Iggy Pop and the Stooges have just wrapped their first studio album since 1973. The as-yet-untitled disc is due in March via Virgin and was recorded with engineer Steve Albini at his Electrical Audio

Iggy Pop and the Stooges have just wrapped their first studio album since 1973. The as-yet-untitled disc is due in March via Virgin and was recorded with engineer Steve Albini at his Electrical Audio Studios in Chicago. Bassist Mike Watt filled in for the late Dave Alexander, while Brendan Benson contributed vocals to "Free and Freaky."

"The one thing that kind of amazes me is that it sounds like us," Pop tells Billboard.com. "But it doesn't sound quite like 'Fun House,' 'Raw Power' or our first one. You put it on, and right away, you'd know, well, that's them. There they go." The 16-track set will feature such songs as "Trollin'," "ATM," "You Can't Have Friends," "My Idea of Fun," "The Weirdness" and "Greedy Awful People."

After songwriting sessions at Pop's Miami cabin earlier this year, the group hit the studio and tracked nearly everything live "except for two vocals, which I f****d up," says Pop. "The guitar overdubs are confined to leads or a very audible melody counterpart, or a rhythmic answering part. There's no quadruple-tracked rhythm stacks or any of that crap."

"At times, [the songs have] a lot of going for the fences," he continues. "But there's a great deal of structure and attention to detail. We were very prepared, and we always have been any time we stepped into a studio. Even the song 'L.A. Blues, the last cut on 'Fun House,' was pretty much exactly what you would have heard if you'd seen us live the week before we recorded it."

Pop admits being in the studio with the Asheton brothers after a three-decade hiatus rekindled some bad memories of the band's demise. "Some of it is exciting and some of it is scary, and I don't care to go over there," he says. "But at the end of the day, I know these guys. I don't know anybody else quite that way."

The Stooges will master the album at London's famed Abbey Road Studios next month while in the United Kingdom to perform at the Nightmare Before Christmas festival. A spring tour is being lined up, including a March 17 show at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. The group is also on the ballot for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next spring, and Pop promises to do "something really f***ing cool" if the Stooges make the grade.

So what has changed since the Stooges' heyday, when Pop was known to carve himself up with shards of glass and antagonize the audience? "We have a civilized aspect to us now," he chuckles. "I mean, a lot of my life is lived as an elderly gentleman of means. And that suits me just fine. But then there's the other part..."