Saturday, May 22, 2010

Roar Power - ruminations on the Stooges

This one's going to take a while and multiple posts. So, Columbia Legacy has released a Deluxe version of Iggy & The Stooges "Raw Power." There are several editions available. They all feature a remastered version of David Bowie's mix on one disc, a live show from Atlanta on another, as well as two studio outtakes. The super deluxe version which you can only buy off some Stooges' website also includes a third CD of more outtakes and several alternate mixes, two of which are from Iggy's '96 remix of "Raw Power." And this special edition also features a documentary DVD with a buncha recent interviews and one recent performance by the current Stooges line-up: Iggy, James Williamson on guitar, Scott Asheton on drums, mike watt on bass (he's been in the Stooge's line up since 2003) and Steve Mackay (who played on FunHouse). And there's a booklet full of vintage pix and recent short essays and testimonial quotes from the likes of Henry Rollins, Marky Ramone, etc. AND a little envelope of facsimiles of vintage photographs AND a 7" single - a facsimile of a Japanese release. The package is 7" x 7" and reproduces a worn copy of the vinyl album cover.

It's all very nicely done, lots of attention to detail. SO... this is music that's been part of my life almost 40 years now. I do own a small stack of Bomp! and Skydog releases revolving around it - rehearsal tapes, live recordings, alternate mixes, radio airchecks of still more alternative mixes etc...

It all started at Rutgers College where I was the Arts Editor of the daily student paper, The Targum (fellow staffers included Larry Sutton who's bounced from the NY Daily News to People Magazine to the NY Post, and Jim Testa, the editor of venerable NY/NJ underground music journal Jersey Beat -- STILL going strong 30 years later!). Some guy walks in, asks for me, and hands me a typewritten review; his dad was a music critic for some local paper and he regularly grabbed the rock albums from pop's stacks. He was reviewing something called "Raw Power" by "Iggy & The Stooges." I'd never heard of 'em. But, man, his review made this sound like something else! Primal, explosive; maybe as rocking as Led Zeppelin! So I called up my contact at Columbia Records and asked them send me a copy.

It arrived about a week later and I probably rushed back to the group house I lived in then, right after dinner (I'm postulating - don't actually remember). I do remember plopping it on my roommate's stereo, sitting back on my mattress and... OUT BLASTS "SEARCH & DESTROY." And I underwent a paradigm shift -- I understood that this was the most vital music I'd ever heard (and it'd turn out to be amongst the most vital I'd EVER hear). It felt like a pure expression of the life force pulsing thru flesh, animating it, moving it to quest, search, strive, seek experience.

And like taking opened a door that couldn't be closed. It changed my experience of being alive, made me aware of levels of intensity of experience that were not the norm but were attainable if you knew what to look for, were willing to make the effort to attain it and to pay the price for having such experience.

The rest of the songs were amazing as well...they seemed to examine and reveal different realms of existence and experience that all seemed novel and exotic to a lower middle class kid from Jersey City; utterly tantalizing, powerfully seductive. And now my life was changed in oh so many ways...
(a lot more to come)

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