Posts Tagged ‘Iggy Pop’

Bill Callahan and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy‘s collab-a-thon continues and this week’s cover is Iggy Pop’s “I Want to Go to the Beach.” The original, from Iggy’s 2009 album Preliminaires, was a sombre, piano-led affair, but the Bills make it decidedly more beachy. The musical direction this week comes courtesy of Cooper Crain, who you may know from Cave, Bitchin Bajas and other Chicago groups. The arrangement is reggae / dub, but in an off-kilter, noirish sort of way that fits lyrics like “Waiting, hating the shit life throws my way / Hating, waiting to make my escape.” Listen below.

Who dares to break Iggy’s Jah? Pop’s 2009 cabaret jazz project yielded this perfect song, “I Want To Go To The Beach” a predictably improbable contribution to the beach song oeuvre. The noirish resignation of Iggy’s original modulates bouncily into Cooper Crain’s post-dub version, a beat that draws epic crosstalk out of all the Bill Callahan and Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s (way) out there in space.

Last week was a Drag City all-stars event with the Bills covering Silver Jews’ “The Wild Kindness” with Cassie Berman, David Pajo, Haley Fohr (Circuit des Yeux), Meg Baird, and Matt Sweeney

Iggy & The Stooges - Raw Power

The Stooges released their classic third studio album, “Raw Power”, on this day in 1973. As one of the first punk albums, Raw Power didn’t initially find a audience to appreciate it until years after, but it’s now considered an integral part of both the rock and punk canons.

The Iggy Pop and David Bowie-produced Raw Power possessed the kind of playful, dangerous smirk, take no prisoners attitude and fiery energy that made it hard to resist. Tracks like “Search and Destroy” and “Gimme Danger” were marked by pumping guitars and Iggy Pop’s grimy, snarling vocals, and though many tend to classify this LP as a garage rock album or punk rock forerunner, it’s also been cited as a major influence on heavy metal and hard rock.

“Raw Power” is a total absolution. For 34 minutes, Iggy Pop pummels you with unadulterated human rage, painting the loudest and most succinct portrait in his career. It’s the voice of an uncontrollable artist, one who’s fighting a brutal war against rejection and addiction, and it’s through that fight that he went on to define himself to the world. Because, at this point in his career, very few people outside of soothsayer David Bowie believed in the Detroit rock ‘n’ roll statesman. Though, that miserable sense of marginalization is what wound up fueling the album, starting with the nuclear opening salvo of “Search and Destroy” and ending with the napalm drop of six-minute closer “Death Trip”. By then, everyone who was anyone was listening.

If ever an album was wholly encapsulated by its title, it’s The Stooges’ incendiary third album, “Raw Power”. Released in 1973, it set the bar for a wave of punk bands to try and, in most cases, fail to eclipse. It remains one of the most visceral, electrifying pieces of musical savagery you’ll ever hear. And as its chief creator James Newell Osterberg Jr, aka Iggy Pop, recalls: “It was done with drugs, youth, attitude and a record collection”.

Playing the Keef to Iggy’s Mick was a guitarist whose influence is threaded inexorably through the development of punk rock, James Williamson. Sex Pistol Steve Jones famously admitted he learnt to play by taking speed and listening to “Raw Power”. Johnny Marr said of Williamson: “He has the technical ability of Jimmy Page without being as studious, and the swagger of Keith Richards without being sloppy. He’s both demonic and intellectual, almost how you would imagine Darth Vader to sound if he was in a band.”

“As a guitarist, James fills the space as if somebody’s just let a drug dog into your house… and it’s big,” is how Iggy describes his bandmate’s playing. “He finds every corner of a musical premise and fills it up with detail.”

Born in Texas, Williamson joined The Stooges in 1970 aged 19, initially as second guitarist, before Ron Asheton switched reluctantly to bass. His raw, bluesy style was instrumental in Raw Power having a harder edge and more adrenal tempo than predecessor Funhouse, and he co-wrote all eight songs – much to the chagrin of Asheton, who felt he’d been usurped. Throughout the narcotic mayhem of the Raw Power sessions, Williamson played a Cherry Red Les Paul Custom that Iggy had encouraged him to trade in an SG and Jaguar to buy. Plugged into a cranked Vox AC30, it sounded like… well, raw power.

By the time the Michigan band regrouped in England to record Raw Power they’d already hit rock bottom, splitting in 1971 due to a combination of Iggy’s voracious appetite for heroin, extreme poverty, dangerously violent gigs and the lukewarm response to their first two albums. David Bowie came to the rescue, finding Iggy a label and management deal and setting up the recording sessions in London.

