Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Stooges- 1971

Recently un-earthed photo of Stooges Turns out it's not from a U.K. gig at Wakefield Workingman's Club, just some U.S. club w/a Union Jack hanging behind the stage. 1970. Pic by Natalie Schlossman
The Stooges 1971: Ron Asheton, Jimmy Recca, James Williamson, Scott Asheton, Iggy Pop The Stooges Ask The Musical Question: Who Stole James' Trousers?
The first time I met Lenny Kaye, in early '77, the subject of the Stooges came up and he told me--"they were at their peak around '71, when Ron and James were both playing guitar, if they'd recorded that line up, they'd have really kicked ass". I've been dreaming about hearing that line up ever sine. I didn't get a chance to see the Stooges until late '73 when I ran away from home and hitch hiked to Atlanta and caught four sets over two nights at a club called Richards, still one of the best rock'n'roll shows I've ever seen by white people. Anyway, one of the Richards shows was recorded and will be released by Sony next year as part of a deluxe Raw Power box set. But right here and now, thirty eight years later, the Easy Action label has issued a 4 CD box set-- The Stooges- You Want My Action (1971 Missing Link), taken from audience recorded cassettes, you get two shows from the Electric Circus in New York, one from the Factory in St. Louis (in much better sound quality than the nearly unlistenable bootleg that's been around for years, miscredited as from the Kiel Auditorium), one from the Vanity Ballroom in Detroit (the first show of the tour). They've also thrown in a final show of the tour when Ron, Scott and Jimmy Recca played a contract fulfilling show without Iggy and James Williamson. The set list is roughly the same each night--- I Got A Right, You Don't Want My Name, Fresh Rag, Dead Body/Who Do You Love (the Bo Diddley tune, radically re-worked), Big Time Bum, and Do You Want My Love. The first Electric Circus show also includes Iggy crooning Shadow Of Your Smile. Except for I Got A Right, none of these songs were ever recorded in the studio (although I do remember in Lester Bangs Stooges cover story in Creem, Feb. 74, he made reference to Fresh Rag being recorded while a record company executive's wife was around and she took offence to the tune), if it was recorded in the studio my guess is it would have been done around the time of I Got A Right and Gimme Some Skin. Keep in mind that the original recording of Raw Power was rejected by Tony DeFries, their manager at the time and re-recorded. Where are the original Raw Power tapes today?
Anyway, You Want My Action is a real labor of love and well worth the sixty bucks, there are plenty of rare photos, a booklet, and it's not in a goddamn jewel box (I hate those fucking things), it's a classy package, unfortunately it's not available on vinyl (my only complaint). While you're a it check out some of their other releases, some of them look pretty cool-- a Velvet Underground 45 RPM box set, a live Sonic's Rendezvous Band set, lots of rare T. Rex, etc.
While on the subject, Robert Matheu's The Stooges: The Authorized and Illustrated Story (Abrams, 2009) is finally out, a big coffee table size mother of a book, chock full of rare photos, many of which have never been published before. At the risk of repeating myself, Paul Trynka's Iggy Pop bio-- Open Up And Bleed (Broadway Books, 2008) is finally the biography worthy of its subject. If you haven't read it yet, you're in for a treat. Also not to be missed is this recent interview with Iggy and James Williamson from the Detroit Metro Times. Now billed as Iggy and the Stooges, the name they adopted in '72, they have shows booked for 2010, the line-up now being: Iggy, Scott Asheton, Mike Watt, Scotty MacKay and (drum roll....) James Williamson who took an early retirement from his executive job at Sony. The later four put in some rehearsal time last summer and Iggy joined the rest of the band in L.A. in September for more practice. The set list will focus on Raw Power-era material. I guess I'll have to leave the house again. Only the Stooges get me out the door these days.
I've been spending a lot of time listening to the interview tapes done by Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil for Please Kill Me (Grove Press, 1996), the book contain probably less than two percent of the material they collected, and needless to say, I've been going through the interviews with Ron, Scott, and Kathy Asheton, as well as Bill Cheetham (haven't gotten around to Danny Fields or Iggy yet) carefully taking notes (I didn't even take notes in college). Maybe I'll try and come up with some highlights to post soon...or dare I say it, a whole book of outtakes?

23 comments:

Robert Cook said...

Robert Matheu, author of THE STOOGES: THE AUTHORIZED AND ILLUSTRATED STORY appeared at the Tribeca Barnes and Noble night before last, with the Ig himself in tow. Although the book is Matheu's, the evening quickly became the Iggy show, with his doing the lion's share of the talking. He's quite garrulous, as it happens, and one could see the charm that is so often attributed to him in the Trynka biograpy by many who knew him throughout his life.
Iggy was asked if the reformed Stooges Mach II would record all the material that never made it to vinyl, such as "Cock In My Pocket," "Open Up and Bleed," and all the rest of the material we're familiar with from late era bootlegs. Although one can't know how truthful (or optimistic) he was being, Iggy replied in the definite affirmative, even naming "Fresh Rag" as a tune they would immortalize.

It was a fun evening and I got a copy of the book with both Matheu's and Iggy's signatures.

Smokey LaBeef said...

I was fortunate to find, in a barber shop/record bar in Sydney, Australia a few months back, the 12inch 'She creatures of the hollywood hills' with the live recording of let it bleed from 1973 on it. I think I heard you play it on you're show once, so knew not to pass it up! It's one of the best live recordings I have heard.

Pretty bummed I live over the other side of the world, and won't be able to see the upcoming shows. They are going to be red hot.

In any case, thanks a bunch for this post, and all you're fine work in general. It is really appreciated!

The Intl said...

I checked out the sound samples at the Easy Action website. I was at the Vanity show in Detroit, didn't know it was the 1st show of the tour. That was my 1st ever Stooges show, & from the 1st number Iggy was down in the crowd & I never saw him again. I've always remembered from this show where the guy yells for "1970" & Iggy yells back "1971!". I never knew who was/wasn't in that particular line-up. And for quite awhile Detroit radio (WABX) hinted at an upcoming lp called "Big Time Bum". I always wondered about that.

J.D. King said...

Isn't amazing how lo-o-o-ng it takes for some of this material to get released?

In their day, The Stooges were ignored to a criminal extent. But it's been two or three decades of them garnering growing acclaim. Yet prime recordings are still just getting released.

"Please Kill Me" is a great book. It sits in a prominent spot of my bedroom bookshelf so I get to see it and think of it many times per day. Punk rock changed everything for me. It was what I was waiting for without knowing it.

J.D. King said...

PS: If you or any of your readers have a copy of the July, 1968 edition of Hullaballoo, there's a real cool photo of Danny Fields to go with Part 3 of an interview with him conducted by Paul Nelson. As a hippie he looked like a punk. He even predates Patti imitating FS with the one-hand-holding-a-jacket-over-the-shoulder pose. And he's got a "What the fuck?" expression.

Anyway, a cool photo, uncredited.

mowrey said...

For some reason I found the Metro Times interviews depressing. These old has-beens are only in for the money, people. Don't be fooled again.

Paul said...

Just picked up the big Stooges coffee-table book today and it looks like a real beauty. Mr Mowrey above sounds like maybe he didn't get to see Stooges Mk 2 live - I did, twice, and their Hammersmith Apollo, London, show was one of the greatest nights of my life. I already got my tix for the Raw Power show in the same place in May. Old, maybe. Has-beens, not yet. Rock Action, RIP.

The Hound said...

"These old has-beens are only in for the money, people. Don't be fooled again."

a) I'd never begrudge anyone a payday, especially the Stooges who didn't make squat back then.
b) I've seen 'em four times between 2004-8 and they're easily the best thing out there right now, they can blow any band in the world off the stage. I don't what you have against "old people" but name me one "young" artist who's contributed anything to rock'n'roll that can compare to Funhouse or Raw Power.....

Gunter Weltschmerz said...

Lester Bangs said in Creem that after listening to Metallic KO you'll want to drive your car off a cliff. I lost my Metallic KO iron on that came w/the original album. Iggy was cute in this photo - no longer the case.

jneilnyc said...

Yeah, what The Hound said. I don't think someone steps down from a VP job at Sony to play guitar in a rock band just for the money...

For the last 6 years the Stooges played to set the record straight, if nothing else. There's precious little tape out there to show what the original Stooges could be as a live band, but every one of the reunion shows (except the last and the horrible Terminal 5) was great.
The fact that the Asheton brother finally made a little money for having created some of the greatest rock music ever is only a plus.

As for the 1971 lineup,I believe this much from their legendary 2-guitar shows has been gathering dust all these years. The 10 minute remake of the Bo Diddley song (x4) is worth the price of the whole set.

Looking ahead, most of the live recordings of the Raw Power band don't even hint at what that group sounded like on a good night (if anyone made judgements from just listening to Metallic KO they're going to be in for a big surprise). When I saw them in Detroit early in the Raw Power days they put on a phenomenal performance, still one of the most powerful I've ever seen. I don't expect the reunited Iggy/James band to top it, but I do think it's going to rock a lot of people's worlds, including mine.

jneilnyc said...

Yeah, what The Hound said. I don't think someone steps down from a VP job at Sony to play guitar in a rock band just for the money...

For the last 6 years the Stooges played to set the record straight, if nothing else. There's precious little tape out there to show what the original Stooges could be as a live band, but every one of the reunion shows (except the last and the horrible Terminal 5) was great. The fact that the Asheton brothers finally made a little money for having created some of the greatest rock music ever is only a plus.

As for the 1971 lineup, I can't believe this much from their legendary 2-guitar shows has been gathering dust all these years. The 4 10-minute remakes of the Bo Diddley song are worth the price of the whole set.

Looking ahead, most of the live recordings of the Raw Power band don't even hint at what that group sounded like on a good night (if anyone made judgements from just listening to Metallic KO they're going to be in for a big surprise). When I saw them in Detroit early in the Raw Power days they put on a phenomenal performance, still one of the most powerful I've ever seen. I don't expect the reunited Iggy/James band to top it, but I do think it's going to rock a lot of people's worlds, including mine.

jneilnyc said...

(sorry for the double post)

Robert Cook said...

I'm curious...can those who saw the Stooges back in the day and in their recent reunions describe how they were either different or the same? I saw the reunited Stooges once at Jones Beach, and I have the dvd of their show in Detroit as well as the ESCAPED MANIACS double dvd. (I've also seen Iggy solo three times.)

In the glimpses of early Stooges available on YouTube, I'm surprised that, if anything, the younger Iggy seems less frenetically active than in the more recent shows. Is that deceptive? I gather that perhaps the younger Iggy was more spontaneous or unpredictable in just what he'd do onstage, but given the nearly unanimous descriptions of the Stooges of yore as being life-changing (by those inclined to like them, of course), I'd like to hear a comparison of the live Stooges B.C and A.D., so to speak, if anyone would like to offer one.

jneilnyc said...

There aren't enough clips to give you the whole picture of Iggy's old stage movement. He's plenty active these days, but he also has a pronounced limp, and he doesn't do a fraction of the bizarre contortions that he used to do.

There's a book in the works that will be an oral history of the original Stooges concert career from the folks lucky enough to have seen them. Should be great.

Signed,
Missed the original lineup, saw Raw Power band twice

The Hound said...

" I'd like to hear a comparison of the live Stooges B.C and A.D., so to speak, if anyone would like to offer one."

As I said in the post I didn't see 'em until their final tour in '73, and I think four shows since they've re-united but the main differences in my mind are:
a) Drugs. They were more erratic back then because they (especially Iggy) were often on LSD, heroin, etc. These days there's no drugs and very little alcohol (and even that seems to come after the show).
and more importantly:
b) The audience. Back then they often played to hostile crowds who hated them (often as an opening act). Now they're playing to large crowds who love them, and the Stooges love their audience right back (c.f. the nightly "stage invasion" during No Fun, or Iggy's chant of "I AM YOU" which he throws in quite a bit these days.
They were great then, they are great now, and they probably won't be around much longer (offstage Iggy can barely walk, although onstage he can actually fly). At Roseland I saw him go from the stage to the side balcony in two leaps, a distance of around 50 yards. I saw it, but still can't explain how he did it.

Robert Cook said...

Thanks to both of you who described your perceptions of the Stooges of old compared with today. It is amazing the stamina and capacity for physical punishment Iggy seems to have...I guess his many years as a road dog have toughened him up. It's wonderful that he and the Stooges can have this second opportunity to show the world what they're made of and to enjoy belatedly the fruits of their dogged work from so long ago. When one listens to the complete FUNHOUSE sessions, one cannot deny their discipline and work ethic, despite the drug and behavioral problems that beset them at the time.

I wish THE WEIRDNESS had been better, but it's more than enough that they have been able to do such great justice in these recent years to the compositions of their youthful heyday.

Anonymous said...

A CIRCUS mag from '71 had a letter from "Jick Magger" lauding the Stooges and lamenting their lack of press coverage (if I ain't misremembering again).

Jumpy said...

A CIRCUS mag from '71 had a letter from "Jick Magger" lauding the Stooges and lamenting their lack of press coverage (if I ain't misremembering again).

Meant to leave my handle above...
PJL

Paul said...

Man, I'm embarrassed. Been listening to the Stooges since I was 15 (near enough 30 years now) and I only just now realised that Rock Action does not equal Ron Asheton. So if Scott ever reads this blog and wonders why some idiot thinks he's dead.... well, my apologies. And every day I thank my lucky stars that I got to see the Stooges twice, even if it wasn't in their first flush of youth.

Retreat From Oblivion said...

"There's a book in the works that will be an oral history of the original Stooges concert career from the folks lucky enough to have seen them."

Interesting concept - who's working on this?

Retreat From Oblivion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fast Film said...

Hound nailed, erratic drug miscellanea and lack of footage as evidence back in the day made for variable shows. Plus, only the very rich or film students had access to super-8 or video capable of filming stage shows. I think there are but 2 clips in the world of Iggy and the Stooges circa the 70's- Ivan Kral's and a (bad) 6 minute tv news clip in color.

I'm in possession of the latter and gave a copy to someone at the top in the organization (so if they ever can restore it or use it, it's there. And Iggy is much more active here than in the Ivan one.) I am hoping that, given the law of averages, there were some people somewhere who were filming as well and haven't connected in the past 40 years. For instance, scour the audience in still shots. Occasionally you see a film camera peaking out of the crowd, as with one of the Goose Lake stills. There's definitely someone filming there (thank you, large format Bob Matheu book.)

Fast Film said...

Addenda- bits of the newsfootage I pushed toward their organization made it on to the (new) Raw Power re-release Deluxe package dvd. It does show Iggy and the Stooges on a good, active night in St. Louis MO.

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