On Thursday it was revealed that Iggy Pop and Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal) teamed up and recorded an album under wraps. As soon as she learned of the collaboration, Looch called up Iggy and Josh to talk about Post Pop Depression, out this March via Loma Vista.
Ahead of their performance on The Late Show with Stephan Colbert, Iggy and Josh tell Mary about the text conversation that sparked the project, how they went about collaborating, and who all was involved in the making of the record. (And they even hint at a tour this spring.) Stream their conversation with the player above, or read a transcript below.
Josh Homme: [singing] Hello, my friend, hello.
Mary Lucia: Hello!
Josh Homme: Hello. My name's Josh.
I'm Mary Lucia, by the way. Do I have both of you guys on the line?
Iggy Pop: Yeah, it's Iggy here.
Josh Homme: And this is Joshua.
Hey, guys. Tell me: What did you guys think of waking up this morning? What was the first thing on your mind?
Iggy Pop: I was, uh, worrying about talking too much today and bumming out my voice 'cause I'm gonna sing on the TV tomorrow and then after that my legs were sore from walking up four flights of walking in Chinatown to the photo session, and then I wanted some godda*mn coffee.
Josh Homme: I was, uh, wanting to see if my daughter was awake and if she had found the notes I'd left her.
How sweet. How sweet. I gotta tell you, man, when I first heard that you guys had hooked up together for this project, Post Pop Depression, it made perfect sense to me, but then I had to know, had you guys known each other prior to this? Dis someone maneuver this so that you would meet?
Iggy Pop: No, no, no, no, no. I met [Josh] at the Karrang! Awards in 1912 or whenever it was, a while ago.
Josh Homme: [laughs]
Iggy Pop: We also – I was touring with the original Stooges at one point and Queens [of the Stone Age] were – we kept on bumping into the same dates in Europe one summer.
Josh Homme: Yeah, and we had always gotten along easily and we knew each other.
Did you guys start talking over the phone, or emailing? Were you hanging out?
Iggy Pop: Text.
Text. A little text that said, 'You wanna start some, er?" or, "You wanna be startin' somethin'?"
Iggy Pop: That's just about it. I thought maybe we could write something and record it.
"I thrive on collaboration. I think that's where you learn things and discover things and you move at the speed of passion, and Iggy was the person that I most wanted to collaborate with."
And Josh, how did you feel?
Josh Homme: I was over the moon. In all honesty I'd been wanting to do that for 22 years. I thrive on collaboration. I think that's where you learn things and discover things and you move at the speed of passion, and Iggy was the person that I most wanted to collaborate with. The second place person was very far away. In fact, I'm not even sure who it is.
Who else is rounding out this fine outfit on Colbert and the live show?
Iggy Pop: It's a killer drummer, Matt Helders, who played on the record with us, and Dean Fertita who also made the record with us. Matt's in the group Arctic Monkeys and Dean plays with Josh and the Dead Weather and he plays with Jack White, too. And Troy, Troy Van Leeuwen's coming in to play. And then we got Matt.
Josh Homme: Matt Sweeney who's been Rick Rubin's studio hired gun for years.
So Dean is from Detroit.
Iggy Pop: Dean is well from Detroit. He's from Royal Oak.
Did you guys trip the light fantastic talking about Detroit?
Iggy Pop: Absolutely. Immediately.
Josh Homme: He has that way about him, that Detroit way. He's very easy to like. An immediate confidant.
What's your overall impression both of you, in your separate endeavors and careers what's your impression of the Midwest?
Josh Homme: Well, as someone from California, the California desert, when I went to Dean's wedding in Detroit, I was the priest [laughs], so I had to go there early and I spent a little over a week there. And it really hit me deep. Everyone I spoke to meant what they said and in particular for Detroit there's this wonderful spirit of endurance and pride. That honesty and straightforwardness was wonderful.
Iggy, do you still have family back in Detroit?
Iggy Pop: No, not anymore.
Do you go back there ever?
Iggy Pop: I go back there to play usually. Haven't been back otherwise. I go to play.
"Even if you have an idea, it's important to not put everything in there because that positive friction, that sort of car crash of ideas, now all of a sudden you're moving at the speed of inspiration."
So, tell me a little about Post Pop Depression. Where did you make the record first of all? Did you sit down and do some demoing or how did you guys write?
Iggy Pop: No, no, no, no, no. We did a little texting and we had a long phone conversation over a period of months and I sent him a FedEx with a bunch of writing: poetry, sex essays, things that college kids had written about me when they were assigned to go to a talk they gave. [Josh] was wrapping his mind for some months around the idea of it and we decided this was going to be in secret. It's going to be our own bucks behind it. Nobody's gonna butt in. There was no room service, no travel agents. I told him I'd come to him. I hinted that I kinda felt like singing. I said, "I'm a baritone." And so he waited until two days before I had bought my ticket to go to Joshua Tree and start getting into it. And then he sent me two things marked "Shi*ty Demo," and they were music to two of the songs that emerged on this thing. It was just him doing it alone. I didn't think they were shitty. They were cool.
Josh Homme: Well, I don't do demos because you get demo-itis for maybe a performance or sound. They need to be awful, but that's the risky thing because they're awful. We agreed that I wouldn't arrange anything, I wouldn't put anything together without the presence of each other. So I just laid them out like, "Here are these parts that could go together somehow."
Iggy Pop: One of them was a thing that became "American Valhalla" and y'know, for a lot of people, in the big rock biz, that would be really dangerous to send another artist a recording of a xylophone. [laughs] You could use that theme on Sesame Street, you know what I mean? it's super cool, it's super creative but still! [laughs]
Josh Homme: One of the things that was clear was that it would easy to project someone's preconceived notion of what we would sound like together, but I think for us it was important to not push and let things happen and to also have a gentleness; a dynamic that could really frame these wonderful lyrics and vocals from Iggy's perspective. Instead of putting guitar everywhere, let's put some vibraphone or some steel drums to sort of pervert these things and create a landscape. I think it's important especially for collaboration to leave things out so that you can receive input that's inspired by what someone else hears that can surprise you. Even if you have an idea, it's important to not put everything in there because that positive friction, that sort of car crash of ideas, now all of a sudden you're moving at the speed of inspiration. And that's a good pace to be at.
If you guys lived in an apartment building where the person who lived above you was learning any instrument, what would be the most horrific to have to listen to someone learning from scratch?
Josh Homme: I know this because I've done it. [laughs] Violin is a tough one. Violin is beautiful when you're good at it, but when you're trying to learn it, it's uncomfortable. Constantly it's uncomfortable.
Iggy Pop: I have tortured many human beings in my songwriting efforts who either had the misfortune of sharing a dwelling or be on the other side of the wall.
Josh Homme: I know what the best instrument to be by is: tuba, because tubas are funny and you have to crawl into it and wear it. People that play tuba have a good sense of humor, or they're in big trouble.
I don't know how you guys have been able to keep this a secret. Presumably you have, right?
Josh Homme: Yes, we have. Well, certainly it'd something you want to share and we're proud of it. I'm extremely proud of it. And we sort of allowed ourselves in recent weeks to tell our friends, but it's wonderful to have a secret that you know you're going to share and it's so much more rewarding to leap from the darkness and yell, "Surprise!" for something that you're proud of. I think blowing the secret is for other people to do.
Iggy Pop: Me no like talk. [laughs]
Okay you've got Colbert, you've got Post Pop Depression, are you able to look into the spring and see what possibly you guys are going to be doing?
Iggy Pop: Yes, I see myself coming to Minneapolis in the spring.
Josh Homme: I see him coming to Minneapolis as well, with me right behind him. Iggy and his gang of young thugs.
Fantastic. Well, Post Pop Depression, it's a fabulous lineup. These people sound like good friends, good players. You guys are all speaking the same language and that's important and that's great. We look forward to it so much. Iggy, is the worst Christmas present someone can give you a shirt?
Iggy Pop: What's wrong with it? Oh. [laughs I get it. Badda bing, badda boom. I do wear them but I gotta admit I have a beautiful wife who enjoys giving my beautiful shirts. I now definitely have a lifetime supply of shirts because I don't wear them often.
Josh Homme: And he has a forest of mannequins that wear them most of the time.
Iggy Pop: I will probably wear a shirt on TV. It's cold here in New York.
Josh, Iggy. Thank you so much. It was a thrill to talk to you and I cannot wait to see you guys in flyover country Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Iggy Pop: [laughs] Oh, hey! That's the Mississippi up there.
- Iggy Pop
- Josh Homme
comments powered by Disqus