"I realized The Stooges couldn't do anything more in Detroit, we'd gone as far as a Detroit band as we could, got as far as we'd gotten and disbanded. If we came back and reassembled something in Detroit and worked from that base, people wouldn't stay behind it. Because our momentum would've been diminished. I realized that I was gonna have to take this national or, if possible, international. That was where Tony DeFries came in. While I was in New York on Steve Paul's dime, sleeping on Danny Fields' banquette, this guy DeFries came to town with Bowie looking to co-opt the American avant-garde. I was an interesting candidate to join that circus to them.
Bowie knew about me and I think it was just a happy coincidence that I just happened to be in town, or a freak coincidence! I just happened to be in town, and Fields just happened to be stationed in his usual pit position at Max's Kansas City's backroom, where Bowie and his team were making the scene. Fields called me and said, 'Get down here, you can do yourself some good!' I said, 'Aw, I'm watching Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Jimmy Stewart is so sincere, I can't tear myself away,' I was practically in tears over Jimmy Stewart fighting these corrupt bastards and all that, so I didn't go down. So Fields called me about an hour and a half later, 'Get down here, goddamn it!' I said, 'When the movie's over!' So I waited til the movie was over and it was late but they were still down there.
We talked and I could tell right away that Bowie and DeFries were nutters. Steve was a carney, he'd started his career selling blackhead removing pencils through the back pages of Popular Mechanics, so he was still pretty much meat-and-potatoes, 'Let's get some fast bucks here,' a carney. But Bowie and DeFries were British music hall, pure vaudeville. I've always had a good sense of who's going somewhere and a good sense of circus, and I could just see there was a circus in town -- 'Join!' That was my immediate instinct. I thought this could be good for me right off.
David diplomatically suggested, 'Well, you know what we could do Iggy, what would be a great idea, there's a wonderful band in England, World War 3 with Edgar Broughton, have you heard of them? They're very heavy in England and they could be a wonderful backup band for you.' Bowie and DeFries had a very pop mentality the way they did things, 'You'll have a band, we could have this done in a half- hour!' Of course, guess who'd write the song -- not me!
But to give them their due, Bowie, DeFries, all the MainMan management people he later hired here, all these out-of-work actors -- these people had a real appreciation for the arts. It went very deep, and still does with Bowie. It's his great strength that he knows how to spot something that's not related to mainstream entertainment, bring it over to his camp where he can relate to it in some way, put his name on it and get involved, work with it and then send it out to a bigger public. It's what he does really well. But he couldn't do that well if he didn't really have an eye and an ear for this stuff. And DeFries is the same way. It's no accident he signed Bowie, then me, then later Mellencamp. When I'd talk to DeFries and tell him my ideals and my mad theories about life and theatre and music, he would listen. He had an affection for that and tried to respect it.
But Bowie knew my records and he was intelligent and friendly and decent and smart, and I could see it and I thought, 'This is pretty cool.' I could talk to this guy. And DeFries I thought was a character, I thought people will go for this guy, he had a big cigar and a big pointed nose and a great big Afro and a smug look on his face and an English accent and a big fur coat and a belly! And to the people who were running the American industry it just spelled 'Hot Manager!' He had an image and it would work, it would sell.”
Iggy Pop, Raw Power liner notes, 1997