Iggy may have overdosed and been out cold for 14 hours at one point while writing the lyrics for Raw Power, but how about Search And Destroy’s “I’m a streetwalking cheetah with a hide full of napalm, I’m a runaway son of a nuclear A-bomb” for an opening couplet? And the frantic lead playing from Williamson, based around the C♯ minor pentatonic scale, is nothing short of blistering, the song a furious rallying cry for the anti-Vietnam war movement.

You can hear the influence of Chuck Berry on Williamson’s rock-solid rhythm and histrionic soloing on Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell, while the heroin horrors of the title track and the swaggering Shake Appeal also have their roots firmly in 50s rock’n’roll, the latter enabling Pop to “get to my dream of being Little Richard for a minute”.

Gimme Danger, with Williamson’s menacing acoustic riff in E♭ tuning, is there to fulfil the label’s demand for a ballad on each side of the album. As slow songs go, it’s pretty demonic, simmering with sexual tension as Iggy broods, “there’s nothing left alive but a pair of glassy eyes” before careering into the bloodthirsty chorus, Williamson’s lead playing and an insistent piano tangling lustily before the guitar wins out with a corking solo.

Iggy & The Stooges

The album’s other ballad is the Doors-esque “I Need Somebody”, a moody blues vamp in G written on an acoustic guitar by Williamson. Iggy thought it sounded like the inside of “a bordello” and his celesta part is a seductive counterpoint. Williamson’s final flourish comes as his virtuosic yet barbarous soloing envelopes the six-minute closer Death Trip, the album’s longest track.

Recording and mixing Raw Power was a suitably shambolic affair, with at least one member of the band by that point lucky to be alive. Unlike the first two Stooges albums, it was self-produced, resulting in a clueless Iggy mixing the whole band on one channel, the lead guitar on another and his vocals on a third of the 24-track desk. Handing the tapes to Bowie to sort out was the ultimate hospital pass. “He said ‘See what you can do with this’,” Bowie later recalled. “I said, ‘Jim, there’s nothing to mix’.” As Williamson remembers, “The fact of the matter is, when we made Raw Power, we really didn’t know what we were doing.”

In the circumstances, Bowie did a commendable job. Among his tweaks was feeding the guitar track on Gimme Danger through the Cooper Time Cube, a garden-hose based delay unit devised two years earlier, and of the several mixes of the album, Bowie’s is still widely regarded as the definitive version. Iggy was finally given the opportunity for some closure when he was invited to remix the album at New York’s Sony Music Studios in 1996, modern studio technology and all. While that incarnation has been dubbed “the loudest album ever made”, with every fader pushed deep into the red, it did little to halt the arguments, with Williamson complaining it “sucked” and Bowie saying his version had more “wound-up ferocity and chaos”.

Raw Power was a commercial flop, peaking at 182 in the Billboard Chart, but the reviews were positive, Lenny Kaye praising the “ongoing swirl of sound that virtually drags you into the speakers”. It didn’t stop Iggy being dropped by both his label and management company, but the record’s legend has grown exponentially over the years. Kurt Cobain said Raw Power was his favourite album of all time, British rock critic Nick Kent called it “the greatest, meanest-eyed, coldest-blooded hard rock tour de force ever summoned up in a recording studio” and Ted Maider of Consequence Of Sound “by far the most important punk record ever”.

In 1973, Iggy Pop may have been, unjustly, the world’s forgotten boy, but today The Stooges’ influence looms large over a generation of guitar bands. When a topless Iggy and the surviving Stooges tore wantonly through Search And Destroy at their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, it felt like long-overdue recognition of the ultimate rock’n’roll album. “Raw Power” indeed.

Iggy And The Stooges, Raw Power (1973, Columbia Records)

  • Iggy Pop, vocals, celesta, piano
  • James Williamson, guitar
  • Ron Asheton, bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Scott Asheton, drums

In 1969, The Stooges were a truth serum, forcing hippiedom to belch up the reality that flowers and hope had become just another guise for hucksters and snake-oil salesmen to take advantage of the naïve. By 1973, however, The Stooges were no longer the mirror to an era’s hypocrisy. They were the representatives par excellence of desiccated overindulgence and self-destruction. Too many bad shows, too many blatantly underage groupies, too much booze, too high — way too high. While The Stooges’ noise-rotted nihilism, originality, and underrated musicianship have ensured their longevity, the final six months of the band, as captured on Cherry Red’s new box-set, “You Think You’re Bad Man: The Road Tapes ’73 – ’74” were a squalid and chemically-warped stagger toward total collapse.

The five live shows captured are all previously released, originally licensed by Tony DeFries’ MainMan management company to record labels like Revenge, Bomp!, and Jungle during the 1980s and 1990s. However, this box-set is a very welcome tidying up exercise with good packaging and liner notes, all at a fair price. For decades, delving into the vast quantity of Stooges deep-cuts meant investing in a chaotic mishmash of compilations, so the 21st century has been wonderful in terms of labels (Easy Action in particular) bringing professional curation to the Stooges output. This Cherry Red Records compilation is a part of that positive trend, and one can only hope they get a similar grip on the many studio demos still out there.

Going on tour with the defeated, newly label-less StoogesLos Angeles to Baltimore to New York, battered and defeated to their home, Detroit—via this Cherry Red box is akin to living through the hell of the worst tour ever, driving on Highway 1 with a cheap 1965 Chevy, low on gas, with its tires on fire and an incessant burning oil smell on your clothes. The car radio? Its speakers are blown, the perfect shredded tone for repeated, wired versions of “Search and Destroy,” the gothic “Gimme Danger,” and the stammering “I Got Nothin’.” The Cherry Red collection is the sound of brain-numbing, aggressive anger and disgust at a thousand nights of self-inflicted road food, drugs, and fucks tucked into a clamshell box.

It didn’t take long for The Stooges to acquire an afterlife. They played their final show in February 1974. In May 1975, Nick Kent wrote a multi-page feature for NME on the ups and downs of Iggy Pop and Co. In September 1975, Sounds reviewed a new album by the defunct band titled “Metallic KO”. One side of it was recorded at that final show.

“I’m a tasteless little bastard and I really enjoy it,” wrote Giovanni Dadomo of the wreckage captured on the vinyl. “It’s no great rock ‘n’ roll record per se. What I do believe is that it’s an astonishing piece of documentary work, revealing as it does the face of rock ‘n’ roll that few singers/musicians would ever be rude, angry, wrecked or impolite to reveal. Sure, it’s crass, conceited and unjustifiably vulgar plus a hell of a lot of other singularly ‘unpleasant things’, but still I like it. A record that quite literally has to be heard to be believed.”

“Metallic KO” began an apparently never-ending series of post-split Stooges releases. Few are essential – like the wonderful “Live at Goose Lake” August 8th, 1970, released earlier this year. Most are for the committed or completists. An intermittently great and handy one-stop collection collating various previously issued live releases, the new “You Think You’re Bad, Man? The Road Tapes 1973-74″ is in the latter camp.

A five-CD clamshell box with a booklet (its band pics and the cover shot are from 1972, not the period of what’s heard), You Think You’re Bad, Man? includes these shows: The Whisky a Go Go, L.A., 16th September 1973; Michigan Palace, Detroit, 10th October 1973; The Latin Casino, Baltimore (despite the credit it’s probably Cherry Hill, New Jersey), November 1973, The Academy of Music, New York (supporting Blue Öyster Cult. Kiss were also on the bill), 31st December 1973; Michigan Palace, Detroit 9th February 1974. The two Michigan Palace were filleted for Metallic KO.

It’s a bumpy ride, not just because of the spotty sound quality which ranges from a bootlegger’s “B” to “A-“. The Whisky gig is pretty tight, and its “Search and Destroy” and “Open Up and Bleed” are great; the best versions in the box. The New York show is a disorderly mess. The two Michigan Palace shows are well known, have been round the block many times and, of them, the final outing of the band is worse than a mess. The sound quality of the relatively disciplined Baltimore show is the poorest of them all, but it does have the box’s top run-through of “I Need Somebody”.

The Stooges of this period were in choppy waters. The Raw Power album had been released in February 1973 and guitarist James Williamson left in June. After a spell as a porn cinema projectionist, he returned to the band late that month with the proviso that a piano player came on board. First, that role was filled by Bob Scheff. Then, from late July, Scott Thurston joined. He appears throughout, with plinkity-plonk or barrelhouse playing which distracts. It is no fit with the band. The Stooges did not need Mrs Mills, or any piano player. Other wobbles came when the band’s management ditched them in August. Their label Columbia had already done so.

Nonetheless, there were snatches of the positive. In Raw Power’s wake the band had new songs and were clearly thinking of their future. A lot are heard on You Think You’re Bad, Man? “Open Up And Bleed” and “Head On” are the best. “Heavy Liquid” was good. “Cock in my Pocket”, “I Got Nothin’”, which prefigures The Stones’s “Fool to Cry”, and the puerile boogie rocker “Wet My Bed” are OK. The infantile, silly “Rich Bitch” is not alright. A new album could have been made. There was label interest too. In October 1973, Elton John wanted The Stooges for his Rocket Records imprint. But it all fell apart in February 1974. You Think You’re Bad, Man? is a series of bullet points in the narrative of the band’s collapse.

These are not the only post-Raw Power shows which have been released ). The 2010 Raw Power box included a scrappy October 1973 Atlanta gig with loads of the annoying piano – it was recorded off the sound desk though, so sounded fine. The 2005 Heavy Liquid set had one from Max’s in NYC from 30th July 1973 and another played in San Francisco in January 1974, as well the Whisky show.

