The Stooges iTunes Tracks The Stooges Official Website

The Stooges

+ {Iggy And The Stooges}

The proto-punk stamping ground for a youthful IGGY POP, The STOOGES took the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll of The DOORS, the swagger and sleaze of The ROLLING STONES and the avant-angst of The VELVET UNDERGROUND to concoct one melting pot of psychedelic blues. No STOOGES = no punk = “No Fun”, is just the simple way of putting what Iggy and Co left behind for a generation – or two – or three…
Formed in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1967 by then drummer Iggy, who adopted the moniker after time spent in The Iguanas (and later The Prime Movers), the four Psychedelic Stooges, as they were originally titled, played their first gig in a house in State Street that Halloween. Comprising Iggy on vox, Ron Asheton (guitar), his brother Scott Asheton (drums) and Dave Alexander (bass), The STOOGES were literally all the rage among the local fraternity, who went wild for the primeval antics of their enigmatic frontman; Iggy Stooge was known to flash all parts of his anatomy, smear peanut butter and other stuff on his chest while cutting it with broken glass, plus invent the art of stage-diving – not always successfully. The following year, with the aid of A&R scout Danny Fields (who’d been sent to a gig to sign Detroit rivals MC5), the grimy garage group ended up on the Elektra roster for a $25,000 advance, ironically home to the aforementioned Jim Morrison and The DOORS.
The JOHN CALE-produced eponymous debut, THE STOOGES (1969) {*8} was as arrogant and aggressive as their awe-inspiring early gigs, and not that far-removed from CALE’s former VELVET UNDERGROUND co-creation. Complete with the requisite fuzztone/wah-wah guitars and a BO DIDDLEY-beat-to-die-for, `1969’ kick-started the set in blank generation mode, while screeching from the speakers comes the submissive `I Wanna Be Your Dog’ and the effervescent `No Fun’ (later covered by The SEX PISTOLS). When Iggy slows the pace down to one-above-zero with 10-minute mantra-chant `We Will Fall’ (accounting time spent awaiting then girlfriend NICO outside the Chelsea Hotel), the singer still oozed steroids akin to Morrison at his primitive best. Schizoid and street-smart, `Real Cool Time’, `Ann’, `Not Right’ and `Little Doll’ (basically `1969’ mk.II) were also effective without finding the proto-punk classic tag.
With former KINGSMEN keyboard-player Don Gallucci at the helm (remember `Louie Louie’), sophomore set FUNHOUSE (1970) {*9} pumped from the powerhouse that was POP. Sneering like some champion boxer ready to give his knockout punch, the bare-chested Iggy was in his element on primal screamers like `T.V. Eye’, `1970’ (aka `I Feel Alright’ and later borrowed by The DAMNED) plus the band’s grittiest and greatest 7-minutes, `Dirt’. Served up with a malevolent intensity and sublime sense of hypnotic charm, the record builds to an orgasmic climax; the latter’s rhythm was down deep and detached from anything at the time. On reflection, the manic avant-jazz workout `L.A. Blues’ was miles apart from the set’s two other two-chord beauts, `Loose’ and `Down On The Street’.
Dissolving into the seedy world of drugs (heroin was his preferred fix), Iggy and The Stooges disappeared from the scene for the next few years, while the singer opted to take on various jobs around his hometown. Then, in 1972, just as BOWIE was converting the masses to his Ziggy Stardust legend, the pair met up. Taking IGGY & THE STOOGES under his MainMan management wing, and finding the band a contract at Columbia Records, 1973’s RAW POWER {*9} all-but resurrected the career of the manic maestro; guitarist and co-writer James Williamson (Ron was demoted to rhythm with brother Scott) should take equal credit; on a footnote, Dave Alexander was to die in 1975 of pneumonia. From the nihilistic `Search And Destroy’ and the intense `Gimme Danger’ to the howling title track and the R&B-ish `Shake Appeal’, the new Stooges were ready to rival new punks on the block, The NEW YORK DOLLS. But all was not well with Iggy and his band; their razor-sharp sound never quite the right mix for other parties to see its commerciality.
After flawed classic `Raw Power’ (not one of David’s best productions), Iggy, the Asheton’s and seminal guitarist James Williamson (Alexander suffered alcohol troubles and was to die in ‘75) folded again, citing drugs as the cause; the disintegration of IGGY AND THE STOOGES was heard on the well-documented “final gig” (February 9, 1974) played out on most of the band’s chaotic “unofficial” METALLIC KO (1976) {*8} semi-bootleg-type LP. Refer to Raw Power for tracks, bar `Heavy Liquid’ (with that LED ZEPPELIN-beat) and the equally-lengthy `Head On’.
