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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Rewind: The Stooges

One of my mates yesterday said in response to the news that original drummer of The Stooges, Scott Asheton,  had died, "I think few would have predicted of the original Stooges line-up Iggy would the last surviving" and he's probably spot on about that. 

So, as a tribute to Scott Asheton (who died over the weekend) and his brother Ron who passed in 2009 I thought I'd put together a mini history of The Stooges.

Click on the links to enjoy the music.

The Stooges were formed in Detroit in 1967 and the original line up was Iggy (Vocals), Ron Asheton (Guitar), Scott Asheton (Drums) and Dave Alexander (Bass). The band played their debut live show on Halloween 1967 and didn't play live again until 1968.

In 1968 the band began getting a lot of critical acclaim for their wild and primitive performances, especailly Iggy who had taken to stage diving, smearing himself with peanut butter and hamburger meat, and cutting himself with shards of glass! Attention from record labels came in the guise of Elektra Records who had sent Danny Fields to Detroit to secure the services of MC5 and he was so taken with The Stooges that they ended up signing both bands.

1969 saw the release of their debut album simply entitled 'The Stooges'. Two singles were released from the album, '1969' and 'I Wanna Be Your Dog'. The album was pretty much a commercial flop peaking at #106 in the charts. The album was produced by Velvet Underground's John Cale and originally the band had only five songs which they presumed would be enough for the album only to have it rejected by the label and told to find more songs. The five songs then became 11 including what years later would become a punk rock standard, 'No Fun'.

In the summer of 1970 The Stooges released the follow up, 'Fun House'.

For this album the group added Sax player Scott Mackay and Don Gallucci of The Kingsmen plays organ and is also the Producer of the album. Once again the project was a commercial failure, it failed to chart at all!

The track '1970' would be recorded years later by many bands with the title 'I Feel Alright' starting with The Damned on their debut album in 1977.

Around the time of release Alexander was fired from the band (James Recca replaced him on Bass) and all apart from Ron Asheton had become serious heroin users. James Williamson was also added as second guitarist. Due to the lack of commercial success and probably the excessive drug use in the band Elektra dropped them from the roster. The band then went on hiatus for several months and any new music from The Stooges wouldn't see the light of day until 1973 with the release of 'Raw Power'.

Recording for 'Raw Power' began around September 1972 in London. Iggy had become friends with David Bowie after meeting him in 1971 and Bowie had brought Pop and Williamson to London where they managed to get a deal with CBS. The hope was to reconstitue The Stooges by using British musicians but not finding a suitable rhythm section the Asheton Brothers were then called in to save the day. The only problem was that Ron Asheton would be playing Bass rather than lead Guitar as Williamson now held that spot.

Production credits for the album are Iggy Pop and David Bowie.

On the 7th February 1973 'Raw Power' was released under the banner of Iggy and The Stooges. Two singles were released 'Search and Destroy' and 'Shake Appeal'.

Whilst not a massive hit album (though still regarded as a commercial failure) it did do better here in the UK (#44) than it did in the States where it reached #182. It was to become an album that is cited by many as a major influence. Listening back to it today (and also 'Fun House') it is very easy to see where Punk got it's swagger from!

The band's last ever performance from this era was captured for a recording that didn't actually see the light of day until 1976. It would be the final performance until the Reformation of the band in 2003. When released 'Metallic K.O.' actually outsold previous releases by The Stooges in the States with over 100,000 copies purchased on import in the first year of release.

In 1988 a newer release came to light entitled 'Metallic 2x KO'. It contains two complete shows from 1973 and 1974.

Iggy and The Stooges Reunion 2003
Coachella Festival
27th April
Down on the Street
I Wanna Be Your Dog

T.V. Eye
Real Cool Time

No Fun
Fun House

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