This endless afterlife is further confirmed by another new release. Titled From K.O. To Chaos, it’s an 8-disc box set of random Iggy sniff-snaff. It includes Metallic KO on one disc, and its source shows on another two other discs – each of which is also collected on You Think You’re Bad, Man?

Although You Think You’re Bad, Man? The Road Tapes 1973-74 says nothing new, it neatly chronicles The Stooges in the wake of Raw Power’s release. The album was recorded in September and October 1972 and a year and more later, without a label and management, they had not given up. They could be dreadful. But they could also be impressive. It’s a disparity coursing through these five discs – five discs of shows which were originally never meant to be recorded and released, or even listened to.

Iggy Pop has shared a new song about the novel coronavirus. The song, called “Dirty Little Virus,” begins, “COVID-19 is on the scene.” Other lyrics include, “Grandfather’s dead/Got Trump instead,” and “She’s only 19, but she can kill ya.”

In a video about the song, Iggy Pop explained, “I was moved to write a direct lyric, not something too emotional or deep, more like journalism.” He concluded, “If there was still a Man of the Year, it would be the virus, so I wrote the lyric.” Iggy Pop co-wrote “Dirty Little Virus” with Leron Thomas, who also edited, arranged, and played trumpet on the track.

For those who need an escape, want to travel without moving and altogether keep their ears and minds open.

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Chris Berry – Drums (Home Studio)
Ari Teitel – Guitars and Bass (Home Studio)
Leron Thomas – Editing, Trumpet work and Arrangement (IMI Studios NYC)

Written by Iggy Pop and Leron Thomas

Image 1

This isn’t a reject from Raw Power. It came out in 1977 after Raw Power on the demo record released by Iggy Pop and James Williamson. This is actually the original mix of this track from the demo tape of the “Kill City” record that was sent out in the hope of getting them signed. From what I understand they sent this version out to labels, they then remixed the album when it got released as Kill City on the Bomp! label and Williamson released a remaster recently. Of the original mixes, this is one of the only tracks available to us through compilations such as this (Original Punks) and it fucking rules in my opinion.

“Down but not out, Iggy and James record lost treasure in decadent L.A.”
This current remastered edition derives from the rediscovered masters and was prepared for release by James Williamson, who again tours with the Stooges in 2010. Since the Stooges circle has been squared its only fitting that this missing link be finally, beautifully restored for posterity. – KC Press

“The sound is 100% clearer, the levels are pushed and the instruments stretch and slide at higher, bulkier levels. This is a Detroit rawk muscle record as it was meant to be heard 33 years ago. All raucous garage born out of sweat, blood and bad times.” – WNnG

Kill City is Iggy Pop and James Williamson’s often overlooked, yet ultimately essential album. Originally recorded in 1975 and later released by Bomp! in ’77, critics have long lauded the songs and performances but have also regarded the overall sound as “sludgy.” The sound quality of Kill City was compromised from the get-go, as it originally suffered from a bad pressing (on the infamous green vinyl), and over the years the quality of the record itself managed to get even worse. When the original distributor went out of business, the 2-track album production masters vanished and every subsequent pressing of the album – on record, cassette and CD – used a copy of that deficient green vinyl as its master.

Now 33 years later, here is the long overdue restored, re-mixed and remastered version of this historically important record. Producer James Williamson remixed the album with engineer Ed Cherney at Capitol Records in Hollywood, and as the guitarist states, “He just made this record sound, well, like it should have sounded all along. It has finally reached its full potential.”

I like what this album has to say.
It is rather high concept, and the music is well thought out.
It adheres to no particular genre.
A lot of people have borrowed its ideas.
It’s one of the very first independent LPs I know of.
I hope you like it.
IGGY POP

Kill City was by all measures a desperate effort, a singularly honest and heartfelt performance, a genuine progression of our song writing, and another in a long line of flops that were later resurrected and heralded as masterpieces. By the time it was released as a record, both Iggy and I were off doing other things with our lives, but with this re-release we are not only reunited in our musical endeavors but in our appreciation of this album, its remix, and its importance to us as artists.
JAMES WILLIAMSON

RESTORED, RE-MIXED & REMASTERED edition, approved for the first time by both Iggy Pop and James Williamson. New Clear Red Vinyl  Limited Edition of 150

Live at Goose Lake: August 8th 1970 (Standard Black Vinyl)

The Stooges are releasing a previously-unheard, “high-quality soundboard recording” of their original lineup’s final performance, which was recorded on August 8th, 1970, shortly before the release of their classic sophomore album Fun House, which they performed in full at this show. The new live album is called The Stooges’ Live At Goose Lake: August 8, 1970, and it comes out almost exactly 50 years after the show was performed, August 7th via Third Man Records.

The audio was “lovingly restored” by Vance Powell (The White Stripes, Chris Stapleton) and mastered by Bill Skibbe at Third Man Mastering, and the liner notes were written by Jaan Uhelzski (Creem Magazine). There’s a Rough Trade limited-edition colored vinyl variant with purple-colored vinyl and a standard LP jacket, and an indie exclusive version on cream-colored vinyl with a purple-colored vinyl and a standard LP jacket, and an indie exclusive version on cream-colored vinyl with a screen-printed LP jacket.

A press release reads:

The apocryphal tale of the Stooges performance at the Goose Lake Festival has been told countless times over the past five decades. Bassist Dave Alexander, due to nerves or overindulgence or whatever you choose to fill in the blank, absolutely spaces in front of 200,000 attendees. He does not play a single note on stage. He is summarily fired by Iggy Pop immediately following the gig. Here starts the beginning of the end of the Stooges.

But what if that simply… wasn’t the case? What if you could prove otherwise? Well, it’d be the
proto-punk equivalent of having an immediate, on-the-scene, man on the street report of all those folkies booing Dylan’s electric set at Newport in ‘65. Irrefutable evidence of what ACTUALLY went down. Found buried in the basement of a Michigan farmhouse amongst other tasty analog artifacts of the same era, the 1/4” stereo two-track tape of the Stooges complete performance at Goose Lake on August 8th, 1970 is the Rosetta Stone for fans of this seminal band.

Not only is this the last ever performance of the original godhead Stooges line-up, but it is the ONLY known soundboard recording of said line-up. Playing the entirety of their canonical 1970 masterpiece Fun House, the sound, the performance, everything about this record is revelatory.

Would you believe that… Alexander actually DID play bass on this occasion? Or that, despite grievous failures on some songs, Alexander is damn solid on others? Especially on the bass-led songs “Dirt” and “Fun House”? Does Iggy provoke the crowd to tear down festival barriers? Did the powers that be pull the plug on the Stooges? So many questions are answered only to have more arise.

Released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the performance, Live at Goose Lake: August 8th 1970, is the rare release that literally rewrites the history of these Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees.

“T.V. Eye (Radio Edit)” (Live) 2020 Third Man Records,  Released on: 2020-06-10

See the source image


You might expect this documentary about legendary wild man Iggy Pop made by indie film maverick Jim Jarmusch to be a little more dangerous, but “Gimme Danger” plays it pretty straight. And that’s okay, as Jarmusch offers up this “love letter” to The Stooges, who he calls “The greatest rock and roll band ever.” Featuring interviews with most parties involved, Gimme Danger makes a great case for that, as the film goes from Iggy’s high school days when he was known simply as James Osterberg Jr, to hooking up with Ron and Scott Asheton who created a whole new sound. Or, as Iggy told ’70s daytime talk show host Dinah Shore in an infamous mid-’70s television appearance with David Bowie, “I think I helped wipe out the ’60s.”

The film follows the rise, fall and reunion of the Stooges, formed in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the 1967 by singer Iggy Pop, bassist Dave Alexander, and brothers Ron Asheton and Scott Asheton on guitar and drums respectively. Guitarist James Williamson eventually joined the band, with Ron Asheton switching to bass after Alexander was fired.

The band found little success during the first phase of their career, recording three albums that did not sell as well as their record companies expected, and performing for audiences that were largely indifferent or hostile. They broke up in 1974, and the band members went their separate ways with vocalist Pop establishing a moderately successful solo career. In time, the Stooges proved highly influential on the development of punk rock in the 1970s.

The Stooges’ original lineup reformed in 2003, with bassist Mike Watt replacing the late Alexander. Ron Asheton died in 2009, and Williamson rejoined the band for their fifth and final album.

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Iggy Pop turned 73years of age on Tuesday and he celebrated by unearthing a cover of the Sly and the Family Stone classic “Family Affair” that he recorded with funk icon Bootsy Collins back in 1985. “I’ve always loved this song; it came out when I was kinda on the ropes in 1971,” Iggy told the BBC. “There’s a lot of truth in it, especially in the second verse, about all sorts of questions that are coming around again now.”

The song has sat in his archive for the past 35 years. “Then one day recently things had quietened down in daily life for everybody and for me, too, and I listened to it by accident,” he said. “It just made me feel good and it was good company and I hoped that I could put it out and it would be company for somebody else, too.”