Recorded at JIM WEBB’s home studio in 1975 when the Ig was sinking deep into depression and drug addiction, KILL CITY {*7} – credited to Iggy Pop & James Williamson – was released by Bomp! Records late in ‘77 after the singer’s new found success. The album showcased by a handful of genuine hard-POP gemstones like the DYLAN-esque `I Got Nothin’’, `Johanna’, `Sell Your Love’ and the title track.
In between 1975 and 1976, Iggy checked himself into a neuropsychiatric institute, weaning himself off (and on) heroin; his only true compadre, the aforementioned BOWIE, regularly visited him in hospital, and invited the man to be present on his “Station To Station” tour. As a reinvigorated IGGY POP, the pair migrated to West Berlin, while Iggy also signed on the dotted line with R.C.A. So, with producer/co-writer/session man BOWIE at the helm, things looked on the up-and-up for IGGY POP as Top 30 albums `The Idiot’ and `Lust For Life’ (both 1977) ran off the conveyor belt with apparent ease. Meanwhile, the Asheton’s were deservedly cashing-in on the punk scene (a punk scene they’d help create), forming New Order – not the post-JOY DIVISION outfit from Old Blighty. Ron eventually joined New Race, a sort-of new wave supergroup formed by RADIO BIRDMAN’s Deniz Tek and garnering the likes of MC5’s Dennis Thompson. DESTROY ALL MONSTERS was Ron’s next port of call, while his subsequent stints included recordings with Wylde Ratttz (alongside SONIC YOUTH’s Thurston Moore, DINOSAUR JR’s J Mascis, Mike Watt of fIREHOSE and Mark Arm of MUDHONEY) and DARK CARNIVAL. Scott, meanwhile, took up with Fred “Sonic” Smith, Gary Rasmussen and Scott Morgan in mid-70s pre-punk act, Sonic’s Rendezvous Band. Having committed to life as a solo artist, IGGY POP continued to deliver a raft of solo albums from 1979’s `New Values’ onwards; he’s still going strong as a lounge-jazz crooner after re-establishing himself as forefather of hard-core punk rock.
The next and final chapter of The STOOGES musical novel came in 2003 when Ron and Scott (who’d just played on J MASCIS + THE FOG tour) were invited to take an integral slice of the action on IGGY POP’s primal rock’n’roll return, `Skull Ring’. IGGY AND THE STOOGES were duly back on the road as a unit, dragging in bassist Mike Watt and sax-player Steve Mackay into the fold. Having re-established themselves on Iggy’s promo-tour, punk’s hostile hard-rock hobos toured Japan, culminating with their first official release for years, TELLURIC CHAOS (2005) {*7}. Recorded between March 22-24, 2004, all the old fiery favourites were up for grabs as well as a fresh version of `Skull Ring’. And just when one thought that would that, The STOOGES settled their differences again for a new Steve Albini-produced studio set. THE WEIRDNESS (2007) {*5} was par-for-the-course for most reunion sets, and while the boisterous aspects of their Detroit glam-fest were on cue, the lyrics were a tad cliched; `Greedy Awful People’, `She Took My Money’ and `I’m Fried’ were as cool and cocksure as one would expect the Iggy man to be, but it just lacked a bit of polish around the edges. The tragic news that Ron Asheton was found dead (of a presumed heart attack) in his Ann Arbor home on January 1, 2009, shook the punk world; he’d apparently been dead for a couple of days. Although The STOOGES died with Ron’s passing, IGGY AND THE STOOGES re-formed for the odd concert (including NY’s All Tomorrow’s Parties in 2010); James Williamson was re-instated, while Knoxville’s Larry Mullins (aka Toby Dammit) was subsequently drafted in to deputise for the ill Scott Asheton.
To combat the dire nostalgic solo set that was “Apres”, IGGY AND THE STOOGES re-ignited POP’s love affair with rock’n’roll on the incendiary, READY TO DIE (2013) {*7}. Backed by co-songwriter James Williamson, plus Scott Asheton, Mike Watt, Steve MacKay, the mainman fired up some genuine sleazy swaggers by way of `DD’s’ (that’s Double D’s he’s getting on his knees for), `Dirty Deal’, `Sex & Money’, `Burn’ and `Gun’; if a Stooges ballad won’t shock, then one won’t be wounded with `Unfriendly World’ and `The Departed’. Long live the Ig.
Inevitably, Scott “Rock Action” Asheton did not recover from his stroke and died on March 15, 2014.
© MC Strong 1994-2006 // rev-up MCS Apr2012-14

Share this Project

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.