Look at that Leopard Head! - growling from the back of Iggy Pop's
Jacket on the Stooges 'Raw Power' album. The jacket was made by
John Dove and Molly White in 1971. Iggy Pop - with that vacant sullen stare,
immortalised by photographer Mick Rock who created an iconic image that has gone down in Rock 'n' Roll
history. I guess every part of the mix that came together by chance (and by
design) on the back of the Stooges slab of absolute Punk Rock, would have it's
own tale to tell. If you ever get to read anyone's account of the Raw
Power tour in '73, you'll be convinced that Iggy was,
in his time, the most
Our print workshop was the top floor of the old corset factory in Paddington. The place had been in a complete state of dereliction, walls
of rubble with most of the windows smashed. It was shared by a bohemian mix of Painters, Film-makers, Sculptors, Potters and Poets. We had a 1955 Ami Jukebox at the end of the studio which pumped out Rock 'N' Roll music while you worked. 50s music was having a big revival. The pub bands, Kilburn and the High Roads, Ducks Deluxe, Reds, Whites and Blues, just like John Lennon, Dave Edmunds and The Flaming Groovies, were reinventing Rock 'n' Roll. The records on the Juke were mostly Rock'n'Roll too and 60s Punk records like Strange loves, Love, 13th. floor Elevators, Troggs, MC5, Velvets, still plenty of early Blues, some meaty John Lennon, and The Stooges.
Our all-time Top Ten Iggy/Stooges singles:
Back to the jacket. .. the concept was to create a 'Rocker' jacket using the basic materials of a cheap street level product (plastic, nylon and artificial fur) but still retain a Rock 'n' Roll authenticity. It would never be worn by a Hells Angel but someone who identified with that rebel attitude - someone like Iggy, as it turned out, who would encapsulate that wild persona. The jacket was made from a remnant of 50s Leatherette from an old warehouse in Belsize Park. Molly and I had to shift through the entire stock to find the last piece of sub-standard plastic manufactured with an excess of wrinkles, with some of the plastic 'skin' peeling away from the backing cloth - but it was dead right! The fake leopardskin fur from Shepherds Bush market was embedded in the front and arms and a wonderful cats-eye green leopardskin nylon brocade lined the inside of the jacket. Only two of the Jackets were studded. Molly used the jacket patterns from the DIY Jacket Kits we had
I had started the idea a few years earlier with a pencil drawing of a Black Panther head and modified the drawing with the leopard spots after finding a series of wild leopard pictures in National Gegraphic - then I made a contact film neg. for the metallic goldscreen and hand painted the positives for the white teeth, red mouth and green eyes. The ink was a product made for outdoor advertising, garage banners etc. - an opaque base which needed a ton of 'gold' powder and yellow pigment to give it opacity and make it shine. You couldn't bake the ink to cure it without melting the Leatherette, so the prints had to lie on the print table for days until dry enough to print the other colours. Local lads positioned on the roofs opposite, regularly took pot-shots with air- rifles at the few remaining windows, so you couldn't leave stuff out too long.
There were only five Leopard jackets ever made. I had the first. three were sold through Paradise Garage to Iggy, Zoot Money and some other guy. The final unfinished one was a gift to our agent in Paris, Jacques Neville. There would have been a few more Jackets made, but I used the Black Plastic and the remaining green Leopardskin brocade to line the changing room when I was painting out the back of Paradise Garage with the manager, Bradley - everything matt black - there were just enough larger pieces of black Leatherelle to upholster the door which was punctuated with some enormous chrome - headed studs I had scrounged from Trevor Myles' New York Fasteners delivery. Later, the changing room and the rest of our Leopardskin collection would become part of Malcolm Mclaren's Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die legacy we later referred to as
The saga of IGGY POP'S JACKET returns 18 years later when Iggy's Jacket turns up on the back of Stan Lee, lead guitarist of the Dickies in the pages of Rolling Stone. Ruby Ray's picture shows Stan half heartedly assuming the Raw Power stance. The interview starts with Vale's recognition
"The jacket looks like the one Iggy wore on Raw Power!".
"It IS Iggy's jacket - I got it in a dope deal a few years ago. He didn't have the bucks so I took that for collateral. For a while, he couldn't afford it back, and now he's a rich bitchin' Iggy, he tried to buy it back and I said NO!..."
The same story is recounted in 'We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk' by Marc Spitz and Brendan Mullen.
Andy Seven: "I remember seeing Iggyat Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco after the Stooges broke up when he still had the platinum rinse, with Michael Des Barres, the singer for Silverhead. Stan Lee, who later started the Dickies, used to go there. He was this short, pushy little puffed-out guy with a Marc Bolan poodle shag, and he claimed he had the leopard jacket that Iggy wore on the back cover of Raw Power, he told me he got it from Iggy for dope collateral".
