Skip to content

It’s Time for Iggy Pop to Put His Shirt Back On

July 28, 2009

I’d like to start out this piece by being completely up-front. I think Iggy Pop is great. And I’ll challenge any one who doesn’t. If you’re any sort of fan of the roots of American punk music, interested in New York’s late seventies art and band scene, or even an amateur historian of CBGB (almost unarguably the nation’s most historically famous rock club), you know all about Iggy Pop. Countless classic rock acts — the immortal Ramones and Sex Pistols among them — count the Stooges and the New York Dolls among their sole inspirations. Truly, he is an American punk icon. He was punk before punk even truly existed.

As much as I appreciate Iggy, however, I have come to the following conclusion: he is too old to be walking around with no shirt on. He’s 62 years old. I can’t think of a single 62 year-old woman I’d like to see without a shirt, much less the craggy and leathery ex-Stooge.

But he obviously doesn’t care what we think, as is indicated by the August issue of Spin, where once again he appears bare-chested, as if he’s Matthew McConaghey’s great-grandfather. It doesn’t stop him from appearing half-nude during a May concert in France. Or at the Isle of Wight Festival. Or in a Times Square Benefit Concert. This is all in the last year. In fact, out of Iggy Pop’s career 24 albums, he appears shirtless on the covers of 12 of them.  And if you go see him in concert, you even get your own mini-portrait of his naked, shirtless torso as a keepsake. 

To be fair, though, shirtless has always been Iggy’s style. And he recently told NPR’s Terry Gross that he simply “doesn’t like to sing in a shirt.” I guess I can get behind that. But here’s the bigger question: when is it time to let the look go? The only other contemporaries of his I can discernibly see still trying to cling to their look is Aerosmith, who’s still doing the scarf-and-ruffles act. But is it really needed? Look at Eric Clapton then and now —  the change in look doesn’t mean he can’t crank out Lay Down Sally anymore. And we get the value-added benefit of not having to look at Clapton’s nipples.

If Iggy Pop wants to keep performing shirtless, so be it. He’s in his mid-sixties, I guess he’s earned that right. Few of us have. In fact, I myself was forcibly removed from an Applebee’s last week for refusing to wear a shirt while I dined. But there comes a point where one would have to ask himself: just because I can get away with not wearing a shirt, does that mean I shouldn’t wear a shirt? If you’re thinking that at Sizzler’s early bird special at four o’clock in the afternoon, that’s probably a big yes. 

Or you could simply do what Iggy’s done: go to France, where everyone is under the impression that he or she is incredibly sexy naked, no matter what they look like or how old they are, and where the aging punker likely blends in seamlessly.

That, friends, is just another reason why Iggy Pop’s a genius.

  1. emilio fede permalink
    July 28, 2009 5:35 pm

    you’re a sucker! :D

  2. July 29, 2009 7:57 am

    I love to see Iggy shirtless nowadays.. it’s gorgeous!!!!
    He looks great!! I touched his body at a concert, his skin feels like of an Iguana.
    He really is sort of an reptile.
    So dude if you really are an Iggy fan.. you would respect his words and honesty!
    he’s really not the man who likes to wear clothes!!

    Ha.. you better be happy that he is wearing at least something!


  3. dzitov permalink
    September 20, 2010 5:50 pm

    Hey, since when do people have to follow conventionalism such like that? No! Precisely he and his behavior tells that the most individual -and personal then- life is which do without all them.

    And I agree with the last opinion, he’s still gorgeous and so sexy!

  4. Anonymous permalink
    October 19, 2010 2:24 am

    Iggy Pop is an animal and animals don’t wear shirts.

  5. August 6, 2012 6:51 am

    what a poor article, it says he’s an ex stooge?

  6. Anonymous permalink
    April 7, 2013 11:28 am

    Iggy with a shirt would not be iiggy end of story


  1. Marilyn Manson Fights Authority and He Always Wins « The Brown Tweed Society
  2. LPs from the Attic: Iggy Pop — The Idiot « The Brown Tweed Society

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: