The Stooges- Raw Power for ever….

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Iggy Pop & the Stooges Hari Krishna Hippie Music Fest 1970
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Goose Creek Festival, Zander’s last stand.

The Stooges upstairs at Max’s, Aug. 73 (photo by Danny Fields) copyright C Danny Fields



The Stooges 1971 (photo by Peter Hujar)

The late Ron Asheton after hearing his bass mixed out of Raw Power. (photo by Jenny Lens).




The Stooges in San Francisco, 1970 (the Flamin’ Groovies were on the same bill). Photographer unknown.

I’ve been living with and playing Iggy and the Stooges’ Raw Power since I was thirteen, thirty eight years ago. Every nuance is seared onto my hardrive. I’ve heard every outtake, alternate mix, live tape, and rehearal that’s ever made it to tape, wax or cd. At age fourteen I ran away from home and hitchhiked over six hundred miles to see them play at Richard’s in Atlanta. I still get excited when I hear it, even if it’s on a TV commercial.
So here I sit, with an advanced copy of Sony’s latest attempt to pry every last buck out of the mighty Stooges moniker, a three CD + one “The Making Of Raw Power” DVD (which isn’t in my package as it’s not done yet) Raw Power: Deluxe Edition. It has no cover or artwork yet, just three CD’s with the track listings on stickers on the back and a bunch of press releases.
I have no idea what Sony plans to charge for such an item, but here’s what you get. One disc of the original “David Bowie”mix of Raw Power. On live disc recorded at Richard’s in Atlanta in the fall of ’73, probably the best sounding live Stooges recordings to surface. A slew of “bonus studio tracks”, some of which have been out before, and a few that will be new to everyone. The three tunes never heard before are– Doojiman, I’m Hungry, and Hey Peter. There’s also an alternate take of I Got A Right, different from the old Siamese 45, I’m Sick Of You (same as the Bomp EP), alternate mixes of Shake Appeal and Death trip (from “recently discovered alternate mix reels”), and the Japanese 45 mixes of Raw Power and Search & Destroy, oh yeah, there’s two tracks from Iggy’s godawful 1997 re-mix. Shall I go into more detail? Either you could care less and have already stopped reading this, or you need to know exactly what this stuff is, so here goes.
A few things I should get out of the way first. I’m not one to argue Funhouse versus Raw Power, Ron Asheton versus James Williamson. I love ’em both, they’re very different records, and they were very different guitar players. Anyone who has made it through the entire Funhouse Sessions box (which means mentally you’re as far gone as me, perhaps you should seek professional help) has to admit, that on Funhouse, the Stooges picked the best of what they had, the takes they used were pretty much the peak of their abilities at the time. It’s fun to hear all the outtakes and variations, but they knew when they had nailed a tune. Oddly enough, on the box you never get to hear the final versions that were on the LP with Ron’s rhythm guitar overdubs.
Raw Power has always been problematic as a production since half the band– drummer Scott Asheton and bass player (who had been the guitarist on the Stooges first album and Funhhouse, do I have to explain all this?) Ron Asheton were basically mixed off the record, they’re barely audible. Either they were mixed off, or their parts never made it to tape. Accusations have flown for years as to who is to blame. One version says that they recorded on a sixteen track machine and left thirteen tracks empty, I find this hard to believe, no engineer would make such a bonehead error.
When it came time to re-mix the thing in 1996, Iggy Pop simply made his vocals louder, took the effects off the guitar parts and pushed the nobs into the red creating an ugly digital distortion, very different from analog distortion, since digital doesn’t decay when the signal returns. Personally, I think the vocals and guitars were fine on the original Bowie mix, all that it needed was for the drums and bass to re-appear. I hated Iggy’s re-mix, and when I spoke to Ron Asheton about it in 2001 he agreed it was awful and the Bowie mix sounded brilliant in comparison. Is anyone still reading?
I’m resigned to the fact that we’ll never hear the bass and drums on Raw Power. I’ve given up hope. I have pledged to simply enjoy it for what it is, one of the greatest rock’n’roll albums ever made. So as far as the three cd’s worth of music here’s what you get for your money:
