The Stooges Play “Search and Destroy”

Listen to this track by garage rock, glam, and proto-punk champions from Ann Arbor Michigan, The Stooges, aka Iggy & The Stooges. It’s “Search and Destroy”, a landmark cut off of their monumental third LP, Raw Power released in February 1973 . The song was a single, with album track “Penetration” as a b-side, kicking off the album like the sound of an exploding munitions dump. This was the sound of a fully realized Stooges, a band brought back from the dead by the time the album was recorded, produced by lead singer and creative head Iggy Pop, and David Bowie.

By the time this song was laid down and the band was reassembled after breaking up, changes had been made to The Stooges’ line-up. Drummer Scott Asheton remained behind the kit. But bassist Dave Alexander was gone, sidelined by substance abuse and addiction. Guitarist Ron Asheton took his place on bass, while lead guitar duties were handed over to newcomer James Williamson, co-writer of this song. His parts are brought well to the foreground throughout, although the approach to production and mixing of the record didn’t leave too much room for nuance initially. The history of how the record was recorded and mixed is an elaborate and intricate one even before it was transferred to CD format in the late-nineties under the guidance of Bruce Dickinson (Mr “more cowbell” himself). One of the notes on the CD version I have includes Iggy’s assurance that “everything’s still in the red”. Thank goodness for that!

All the while, this song has taken on a life of its own, being a go-to track when compiling lists of best hard rock, punk, glam, whatever, songs ever recorded. It certainly one that demands attention, and one of the high points of Iggy Pop’s career all around. A good portion of the reason for that in my mind is that despite the seeming lack of nuance happening in the music, there are definite layers of meaning to be found in its text that belie the blunt force of its delivery. Read more

Iggy Pop Plays “The Passenger”

iggypoplustforlifeListen to this track by punk rock founding father and pharmaceutical adventurer James Osterberg, better known to the world as Iggy Pop. It’s “The Passenger”, actually a B-side to his single “Success”. The song appears on a record he produced with David Bowie and engineer/bandmate Colin Thurston; the classic Lust For Life.

The record was written, recorded, and mixed in eight days in Hansa studio in  Berlin,  a city in which Bowie himself would be associated through his own “Berlin trilogy” of albums – Low, Heroes, and Lodger. Yet this album is all about Iggy, with his growling lead voice over a style of music that in many ways runs contrary to what Bowie was doing on his Berlin albums. This is stripped down, and almost minimalist rock ‘n’ roll, compared to Bowie’s layered art-rock approach.

And indeed, in addition to co-producing the record, Bowie plays sideman on this just as he did on the previous Iggy album, The Idiot. But, what of this song? With lyrics by Iggy, and music by guitarist Ricky Gardiner, the tune was bashed out in the studio, with the words strung together on the fly. With this method of songwriting, a lot comes out in the subtext. But, what is the subtext here? Read more

Goodbye, Stooges Guitarist Ron Asheton

Ron Asheton, original lead guitarist of the Stooges has died, found in his home in Ann Arbor Michigan.  His guitar work in the late 60s and early 70s was instrumental in the development of punk rock, and in inspiring other bands to follow his lead.
RIP, Ron.
Listen to the Stooges with their 1969 track ” I Wanna Be Your Dog”.

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