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Iggy Pop Documentary 'American Valhalla' Details His Collab With Josh Homme

Josh Homme and Iggy Pop. Image courtesy of American Valhalla

Iggy Pop’s most recent album, Post Pop Depression, saw him collaborate with Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme. Released in 2016 it was Pop’s eighteenth studio album and was a Grammy-nominated critical success.

And now a documentary, called American Valhalla, sheds some light on the creative endeavours that went into the album, which was recorded in secret at the Rancho De La Luna studio in the Mojave Desert. Along with working with Homme, other musicians on the album include Homme’s band mate Dean Fertita, and drummer for Arctic Monkeys Matt Helders.

“I became one of those singers whose career is a slave to his band.” says Pop in the trailer for the film. “I wanted an emotional escape, so I decided I had to strike out on my own, live and on record, to see what I was worth.”

Iggy Pop performing at the V Festival in Chelmsford, UK 2007. © Stuart Nicholls

The doc, directed by Homme and Andreas Neuman, takes a look both at the artistic processes going on in the studio, and the following tour. The tour started at Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles last March and ended with a now legendary gig at the Royal Albert Hall in London in May 2016. The performance featured songs from the new album along with classics like “Lust for Life,” “The Passenger,” and “Nightclubbing.” It’s since been released as a live album and DVD called Iggy Pop: Post Pop Depression - Live At The Royal Albert Hall.

In the American Valhalla film gonzo chef Anthony Bourdain conducts the interviews of Homme and Pop, their crew and band members. And it charts the very beginning of the album, which started when Pop sent a text to Hommes. Speaking about that text, Homme notes in the trailer. “So when he text me about recording together I was just like… you’re in The Stooges and I’m in Queens and those are heavy things...Just hearing his voice, I could barely concentrate...How do you outrock The Stooges? Iggy certainly is a catalyst for ‘you better back up world, because here we come.’”

Amongst the subsequent creation of the album, the film also encompasses Pop’s reaction to his friend and partner in hedonism David Bowie dying. Which happened while they were in the studio recording in January 2016.

Iggy Pop performing live on stage in London, UK in 1972 © Mick Rock

Speaking about the name American Valhalla and how it originated—it’s taken from one of the songs on the album—Homme told Rolling Stone that it came from another text conversation between the pair. In it they were discussing whether the Norse version of heaven, Valhalla, was the best one of all the paradises in various cultures. "This raises the question: Is there an American Valhalla? Where is it? What is it?" said Pop. "After that exchange, I spent a day sitting in my car in the carport, coming up with words."

Iggy Pop posing for a Sounds cover shoot on Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles in June 1988. © Steve Double

Here's the official synopsis for the film:

American Valhalla tells the story of an extraordinary musical collaboration between two mavericks of American rock: Iggy Pop and Queens of the Stone Age front-man, Joshua Homme, who along with Andreas Neumann co-directed the film. The result was one of the best albums of 2016: Iggy’s "Post Pop Depression". The film takes you on a journey from the conception of this musical partnership and the first demos recorded in Californian desert by - what became - the Post Pop Depression band that included Dean Fertita (QOTSA) and drummer Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys), and onto the release of the album, proceeded by a sold-out American and European Tour that featured the epic performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London. American Valhalla is a crown jewel of this once-in-a-life-time kind of a project. Featuring stunning cinematography, insightful interviews and access all areas footage, the film reveals just what is means to know that if you risk nothing, you gain nothing, no matter who you are.

Watch a trailer for the film below:

Rockarchive is delighted to be able to offer these iconic Iggy Pop images as limited edition photographic prints which you can buy here.