Pop’s most recent record, 2019’s Free, is a mellow, jazzy collection of songs he created in collaboration with trumpeter Leron Thomas and guitarist Sarah “Noveller” Lipstate. “The only difference from this Iggy and the one who founded the Stooges is the album’s jazzy horns, synthy backdrops, and greater emphasis on Sinatra-style crooning,”

To all Poptimists! “[this track] made me feel good and it was good company and I hoped I could put it out and it would be good company for someone else too” Featuring: Bootsy Collins on bass

Recorded and engineered by Olivier Ferrand, Studio Los Angeles Produced & Mixed by Bill Laswell

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Written by Sylvester Stewart

 

Iggy Pop: The Bowie Years: 7CD Boxset + Exclusive Numbered A2 Screenprint [signed by the artist]

Iggy Pop has announced new 2xCD reissues of his classic albums “The Idiot” and “Lust for Life”. In addition to remastered versions of the original albums, the reissues feature bonus live discs: Live at The Rainbow Theatre, recorded at London’s Finsbury Park in 1977, and TV Eye Live, respectively. The classic David Bowie-produced albums ‘The Idiot’ and ‘Lust For Life’ are being reissued through a special deluxe boxset.

1977 the story of Iggy Pop and David Bowies Collaboration on two of the most iconic albums of the decade is told in a new seven CD box set which features the albums remastered, a disc of out takes and Three discs of live recordings officially released (with the endorsement of Iggy Pop) for the first time. In 1977, Iggy Pop signed with RCA Records and with the help of David Bowie the two of them wrote and produced The Idiot and Lust for Life, Iggy Pop’s two most acclaimed albums as a solo artist, the latter featuring one of Pop’s best-known songs “The Passenger”. Among the songs David Bowie and Iggy Pop wrote together were “China Girl”, “Tonight”, and “Sister Midnight”, all of which David Bowie performed on his own albums later on (the last being recorded with different lyrics as “Red Money” on the album Lodger). David Bowie also played keyboards on Pop’s live performances, some of which are featured on the album TV Eye Live in 1978.

Both released in 1977, the records remain highly-influential to this day – spawning hits such as ‘Nightclubbing’, ‘The Passenger’ and the title track ‘Lust For Life’.

On May 29th, a special collection titled ‘The Bowie Years’ will be released via UMC. The reissue will comprise 7 CDs containing remastered versions of the original albums, as well as rare outtakes, alternate mixes and a special 40-page book.

The Stooges founder expansive box set is called The Bowie Years, a 7xCD collection that includes those two reissues, as well as demos and rarities and other live recordings from his time working with David Bowie in Berlin. All of these arrive May 29th via UMe. Check out an alternate mix of “China Girl” below, taken from the larger box set. The song was originally the second single from ‘The Idiot’ before it was taken on by Bowie for 1983’s ‘Let’s Dance’. Outside of TV Eye Live, the three March 1977 live concerts featured in The Bowie Years — Live at the Rainbow Theatre Finsbury Park, London 07/03/1977, Live at The Agora – Cleveland 21/03/1977 and Live at Mantra Studios – Chicago 28/03/1977 — are all previously unreleased.

Iggy Pop’s most recent album, a collaborative LP with Noveller and Leron Thomas titled Free, was released last year. Earlier this month, he joined Jane Birkin on Fallon for a rendition of Serge Gainsbourg’s “Elisa.”

Limited Edition 7CD Boxset + Exclusive Deluxe A2 Screenprint, numbered and signed by the artist, Chris Hopewell at Jacknife Studios (best known for his animation with Radiohead for ‘Burn The Witch’. Strictly limited to 500 worldwide.

Stooges

The original punk album, The Stooges is a Molotov cocktail delivered straight to the faces of the hippies of 1969, an album made by Michigan goons who were sick of everything, and wanted to be your dog. The album marked the arrival of Iggy Pop, one of the last true rock ‘n’ roll iconoclasts, and though the album was considered an historic bomb upon its release–it never cracked the top 100–it influenced basically every glam, punk and post-punk album released in its considerable wake.

The album’s original mix by producer John Cale was infamously rejected by Elektra Records–they thought it sounded too abrasive–and it has never appeared on vinyl. Until now. A new way to hear a classic album, this version is presented in the way that John Cale originally intended,

First, there’s the story of the album, which is that when the Stooges recorded this, 51 years ago, it was produced by John Cale, fresh off quitting the Velvet Underground. And he immediately realized that the Stooges should not sound like the Doors, or the Byrds, or whoever else. They were raw power, a barely contained riot, a train bearing down on you as you’re tied to the tracks. So he gets them to record their eight songs, one of my favorite side stories is that the Stooges showed up only having five songs, thinking that was more than enough for an album, and then lied and said they had eight when questioned and had to write three more basically overnight and he mixes the album like it’s this murder in real time, just all fuzz, and violence and ooze. The suits at the label hear this mix, and say what ,in retrospect everyone would say about the version that came out: That it sounded like shit, that it sounded dumb, that it was too uncontrolled to see release. So they fire John Cale, and ditch his mixes, and Iggy and Jac Holzman from Elektra re-mix and resequence the record, which is the version that comes out now.