One CD of the Bowie mix of Raw Power, re-mastered, it sounds as good as it’s going to sound. The belch before the song Raw Power which was edited out of the first CD version has been restored. Gotta have the belch. One live CD recorded at Richard’s in Atlanta, the fall of ’73. It’s the best sounding live document of the (pre-reformation) Stooges I’ve heard and captures them on a white hot night. I was there. The set list from ’73 was four tunes from Raw Power— Raw Power, Gimme Danger, Search & Destroy, and I Need Somebody, along with newer tunes– Head On, Heavy Liquid, Cock In My Pocket, and Open Up and Bleed. If you’re a fan you’ve heard these tunes on various bootlegs. There’s plenty of Iggy’s bizarre between song patter, some of it confrontational, but the audience this time is on Iggy’s side, unlike the other (sort of) official released live album Metallic K.O. where the audience is there for a fight. Keep in mind this post-Raw Power tour was the begining of Iggy’s season in hell. He’d end up a year or so later, homeless, wandering the streets of Hollywood, strung out and near total collapse before checking himself into a mental hospital, the first step in an amazing story of survival and eventually triumph.
Now what about those outtakes on disc three? None of them sound like finished tunes. Doojiman is a wordless jam, Iggy making jungle noises while James Williamson and Scott Asheton jam on simple riff. I’m Hungry is an early version of Penetration, different lyrics, it’s obvious the song has yet to jell, but the Stooges hammer out the riff for nearly four minutes as Iggy improvises over it. Hey Peter is another loose jam, a riff and some off the cuff banter suffice as lyrics, it’s unlike anything else they recorded at this period. In fact, it’s the closest they come to sounding like a “normal” rock band. Nitebob who worked for the Stooges during that time said it reminded him of early Aerosmith, I have to agree. The Japanese 45 rpm versions of Raw Power and Search and Destroy, which are on the CD’s I have but will only appear on a bonus 45 on the final package are cool to have, but I don’t hear a whole lot of difference. In fact, the Japanese 45 sounds pretty much just like the American 45 (the b-side of which was an edited version of Penetration, not included here*). Which doesn’t sound all that different from the album. Maybe it’s my tinnitus, but the differences are fairly negligible. There’s two songs from Iggy’s re-mix– Gimme Danger and You’re Pretty Face Is Going To Hell, I’m not sure why they’re here. As mentioned earlier, I Got A Right is an earlier sounding version that the old Siamese 45, and a great, primitive version at that. I’m Sick Of You is the same take used on the old Bomp EP. Shake Appeal and Death Trip are “alternate mix versions from recently discovered alternate mix reels”. Yet more mixes and still not much bass guitar or drums, but still fun to hear. Since these advanced CD’s are digitally watermarked I can’t post any tunes for you without getting somebody in trouble, sorry, you’ll just have to wait to hear ’em. The final package will also have the documentary DVD, I can’t tell you much about it, but there’s not a lot of footage of the Stooges, I hope they use as much as they can find.
So there you go, you either love the Stooges and are going to buy this sucker (I know I will, even though I have the advanced promo package), or you don’t care and have stopped reading in the first paragraph. As Easter approaches, the thought in my mind is that Jesus loves the Stooges, and all they stand for. RIP: Ron Asheton, Dave Alexander, Tommy “Zeke” Zettner, and
Bill Cheetam.
Addendum: The Stooges will be playing at this year’s Rock’n’Roll Hall Of Seymour Stein and Jaan Wenner’s Buttplugs where they will also receive their bowling trophies. The other inductees include Genesis (and I don’t mean P Orridge) and Abba. What do you think Rock Action has to say to Phil Collins? Well, now they’re officially as “important” as Art Garfunkel and Stephen Stills. Anyway, the line up will be Iggy, Scott Asheton, James Williamson, Mike Watt, Scotty Mackay and Scott Thurston, or so the rumor mill has it. Six Stooges onstage–that’ll be a first.
* Sundazed has re-issued the 45 versions of Search & Destroy b/w Penetration, as well as a high quality pressing of the Bowie mix of Raw Power on nice, thick vinyl. The 45 is virtually the same as my stock copy of the American 45, with a nice picture sleeve. Sundazed does really quality work. A totally class label.

