BCB 130 - The Stooges

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Jeff K
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BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby Jeff K » 19 Oct 2014, 01:39

My initial introduction to the Stooges came from the most unlikeliest source - 16 magazine. For those of you too young or not American, 16 was a monthly magazine that catered to teeny-boppers. At the time I was just beginning to get interested in Alice Cooper and 16 magazine decided to devote a special issue to Alice and his " freaky friends".

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The picture on the left is how the magazine usually looked as far as content goes and on the right is the issue that forever warped my tastes not only in music but in life in general. In addition to juicy gossip about Alice Cooper ( 'Alice's favorite hobbies are riding scary roller coasters and drinking a case of Budweiser a day!!). they also covered people like Marc Bolan, the NY Dolls, Roxy Music and of course, the Stooges. It was years later that I found out that the special guest editor for this particular issue was none other than Danny Fields which makes total sense. The write-up on the Stooges (and Iggy Stooge) was brief but said enough to get my attention. I wasn't wild about their name since there already was a Three Stooges and could only imagine how they sounded since radio wouldn't go near them. Fortunately for me, and shortly after I heard about them in 16 magazine, US television broadcast a live rock festival on prime time called the Cincinnati Pop Festival and on the bill was Alice Cooper, Traffic, Grand Funk, Mountain and...The Stooges! Little Jeffy K would finally get to see this strange new band that was cool enough to be mentioned in the same breath as Alice Cooper.

I think we got some action going on now...



I wish I could say I was instantly converted but truth be told, I didn't know what to make of it. Jumping into the crowd? smearing peanut butter over himself? He was obviously fucked-up on some kind of drug that was a tad more potent than marijuana. The music was strange too. A pummeling, amped up Bo Diddley beat that was worlds away from what the hippie groups were playing. I was confused and a little bit scared. It felt like something I shouldn't be listening to but was drawn towards it, regardless. It felt illegal almost. So while I didn't pester mom and dad for Stooges albums, I also knew that there was no way I was going to take someone like the Doobie Brothers seriously after getting a dose of the Stooges.

Here's Alan Vega's account of his first exposure to the Stooges as told to Legs McNeil for his Please Kill Me book...

One night, in 1969, I was at home at two in the morning. There used to be this great show on the radio called Alison Steele, the Night Bird. At the time, I’d never heard of Iggy and the Stooges, but she was playing them on the radio, ya know, this great song, “Now I Wanna Be Your Dog.” What got me about it was Ron Asheton’s guitar, man, which was like this kind of wah-wah thing, and I thought, Somebody’s finally doing something with the guitar again!

It turned out they were playing the next night at the World's Fairgrounds in Queens. There was one building, the New York Pavilion, that was leftover from the 1964 World’s Fair. There was a huge park at one end of it. Ya know where Shea Stadium was? Where the train came in? And then you had to walk for miles when you got off at that subway station?

But you could hear the fucking music blasting from miles away. It really was about a two- or three-mile walk. As you got closer and closer there were fucking thousands upon thousands of people, all drugged up and parting, this huge tremendous scene, man!

When I got inside, they had this guy David Peel singing “Have a Marijuana.” Peel was the opening act, and the headliners were the MC5. This was at the time that their great second album, Back in the USA, came out. The MC5 had already done that first album with “Kick Out the Jams” on it, and then this other band, Iggy and the Stooges, was also playing, who I knew nothing about, except that I heard them on the radio the night before.

So David Peel does his boring thing, and then out comes this bunch of mean-looking guys. I see a guy behind an amp. He looks like a chick, ya know some girl with blond bangs? Kind of like Brian Jones, with the same kind of haircut. This guy has no shirt on, torn dungarees and these ridiculous-looking loafers. So he comes out, and he’s just wild-looking, just staring at the crowd, before going, “Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you!” Then they launch into “I Wanna Be Your Dog” or “1969,” ya know, the one with the lyrics that go “War across the USA!” Iggy’s jumping in the audience and cutting himself up with a broken guitar. He just got crazier and crazier!

I was with a friend, and we were both standing there with our mouths open, cause it was the greatest thing. Just the way Iggy walked out on stage, it was like, “What the fuck is this?” Then the music comes in, and it's total anarchy. They're fucking each other with their guitars! I mean, today it would be nothing, but this was 1969, right outta the 60s, when all that twangy peace-and-love music dominated pop music, and this was something new!

