the idiot / iggy pop
Pop was unhappy with RCA, however. He later admitted that he'd made TV Eye as a quick way of fulfilling his RCA contract and moving on elsewhere. This was Arista Records for which he released New Values in 1979. This album was something of a Stooges reunion, with James Williamson producing and latter-day Stooge Scott Thurston playing guitar and keyboards. Not surpisingly, the album's style veered back to the guitar sound of the Stooges. Although highly regarded by many Iggy fans -- some preferring it to the Bowie albums -- New Values was not a success, despite some strong material including "I'm Bored" and "Five Foot One".
The album was moderately successful in Australia, however, and this led to Pop's first visit there to promote it. While in Melbourne, Iggy made a memorable appearance on the ABC's nationwide pop show Countdown. During his anarchic performance of "I'm Bored", Iggy made no attempt to conceal the fact that he was miming, and he even tried to grab the teenage girls in the audience. An obviously 'wired' Iggy was also interviewed by host Ian Meldrum, an exchange which was frequently punctuated by Iggy jumping up and down on his chair and making loud exclamations of "G'day mate" in a mock Australian accent. Iggy's Countdown appearance is widely considered one of the highlights of the show's history and it cemented his popularity with Australian punk fans; since then he has often toured there.
While in Australia Pop was also the guest on a live late-night commercial TV interview show on the Ten Network. Iggy's wit and intelligence and his articulate manner confounded the panel of journalists, whose main purpose was asking about his drug use. It is not known whether a recording of this interview exists but the famous Countdown appearance has often been re-screened in Australia.
During the recording of Soldier (1980), Pop and Williamson quarrelled over production - the latter, apparently wanted a big, Phil Spector-type sound - and Williamson was fired. David Bowie appeared on the song Play It Safe on backing vocals with Simple Minds. The album and its follow-up Party (1981) were both commercial failures, and Pop was dropped from Arista. His drug habit varied in intensity, but remained.