90 thoughts on “The Stooges- Raw Power for ever….”

  1. The fact that the original Raw Power will finally see the light of day on CD makes it an instant buy. That Iggy re-mix was unlistenable. Thanks for the information!

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  2. This post is just one of the reasons I check my computer every few minutes for blog updates. Dunno how I could live if it weren't for the great information, pictures and commentary you dish up on a regular basis!

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  3. Hey Hound, I share your hearing of both the advance copies and 3-decade-long tinnitus (I've reminded bands that whereas they're behind the monitors, as a photographer I've been right in front of the P.A. systems all this time.)I perceived quite a difference in the Japanese 45 mixes, insofar as there seemed to be more differentiation/clarity of separate instruments than on others. But I'm not a musician nor sound technician, it just seemed, well, clearer. 'Supposed to be different EQ-ing.The dvd may well have some things even diehard fans weren't aware of, since the band certainly wasn't: to quote Ahme, I can say no more.

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  4. P.S. there was an amusing caption on Evita Corby's myspace page of the Peter Hujar band pic you've posted with the rest of the Stooges carrying Williamson aloft: “James is too much for one man to handle.”

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  5. You're right, Ray Charles, about Iggy's remix being worse than useless … Looking forward to hearing that Atlanta show. Interesting that the set list is the same as (most of) the shows at the Whisky a Go Go in L.A. that year — the only difference being that at least one of the Whisky shows featured “She Creatures Of The Hollywood Hills.” After all I personally witnessed nine of those shows and you couldn't forget a song like that … BTW, all those bootlegs of the Stooges at the Whisky a Go Go originate from the mono cassette recording that my younger brother did by holding the mic in front of his face when he was seated in the balcony of the club. I traded a copy of that cassette (I still have the original, which I've since digitized) to Greg Shaw in return for what turned out to be a Z-rate quality in terms of sound and set-length live recording of the MC5 and learned a valuable life lesson in process. Heh.

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  6. ” the only difference being that at least one of the Whisky shows featured “She Creatures Of The Hollywood Hills.” “I remember them playing two sets a night at Richard, the 2nd set usually had She Creatures, I Got Nuthin' and I think Wet My Bed along w/a few songs repeated from the first set. The mobile unit was out front the whole time, I think Capricorn was recording the opening act– Hydra which is why the tape exists in the first place. I wonder if they recorded more than one set of the Stooges?

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  7. Would like to read the story sometime, of how you moved from the Stooges, Velvets of your teen years, to being deep far gone into blues, R&B, 50s rock n roll, rockabilly, etc.

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  8. “Would like to read the story sometime, of how you moved from the Stooges, Velvets of your teen years, to being deep far gone into blues, R&B, 50s rock n roll, rockabilly, etc.”The same bargin bin I bought all the Stooges, MC5 and Flamin' Groovies ablums for .99 cents also had all the Chess/All Platinum double albums ($1.99)– Howlin' Wolf, Muddy, Sonny Boy Williamson, JB Lenoir, and tons of late 60s albums like Bummer Road, Dale Hawkins Suzi Q (white cover reissue and the red one w/all the outtakes), JB Lenoir's Natural Man, Little Walter's Hate To See You Go, and Howlin' Wolf's Evil were all bought at the same time as I was finding out about the Stooges and the Mc5. I knew the Stones liked 'em and that was good enough for me. I also got into hanging around the flea market and picked up the first Midnighters album on Federal, all the James Brown King albums,and lots of 45's for mere quarters. Those were the days! Nobody wanted the stuff and record collectors only liked doo wop or jazz….that's how I got into it.