The Stooges’ set ended in 20 minutes and someone had the fucking genius to play Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto” through the speaker system. The audience was throwing bottles and roses at him. I swear, it was beautiful. I'll never forget it, man.


After that, I didn't hear about the Stooges for awhile and moved on to other music like Bowie, T. Rex and Lou Reed. I also had the debut LP from the NY Dolls. I was very much into glam as I hit my teenage years. At the time my parents were going through an ugly divorce and my grandmother used to watch over me. One day she took me to Woolworths and as I was browsing through the records I came across Raw Power. It's those pesky Stooges again! I was immediately captivated by the album cover. Again Iggy looked so strange and not of this earth even amongst all the craziness that was going on in glam. As a way to get me away from looking at records all day long when we had other shopping to do, my grandmother offered to buy me Raw Power. I declined not only because I still felt a little frightened of the Stooges but because the cellophane that covered the LP was torn. Being an only child and possessive by nature, these little things mattered a great deal to me! :lol: So I left the store empty-handed but became obsessed over this album even though I had no idea what it sounded like. I finally decided that I needed Raw Power in my life and talked my mom into taking me back to the store and buying it for me, torn cellophane and all (it was actually a punk thing to do when you think about it!). I took the album home and carefully placed it on my stereo. I remember actually being a little nervous about playing it, as if I was about to be caught masturbating or something. Then the music hit me. Or rather, it yelped at me. At first I turned the bass up and the treble down and when I realized that no amount of knob twiddling was going to change the way it sounded, I just succumbed and let Iggy and his droogs do whatever they wanted to me. I felt dirty and abused after it was done and even though I hadn't done drugs yet at that age, I felt I knew what it was like to be wasted. I remember playing Raw Power over and over but I never played it for my friends because I felt it was my own personal record and they wouldn't understand anyway.



The fucking Stooges, man. May Iggy outlive us all.

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Re: BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby der nister » 19 Oct 2014, 02:58

good stuff, Jeff!
It's kinda depressing for a music forum to be proud of not knowing musicians.

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Re: BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby mentalist (slight return) » 19 Oct 2014, 06:39

My first introduction to the Stooges was through Iggy on Countdown Australia



the kids (now grandparents probably) in the crowd must have a bit startled :lol:

Then all these Australian bands I was into in the mid '80s were influenced by the Stooges, and it weren't Larry, Curly or Moe (or Shemp for that matter)
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Re: BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby pig bodine » 19 Oct 2014, 16:17

Yes! Here We go. I know the Stooges are as cannon as the Beatles and Dylan round here, but I still love to listen to them, while the others take up space on my shelves. I got into them through Creem magazine. Someone, usually Bangs, but often someone like Uhelzski or Hull would be saying things like, this particular act was almost as good as the Stooges. Even Dave Marsh had positive things to say, which was unlike him. They were sort of a totem for the magazine like the weird looking bird in the margins of Mad magazine. I lived in Deliverance country, but I managed to find decent records at Sam Goody's or this small independent store in town, or especially at Nichols dept store or Woolworth's cut out bin. I think it was Sam Goody's where I found a copy of Raw Power when it was a year or two old, and got my start there. I couldn't find the Elektras until I started ordering things through the mail. The next one I got was was the comedy album, Metallic KO, which was a favorite of my high school friends, who weren't into the music, but loved the lyrics and the banter--"This song is for my mother, who wrote it--it's called I Got A Cock In My Pocket" and the Idiot, Lust For Life, New Values and Soldier were a huge part of my high school listening. They got some press during the punk years, and the first versions of No Fun and 1970 I hears were by the Pistols and the Damned respectively. When I got to the University Of Buffalo, I found a magazine put out by the school newspaper from 1973 that was written by then student, Billy Altman (he of the negative AC/DC reviews in the red Rolling Stone record guide.) There was essays on the Seeds, and other garage bands, and the Raw Power photo was the cover. I thought that was pretty cool. I didn't know many like minded individuals until I ws in my twenties and living in NY, but they seemed to explode in popularity in that time.
Last edited by pig bodine on 19 Oct 2014, 16:24, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby Jeff K » 19 Oct 2014, 16:23

