Today I got a near unplayed 1st pressing of Fun House, perhaps the biggest item ever on my wishlist. This band means a lot to me as they were the first non-radio band I knew and were one of the main ignition points for me collecting music. This album is the greatest album by my favorite punk band, perfectly capturing their live sound in a studio environment. 36 minutes of pure chaos that influenced countless classic bands in its wake, still as fresh and shocking as it must have been over 50 years ago.
There are a lot of people who aren’t gonna like me because of this, but I’ve got my ticket in hand, I’m boarding the train to wherever it takes me, and I’ll be waving from my window at all those giving me the finger as I roll by. So, having said that, let’s get started.
I don’t like Iggy or Iggy and The Stooges, a band that somehow got themselves deemed cool by the press, the later press, as if Iggy and The Stooges where the sacred cows, the godfathers of punk and raw music, when nothing could be further from the truth. Iggy will boast himself of being a reaction to the flower power hippy generation of love and peace, where Scott McKenzie would lead you down the psychedelic avenue of gentleness. And it seems that if one says something enough, or gets repeatedly quoted, then the population at large is gonna say, “Yeah, I remember it that way too.” Trouble is, those people don’t remember, and most of those who claim that they do, weren’t really there to begin with anyway. And then there were those who will try to convince you that Iggy and The Stooges were overlooked at the time this album came out, and again, the truth is, there were hundreds, if not thousands of bands who were overlooked or considered third tier, only to be recognized later, when time filtered out and spotlighted those who where still standing. Iggy has gone on to say that he hated Led Zeppelin, but Led Zeppelin, Blue Cheer, and Grand Funk Railroad kicked ass with their raw power and loudness ... meaning that the music of Iggy and The Stooges didn’t sound that much different than other bands of the time, bands who wrote solid songs, knew how to play their instruments, and weren’t always crashing to the floor just prior to a show, or worse, in mid-set on drug induced overdoses.
There are only so many bands who can become popular, and the rest are overlooked. Understanding this, what Iggy later did was to lace himself to the coattails of the likes of David Bowie, Lou Reed, Kate Pierson of The B52, and a handful of others to give himself credibility. But I digress ...
There are nerds in any genre, but being a nerd of an overlooked or under appreciated genre tends to make one a hipster of sorts, where they can claim that they get and understand what so many others are unable to see or hear. These people will claim that “Funhouse” is a treasured raw down and dirty record, which is complete and utter nonsense. Just go back and listen to early Deep Purple, and you’ll hear an album that far more exciting and more rousing than “Funhouse” ... but people find pleasure in being elitists, and if that’s their bag, I would certainly tell them to run with it, to convince anyone of their thoughts, but don’t try it on me, because I was there then, hearing Uriah Heep and Black Sabbath leaving “Funhouse” to eat their dust.
Which brings us back to my initial concept ... asking why Iggy and The Stooges are placed on such a high pedestal. The answer is rather simple and straight forward, “There is no good reason, none at all,” they’ve just been deemed cool by the press. Yeah, I know, I know, Iggy and The Stooges were misunderstood, but they weren’t, they just weren’t that good compared to the music of the time, and it wasn’t until punk came along with half baked and half rate musicians, reacting to something they couldn’t dream of doing, that Iggy and The Stooges somehow climbed out of the peanut butter jar and were held in high esteem ... leaving real punks, punks with talent such as Social Distortion, who progressed and moved their sound forward, to eat the dust of a group of guys who had nothing to begin with, and then capitalized on that for all time to come.
Now I’m not saying that “Funhouse” and other Stooges albums aren’t good ... what I’m saying is that Stooges albums are matter of factly just good, average, displaying bits and pieces of what others have done so much fuckin’ better.
the shape of music to come, the blueprint for future visions of difference, primitive avantgarde misfits. Different dystopian worlds (into the groove), Free jazz and techno and the corpse of rock'n'roll. Electri(city)?