Rock star Iggy Pop is the new face of Paco Rabanne’s Black XS L’Excès fragrance, absolutely one of the world’s strangest collaborations.

WHAT IS ROCK STAR ATTITUDE?

You know, it’s complex. People think, ‘Oh, rock ‘n’ roll attitude, yeah!’ An elephant trampling on society, but no. It’s a little bit of sincerity, a little bit of absence of fear, a lot of childishness and a little delinquency. And then a lot of it is the light that shines on a person when you get other people’s attention.

WHO DO YOU CONSIDER A ROCK STAR NOW?

MGMT has an attitude. The music is not brutal, but it is a lot coming at you emotionally. I find it hard to take. Somebody with good rock attitude and skills should be able to make music that is a little upsetting to anybody who hears it, even people who think it’s not upsetting them.

IS ROCK DIFFERENT NOW? IF SO, HOW?

The new rock people, society, big society, has become aware of rock, and they’re gonna create the rock star they need, not the rock star that people want.

CAN YOU NAME A FEMALE ROCK STAR THAT HAS A ROCK STAR ATTITUDE?

I like Peaches. I always admired her. She has great presentation skills and a lot of guts.

IS STYLE A PART OF THE ATTITUDE?

Looks, a visual, some sort of visual, yes. You don’t have to be cute, but on some level people have to feel that you are.

WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF EXCESS?

 
The principle of excess is action or behavior that leads to decay, to a decadent conclusion.

As in death of some form. Yeah, death.

WHAT IS YOUR EXCESS OF THE MOMENT?

I have been really excessive in both ways. In the way that shakes up other people and in the way where I’ve gone really far myself. Now I think a lot about one simple thing: What can I get away with? So that shows I’m still thinking about it.

DO YOU CONTROL IT?

I want to control it. It occurs to me that if I was going to give up and just be what everyone calls a good person, then life would be a lot simpler. But I don’t want to.

WHAT WOULD BE THE EXCESS YOU’VE NEVER GIVEN IN TO?

The two big ones would be romantic love and… financial. Greed is a constant temptation.

But I’m really nervous about that one. It’s a big killer when you do what I do for a living.

HAVE YOU EVER TRASHED A HOTEL ROOM?

Yeah, you do trash hotel rooms. But in my case, I’ve never been aware of trashing a hotel room.

And I’ve trashed a lot of homes. Nice homes. So yeah, it happens.

WHAT IS YOUR STAGE DIVING TECHNIQUE?

It’s good to feel it. When you want to take a dive, it’s good to feel that you wanna. That you want to be wherever it is that you’re aiming.

First time I did it, I just stood there, stiff, stock still, like little kids do, and just let myself fall.

Like when you’re five years old and you want attention from your parents. You know, you try that once to see if anybody will try to catch you.

Nobody tried to catch me. So I got a split tooth and a bloody lip that time. But most of the time, if it’s done right at the right time, you feel a rise goes right to the back of the room. But I used to do it sometimes with a pen in my back pocket, and I’d go down. I’d be down there and say, ‘What’s your phone number?’ and I’d write it on my hand. Or whatever.

HOW DID YOU JOIN THE BXS L’EXCES PROJECT?

I got involved from a phone call, basically.

So that was about it. I love the idea of doing voiceover. And I love the idea of perfume. I’ve always wanted to be associated with a hard fragrance.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THIS PROJECT?

The music is good. The whole thing is -- that’s pretty rock.

BE NICE, BE POLITE, BE GENEROUS, BE QUIET… WHICH IS THE “BE” YOU HATE THE MOST IN TODAY’S DICTATES?

I think ‘be responsible. I am in certain ways in my private life. Once it gets social, I hate socially.

I am just revulsed and repulsed by socially responsible entertainers.

WHAT WORD DO YOU HATE THE MOST?

Money.

WHAT TURNS YOU ON?

Perfection, a nice voice.

WHAT SOUND DO YOU LOVE THE MOST?

Miles Davis’ s horn.

WHAT SOUND DO YOU HATE THE MOST?

People in suits talking.

WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE IF YOU WERE NOT A ROCK STAR?

Probably some sort of failed politician.

Obviously some sort of scandal-ridden, messed-up insane politician. Criminal law, maybe, criminal lawyer. I would like to defend gangsters, bad people.

WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH PARIS?

Things started out really colorfully for me in Paris. It was a special time. People I met there would take you right to the edge if you felt like it. And I used to stay at the crappiest hotels in the worst part of Paris. And now I’m glad I got to see France from the bottom. Somehow, someone there named Marc Zermati who had something called Skydog Records got hold of a bootleg of me fighting with the audience. So that’s how we started out.

And then from there I gradually got up to where I can do a project with Michel Houellebecq and stay at the Ritz. In between, somewhere, I think the French will give serious consideration to performers that are willing to go right. All the way with it. Just about. Right up to where you’re supposed to be. And this is a wonderful contribution to world culture and the possibilities of the artist. This was true for everybody from Dexter Gordon to Josephine Baker, right on through.

DO YOU SPEAK FRENCH? DO YOU SING IN FRENCH?

I speak French with a vocabulary of 500 words. I can sing a little bit in French.

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