Iggy Pop: David Bowie Put on Fright Mask and Sat at Piano to Create ‘Nightclubbing’

Iggy Pop interview on Sirius XM - Courtesy

By DONNA BALANCIA

Iggy Pop told SiriusXM that David Bowie was “precise” and “quick” when working on the duo’s albums The Idiot and Lust For Life.

During an interview on SiriusXM, Pop said there was an unusual story to “Nightclubbing,” that involved some last-minute — and unusual musical arrangements. And like Lou Reed’s assessment of Bowie’s work on Transformer, Pop concurred that Bowie was “really precise.”

“That was the way it was with The Idiot and Lust For Life too,” Pop said. “And he was also very quick. On The Idiot the two most interesting tracks for me on that are ‘Nightclubbing’ and China Girl.’

“On ‘Nightclubbing,’ we had recorded most of the thing in France at the ‘Honky Chateau,'” Pop recalled. “The last day was over and we were hanging around the studio goofing around while they broke down the equipment and took it away. Some of it was going to Germany for post production and a little extra recording. 

“And he put on a fright mask, a plastic, hideous monster mask like you buy in a cheap Halloween store and sat down at the piano and played that music,” Pop said. “And his assistant put on a fright mask and she was jumping around the room to the weird music. But I didn’t think it was weird, I was like ‘That’s it! That is it!

“I knocked up a lyric for it in like 20 minutes, mostly based on my experiences tagging along to the discos of Europe with him,” Pop said. “The only thing left to augment it in the room was a little Roland drum machine… I said ‘We could do it, that’ll make a great beat.’

“He said ‘I can’t put out something like that with a drum track,” and I said, “No, but I can.”  And he got that. And we did it with that. And that beat is sampled in a lot of very very successful hip hop records now.”

Pop added that on “China Girl,” which Pop wrote, Bowie created beautiful guitar lines.

 “There’s a beautiful obligata romantic melody at the end … it’s echoed by these gypsy guitars if you will. He could write a good piece on guitar then he’d want somebody better to come in and play his idea. A lot of the guitar parts on those two albums are his thought and somebody else’s fingers.”

The new album from Iggy Pop is called Free.

Check out the video for the track “Loves Missing” here: