Now approaching its fifth year running, Record Store Day announced its official ambassador for 2012 this week: proto-punk king of the visceral, Iggy Pop. Record Store Day is an internationally celebrated holiday, honoring independent music shops and the vinyl-heads that support them with special releases and in-store performances.
In an official letter written by Pop on the occasion of his nomination, the performer nostalgically recalls his time spent between rows of multi-colored LP sleeves. “I got my name, my musical education and my personality all from working at a record store during my tender years.” He goes on to lament the impersonal absorption of music from sterile laptops and to laud the possibility of real growth and innovation through genre/scene-specific stores. Criminal Records owner and RSD co-founder Eric Levin had this to share with CMJ about the new ambassador: “Luckily enough, I saw Iggy Pop open up for the Pretenders in the late ’80’s. After his incendiary set, to a half-full arena audience, Chrissie Hynde came out as the roadies were clearing the stage. She got down on all fours and kissed the stage. Speaking into the mic, she said, ‘I just wanted to kiss the stage where Iggy spat.’ That’s how record stores feel, that’s how I feel.”
Pop grew up in a time when record stores were thriving community centers, a time when they could help launch entire careers (like that of his band, the Stooges). It’s no surprise then that he should become part of the effort to save them from the purgative forces of digitization. In his words: “As Record Store Day Ambassador for 2012 I feel like a representative from some exotic jungle full of life and death and sex and anger, called upon to wear a leopard skin and translate joy to the world of the dead.” With Iggy Pop war-painted and loin-clothed at its helm, Record Store Day 2012 (April 21) promises to be a wild celebration of music as communal art—a little torn and shabby, but unmistakably raw and real.