Iggy and the Tastykakes
By Madeline Bocaro
In 1988 I assisted the co-authors on the only published biography on Iggy & The Stooges at the time, called The Wild One. The book mentions an incident, which greatly amused me.
The Stooges went to Washington D.C. for a concert with Mott The Hoople at the J.F.K. Center for the Performing Arts, November, 1973 (actually August 19th). It was a prestigious concert since rock groups weren’t usually allowed to play there. According to James Williamson, “Iggy and Ron had some chicks down from New York…these chicks came in with this goddamn crystal THC which you don’t fuck around with; a little bit goes a long way. Iggy probably thought it was cocaine, so he sticks his nose down there and does about six lines…He was so bad he should have gone to hospital but we had a gig to do. He walked to the edge of the stage and fell off. Just stumbled off and wiggled his way into the audience. People were throwing him around…He turns around and his whole chest is dripping red. I said, “Someone has slashed him with a knife!” I got one of the equipment men from Mott the Hoople and we ran down and dragged Iggy back on-stage, only to find out that it was a jelly sandwich smeared all over him.”
I began to wonder, why would anyone bring a jelly sandwich to a concert and what were the chances of Iggy falling on top of the one guy with the jelly sandwich? Was it an open-faced jelly sandwich? And what a coincidence that the two most infamous condiments to be smeared on Iggy in his entire on-stage history were jelly and peanut butter?! These questions besieged me for years.
Notoriously, The Stooges’ audiences usually brought along ammunition to fling onstage; eggs, beer, condiments, a varied menu of edible missiles and delicacies that could be combined to make a nice salad. Iggy would eventually hurl back his own arsenal in response. This strange ritual probably began when guys saw their girlfriends admiring the strangely beautiful creature who was pulling their hair, sitting in their laps, dragging them by the feet or pressing his face into theirs while singing.
Imagine Stooges fans preparing for the concert…’Hey, you bring the eggs, I’ll bring the peanut butter!’ The rations – most notably the cracking eggs and shattering beer bottles – are certainly audible on the recording of the Stooges’ final concert, immortalized on the recording aptly titled Metallic K.O.! Although Iggy casually deflected the barbs from his chest like Godzilla, he was knocked out by a biker.
However, the suspect jelly sandwich didn’t seem to fit the category, as it was usually not prepared foods that were thrown at the Stooges. Almost 25 years after the fact, I found this amazing posting on the Mott the Hoople AOL message board:
Subj: MOTT IN THE 70’s live
Date: February 3, 1997
HEY I saw Mott live at the J.F.K. Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall in 1973. Iggy and the Stooges opened…I took Polaroids!!!! I was in the 2nd row and musta been 13 years old. Igster went out in the crowd and the guy behind me smeared Tastykake blueberry pies all over him and got some on my shirt. Anybody else see that show?
This is the answer!! It is the most highly significant archaeological discovery! It was TASTYKAKES – blueberry Tastykakes! Not a jelly sandwich, not Drakes cakes, but Tastykakes – and now we’ve even confirmed the actual flavor! We almost committed a great historical injustice by mistaking grape jelly for blueberry Tastykakes! Now the facts have been corrected, the planets are aligned and nature is once again in balance. The guy promised to send me Polaroids of this, but after several follow ups, he never did. I only hope we can excavate the Tastykakes wrapper that was stuck to Iggy’s chest. That would be a wonderful addition to the Iggy exhibit at the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame. I’d rather see that, than a guitar that Pete Townshend smashed to bits, or an old gaudy rhinestone jumpsuit from Elvis.
We did exchange some interesting emails:
ME: Hello! I saw your message. Why would this guy bring pies to a concert? Did you talk to the guy with the pies or do you know him personally? Did he smear pie on Iggy because he didn’t like him?
I’m glad to hear that you took Polaroids and I’d be grateful for some copies. It’s a miracle that I actually found THE guy who was standing next to the OTHER guy who had the pies!!! Hope to hear from you.
(He replied right away!!!)
Hey Rock and Roll!!!!!!!!!
I think the pies were brought in for the purpose of smearing them. I also recall someone shaking cans of Budweiser and spraying the Igster. I’d be glad to get you color Xeroxes of the pix.
Beer too?! Iggy has had quite a smorgasbord on his body over the years. He emulates his idol, Soupy Sales in so many ways – even by getting covered in pies! This really made my day. I should work for the C.I.A. or the F.B.I. Having found this guy is one of my greatest achievements!
PS – He never did send me the photos, though I did follow through several times. I wonder if he really had them.
Now I wonder, having found this review of the actual concert (see below) was it a Hostess cherry pie (as mentioned in the newly discovered review) or was it indeed blueberry? I must get to the bottom of this! I suspect that Blueberry is correct according to this Hostess product history:
1917 – Chocolate Juniors
1927 – Butterscotch Krimpets
1930s – Tasty Pies, Apple first, Peach, Lemon, Blueberry followed
1930s – Tandy Takes (later renamed Kandy Kakes), Peanut Butter first
1985 – Donuts
Here is an incredible review of the show in question:
Stooges Review: J.F.K. Center 1973
Posted on The Stooges Forum March 7, 2009
Tommy Keene: In August 1973, Mott The Hoople played Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center in support of Mott. Opening up was none other than Iggy Pop. We were psyched! My brother and I had fifth-row seats on the aisle, but during Iggy’s opening set, my brother chose to sit up in the second row with friends of ours. I’ve read about this night in several Iggy bios. Apparently he and Bebe Buell were planning to take the Amtrak train down from New York because he wanted to schtup her in the bathroom, but a friend of hers spoiled that scenario by tagging along. That friend later offered him a couple of lines in the dressing room of what he thought was toot but turned out to be angel dust.
The house lights went on and the show began as Iggy and the Stooges ambled onstage. James Williamson, in complete Star Trek drag, hammered out the opening chords of “Raw Power” as Iggy stumbled around for a good minute or so before belting out the opening lines… Something was clearly wrong, however, as they finished the song and Iggy laid down on the stage and muttered, “My doctor told me not to play tonight.” The band lurched on through a few more tunes, most memorably ‘Cock In My Pocket’ and ‘Rich Bitch. After that one, he passed out, and Ron Asheton, who was on bass for this show, did the hand-swooping motion over him, like a fallen boxer—he’s out!
After a minute or so, Iggy got up, looking dazed and confused, as the band pumped out ‘Search And Destroy.’ He started staring at little ol’ me on the aisle in the fifth row. He got down off the stage with the fallow spot following him and started walking like a zombie straight for me. I looked up to my brother and friends in the second row and saw them pointing and laughing at me. What the fuck was he doing? All eyes were upon me as he walked up to me. He stuck out his hand and motioned, “Come on, shake it, baby!” This was too surreal; I went to shake his hand, and he did the limp thing and pulled away. A guy behind me then smashed a Hostess cherry pie on Iggy’s bare chest while another squirted wine on Iggy from a wineskin. Iggy just rubbed it all onto himself, grunted and turned back to the stage. Three songs later, they pulled the plug and the house lights came on as he wailed over and over, “They won’t let us play anymore!” The Ig had gotten the royal hook indeed!
Take a tasty break with Tastykake!
Vintage Tastykake commercial with Betty White: