It makes sense that Iggy Pop should have mortality on his mind. Forget for a second that Scott Asheton, drummer for Iggy’s seminal punk outfit the Stooges, has only just recently died of a heart attack. Instead think of how, even as a scrawny young man, Pop seemed to careen around that line between the living and the dead—Lady Gaga smearing herself with fake blood is an absolute yawn compared to Iggy’s old habit of slicing open his arms and torso with glass shards as the Stooges’ grind worked him up into a genuine lunatic frenzy. Now 66, the “Lust for Life” singer has confessed to Playboy magazine that what he really lusts after in his twilight years is to be rendered to bits by a shark.
“I have a beach house in the Cayman Islands, where there are sharks,” the wild one said. “When I go swimming I think, ‘Boy, a shark attack would solve a lot of problems.’” The problems at hand, according to Pop, are the prospects of getting older still, someday depending on assisted care to spoon-feed him Jello and empty his colostomy bags as he withers away in a nursing home. “So I’m hoping for a shark attack,” he continues. “That would be good.”
Anyone possessing even a passing familiarity with Pop should recognize that the fact he stands before us a living man today is, in its own way, a true life miracle. His onstage persona in the 1970s was clearly self-destructive, but it hardly compared to the abuse he put himself through in dank alleys after the show. It was perfectly fitting that the film adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting should have used “Lust for Life” as its title theme; that grim tale of junkies skirting death only to shrug and hurl themselves the Reaper’s way again was no far cry from the singers’ own experience.
To many, Iggy Pop has always been just a morbid curiosity—a weirdo, in short. But there are those passionate few who live and die by the Stooges’ landmark “Raw Power,” and to them, a grisly savaging at sea might be one of the few deaths truly befitting their hero. It’s for them we say: Godspeed those hungry sharks your way, Mr. Pop, and hurry you along to your place in Valhalla.