Iggy Pop explains why he prefers his albums to sound “rough”: “I like Link Wray a lot better than Yngwie Malmsteen, put it that way”

Iggy Pop
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Hot on the heels of the release of his 19th studio album, Every Loser, Iggy Pop has spoken about the “rough” sound he tries to create with his recorded material.

In a new conversation with Billboard (opens in new tab), the punk rock icon discusses his desire to have a “DIY” sound with his albums, rather than a pristine sound you might hear in music by other artists, making a comparison between ’50s rabble-rouser Link Wray and neoclassical shred god Yngwie Malmsteen to prove his point.

“There’s one thing about my records… they’re all in one way or another kind of rough sounding,” he says. “They never get too polished.

“Some of them, maybe Lust For Life, a couple things on Brick By Brick did [sound more pristine], but my own taste is more for the DIY. I like Link Wray a lot better than Yngwie Malmsteen, put it that way. I think that influences the producers I work with to stop short of polishing the project too much.”

Iggy Pop dropped his new album, Every Loser, last week on January 6. Produced by Andrew Watt, the record features some of the Ozzy Osbourne collaborator’s usual sidemen, including Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard, Chili Peppers men Josh Klinghoffer and Chad Smith and Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker.

Other guests who appear on the album include current and former Jane’s Addiction members Dave Navarro and Chris Chaney, and late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, in what were some of his final recordings before his death last year.

“He’s a great guy, just a beautiful cat,” Pop says of Hawkins elsewhere in the interview. “His drumming is very unique. Chad’s the backbone of the record, but I felt fortunate we could have Taylor on it, too, and he was perfect for those songs. 

“It’s such a sad thing that he had to go so quick, but he was doing something he really wanted to do and he was doing it very well, and was at the top of the heap, and that’s something, y’know?”

Pop also speaks on the spontaneous nature of writing the album, and how Watt’s influence helped spur the creative process on.

“It just sort of came along,” he says. “Especially if you’re my age, you can’t really grimace and tighten your fist and say, ‘OK, goddamnit, I’m gonna put together a rock album!’ It just kind of happened. 

“So the credit goes to [Watt] for having the drive and interest – and also, I would say, some credit goes to me for having already jammed or played live with the guys who played [on the album] and having a feel for what would work best with what [Watt] had prepared.”

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Sam Roche

Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar (opens in new tab).