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The Stooges
The Stooges & Funhouse

Review By Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
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The Stooges The Stooges & Funhouse

CD Label: Rhino

 

  Iggy Pop is like a cockroach, you just cannot kill him. It seems like has been around since the beginning of time, as if he was some kind of alien transported here form a wormhole. Every time someone implies that better days are behind him, he comes back spitting and sneering with vengeance, proving them all wrong.

Iggy Stooge (vocals), Ron Asheton (guitar), Dave Alexander (bass) and Scott Asheton (drums) where the progenitors of punk rock. We all know this is punk rock 101 and Iggy Stooge would morph into Iggy Pop and turn the music world upside down. Back in the day, this band had no respect from anyone. So many people were dead wrong about them. They were misjudged, and the importance and impact of this music would become known shortly after its release. Even the popularity of an event like Woodstock could not deter Iggy and the boys, they trudged ahead merrily and became the legends they are today, releasing there self-titled album The Stooges in 1969 and their follow up Funhouse the following year. There is no denying Iggy; he knew exactly what he was doing by gathering a bunch of misguided raw youth together. That prototypical energy was the first ingredient in making this whole thing happen, learning how to play their instruments was secondary.

The liner notes illustrate all of this perfectly on both releases. A disc jockey in Michigan was putting the band down and thought playing "I Wanna Be Your Dog" would prove his point that The Stooges had no talent. After playing one song the DJ came back on the air and apologized, following his nod to the band, he went on to say this was the best album he ever heard and promptly played the entire thing! More fools would voice the same sentiments only to find themselves buried in the disgrace of their own words with one triumph after another by the band. I have to admit when I first heard Iggy back in the 70's I laughed and thought he sucked, I was listening to Raw Power with a friend. I was so wrong and obviously uniformed, not to mention stuck in my narrow-minded youth.

Here we are in 2005, The Stooges have reunited, and these two classic albums are rockin' our world again remastered and repackaged with additional discs of rarities and outtakes complete with informative booklets and archive photos. Possibly, for the first time we can clearly realize, hear, and understand how vital this music was and still is. When I put on The Stooges I nearly fell of my chair, the sound is superb! When "1969" kicks into overdrive, it is incredible. This music sounds so fresh and relevant, as if Iggy and the band just stepped out of the studio and released it a week ago. It is truly amazing how great this album is. I have copies of both albums and I did not feel like I do now about this music. Because of the fine work of Rhino with the remastering process, this music slaps you up side the head immediately and makes you pay attention. I loved these albums previously but now it has moved to entirely different level, this is sacrilegious. Iggy and The Stooges are the genesis of punk and metal-they come from the place where it all began, seemingly like an alternative universe now. Even hearing more than one version of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and "No Fun" sound great no matter how many times you hear them. Ron Asheton played a grimy, searing lead inflected with fuzz and the blues that brought every song to a boil. In live performances, Iggy was right there along side Asheton, writhing around on the stage floor, jumping, and screaming, sapping the audience of every drop of energy they had, as if he had everyone under a spell.

Funhouse picked up where The Stooges left and they added Steven McKay on saxophones to compliment their already full sound. The album, referred to in the liner notes as instant mayhem, seems like an appropriate description. On tracks like "L.A. Blues" they sounded like a fusion band gone awry, their acid influenced cacophony was far ahead of its time. Many have heralded this album as the definitive Stooges release. They still managed to maintain their tough sound and energetic edge with the rest of the tracks, standouts being the title track, "TV Eye," and "Loose," which is repeated no less than three times on the bonus disc. I must reiterate that it is all good stuff, no matter how many times you hear it. I could go on forever how great this music is, how it has shown every rocker they way since, but those of you that are familiar with the history of Iggy already know that. Keep rockin' Iggy we love ya. 

 

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