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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 1:00 am

Why was Fort Wayne on Iggy's mind?

FRANK GRAY | The Journal Gazette

Last week I wrote about Iggy Pop, saying that he would be willing to play Fort Wayne for free – if the city gave him enough love.

The comment, made in an interview last year, set off a frenzy on social media, with people sending love in tweets and photos and videos, hoping he might show for the Middle Waves Music Festival in September.

No one, though, has any idea why Iggy Pop would mention Fort Wayne or why he's even familiar with the city, though he grew up not that far away, in Michigan.

After last week's column, one caller said he has an idea why Iggy remembers Fort Wayne.

“It's because he got booed off the stage in the early 1980s,” said Terry Bobay.

Bobay said he's probably seen about 250 rock concerts in his life, and that back in the early '80s Iggy was an opening act at one concert.

And he was terrible. The worst act he's ever seen, Bobay said. He had no business on the stage.

People were throwing shoes and anything else they could find on the stage, Bobay said.

“I wouldn't cross the street to see him for free,” Bobay said.

I did an internet search for Iggy getting booed off the stage, and it has happened.

I talked to Doc West at WXKE, 96.3 FM, which plays music from Iggy's early era.

No, West said, he's seen practically every concert played in Fort Wayne, and Iggy Pop has never been here.

West probably knows as much about rock 'n' roll and rock bands as anyone and has been backstage with rockers I've never heard of. He said the incident sounds just like what happened to Iggy in Detroit around 1981 when he was opening for the Rolling Stones.

Iggy came out barely dressed, which he used to do and sort of still does. The crowd booed him and threw shoes at him and he cussed at the crowd, sort of like what Jim Morrison did at a concert in 1967. Iggy has said Morrison had a big influence on him.

So maybe Bobay is talking about that Detroit concert. After seeing that many concerts, one can get them mixed up.

Which raises the question: Do you really know who Iggy Pop is and do you really want him here?

Iggy Pop, whose music has never gotten much, if any, radio play is known for his stage persona as much as his music. He's reportedly gone on stage in tutus and G-strings.

But that shoe-throwing stuff? Once Iggy was done with his gig, West said, he'd have a person come on stage and read a list of all the things thrown on stage – X number of shoes, X number of shirts and so on.

It's all part of the act.

Iggy, who turns 70 this week, has likely toned things down just a bit (I'm just guessing), but he still goes without a shirt. He would be a tremendous act for a conservative city like Fort Wayne to land, West said.

Frank Gray reflects on his and others' experiences in columns published Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. He can be reached by phone at 461-8376, fax at 461-8893, or email at fgray@jg.net. You can also follow him on Twitter @FrankGrayJG.