“This has cut down on my after-show drinking,” Iggy Pop told Billboard with a laugh late Thursday night as he strolled through the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD).
The occasion was the debut of American Valhalla: The Art of Post Pop Depression, a traveling exhibition that will also show in conjunction with Pop concerts in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Berlin London and Paris. It features 24 images — taken in the Joshua Tree Desert in California and in Miami — by photographer Andreas Neumann and by Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders, who played on Pop’s new Post Pop Depression album and is part of the tour.
The photos will become part of a limited-edition coffee table book, probably later this year, while a 30-minute documentary is also planned about the project, with footage shot in the recording studio and during rehearsals for the concert tour.
Though noticeably weary just over an hour after performing a ferocious show at the nearby Fox Theatre, Pop — joined by Helders — spent some time looking at the photos, guided through the exhibit by Neumann. “It’s been very nice. Someone looked at the thing in a certain way,” said Pop, a Michigan native who referred to Detroit as “my natural habitat” and thanked the Fox Theatre crowd “for spawning me and keeping me alive with your magic, dirty energy.” Neummann and Helders’ photos, Pop added, evoke “the days. The days of making it, the actual part of your life. I’m looking at it like each day means something, so here’s a documentary of the day.”
He added with another laugh that, “Everybody ends up documenting me one way or another, so this is the way this has been documented — a little more formally than some of the others. But the stuff comes out, doesn’t it?”
Neumann credited Queens of the Stone Age leader Josh Homme, who co-wrote and produced Post Pop Depression, with the idea of integrating additional visual projects into the mix. “Josh has an amazing feeling for other artists,” the photographer said.
“He’s laid back, no pressure — ‘Let’s just do something great.'” Homme contacted Neumann in October to come shoot during the final week of recording in Joshua Tree, although since the album was being kept secret the photographer wasn’t entirely clear how his work would be used.
“I didn’t ask questions,” Neumann notes. “I didn’t want to do Iggy as the crazy artist. I wanted him just being who he is. It was no effort. Everything was done in four hours.”
Release dates for the book and film are still being determined. Pop and company wrap up the North American leg of the tour on April 28 in Los Angeles, then head to Europe starting May 4 in Stockholm, where Pop will play both with and without the Post Pop Depression band into August.