For the longest time, the two Elektra albums were indeed difficult to find. I got Raw Power, Metallic KO and Kill City in that order before finally picking up the debut and Funhouse. I had to go to Manhattan to get the first two albums also.
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Re: BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby Bent Fabric » 19 Oct 2014, 16:52

I seem to remember coming to them well after the fact - I think I was 20 when the three LPs were reissued on CD, and (by then) they had enough accumulated/residual goodwill attached to them that I was happy to buy them sight unseen. I can imagine what they might have sounded like in real time (and I'm not at all saying they didn't sound powerfully unique 20 years later - but...I do feel like the world partially caught up with them in the intervening years). I was playing in bands and starting to write by then, and I do remember thinking that I could do far worse than the sort of untamed guitar driven sound of "Search And Destroy" or "I Wanna Be Your Dog" or "Dirt".

It seems inarguable that they were ahead of their time - and I've never begrudged Iggy (or them) the eventual victory lap. It's like A Band Called Death on a much larger scale. I saw Iggy about 8 years ago and...it was a shitty venue for them, and I didn't think they played especially well, but...God...he is just such an absolute force of nature. I feel like he'll always be 23 years older than me, and always have a certain Herculean physical energy and stamina that I probably never even had when I was 12. Few people are as deserving of our collective awe.

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Re: BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby Guy E » 20 Oct 2014, 22:58

It’s strange looking back 45 years. Albums got distributed back then and we’d see all the LP sleeves in the bins, but we could only afford one or two a month and it was really hard to find out about cool stuff. My initial impression (without hearing a note or a yelp) was that the Stooges were a Doors rip-off… this was based primarily on the Elektra connection, the similarity of the photos on the debut albums, the group logo thing, and the “long song” thing on the debuts. Then I met somebody at school who liked them and he was scary, into downers, lived in the trailer park outside of town. So I didn’t buy the albums even though I picked them up and looked at them many times.

Summer of 1970: my friend Tim and I pull the “I’m sleeping over at Guy’s / I’m sleeping over at Tim’s” flim-flam and go into Chicago the night before a one-day rock festival at Soldier’s Field featuring Funkadelic, MC5, Stooges and Leon Russell. I don’t know why we thought we needed to hang-out overnight, but there was a scene, there were drugs. The Stooges were mind-blowing and scary and I was really impressed. Iggy flopped off the [very high] stage and climbed over the snow fence into the crowd. There’s a picture of Iggy standing aloft in the “Iggy” issue of MOJO from several years back and I’m just out of frame in the shot.

But I didn’t buy Funhouse after the festival… I just didn’t think I’d listen to it.

Raw Power came out when I was in college and a housemate had it. He and his roommate were creepy – big Todd Rundgren cultists – and I borrowed Raw Power from them. It didn’t really connect, probably the sound of the album more than anything.

So… I missed out on the Stooges in their time, but was lucky enough to actually see the original group. I bought the albums on import vinyl in 1976 or ’77 and I have to say, in some ways they were slow to connect even then. Sure, side one of Funhouse was undeniable and Dog was a classic on the debut. I listen to Raw Power all the time now, but it took decades to embed itself in my DNA.

Call me a Brown Album kind of Guy. :oops:
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Re: BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby 'skope » 20 Oct 2014, 23:05

how does he manage to look so good?

quite a physique.

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Re: BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby The Slider » 20 Oct 2014, 23:12

I wish I weren't bored by them these days
Ah but I was so much younger then.
I'm older than that now.

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Re: BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby THE FILING FEE » 20 Oct 2014, 23:13

Guy E wrote:My initial impression (without hearing a note or a yelp) was that the Stooges were a Doors rip-off… this was based primarily on the Elektra connection, the similarity of the photos on the debut albums, the group logo thing, and the “long song” thing on the debuts.


Yeah, I thought the same thing! (altho' I didn't get hold of the albums until the 80s)

I don't really know what to say about the band, actually. They still knock me for six, and I've nothing but praise for them, and Iggy, and those albums. And the resurgence! I saw them in 2008 and they were absolutely magnificent.
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Re: BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby Bent Fabric » 20 Oct 2014, 23:18

The Slider wrote:I wish I weren't bored by them these days


Yeah, that's life. You could just as easily have said Led Zeppelin, James Brown, or the Beatles, and someone would come along and say..."yeah, me too."

