A largely unknown part of a book like Detroit Rock City is the portion that is never seen. In movies, it’s called the cutting room floor, and these days you can see what ended up on that floor through DVD extras. We aren’t smart enough to come up with that in the book world, and “updated” has little of the panache of an “extra.” So what didn’t make it into Detroit Rock City for any number of reasons? I’ll be running some of these extras once a week or so over the summer.
Check it out.
IGGY POP (on Jack White producing a post-reformation Stooges recording) : It was one of these things, it went back and forth two or three times. I heard he [White] wanted to do it and I thought that could work in the group’s favor for a couple of reasons, but I didn’t want to do a whole record, I just wanted to do a few tracks. That was mostly because I had already recorded some of that record, that record, this was around the time we did Skull Ring, and I needed to respect the fact that I had already recorded half of that record with my touring band, The Trolls.
I wasn’t going to tell them, or call them up “Hey I’m going to work with a bigger star than you and fuck all your work.” I can’t do that to an artist. So I offered him a few tracks and Jack being Jack, said, “well I don’t want to do that, I want to do a whole thing.”
Yes, of course and he wouldn’t want to be a part of something else, being a Jack White production. Let’s just say I felt where he was coming from.
At one point I felt I was just about ready to do it and we were having a conversation and the last thing he had to say was, “Okay I’ll call you up when I have time.”
I put down the phone and part of me was like, “fuck you kid.” I didn’t say anything because I’m not a confrontational person, so we didn’t do it at that point. And he had some good concepts, it would have been interesting. But I think what we would have ended up with would be a kinda indie reality show. He wanted to lock us in a house together and record the results. The idea was nobody would leave until we had an album done. I think had we agreed that very quickly cameras would have come into it.
It would have been interesting… At one point there was a lot of pressure from the record company, “What are you crazy, you’re not going to play with Jack White?” Blah blah blah. At one point I was ready to do it and I think he wasn’t. Then much later he was ready to do it and we had a lunch about it in Australia. But at that point I had a meeting with Ron and Scott and Ron said, “Look, for me that would be like all of the glory of it would be about Jack White and not about me.” And he made a gesture if someone was sitting on his head. And Scott said to me, “Yeah the way I see it, Jack White is a pot of gold and we don’t want to be part of his pot of gold.”
What I said to the guys is, “Hey look, that is absolutely fine with me. But as the leader of the group,” which I finally did become in this century, “I gotta let you know that if you do it with Jack, you’re going to sell more and get more attention, but it’s also true, due to market forces, the result will emphasize Jack’s participation.” I told them, “I have no opinion at all, I could go either way.” And so we didn’t, we ended up not doing it, which was fine with Jack and we’re friendly.
Steve Miller is an investigative reporter with over two decades of experience in daily newspaper, Web and magazine reporting and writing. Miller has done time as a court and cops beat reporter at the Dallas Morning News and as a national reporter for the Washington Times, and as a correspondent for national publications including People magazine, High Times, Boston Magazine, Miami New Times, Houston Press, The Daily Beast and U.S. News and World Report. In 2012, he was an Edgar award finalist for his book, Girl, Wanted: The Chase for Sarah Pender. He is a recipient of the digital investigative award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Miller was also the former vocalist in the Midwest punk rock outfit the Fix in 1980-81.
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