Iggy Pop’s The Idiot Album: Who Were The Dum Dum Boys?
Above Photo: Iggy and the Stooges: Left to right – front – Iggy Pop (looking a bit tired and emotional), Scott Thurston; back – Scott and Ron Asheton, James Williamson.
One of the tracks on Iggy Pop’s The Idiot album, released in 1977, is called the Dum Dum Boys (I have added a You Tube link to it below). The Idiot gets a special mention in my Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out! because it still reminds me of the summer of 1979 when I was in bands and hanging out in Liverpool city centre, whenever I hear it.
Music legend has it that the song came out of Iggy playing notes on a piano during the recording of The Idiot at the Chateau d’Herouville in France.
David Bowie, who produced (and co-wrote) the album, suggested Iggy write a song about former members of his band the Stooges, even coming up with the song title.
By 1977, Iggy and the Stooges had long imploded. The band’s records had never really sold well, some of the band had died, others had become heroin addicts and Iggy had moved on.
Dum Dum Boys records the fate of the former Stooges, referring to the dead, Zeke Zettner, who’d overdosed on heroin in 1973, Dave Alexander, the Stooges’ original bass player, who’d died of pneumonia after being hospitalised for alcohol-related pancreatitis in 1975.
Also referenced is the discarded Ron Asheton, stuck back in Ann Arbor, Michigan and his successor James Williamson, about whom Pop sings “he’s gone straight.”
It’s interesting that Bowie suggested the song to Iggy, as it can be seen as a non-fictional rewrite of Bowie’s own ‘Ziggy Stardust,’ from the perspective of a Ziggy who’d somehow survived, digging up the past, wondering what had become of the Spiders, whom he’d feasted on, then abandoned.
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This is the track ‘Dum Dum Boys’ from The Idiot album: