Monday 30 June 2014

Choice Cuts: The Stooges - S/T (1969)

The Stooges (1969)

The Band:

  • Iggy Pop | vocals (credited as "Iggy Stooge")
  • Dave Alexander | bass guitar
  • Ron Asheton | guitar, vocals
  • Scott Asheton | drums
  • John Cale | piano, sleigh bell on "I Wanna Be Your Dog", viola on "We Will Fall"


Released in 1969 during the meltdown of the peace and love counter culture movement that had swept across America during the mid - late 60s.  Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, The Stooges were a full stop to a generation of high hopes and big let downs, but more importantly The Stooges were the beginning of something that would eventually spearhead a whole generation of disaffected youths, especially in the US and the UK that would by the late 70s be known as Punk Rock.

The album kicks of with ‘1969,’ A soundtrack to a generation that has come to terms with its defeat in the face of war and conservatism, with Iggy snarling “Well it's 1969, OK all across the USA. It's another year for me and you, Another year with nothing to do" cementing a new reality of youths feeling that the party was over and had very little future.  The star of the show however, is guitarist Ron Asheton, armed with a guitar tone that could literally melt a thousand speakers, Wah-wah drenched fuzz riffs, standing alongside the simplistic repetitive rhythm section of Dave Alexander and Scott Asheton driving the song like no other rhythm section could.  The song comes to a crescendo with messy Wah-wah and Iggy shouting “It was 1969 baby!!" As a foreclosure to a generation heading for turmoil

Track 2 is the punk rock classic "I Wanna Be Your Dog"  probably The Stooges' signature song, led by Ron Ashetons fuzz-bomb blues meets middle Eastern drone riffs and a unchanging rock solid backbeat from his brother Scott Asheton.  This song encapsulates what The Stooges were all about!  Iggy Snarling "So messed up I want you here" with the repeated chorus "Now I Wanna Be Your Dog".  The Stooges manage to update the blues with ease as well as creating a new attitude.

‘We Will Fall’ is a 10 minute psychedelic-drone mantra led by producer John Cales mournful viola playing, and Iggy's shamanistic chanting accompanied by Ron Asheton's lulling Wah-wah guitar lines.  This is a rare side of The Stooges that never really got explored again, but it showcased the bands dexterity.  Indeed despite being slated by muso's for not being able to play, they were seemingly missing the point of what The Stooges were all about.

Next song is ‘No Fun’, another Stooges classic, again led by the fuzz-sludge of Ron Asheton, with Iggy a new voice for the Dissatisfied generation spitting out " No fun to be around, freak out, for another day".  This song was so proto-punk that the Sex Pistols used to cover it back in their early days.  ‘Real Cool Time’ and ‘Ann’ are garage rock standards, leading into ‘Not Right’ and ‘Little Doll’ which loop up this fantastic debut nicely

The Stooges released 2 more albums, 1970s ‘Fun House’ and the 1973 classic ‘Raw Power’, all 3 including ‘The Stooges’ are now heralded as Rock classics, despite not selling any records at the time.

The bands real status belongs in its eventual influence on any band that chose attitude over technique especially in Punk and Grunge, but The Stooges influence also branched out to metal and Stoner Rock. Bands like the Sex Pistols, Nirvana, Monster Magnet, Slayer and Queens Of The Stone Age have propped The Stooges as a major influence.

The Stooges got back together in the early 00s and finally tasted some success that they had always deserved, but with the deaths of both the Asheton brothers it looks likely that The Stooges have come to the end.  Even if this is the case, Iggy and co can walk away with their heads held high, knowing that they had a massive impact and influence on rock and roll, which to this day means more than selling a million records.

Words by: David Oglesby

Album Details:

‘The Stooges’ is the self-titled debut studio album by American rock band The Stooges, released in August 1969 on Elekra Records.  On August 16, 2005, Elektra and Rhino Records  jointly re-issued the album as a double CD, with a remastered version and second disc which include alternative and original mixes of the record.  Rhino Records again released the album in their "Handmade" series as a collector's package including two CDs, a 7" record, and a 7"x7"-sized booklet. The first disc features the main songs, the single version of "I Wanna Be Your Dog", and all original John Cale mixes of the songs. The second disc, and both sides of the 7" single, contain the previously unreleased "Asthma Attack”.

‘The Stooges’ original track listing:

1). 1969 04:05
2). I Wanna Be Your Dog 03:09
3). We Will Fall 10:18
4). No Fun 05:14
5). Real Cool Time 02:29
6). Ann 02:59
7). Not Right 02:52
8). Little Doll 03:20