John Cale’s original vision was the album as sort of a redemptive arc; his version ends with “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” which he saw as Iggy deciding to fall in line with society. The label saw it as one of the singles, so it’s on side one on the original version. So anyway, the original Stooges comes out, and it’s a bomb. But it secretly influences basically every hard rock band that has come since; it’s not an over-exaggeration to say that there’s basically no hard rock if the Stooges don’t lay the groundwork for punk on this album. It’s rightly lauded as one of the most important albums of all time.

Yeah, so meanwhile, there’s this version of the album that basically just lived in Stooges lore, that John Cale’s mix existed but was scrapped. And then in the early ’00s, these tapes walk into Rhino, and somehow, someone has a copy of the John Cale mixes. The speculation is that someone cut an unauthorized walking version of the album basically, one to take home and they confirmed with John Cale that what was on the tapes were his mixes. So they put the album out in digital form in 2010, however, they realize later that they actually released the album at too slow a tempo; the version on the tapes they found was likely recorded not from a deck, but from an echo machine, so for almost 10 years, the version known as the “John Cale Mix” was actually way slower than it should have been.

They corrected the tapes for the 50th Anniversary edition that came out last fall digitally. And this is the final part of the story: WEA/Rhino came to us to ask if we wanted to do the first original vinyl pressing of this album, and once we realized what they were asking, this was a no-brainer. We all listened to it, and I, for one, couldn’t believe that songs I’ve loved since I was a teen could sound even more like they were coming from the end of the scariest alley in town. We’re getting to present one of the most important albums in rock history, and doing so in the way it was originally meant to be heard. It’s a tremendous honor for all of us on the music team.

It’s one thing for us to tell you that the John Cale mix of The Stooges sounds gnarlier than the original; it’s another to let you hear it. Here’s a mini-doc telling the story of the album, and comparing the two records.

You have to remember what it was like before. For a full quarter of 1969, the No. 1 album in the country was the soundtrack to Hair, Blood, Sweat and Tears had a No. 1 album for seven weeks and, no offense to Al Kooper, but nothing on that group’s self-titled told life like it really was in 1969. The music that made its way to the charts back then, how life was on the ground for a Michigan resident raised by a working class family whose only prospects were the already-dying assembly lines or the frontlines of Vietnam.

And then, 10 days before the opening of Woodstock, it also is the ground zero for every angry album of noise that came since; without it, you don’t get glam, you don’t get British or American punk, you don’t get pop-punk, Green Day, and you maybe don’t the evolutions that happened to bring us every type of metal music. You don’t get any of it. Instead, Thank God, and Michigan, then, for The Stooges.

The Stooges were never a safe bet; not only in the “are they going to be coherent enough for shows?” way, but especially in the “These guys are gonna be stars!” way record labels are usually looking for. Fronted by James Newell Osterberg Jr., who came from a trailer park in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and who played the drums as a kid after his parents gave up their bedroom for him to have the space to play. Eventually ol’ James was banging the skins in a band called the Iguanas when he got his nickname, Iggy Pop. Sometime in 1967, at 20, and dropped out of the University of Michigan, Iggy saw the Doors, who were then known as a travelling disaster, as frontman Jim Morrison turned each gig into something like performance art crossed with a riot. Iggy decided he didn’t want to be behind the kit, and wanted to be out front doing that. He linked up with the Asheton Brothers Scott and Ron two guys who liked to party as much as he did, and could play the shit out of their drums and guitar — and Dave Alexander, a guy they all liked who had just recently started teaching himself to play the bass. They played their first show as the Psychedelic Stooges on Halloween, 1967. They’d ditch the hippie shit soon enough. Iggy and the Stooges quickly got a reputation around Michigan, particularly in Detroit, where another band of street toughs called the MC5 had set up shop. The bands became kindred spirits, and often shared bills; the MC5, though, always sounded like they wanted to be hard rock Motown, where the Stooges felt like they were a raw nerve set to make music. Anger and self-loathing and depression set to primitive funeral marches and barely contained war parades. Eventually, an enterprising A&R man from Elektra named Danny Fields signed both bands, in a bid to make Elektra the home of new Detroit rock. Both the Stooges and MC5 would be unmitigated disasters from a corporate level, the MC5 lasting a single album (1969’s live proto-punk volley Kick Out The Jams) before their careers flamed out in booze, drug busts, and legal troubles.
If Elektra was worried their two-pronged Detroit rock machine was in danger following the MC5’s debut getting savaged by Lester Bangs in the pages of Rolling Stone he eventually came around on it, as critics were allowed to do in those days — they had still had no fear in April 1969, when they sent the Stooges to Hit Factory in New York City to record their self-titled debut. They hired a recent underground rock hero named John Cale to produce the album, fresh off his time in the Velvet Underground, where his artiste sensibilities meshed with Lou Reed’s misanthropy to make the first two Velvet Underground albums, case studies in taking a label’s money, doing something no one had done before, and paying the cost for it with low sales while gaining a reputation for being ahead of your time (which the Stooges would soon follow). The Stooges came to the studio with only five songs (“No Fun,” “1969,” “Ann,” “We Will Fall,” and “I Wanna Be Your Dog”), thinking that’s all they needed to make an LP, and when they were told they needed more, lied and said they had them, and went off and wrote three more (“Not Right,” “Little Doll,” and “Real Cool Time”), playing them for the first time as a whole group in front of Cale in the studio. Those eight songs served as the foundation for too many rock movements to line up in paragraph form here, but more than 50 years later, the thing that has to be remembered is how shocking something like “I Wanna Be Your Dog” had to be to people who were used to “Incense and Peppermints.” That opening noise is like an electric chair being fired up, and the death march riff sounds more evil than any Swedish Black Metal band has mustered with 50 years advancement in guitar technology. Iggy didn’t want to hold your hand, he didn’t want to be your baby; he knew he was a dirty dog, and felt he deserved to be treated as such. Iggy studied at the altar of the Chicago blues for a time in the ’60s, and from there he took the willingness to be self-effacing and pitiful; no one sounded more put through a meat-grinder before or since.                    
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Svz3va6iekThe Stooges took rock and stripped it down to its barest studs and refused to build it back up on The Stooges. Something like “No Fun” might have read to people like Robert Christgau as “stupid” in 1969, but it’s without any artifice; it’s all attitude, all raw power. “1969” was the first song about teenage malaise and boredom to actually sound like it was made by people who were sick and tired of being sick and tired; entire bands’ discographies would be pilfered from its two verses:

