understand you were paid money on the basis of intellectual property. Nobody told me, and I didn’t ask. When I was doing the first Stooges album, I thought that writing credits were just about glory. Now, these guys have lawyers, realtors, investment advisors – you name it.”

Along with improved awareness among artists, he credited better studio tech too. “The original Stooges [recordings] were all inappropriately mastered,” he argued. “They sounded wimpier than they really were. Then later, as CDs came in and then, especially in the digital age with streaming, suddenly the same records sound the way they should have.”

More “prosaic” things happened too, he added. “Society and music in general went in a direction that made it easier for people to realize the virtues of the music I’m involved in.” The resurgence of punk music, as a result of hip-hop and other genres, was a contributor, he said. “I was finally able to solve the old problem of hearing, ‘Well your record is still in the red and you didn’t sell.’ They’ve all turned over now, the 25 studio albums between the Stooges and my solo work. The company made money, I get a royalty, so everybody can shut the fuck up and leave me alone!”

Pop said he imagines “if I was another person, I could sit down and graph all that out and come up with some sort of a schematic plan to capitalize a little bit more, but I’m not. I have noticed life has become a little easier and more rewarding in certain areas than it used to be and seems to continue that way, which really surprises me. Mostly I’m grateful there are people who’ve listened to the music and enjoy it.”

The 75-year-old added: “I always assumed there would be an arc and things would quiet down after I hit 65. That hasn’t been the case.”

Pop’s latest album, a collaboration with Andrew Watt, Duff McKagan and Chad Smith titled Every Loser, is set for release on Jan. 6 via Gold Tooth Records.

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