Iggy Pop was interviewed on stage the Cannes Lions advertising festival by advertising agency Grey chairman Nils Leonard on Wednesday — opening up about a range of topics, from his biggest fears, to his favourite ads.
James Newell Osterberg, Jr. — “Iggy Pop” — is credited as the man who invented the stage dive — which he still does at gigs to this day at the age of 69. He also lived the rock and roll lifestyle to the fullest, with drug use playing a major part in his formative years.
Asked about his biggest fears, Iggy Pop revealed he is terrified of having a stroke and having surgery.
He explained he had laser surgery on his eyes — in Colombia, before it was legal in the US, after his then-Colombian girlfriend told him he looked “ugly” with his glasses on — but he’s not interested in having any more operations.
“I would not let anybody get inside me with a knife. I don’t feel like it. That’s just a personal [thing], in which case I would have to buy a funeral yacht, sail off to Cannes. Party myself to death rather than if I needed an operation. Those are the things I think about when things aren’t going so well,” Iggy Pop said.
Asked to reflect on the biggest regrets from his past, Iggy Pop was sad that he didn’t spend enough time with his parents as he was growing up and gigging with his early bands, the Iguanas, which later became The Stooges.
“It must have been terribly hard being my parents for a long time … I had wonderful parents too, who did everything they could for me. I think I wasn’t as available to those two people I would have liked to have been later. I wasn’t a truant but not as available and I think that’s a shame,” Iggy said.
He joked that he sometimes wonders what it would have been like if he was just a “simple farmer” — although he fears he would have probably still become destructive and begun “doing terrible things with sheep.”
Despite his hectic early years, which saw Iggy endure serious substance abuse, he says he now feels better now than “when I was 18, 19, 21.”
“A lot of things I can’t do now I could do when I was 25, but I think because I was basically kind of a loony, what’s happened with me is that the less I can do, the better off I am. I can’t do this and I can’t do that but I can do a music show [Iggy presents a weekly show on BBC 6 Music] and I enjoy that and I can do an advert or a part in a film or a radio show and I really enjoy those things,” he said.
On the subject of advertising, Iggy recalled one of his favourite recent ads: The “too hot for TV” Carl’s Jr. burger ad that saw a blonde model walking through a farmer’s market and chomping into a burger.
Iggy explained he usually skips ads — a concept he finds strange because in democracy you usually vote for something, not against something — but he stopped to watch this spot.
The type of ad he skips? Iggy hates Bud Light’s ads: “They have sleazy, good-looking people sliding up to people in bars, with the product in their hands, guzzling the product in the dark, it doesn’t do anything for me, kapum!”
Iggy then gestured to demonstrate skipping the ad.
He also shared some ad ideas of his own. He had some funny ad suggestions to help Volkswagen recover from the damage caused by its emissions scandal:
“When I was in college a wonderful spontaneous gesture swept colleges all over America. Kids would try to see how many people they could get into a Volkswagen Beetle … it would be worth about 25 mea culpas for them. You could do it naked on the internet, with different sorts of people. How many tall people? How many short people? How many Armenians can you put in a Volkswagen? People would forget about the issue,” he said.
Another idea was to have Volkswagen come out with a sign that says “naughty” and have a “women in bondage gear” punishing the brand — or a giant “Robocop” — “That would illicit sympathy for [Volkswagen] you know and I bet people wouldn’t skip it either.”
The earlier mention of Armenia was with reference to Kim Kardashian, who he spoke about during the interview
“Kim Kardashian has been good for Armenia, that’s what I think. Look, she has got a big old Armenian butt, little Armenian legs, she’s Armenian, a nice looking Armenian beauty … I even love pretty clouds, I like beautiful things. There are so many different kinds of beautiful people, beautiful imagery, beautiful things to appreciate in the world,” he said.
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