Iggy Pop Photographer Paul McAlpine: The Lean Times Were Fun Times on Tour with Iggy

McAlpine’s ‘Bare + Real’ Book Signing Events to Include Rare Stories and Images


Life comes full circle for Paul McAlpine who has published a photo book documenting his years on the road with Iggy Pop called “Iggy Pop: Bare + Real.”

It’s a collection of images by McAlpine produced over the years, giving new insights into the life of one of the most physical Rock N Roll performers in history.

Iggy Pop and his fellow musicians and band members don’t have to tour out of a van or stay in the “Mom and Pop” motels any more. But looking back, those were some good times and some great images emerged from those days. Much of the fun took place in California, McAlpine said.

This is one image of Iggy Pop in California to be placed in the private collection at LACMA – Photo by Paul McAlpine

California Days with Iggy and the Band

“LA was Californication prime time in the mid-’80s and there were some pretty wacky memories for me,” McAlpine said. “Iggy by nature is a quiet guy, a thinker, and there were times when we all acted up, but looking back the best memories were real simple things.”

So it’s fitting that McAlpine’s book signings and discussions take place at a couple of California’s most iconic venues, Book Soup on Sunset in West Hollywood and Haight Street Art Center in San Francisco. “Iggy Pop: Bare + Real” is published by Fat Possum imprint Tyrant Books.

McAlpine will sign books and visit with friends at Book Soup on Sunset in West Hollywood on Thursday. Book Soup on Sunset – 8818 Sunset Boulevard – West Hollywood, Calif. 90069
Thursday, October 24, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Then, McAlpine will head to the Bay Area for a book signing and slide show at Haight Street Art Center in San Francisco Friday night.

California 88 Zoltron and Paul McAlpine
Iggy Pop, California 88 – by Zoltron and Paul McAlpine

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Limited Edition Prints

Zoltron has put together a limited edition poster based one of McAlpine’s images of Iggy Pop and that will also be on hand at the Haight Street Event.

Kevin Armstrong drives while in West Hollywood Nov. 1986 - Paul McAlpine
Kevin Armstrong drives while in West Hollywood w Iggy Pop Nov. 1986 – Paul McAlpine

Life on the Road with Iggy Pop

There were the times when life on the road was not easy but it was overcoming challenges that made it all the more satisfying.

“Looking back to the beginning of the BLAH BLAH BLAH tour we had little cash,” McAlpine recalled. “Jim was doing his leap of faith with his current creative project and I was happy with a clean t-shirt in the morning. To be there at Oscar’s in Santa Barbara and see the progress from the West Coast to the East Coast made me very proud.”

“Iggy’s manager Henry McGroggan has been a true friend since around 1980ish,” McAlpine said. “Henry and I have shared some moments together that would make the dead laugh. 

“Guitarist Kevin Armstrong and Seamus Beaghen have been friends since BLAH BLAH BLAH 1986,” McAlpine said. “They are distinguished gentleman of Iggy’s current band along with Mat Hector and Ben Ellis – drums and bass — along with Jos Grain who has been by Iggy’s side since 86.” 

Iggy Pop on Letter man with Zombie – Paul McAlpine

McAlpine has Photographed some Classic Tours

The Post Pop Depression record and tour with Josh Homme made for new friends and reunited relationships, McAlpine said. It was on that tour that McAlpine also met Sarah Lipstate, who opened for Pop during the tour and now is among the musicians who performed on Free, Pop’s latest album.

“We met during the Post-Pop Depression Tour and was a fan of her music,” he said. “Her music paints landscapes.”

Growing Up in Boston

But it’s not only Iggy that McAlpine has photographed.

McAlpine grew up in Boston and he has photographed a range of musicians including Aerosmith, Boston, The Cars, Queen and many others. His images are in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Hard Rock Café, as well as various private collections internationally.

“My teenage nights were filled checking out gigs around the city and then walking my way through school by day,” he said. “I was under age but that never seemed to be an issue in the clubs. The first gig I shot was Alice Cooper on his Billion Dollar Babies Tour with Suzi Quatro as support, March 26th, 1973. I had a 1950s Canon range finder camera and a Russian Zenit. Having no idea how to shoot Rock N Roll, I met a shooter from Newsweek in the pit who told me the basic settings and off I went.” 

Aerosmith - Photo © Paul McAlpine
Aerosmith – Photo © Paul McAlpine

“The after-party was held at a roller skating rink and as they checked your named off the guest list they hit you in the face with a whip cream pie,” he recalled. “At 16 years old, free beer, adult women, whip cream, me exploding with teenage hormones, as you can imagine the whole scene was very attractive. 

“At some point that night, Steven Tyler introduced himself and told me he had a band and would I shoot them,” McAlpine recalled. “What the heck, so Aerosmith was the second gig I shot at a local high school.” 

LACMA will be adding an image from the Bare + Real book to the museum’s permanent collection. 

In addition, Zoltron has put together a limited edition poster based on one of McAlpine’s images of Iggy Pop and that will also be on hand at the Haight Street Event. It’s yet another case of life circling back. Zoltron did the poster for Post-Pop Depression.

Iggy hangin at The Whisky – © Paul McAlpine

Capturing Rock Legends on Film

What can someone hoping to photograph active rock stars keep in mind?

“With Iggy it was always difficult to predict his next move and this is what kept the edge sharp,” McAlpine said. “This means you need to follow and be ready for what you don’t know will happen next. Regarding ‘perfect clarity’ – Iggy moves without hesitation- like a katana in the hand of a samurai – perhaps a dramatic analogy but it works for me.

The book is a gorgeous collection of some of the best images ever taken of Iggy Pop, few of which have ever been seen. 

For McAlpine, he is realistic and the memories make it all worth it. Like musicians, photographers need to look over the catalogue. 

“You can never go back in time but you can move forward with old friends,” McAlpine said.

Book Soup – McAlpine will sign books and visit with friends at Book Soup on Sunset in West Hollywood on Thursday. Book Soup on Sunset – 8818 Sunset Boulevard – West Hollywood, Calif. 90069 Thursday, October 24, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Haight Street Art Center Paul McAlpine will have a Book Signing/ Slide Show/ Conversation at 215 Haight St San Francisco CA 94102 Friday, October 25, 2019 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

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