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  9. I feel the need to explain the Aerosmith comment in this review. I was listening to the out takes disc at the Hound's place, and Doojiman reminded me of Aerosmith's Steven Tyler's monkey talk. The Stooges track pre dates Aerosmith's first album. I listen to the Stooges, I never listen to Aerosmith.nitebob

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  10. “Personally, I think the vocals and guitars were fine on the original Bowie mix, all that it needed was for the drums and bass to re-appear.”This is exactly my impression of Raw Power as is was originally released. The Stooges – certainly at the time of Funhouse and then with Ron on bass for Raw Power – had a great, supple yet incredibly powerful rhythm engine behind those classic guitar riffs and Iggy's vocals. Having seen (and been blown away by) the band early on in their “Iggy & The Stooges” period, the fact that the album only gives half the picture makes it something of a bittersweet classic.It doesn't sound like this mix/mastering is going to rectify that, but it's still great to have it back in print in its original form instead of only being offered The Ig's dodgy remix. All what-ifs aside, Raw Power is still one of the great Rock albums, and if the live set is a high quality recording of the band on a hot night (most of the circulating boots are neither), that by itself would make this an essential purchase.This has been an unbelievable decade for Stoogefans, and the Raw Power reunion gigs are still to come.

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  11. I saw Iggy in 1977 at the Palladium.It seemed to me that a large part of the crowd was there because they thought David Bowie was going to join in on “The Passenger”. Sad. I liked the show and thought it was cool that Soupy Sale's kid's were backing Iggy. Of course it was nowhere near as epic as the earlier Stooges, but I think a lot of people were glad to see Iggy alive and seemingly healthy again. Hound – has Bowie ever fessed-up or even discussed why the Raw Power mix was so botched ?

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  12. “Hound – has Bowie ever fessed-up or even discussed why the Raw Power mix was so botched ?”I've never seen him speak on the subject, but his mix is way better than Iggy's awful remix…

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  13. I had a neighbor who was an engineer who worked on the Raw Power remix with Iggy. He told me that the bass and drums could not come up more in the mix because of the way they were recorded. I've read the Bowie quote somewhere about the 13 blank tracks. I have a feeling drugs were being used by all involved.

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  14. “Minor Threat maybe? Other than that, not too much.”I never understood straight edge, too many rules…isn't rock'n'roll about getting rid of the rules?Perhaps that's just my age showing, I was already in my early 20's when hardcore started and was way too old for it. If we count alcohol as a drug (and why shouldn't we, it's one of the best), we have to take it pretty far back—I was thinking the Carter Family probably didn't take many drugs during their sessions, and there were probably some great gospel groups who abstained—the Sensational Nightingales? The Dixie Hummingbirds? Blind Willie Johnson? The Ward Singers?

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  15. I think the straight edge crowd are just trying to be pure about making their art. And less commercial too. I'm guessing they think that drugs and alcohol are crutch like and hinders their expression. At least that's what I read from their meanings. Take that however you like,it's not a bad thing…

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  16. Returning to Raw Power for a second, who was it tinkling along on the keyboards in the background ? Those few notes are one of my favorite parts of the song.

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  17. It was probably Bowie on the album, but for the tours that followed it was Bob Sheff (aka Blue Gene Tyranny) and then Scott Thurston, who later got a 'straight job' playing with Tom Petty's Heartbreakers.

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  18. Minor Threat Out of Step (with the World) Lyrics:Don't smokeDon't drinkDon't fuckAt least I canfucking think…think about what?

