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The Stooges

During the psychedelic haze of the late '60s, the grimy, noisy and relentlessly bleak rock & roll of the Stoogeswasconspicuously 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 theircuefrom the over-amplified pounding of British blues,the primal raunch of American garage rock, and the psychedelic rock (aswellas the audience-baiting) of the Doors, the Stooges were raw,immediate, and vulgar. Iggy Pop became notoriousforpe ...read more

During the psychedelic haze of the late '60s, the grimy, noisy and relentlessly bleak rock & roll of the Stoogeswasconspicuously 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 theircuefrom the over-amplified pounding of British blues,the primal raunch of American garage rock, and the psychedelic rock (aswellas the audience-baiting) of the Doors, the Stooges were raw,immediate, and vulgar. Iggy Pop became notoriousforperforming smeared in blood or peanut butter and diving into the audience. Ron andScott Asheton formed aridiculouslyprimitive rhythm section, pounding out chords with no finesse -- in essence, the Stooges were the firstrock & rollbandcompletely 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.Followingthree albums, theStooges disbanded, but the group's legacy grew over the next two decades, as legions ofundergroundbands used their sludgy grind as afoundation for a variety of indie rock styles, and as Iggy Pop became a popculture icon.

After playing in several local bands in Ann Arbor, MI, including the blues band the Prime Movers and the Iguanas, IggyPop(born JamesOsterberg) formed the Stooges in 1967 after witnessing a Doors concert in Chicago. Adopting the nameIggyStooge, he rounded upbrothers Ron and Scott Asheton (guitar and drums, respectively) and bassist Dave Alexander, andthegroup debuted at a Halloweenconcert at the University of Michigan student union in 1967. For the next year, thegroupplayed the Midwest relentlessly, earning areputation for their wild, primitive performances, which were largely reviled.Inparticular, Iggy gained attention for his bizarre on-stagebehavior. Performing shirtless, he would smear steaks andpeanutbutter on his body, cut himself with glass, and dive into the audience. TheStooges were infamous, not famous -- whiletheyhad a rabidly devoted core audience, even more people detested their shock tactics.Nevertheless, the group lucked intoamajor-label record contract in 1968 when an Elektra talent scout went to Detroit to see the MC5 andwound up signingtheiropening act, the Stooges, as well.

Produced by John Cale, the Stooges' primitive eponymous debut was released in 1969, and while it generated someattentionin theunderground press, it barely sold any copies. As the band prepared to record their second album, everymember sankdeeper into substanceabuse, and their excess eventually surfaced in their concerts, not only through Iggy'santics, but alsoin the fact that the band could barelykeep a simple, two-chord riff afloat. Fun House, an atonal barrage ofavant-noise,appeared in 1970 and, if it was even noticed, it earnedgenerally negative reviews and sold even fewer copiesthan the debut.Following the release of Fun House, the Stooges essentiallydisintegrated, as Iggy sank into heroin addiction.At first, he didtry to keep the Stooges afloat. Dave Alexander left the band and after aspell in which Zeke Zettner and thenJames Reccatook his place, Ron Asheton moved to bass as James Williamson joined as guitarist, butthis incarnation wasn'table to land arecord deal, despite recording a handful of demos. For the next two years, the band was in limbo asIggyweaned himself offheroin and worked various odd jobs. Early in 1972, Pop happened to run into David Bowie, then at theheight of hisZiggyStardust popularity. Bowie made it his mission to resuscitate Iggy & the Stooges, as the band was nowbilled. With Bowie'shelp, theStooges landed a management deal and a contract with Columbia, and he took control of theproduction of thegroup's third album, RawPower. Released in 1973 to surprisingly strong reviews, Raw Power had a weird, thinmix due tovarious technical problems. Although thiswould be the cause of much controversy later on -- many Stooges puristsblamedBowie for the brittle mix -- its razor-thin sound helpedkick. start the punk revolution. At the time, however, RawPowerflopped, essentially bringing the Stooges' career to a halt, with the band'sdisastrous final gig captured on the livealbumMetallic K.O.

In 1976, Bowie once again came to Iggy's rescue, helping him establish himself as a solo act by producing the albumsTheIdiot and Lustfor Life and playing keyboards in Iggy's road band. In time, Iggy established an international following as oneofrock's great renegades, butthe other Stooges didn't fare quite as well. Dave Alexander died of pneumonia in 1975,aggravatedby an inflamed pancreas. JamesWilliamson returned to Iggy's circle as a songwriter and producer on the albumsNew Values(1979) and Soldier (1980), but in the 1980she dropped out of music and began a successful career in electronics.RonAsheton and Scott Asheton launched a band called the NewOrder (no relation to the successful British group), but itdidn'tfare well and soon split up. In 1981, Ron Asheton was recruited to join NewRace, a short-lived side project formed byRadioBirdman guitarist Deniz Tek which also featured MC5 drummer Dennis Thompson and RadioBirdman alumni Rob YoungerandWarwick Gilbert. However, the group (as intended) split after a single Australian tour and album. Afterreturning toMichigan,Ron gigged periodically with Destroy All Monsters and Dark Carnival, acted in a handful of low-budget films, andin1998 herecorded with the ad hoc band Wylde Ratttz, featuring Thurston Moore and Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth, Mark ArmfromMudhoney,and Mike Watt, ex-Minutemen and fIREHOSE. Wylde Ratttz's cover of "TV Eye" appeared on the soundtrack ofthefilm Velvet Goldmine, butthe group's album remains unreleased. Following the Stooges breakup, Scott Asheton played withafew local groups in Detroit before joiningSonic's Rendezvous Band in 1974, with Fred "Sonic" Smith of the MC5, ScottMorganof the Rationals, and Gary Rasmussen of the Up; theband earned a potent reputation as a live act, but record labelswerewary 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 ofStoogesclassics from thegroup's first two albums. The show's were enthusiastically received, especially in Europe, and wordgot backto Iggy Pop, who had beentalking with Ron Asheton on and off for several years about a possible Stooges reunion. In2003,Iggy was recording the album Skull Ring,which featured contributions from a number of noteworthy bands, and hedecided toadd the Stooges to the roster; the Asheton brothersbacked Iggy on four cuts (with Ron handling both guitar andbass), andon April 27, 2003, the Stooges played their first concert in 30 yearsat California's Coachella festival, with MikeWatt sitting infor the late Dave Alexander. The reunited Stooges began hitting the road on asemi-regular basis for the nextthree years,playing major festivals in Europe and the United States, and in the fall of 2006 the groupentered Electrical AudioStudio inChicago, IL, with engineer Steve Albini to record The Weirdness, an album culled from 22 new songswritten by Popand theAshetons. The Weirdness was released in March 2007, followed by a major world tour. « hide

Similar Bands: Iggy Pop, MC5, Sonic's Rendezvous Band

LPs
Ready To Die
04/29/2013

3
70 Votes
The Weirdness
2007

2.1
131 Votes
Raw Power
1973

4.4
676 Votes
Fun House
1970

4.5
632 Votes
The Stooges
1969

4.1
510 Votes
Live Albums
Raw Power Live: In The Hands Of The Fans
2011

4
3 Votes
Have Some Fun: Live At Unganos
2010

4.4
6 Votes
Telluric Chaos
2005

3.8
6 Votes
Live In Detroit
2004

3.8
2 Votes
Open Up And Bleed
1996

3.3
2 Votes
Metallic K.O.
1976

3.7
26 Votes
Compilations
Heavy Liquid (Box Set)
2005

4.2
14 Votes
1970: The Complete Fun House Sessions
1999

3.6
4 Votes
Rough Power
1995

3.8
7 Votes

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