“Well it’s 1969 okay All across the USA It’s another year For me and you Another year With nothing to do, Last year I was 21 I didn’t have a lot of fun And now I’m gonna be 22 I say oh my and a boo hoo And now I’m gonna be 22 I say oh my and a boo hoo”

When the band finished recording in April, 1969, Cale delivered his mix to Elektra, and things hit the fan. Mixed in a raw, naked form that emphasized the sinister, wild side of the band over sonic clarity, the original Cale mix of the album was rejected by Elektra, in a portent of things to come. Cale’s mixes were thought lost before resurfacing in the early ’00s, and after being originally released at the wrong speed, they’re out on the right speed on vinyl for the first time.

But in 1969, Cale’s mixes weren’t appreciated; Elektra president Jac Holzman and Iggy himself remixed the album, bringing the vocals higher into the mix, and lowering some of the abrasiveness. At this point, it was clear both men thought the Stooges had some commercial potential if they just cleaned it up, which, even without hindsight, is enough to make you spray water out of your nose. Albums this hard didn’t move units in 1969, and they don’t move them now. The people at the front of the herd hacking their way through the wilderness don’t get to enjoy the fruits of the civilization they made possible, and The Stooges hit the marketplace like a brick to the philtrum. It made next to no impact on the charts (it eventually rose to 106 on Billboard’s album charts, but died quickly), was savaged in reviews, and was left to be consistently rediscovered by every generation of fucked up kids who came since; it eventually got its place in the pantheon, but by as much force as is present on the album.

To Elektra’s credit, they kept the Stooges on roster for another LP; 1970’s Fun House added jazz skronk to its mix via saxophonist Don Mackay, but when it too went over like a lead balloon, the band broke up, amid Iggy’s worsening heroin problems, and a lack of much juice in their career. Thanks to David Bowie staking his new stardom on his adoration for Iggy, the band reformed in 1973 on Columbia with Raw Power, and around guitarist James Williamson, whose leads were more punk fury than Asheton’s blues-based piledrivers, and that band broke up almost immediately when Iggy went further into heroin and began palling around with Bowie as a solo artist. Iggy would become something of a solo star and a cultural icon over the years, but until the early ’00s, he and the Stooges remained mostly broken up. However, they reformed with the Ashetons (Dave Alexander died in 1975 of alcoholism-related illness) back on guitar on drums, where they’d both remain until their deaths in 2009 (guitarist Ron) and 2014 (drummer Scott).

Iggy has talked recently of packing it in for good, his legacy cemented under nuclear-blast level concrete at this point. And he should; the man has lived enough lives for a whole litter of kittens. His debut album remains one of the most direct statements of purposes for a recorded body of work that has maybe ever existed; Iggy and the Stooges came to cave in heads, and it’s taken them more than 50 years to even think about stopping.