The Stooges- Triumph Of The Will

Ron Asheton takes aim, 1995 (photo by Gillian McCain)

Iggy Pop– “We Won!”

Stooges: Alive & Dead: Scott Asheton, Iggy Pop, Ron Asheton, Zeke Zettner, Bill Cheetam, 1971. (Photo by Peter Hujar).
We went over to Danny Fields’ apartment to watch the Stooges get inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall Of Blowhards, a few thoughts on the subject:
* It was nice that Iggy gave a shout out to Danny Fields (the cheap pricks who run the thing wouldn’t give Danny a free invite). Danny had to tell Iggy before hand not to mention his last name as whenever he gets mentioned in full, his name gets beeped out. I guess somebody up there doesn’t like him.
Proof positive he’s the coolest guy in the world.
*It was great to see Kathy Asheton in the audience, I hope she got a free ticket!
* It was very cool that all four dead Stooges were mentioned– Ron Asheton, Dave Alexander, Tommy “Zeke” Zettner and Bill Cheetam.
* It was also nice to that the little twerp doing the inducting gave a shout out to Please Kill Me (Gillian McCain & Legs McNeil, Grove Press, 1996), still the book with the best Stooges stories.
* They sounded fantastic! It was a first for that particular line-up– Scott Thurston was back in the piano slot for the night, I don’t think he’s ever been onstage with Steve McKay and Mike Watt before. I’ve never heard Williamson play I Wanna Be Your Dog before, and he did a fantastic job, a real tribute to Ron Asheton’s style.
* There was one short piece of film footage in the introductory montage I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. I hope it’s included in its entirety on the “Making Of Raw Power” DVD that comes with the Raw Power Deluxe box (release date: April 15th). You can read my thoughts on the Raw Power box from last months entry here.
* More Stooges rarities on the way. Rhino Handmade has the first Stooges LP with more alternate takes and the never heard before tune Asthma Attack on its release schedule. Twenty six tracks in all! Can’t wait!
* Write to Rhino Handmade and demand they release the Stooges Live at Ugano’s tape that they purchased last year!
* I loved Iggy’s comments to the audience! What a dead assed, lame crowd that was.
* The first half hour of the show was taken up by a band called Phish, whom I’ve never heard before. They are without a doubt the worst and ugliest excuse for a rock band I’ve ever seen.
I wanted Rock Action to push that singer’s smarmy, chinless, face through a glass door!
* If you’ve been hiding under a rock, the 4 CD set You Want My Action, which consists of four live sets of the late ’71 Stooges line up (Iggy, the Asheton brothers, James Williamson and Jimmy Recca) is a must have, even though the sound quality isn’t so great. It’s still a great package done by a class label, and the music is fantastic, including many tunes never heard before in any form. My posting on the subject from last October can be found here.
* Iggy should run for president.
ADDENDUM: More death. Here’s Richard Williams obit for Charlie Gillett from today’s Guardian, author of The Sound Of The City (The Rise Of Rock’n’Roll) the first really great book on the subject and host of many BBC radio shows. He will be missed. As will Alex Chilton about whom I don’t have much to say, I didn’t know him really well but we always got along, and had some fun together, until small town politics forced us into opposing corners of New Orleans small social world. I’ve always loved Big Star’s Sister Lovers and parts of Flies On Sherbert. The last conversation I had with him he was raving about how great Avril Levine is.
I think he enjoyed being perverse.
Here’s Alex’s obituary from the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Alex was paid tribute from the floor of the House Of Representatives today, you can watch the C-Span tape of it here.

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?
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