Ron Asheton: "Oh, yeah, Iggy would trade his possessions all the time for drugs. That's how he lost some of those great clothes, like that plastic jacket on the back of Raw Power with the Leopard head ... that got traded to somebody for drugs or whatever".
Stan Lee: "When I was sixteen I used to hang out with Iggy. I got his Raw Power jacket in a drug deal that went down in the Whisky parking lot. It was used as collateral, and thankfully I
It's only recently we learned that the Raw Power jacket had been acquired 12 years ago by Long Gone John. John is an extraordinary character who's notoriety is celebrated by the Rock 'n' Roll and "Art" underground from Long Beach to the East Coast. On YouTube, there is a movie by Gregg Gibbs called "The Treasures of Long Gone John" which explores John's world - ceiling to floor with obscure art pieces, kool kitsch and pop art fashion.... His reputation for attracting some of the most unique Rock'n'Roll talent in the USA without any of the music establishment formalities such as contracts, shows just how close his entrepreneurial spirit comes to that of the creative musicians who surround him. His record label, SYMPATHY FOR THE RECORD INDUSTRY is almost into it's 21st year and has released over 750 records. SYMPATHY has helped launch the careers of the WHITE STRIPES, HOLE, THE DWARVES, BILLY CHILDISH and ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT. John's rostra also included tracks from Electronic genius SUICIDE and 60's Punk phenomena ROKY ERIKSON. To sustain his compulsive collecting of surreal kitsch obscurities, he formed the Necessaries Toy Foundation.
Long Gone John wrote to us about how he came to own Iggy Pop's Jacket...
'The Turin Shroud Of Rock 'n' Roll'
John and Molly
I wrote this for you while flying home from no. California... let me know if you need anything else ... want an updated photo of the jacket ?? all the best as ever...like that, john xx
"I remember Stan Lee from the Dickies wearing the Iggy jacket every time I saw him and remember thinking he's gonna wear it till it falls apart...he was obviously really really proud of owning it...when you see photos of him wearing it you can see it was still in very good condition at the time...about 5 years before I bought it from Stan, a friend of mine, Tim Warren who ran the label Crypt Records who was living in Germany came to LA. and apart from whatever else he had to do he had intentions of buying the jacket from Stan for his cute french girlfriend ...Tim offered Stan $5000.00 which seemed an enormous amount of money...seems Stan was pretty flush at the time or at least he didn't currently have a severe drug habit which he often did have throughout the years...anyway, Tim's offer was turned down and his girlfriend was considerably heartbroken, but still very cute...
I didn't think about the jacket for a long time until one day a friend called and said Stan wanted to sell the jacket and asked if I was interested...he said he thought Stan wanted $3000.00...I thought that the jacket was so important and would one day belong in a museum and figured it was well worth the money...I drove out to the Valley to meet him at the converted garage he lived in...the jacket was pretty worn, but it was also obvious it was made out of really cheap fake leather material to begin with...the cheetah head on the back was a bit rubbed off, but to me that was inevitable with age and gave it a air of authenticity considering it was at least 25 years old at the time...best as I can remember this was about 1998...being the bargaining fool that I am I offered stan $2000.00 and after considerable haggling he finally agreed to accept it...the jacket was tiny Iggy is 5' 1" as documented in the song with the same name Stan was also short, but not that short...i'm 5' 11" so of course it didn't fit me, but my interest in it wasn't to wear it anyway...to me that jacket was so iconic I thought of it as The Shroud of Turin of Rock 'n' Roll...
I was about 21 yrs old when Raw Power came out and very impressionable...it was one of my favourite albums and r was completely mesmerized by both the front and back cover photos...that record was amazing and I never got tired of listening to it and never got the image of the jacket out of my mind...I have always felt extremely honored to own the jacket and will protect it's legacy until the next caretaker happens along..."
Photo by Mick Rock
This is the latest episode of the IGGY POP JACKET saga but maybe it's not the last. The Jacket has become an integral part of the on-going story of the Raw Power album .... Recently, The Guardian newspaper published an article on Iggy Pop by Dave Simpson who discussed the Raw Power album and "on the rear, Iggy again leering from within an absurdly cool leather jacket decorated with a painted leopard bearing fangs. The music - alienated, deathly, psychotic, raw yet strangely beautiful.
In 2010 Iggy and the Stooges are to reform and play the entire Raw Power album at a series of gigs in the UK. From another Los Angeles posting.
"wearing the skintight silver pants and that badass cheetah
print leather jacket - nothing else .... "