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  19. So, have their been any grey-area reissues of the original Raw Power mix to cd? I would imagine so, though I've never come across them…I'm interested in picking up the SD reish of Raw Power. I'm a relative youngster here probably (29) and picked up a vinyl “reissue” of RP over ten years ago. It was purchased post-Iggy remix, but doesn't sound like the CD and so I always assumed it was a straight dupe of the o.g. mix, though probably not from the master tapes (or not?). I'm sure that latter day vinyl reishes are small potatoes to ya'll, but I guess I want to know if you think this (ca. 98 'Columbia' lp) copy is a worthy enuff disc for me to believe that I've heard the genuine article.Love this blog, btw. As a teen I'd ride around in my folk's car listening to tapes of the Hound that I'd pilfered from my dad on the way to pick up my girlfriend or go skateboarding. So, I'm sure that you are somewhat to blame for perverting my musical sensibilities at such a young age (along with the Cramps and terrible American hardcore most of which I can't stomach anymore!) Cheers!

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  20. “'m interested in picking up the SD reish of Raw Power. I'm a relative youngster here probably (29) and picked up a vinyl “reissue” of RP over ten years ago. It was purchased post-Iggy remix, but doesn't sound like the CD and so I always assumed it was a straight dupe of the o.g. mix, though probably not from the master tapes (or not?).”Since Sundazed owner Bob Irwin does a lot of remastering work for Sony, I assumed their re-issue of Raw Power is from the best possible sources, I don't have a copy (I stocked up on US, UK and Dutch pressings by the dozens back in the 70's) but I did buy the 45 of S&D b/w Penetration and it sounds exactly like my original stock copy, i fact it sounds a little better. I think you can buy the Sundazed pressing of Raw Power knowing you're getting the best possible sound quality possible, although if you're going to wait and buy the Deluxe box the first CD is the exact same mix, and it sounds fine, in fact they probably used the same sources as Sundazed.

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  21. thanks for the info Hound. yes, we're ready to buy. Speaking of 'straight edge' I could do without the essay by Hank Rollins however — hope he doesn't mention his tattoo. signed, super sucker Stooges fans everywhere

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  22. Worked on the current reissue. Got to listen to the basic tracks. It's 16 track. They used about 10 for the basics and a few more for overdubs. The performances are quite consistent. There is nothing wrong with the recording of the bass and drums. My associate was deeply involved with Iggy's remix and its digital distortion. Makes him cringe.

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  23. ” There is nothing wrong with the recording of the bass and drums. “That's quite depressing, in all these years somebody with ears couldn't just turn the bass and drums up so they're audible (and leave the guitars and vocals the way the are on the original Bowie mix). It sounds so simple, it'll probably happen the day after I die…

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  24. The only way to put an end to the Raw Power controversy is release the basic tracks.Let the people do their own Raw Power mixes!

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  25. Hallo, Ich haben eben Eure Internetseite besucht und nutzen sogleich die Gelegenheit,euch auch einen Gruß aus Deutschland in Eurem Gästebuch zu hinterlassen. P.S. Kommt uns doch auch mal besuchen

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  26. I do not agree that 'Hey Peter' is the Stooges sounding like an ordinary rock band. I heard it on youtube. It's a really wild and tough track, powerful and vibrant. It's another basic rock'n roll taken to extreme track, like Raw Power or Shake Appeal.

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  27. Nice I traded a copy of that cassette (I still have the original, which I've since digitized) to Greg Shaw in return for what turned out to be a Z-rate quality in terms of sound and set-length live recording of the MC5 and learned a valuable life lesson in process… thanks

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  28. I think the newness, difference, the color of the San artists. Artists express feelings tend to make the show successful, so the artist is the person who does not stop with that.Thanks,

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  29. I have pledged to simply enjoy it for what it is, one of the greatest rock'n'roll albums ever made. So as far as the three cd's worth of music here's what you get for your money

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  30. Worked on the current reissue. Got to listen to the basic tracks. It's 16 track. They used about 10 for the basics and a few more for overdubs. The performances are quite consistent. There is nothing wrong with the recording of the bass and drums.My associate was deeply involved with Iggy's remix and its digital distortion. Makes him cringe.SARONG

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