Iggy Pop & Josh Homme Walk You Through How They Wrote Their New Song, “American Valhalla”

For those who love to explore the minu­tia of song writ­ing and pro­duc­tion, Hrishikesh Hirway’s Song Exploder pod­cast is a god­send, and shows off the poten­tial and pow­er of this new media. Where else could one song get a 15 minute explo­ration of its mean­ing, writ­ing, and record­ing, and from–as per this episode–Iggy Pop and Josh Homme them­selves?

Iggy Pop, now 68 years old and with a voice more sepul­chral than ever, has returned with Post Pop Depres­sion, his 23rd album, his 17th as a solo artist. And accord­ing to this inter­view, it might just be his last. Homme, Queens of the Stone Age’s front­man, co-wrote and pro­duced the album with Pop, and it is fair to say the col­lab­o­ra­tion is sim­i­lar to those between David Bowie and Pop dur­ing the ‘70s. The instru­ment choice is odd and cre­ative, with rock clichés avoid­ed by two musi­cians who know them well.

In this episode, the two walk through the cre­ation of the album’s cen­ter­piece track “Amer­i­can Val­hal­la,” start­ing with Homme’s “Shit­ty Demo” (lit­er­al­ly the title of the instru­men­tal he sent to Pop) and delv­ing into the lyric writ­ing, Pop’s thoughts about vet­er­ans, mor­tal­i­ty, the after­life, and that final line, “I’ve noth­ing but my name.” Sure, Pop says it’s a char­ac­ter speak­ing, but it sounds a bit like an epi­taph.

There’s many more sur­pris­es in this mini doc that we won’t spoil. Be sure to check out Song Exploder’s oth­er episodes as well. Even if you’ve nev­er heard of the song at the begin­ning, you’ll know it inside out by the end.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

From The Stooges to Iggy Pop: 1986 Doc­u­men­tary Charts the Rise of Punk’s God­fa­ther

Iggy Pop Reads Walt Whit­man in Col­lab­o­ra­tions With Elec­tron­ic Artists Alva Noto and Tar­wa­ter

Iggy Pop Reads Edgar Allan Poe’s Clas­sic Hor­ror Sto­ry, “The Tell-Tale Heart”

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the artist inter­view-based FunkZone Pod­cast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.

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