I've gone on and off them regularly for decades now, but...I always end up finding my way back.

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Re: BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby The Slider » 20 Oct 2014, 23:40

I'm sure.

I ODed on them around the time of the Funhouse shows in London
And as there is so little of it, it is quick to become 'old'
Ah but I was so much younger then.
I'm older than that now.

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Re: BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby TG » 21 Oct 2014, 18:27

Only the band that most changed my life. Like Jeff, I came to the band first through magazines - in my case it was Circus Magazine - and then the mind blowing appearance on the Cincinnati Pop Festival TV show.

It was a full two years before I ever heard another note by them and then I heard all three albums in one setting. I got all three LPs in the next several months out of used and cutout bins. Then a few months later saw the Raw Power band (w/Scott Thurston on piano) at the Whisky in Hollywood. I saw them about 12 times over a couple of weeks. It was then and is today the best live music I've ever seen. Being a couple of feet from the stage as Iggy is swinging his microphone stand at the audience will keep you on your toes.

Like many of you I got to see them during the reunion phase with Ron Asheton on guitar. In fact, I was lucky enough to be at the Coachella show that was supposed to be their only reunion performance. Fortunately that led to many more shows and tours and money made so that Ron and Scott didn't have to die in poverty. They got their last hurrah.

They had one of the strangest career arcs of any band I can think of.

Very nice work, Jeff.
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Re: BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby Snarfyguy » 21 Oct 2014, 18:39

The Slider wrote:I'm sure.

I ODed on them around the time of the Funhouse shows in London
And as there is so little of it, it is quick to become 'old'

True, but we listen to music as our moods dictate, or I do anyway, and when that mood hits, nothing like the swagger of "Down on the Street" or the manic abandon of "I Got a Right" will do.

I mean, you can't subsist on a diet of that stuff, but it sure hits the spot when you need it.

I really liked Alan Vega's write-up above and I'll note that he and Iggy are perhaps the only musical artists that I've ever been concerned might actually injure me in the course of their performance. :lol:
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Re: BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby Guy E » 21 Oct 2014, 21:37

And I felt no compulsion to join the throng on stage (at Iggy's urging).

I saw two reunion shows; on Radall's Island with a posse of BCB'ers and at Terminal 5, which turned out to be Ron Ashton's last performance in NYC. God, they nuked the joint. It's just hard to reconcile the man's age with the physical abandon on stage.
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Re: BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby THE FILING FEE » 21 Oct 2014, 21:44

Is Iggy going to continue with some incarnation of the band, then? Him, James Williamson, Mike Watt, Steve Mackay and a drummer?
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Re: BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby pig bodine » 21 Oct 2014, 22:11

Could it be possible Grohl may be joining them?! I could die happy.

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Re: BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby THE FILING FEE » 21 Oct 2014, 22:22

You know, that's entirely possible.

Fuck.
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Re: BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby neville harp » 21 Oct 2014, 22:23

I've heard it's Roger Taylor.
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Re: BCB 130 - The Stooges

Postby bobzilla77 » 21 Oct 2014, 22:27

E. Action wrote:Is Iggy going to continue with some incarnation of the band, then? Him, James Williamson, Mike Watt, Steve Mackay and a drummer?



He made some remarks after Scotty's death that made me think, no, probably not. At least, he's not seeming to be up for it right now.

They did have a great resurgence, and it's been kind of heartwarming to see the effect that had on both the audience, and the band members. I went to their first show at Coachella and though I didn't talk to Ron, I did see him around afterwards, and "a pig in shit" was the expression that came to mind. He was so overjoyed to be playing that music again, and to the biggest crowd he'd ever seen. And when I saw them at the Wiltern a couple years later, he looked the same.

It would not be surprising to find that that guy had spent 20 years feeling cheated out of his rightful place in rock history, and finally got to see that turn around in his last few years on the planet. Right the fuck on.

It sure didn't hurt that the joy being felt by the audience was just as intense. Every time I saw them - three with Ron, three with James - people went fucking nuts when that band played. None more so than the people on the stage. They were never disappointing, never half-assed a show.
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