How Jack White Almost Produced a Stooges Album
Iggy Pop‘s reunion records with the Stooges have enjoyed their share of critical praise and commercial success, but it’s still tempting to wonder what might have happened if Pop’s plans to record with fellow Detroit native Jack White behind the boards had come to fruition.
Steve Miller, author of the book ‘Detroit Rock City: The Uncensored History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in America’s Loudest City,’ has shared the inside story of how a Pop/White collaboration nearly came to pass — and ultimately fell apart not once, but several times — with a few previously unreleased snippets of interviews conducted for the project.
Initially, according to Pop, the problem was simply that White wanted to produce an entire Stooges record, but much of what would become Pop’s 2003 ‘Skull Ring’ release was already in the can. “It was one of these things, it went back and forth two or three times,” he explained. “I heard he [White] wanted to do it and I thought that could work in the group’s favor for a couple of reasons, but I didn’t want to do a whole record, I just wanted to do a few tracks…I offered him a few tracks and Jack being Jack, said, ‘Well, I don’t want to do that, I want to do a whole thing.’”
Although Pop “felt where [White] was coming from,” he still bristled during a conversation that left him feeling like White may have been putting on airs. “At one point I felt I was just about ready to do it and we were having a conversation and the last thing he had to say was, ‘Okay, I’ll call you up when I have time,’” he recalled. “I put down the phone and part of me was like, ‘F— you, kid.’ I didn’t say anything because I’m not a confrontational person, so we didn’t do it at that point.”
Eventually, White offered Pop an intriguing pitch for a full-album project. “He had some good concepts, it would have been interesting,” Pop admitted. “But I think what we would have ended up with would be a kinda indie reality show. He wanted to lock us in a house together and record the results. The idea was nobody would leave until we had an album done. I think had we agreed that very quickly cameras would have come into it.” After all this talk, however, it turned out that Stooges Ron and Scott Asheton were uncomfortable with the idea of hiring a star producer.
“I had a meeting with Ron and Scott and Ron said, ‘Look, for me that would be like all of the glory of it would be about Jack White and not about me.’ And he made a gesture as if someone was sitting on his head. And Scott said to me, ‘Yeah the way I see it, Jack White is a pot of gold, and we don’t want to be part of his pot of gold.’” Yielding to his bandmates’ wishes, Pop agreed to scrap the project. “We ended up not doing it, which was fine with Jack,” he concluded. “We’re friendly.”