Some perceived your style as machismo, but you weren’t particularly macho onstage.
No. I actually think there shouldn’t be any genders. Male dogs smell each other’s dicks and stuff, and then they jump female dogs and do everything to everything. That’s the way humans really are, but there have been elaborate codes adopted to weed out parts of behavior that don’t match whatever gender or social group you want to belong to. And I think that actually cuts both ways, straight and gay—each cuts out or emphasizes certain bits. It’s sort of like using hair spray on your personality. But no, I never wanted to look particularly macho. For one thing, I realized the girls don’t really go for it. [laughs] I think ideals of beauty in our society are dictated by those who identify themselves as feminine, at least in their thought processes. Whether those are gay people, or women who are thinking in a particularly devious, savage, amoral manner, which is how women think when they really get down to business. And that’s where the bread is buttered, so I wanted to look kind of smooth, slinky, and super forward.
Maybe it’s the subsequent decades of much meathead-ier, much more macho punk and hardcore frontmen who tried but largely failed to advance Iggy’s aggression and persona, but I feel like he’s always been a relatively un-macho kind of punk. Confrontational and dangerous, but basically one of the good guys. Am I completely engaging in revisionist history here? Seriously, it could be that lotsa Swans, Jesus Lizard and GG Allin make everything short of macing the audience seem like peace activism. But I don’t think so. Even when the Stooges were beautifully dumb, Iggy was smart. Even when they scared crowds and the Ashetons toyed with SS semiotics, I think theirs was basically a message of salvation through transgression and through heavy rock.
Now I’m talking about a Stooges “message.” Time to stop.