04-24 The Stooges stream new album
03-06 New The Stooges Song
01-06 The Stooges guitarist dies
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Punk, Hard Rock
During the psychedelic haze of the late '60s, the grimy, noisy and relentlessly bleak rock & roll of the Stooges was conspicuously out oftime. Like the Velvet Underground, the Stooges revealed the underside of sex, drugs, and rock & roll, showing all of the grime beneath themyth. The Stooges, however, weren't nearly as cerebral as the Velvets. Taking their cue from the over-amplified pounding of British blues,the primal raunch of American garage rock, and the psychedelic rock (as well as the audience-baiting) of the Doors, the Stooges were raw,immediate, and vulgar. Iggy Pop became notorious f ...read more
During the psychedelic haze of the late '60s, the grimy, noisy and relentlessly bleak rock & roll of the Stooges was conspicuously out oftime. Like the Velvet Underground, the Stooges revealed the underside of sex, drugs, and rock & roll, showing all of the grime beneath themyth. The Stooges, however, weren't nearly as cerebral as the Velvets. Taking their cue from the over-amplified pounding of British blues,the primal raunch of American garage rock, and the psychedelic rock (as well as the audience-baiting) of the Doors, the Stooges were raw,immediate, and vulgar. Iggy Pop became notorious for performing smeared in blood or peanut butter and diving into the audience. Ron andScott Asheton formed a ridiculously primitive rhythm section, pounding out chords with no finesse -- in essence, the Stooges were the firstrock & roll band completely stripped of the swinging beat that epitomized R&B and early rock & roll. During the late '60s and early '70s, thegroup was an underground sensation, yet the band was too weird, too dangerous to break into the mainstream. Following three albums, theStooges disbanded, but the group's legacy grew over the next two decades, as legions of underground bands used their sludgy grind as afoundation for a variety of indie rock styles, and as Iggy Pop became a pop culture icon.
After playing in several local bands in Ann Arbor, MI, including the blues band the Prime Movers and the Iguanas, Iggy Pop (born JamesOsterberg) formed the Stooges in 1967 after witnessing a Doors concert in Chicago. Adopting the name Iggy Stooge, he rounded upbrothers Ron and Scott Asheton (guitar and drums, respectively) and bassist Dave Alexander, and the group debuted at a Halloweenconcert at the University of Michigan student union in 1967. For the next year, the group played the Midwest relentlessly, earning areputation for their wild, primitive performances, which were largely reviled. In particular, Iggy gained attention for his bizarre on-stagebehavior. Performing shirtless, he would smear steaks and peanut butter on his body, cut himself with glass, and dive into the audience. TheStooges were infamous, not famous -- while they had a rabidly devoted core audience, even more people detested their shock tactics.Nevertheless, the group lucked into a major-label record contract in 1968 when an Elektra talent scout went to Detroit to see the MC5 andwound up signing their opening act, the Stooges, as well.
Produced by John Cale, the Stooges' primitive eponymous debut was released in 1969, and while it generated some attention in theunderground press, it barely sold any copies. As the band prepared to record their second album, every member sank deeper into substanceabuse, and their excess eventually surfaced in their concerts, not only through Iggy's antics, but also in the fact that the band could barelykeep a simple, two-chord riff afloat. Fun House, an atonal barrage of avant-noise, appeared in 1970 and, if it was even noticed, it earnedgenerally negative reviews and sold even fewer copies than the debut. Following the release of Fun House, the Stooges essentiallydisintegrated, as Iggy sank into heroin addiction. At first, he did try to keep the Stooges afloat. Dave Alexander left the band and after aspell in which Zeke Zettner and then James Recca took his place, Ron Asheton moved to bass as James Williamson joined as guitarist, butthis incarnation wasn't able to land a record deal, despite recording a handful of demos. For the next two years, the band was in limbo asIggy weaned himself off heroin and worked various odd jobs. Early in 1972, Pop happened to run into David Bowie, then at the height of hisZiggy Stardust popularity. Bowie made it his mission to resuscitate Iggy & the Stooges, as the band was now billed. With Bowie's help, theStooges landed a management deal and a contract with Columbia, and he took control of the production of the group's third album, RawPower. Released in 1973 to surprisingly strong reviews, Raw Power had a weird, thin mix due to various technical problems. Although thiswould be the cause of much controversy later on -- many Stooges purists blamed Bowie for the brittle mix -- its razor-thin sound helpedkick-start the punk revolution. At the time, however, Raw Power flopped, essentially bringing the Stooges' career to a halt, with the band'sdisastrous final gig captured on the live album Metallic K.O.
In 1976, Bowie once again came to Iggy's rescue, helping him establish himself as a solo act by producing the albums The Idiot and Lustfor Life and playing keyboards in Iggy's road band. In time, Iggy established an international following as one of rock's great renegades, butthe other Stooges didn't fare quite as well. Dave Alexander died of pneumonia in 1975, aggravated by an inflamed pancreas. JamesWilliamson returned to Iggy's circle as a songwriter and producer on the albums New Values (1979) and Soldier (1980), but in the 1980she dropped out of music and began a successful career in electronics. Ron Asheton and Scott Asheton launched a band called the NewOrder (no relation to the successful British group), but it didn't fare well and soon split up. In 1981, Ron Asheton was recruited to join NewRace, a short-lived side project formed by Radio Birdman guitarist Deniz Tek which also featured MC5 drummer Dennis Thompson and RadioBirdman alumni Rob Younger and Warwick Gilbert. However, the group (as intended) split after a single Australian tour and album. Afterreturning to Michigan, Ron gigged periodically with Destroy All Monsters and Dark Carnival, acted in a handful of low-budget films, and in1998 he recorded with the ad hoc band Wylde Ratttz, featuring Thurston Moore and Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth, Mark Arm from Mudhoney,and Mike Watt, ex-Minutemen and fIREHOSE. Wylde Ratttz's cover of "TV Eye" appeared on the soundtrack of the film Velvet Goldmine, butthe group's album remains unreleased. Following the Stooges breakup, Scott Asheton played with a few local groups in Detroit before joiningSonic's Rendezvous Band in 1974, with Fred "Sonic" Smith of the MC5, Scott Morgan of the Rationals, and Gary Rasmussen of the Up; theband earned a potent reputation as a live act, but record labels were wary and the group slowly faded out by the end of the decade.
In 2002, Ron Asheton and Scott Asheton joined J Mascis + the Fog for a tour in which they performed a handful of Stooges classics from thegroup's first two albums. The show's were enthusiastically received, especially in Europe, and word got back to Iggy Pop, who had beentalking with Ron Asheton on and off for several years about a possible Stooges reunion. In 2003, Iggy was recording the album Skull Ring,which featured contributions from a number of noteworthy bands, and he decided to add the Stooges to the roster; the Asheton brothersbacked Iggy on four cuts (with Ron handling both guitar and bass), and on April 27, 2003, the Stooges played their first concert in 30 yearsat California's Coachella festival, with Mike Watt sitting in for the late Dave Alexander. The reunited Stooges began hitting the road on asemi-regular basis for the next three years, playing major festivals in Europe and the United States, and in the fall of 2006 the groupentered Electrical Audio Studio in Chicago, IL, with engineer Steve Albini to record The Weirdness, an album culled from 22 new songswritten by Pop and the Ashetons. The Weirdness was released in March 2007, followed by a major world tour. « hide
Similar Bands: Iggy Pop, MC5, Ron Asheton
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