Today, the image associated with the word ‘punk’ is nothing more than a stupid label that gossipy kids talk about in between classes in school. It is the image of torn, dirty clothes, rugged black tee shirts, chains, Mohawks, and a life on the street has been replaced with Vans brand shoes, shorts that are worn so far below the actual waistline that it is almost obscene, and 20 year old guys whining with a guitar in their hands. And who runs this image of so called ‘punk’" None other than rich Caucasian kids that live in half a million dollar homes in the safest neighborhood in the tri state area. Kind of funny, because my town epitomizes that horrid display of stupid teenagers screaming ‘anarchy!’ just because they think it will make them look cooler. Punk was only a soundtrack to a lifestyle of grime and crime. And chances are, that lifestyle doesn’t come from a rich, all white neighborhood. These people have taken the true spirit of punk music and locked it up in a sepulcher. And the truth of the matter is, that even I know this, and I don’t even care for the genre.
But back in 1969, punk was not even birthed yet. It might not have been in its nihilistic form, but the spirit existed in many bands. And where those bands came from, was none other than the Motor City- Detroit, Michigan. The Stooges, led by incendiary frontman, Iggy Pop, were truly the prototype of the punk genre. They brought all the dirt, grime, and the dark truth of rock n roll into the front of their music, and the anger only propelled them further into showcasing the revolting edge of rock. They released their self titled debut, and scored- Big, too. But what arguably turned them into deities was their 1970 release, Fun House. A take no prisoners approach, as well as the loudest, most distorted blues rock, made them look like the punks of the explosion, only earlier. Fun House was way ahead of its time, and for good reason. But even if Fun House idolized them, and their debut was raw, nothing was as filthy as their third release, and arguably their best. The sound was as badass as the name- Raw Power. And what came off that disc was nothing more than an uncontaminated spontaneous combustion of raw, punk energy.Nothing was more blatant in showing their aggressive sound than the album's opener, "Search and Destroy". Arguably the best guitar work, and most vigorous track on Raw Power, Iggy Pop leads it with his raspy, gritty voice and supernatural persona. Most definitely a guitar driven track, the playing might seem a little too good for punk. While most punks out there go for energy and feeling rather than chops, this song might just prove that all those snotty little ***s out there can play just as good as any other complacent, non anarchist guitar player can. And the sound; well let’s just say its probably louder than most other punks can accomplish, and more distorted. Obviously, the grind of this guitar tone is far more untamed than some other, polished guitar tones out there. 'Gimme Danger' was more intrepid than anything the Sex Pistols would ever consider writing. Guitarist Ron Asheton hands in his grinding electric guitar in exchange for a grooving acoustic guitar. The mild drum beat and what sounds like a mellotron keyboard, or maybe an electric piano are a wondrous addition to the more eclectic choruses and Iggy's down and dirty vocals. His voice is much lower than on ‘Search And Destroy’ which is ultimately his signature sound. Add some bluesy electric guitar leads, and moaning, and you’ve got one helluva tune.
d4t b3 t3h r0X0rZ!!!one!!!eleven!!
On Raw Power, Iggy Pop's voice is orgasmic, especially during the loudest climaxes on this earsplitting record. Sounding like Roger Daltrey with bronchitis, Iggy Pop is hostile and belligerent, hitting both highs and lows with aplomb, whilst throwing in the bravado of the punk explosion. Ron Asheton's guitar is more distorted and grinding than even the heaviest of the European metalheads. For the most part, nothing is too unique on the skins, sticking to a primitive beat the whole time. Dave Alexander's bass playing is much less ostensible than on Fun House, but you can feel his nimble-fingered rumble from time to time. But while all these things are obligatory for loud music to exist, you'll notice that The Stooges' musical and lyrical approach on Raw Power is much more audacious than anything else that sounds remotely similar. Some stuff grooves with bluesy downbeats (Penetration, I Need Somebody, Gimme Danger) , and other songs blaze through at a raucous, volatile pace (Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell, Raw Power, Search and Destroy, Death Trip). Either way, most of the songs follow an akin structure, and same pattern, but doesn't bore you to your untimely death. How much of it you can take, though, is up to you.