An exerpt from Please Kill Me - The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Rock. Here, Iggy Pop speaks about his study of the Blues:
Once I heard the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters, and even Chuck Berry playing his own tune, I couldn't go back and listen to the British Invasion, you know, a band like the Kinks. I'm sorry, the Kinks are great, but when you're a young guy trying to find out where your balls are, you go, "Those guys sound like pussies!"
I had tried to go to college, but I couldn't do it. I had met Paul Butterfield's guitarist, Mike Bloomfield, who said, "If you really want to play, you've got to go to Chicago." So I went to Chicago with nineteen cents.
I got a ride with some girls that worked at Discount Records. They dumped me off at a guy named Bob Koester's house. Bob was white and ran the Jazz Record Mart there. I crashed with him and then I went out to Sam's neighborhood. I really was the only white guy there. It was scary, but it was also a travel adventure - all these little record stores, and Mojos hanging, and people wearing colorful clothes. I went to Sam's place and his wife was very surprised that I was looking for him. She said, "Well, he's not here, but would you like some fried chicken?"
So I hooked up with Sam Lay. He was playing with Jimmy Cotton and I'd go see them play and learned what I could. And very occasionally, I would get to sit in, I'd get a cheap gig for five or ten bucks. I played for Johnny Young once, he was hired to play for a white church group, and I could play cheap, so he let me play.
It was a thrill, you know? It was a thrill to be really close to some those guys - they all had an attitude, like jive motherfuckers, you know? What I noticed about these black guys was that their music was like honey off their fingers. Real childlike and charming in its simplicity. It was just a very natural mode of expression and life-style. They were drunk all the time and it was all sexy-sexy and dudey-dudey, and it was just a bunch of guys that didn't want to work and played good.
I realized that these guys were way over my head, and that what they were doing was so natural to them that it was rediculous for me to make a studious copy of it, which is what most white blues bands did.
Then one night, I smoked a joint. I'd always wanted to take drugs, but I'd never been able to because the only drug I knew about was marijuana and I was a really bad asthmatic. Before that, I wasn't interested in drugs, or getting drunk, either. I just wanted to play and get something going, that was all I cared about. But this girl, Vivian, who had given me the ride to Chicago, left me with a little grass.
So one night I went down by the sewage treatment plant by the Loop, where the river is entirely industrialized. It's all concrete banks and effluvia by the Marina Towers. So I smoked this joint and then it hit me.
I thought, What you gotta do is play your own simple blues. I could describe my experience based on the way those guys are describing theirs...
So that's what I did. I appropriated a lot of their vocal forms, and also their turns of phrase - either heard or misheard or twisted from blues songs. So "I wanna be your Dog" is probably my mishearing of "Baby Please Don't Go"
Iggy Pop speaking in Please Kill Me, McNeil and McCain, pages 36-38