iggy pop - The I-94 Bar
It's becoming increasingly obvious that some people just can't be given nice things. They've just got to pull them apart because... hell. I don't know what their problem is.
Case in point: Jim Jarmusch's cinematic love letter to the Stooges "Gimme Danger" that screened in Sydney, Australia, last Friday and Sunday nights. A world famous director makes a film about your most favouritst band in the whole wide world and you're going to have a massive sook fest? Why didn't they break out a fucking ouija board and interview all the dead guys?
Iggy and Jim Jarmusch at a media conferecde in Cannes.
“Gimme Danger” is not a great movie. It is flawed.
That said, no-one expected the Citizen Kane of rock documentaries. This was a cut about the MTV Iggy doco that you can see online for free, but was mixed in with arty pretensions.
“Gimme Danger” is screening at major film festivals around the world. Tonight (June 17) it is the turn of the State Theatre and the Sydney International Film Festival. The audience is evenly split between film people who might not have heard of the Stooges and are there to judge a film on its filmmaking merits, or hardcore rock pigs who want be blasted with Stooges music.
2019 was first year for a while that I wasn’t doing a radio show and being in Canberra for work, I felt I was little bit out of the loop. Nonetheless, it was another memorable rock ‘n’ roll year and here’s my top10 in no particular order.
Kim Volkman and the Whiskey Priests at Marrickville Bowlo in Sydney
This took me back to when I first started seeing bands in Melbourne in the mid ’70s. It was no-nonsense loud rock. Two really good guitarists on top of a solid rhythm section. I loved how the band occupied half the stage and hardly broke formation through the gig. The record’s pretty good, too.
Sue Telfer Tribute in Sydney
It was really sad to lose Sue. She was seriously special and it was great to see so many people come out and so many good bands turn it on. All the bands I saw were great with X as a four piece the standout. I reckon it was the best gig I’ve seen Steve Lucas do.
The Tale of Tornado Turner is a curious but intriguing piece of Stooges history. You’re about to hear the story. First-hand.
Flashback to 1973. An increasingly bored and three-quarters strung-out Iggy and the Stooges are holed-up in a rented mansion in the Hollywood Hills, captives of their management company Mainman. “Raw Power” is out. For reasons best known to themselves, Mainman is booking no tours to promote it.
One reluctantly-arranged show (Ford Auditorium, Detroit, March 27) produces an ultimatum following a clash at an after-party between Manman supremo Tony Defries and guitarist James Williamson. The edict is: It’s him or the band. Iggy sacks James. Enter a replacement, Warren Klein.
The World's Forgotten Boy. Miriam Williamson photo.
Sydney Opera House
Monday, April 15 2019
Miriam Williamson photos
Iggy Pop and band put the torch to the Sydney Opera House the same night that a fire devastated Notre Dame in Paris. Coincidence? I think not.
The Pop has been a semi-regular tourist to Australia since 1983 and I’ve caught him on every run but one. Stooges excepted, this was close to his high-point.
It is true that at age 71 - a pubic hair’s breadth away from bringing up 72 - James Osterberg moves a little more gingerly these days. The stage-dives are gone - at least where hard-backed seats are fixed to the floor - and he’s clearly pacing himself to go the distance.
Cypress Grove, one-time collaborator with Jeffrey Lee Pierce (check out their Rambling Jeffrey Lee LP - "Real Steel Blues") is unwilling to let the magic die. He feels Jeffrey’s echoes all around him.
So do his friends and admirers. One can’t help wondering whether, if Debbie Harry had predeceased him, Jeffrey might have been tempted to do a similar project for Her.
A Kick in the Gulags - The Dry Retch (Stalingrad Records)
A six-song EP with five of the tracks being Stooges songs never committed to tape in a studio? What are we gonna say if they're done well?
The Dry Retch come from Liverpool in the UK and they ain’t The Beatles. They are two guitars, a kicking engine room and a truckload of dirt. They are committed Stooge-ophiles (a previous line-up released an EP with the title “Plays The Stooges”.)
Principal member John Retch (vocal and guitar) grew up in Australia where he was exposed to high-energy sounds. He played in a stack of local UK bands and this 2019 EP revived The Dry Retch with a tweaked line-up. Stooges apart, the band's other listed influences are Chrome Cranks, The MC5, Mudhoney, Radio Birdman, Destroy All Monsters, Thee Hypnotics, Cosmic Psychos, the New York Dolls and the Brian James Gang. As Sir Les Paterson would say: "Are you following me, son?"
On March 17, 1978, Bookie's Club 870 became Detroit's answer to New York's C.B.G.B., The Whisky A-Go-Go in L.A., and London's Marquee Club.
Bookie's hosted shows by The Police, Iggy Pop, J. Geils, The Damned, Ultravox, The Dead Boys and many other international punk and new wave performers.
It also served as a home base for Detroit area bands like The Sillies, The Romantics, Gang War and former MC5 and Stooges members like Ron Asheton, Michael Davis, Fred Smith and their then-current bands, Destroy All Monsters and Sonic's Rendezvous Band.
At least three live albums have been released of Bookie's concerts and a new two-record set of Iggy Pop's six-day residency is now being released on Easy Action in the UK. The book "Detroit Rock City" chronicles the Bookie's days through the eyes of people who were there.
The Bookie's 40th Anniversary Reunion will be held on Saturday, March 17 (St. Patrick's Day) at the New Way Bar on Woodward, Detroit, roughly three miles north of the original Bookie's. Admission is FREE. There will be posters and photos on display that night as well as live performances from The Sillies (who started the club) and members of R.U.R., Coldcock and other surprise guests.
Ron Asheton has the creepiest answering machine message on the planet: "LEAVE...A...MESSAGE.... Thanks a million."
The debut album from ex-Iggy and the Stooges guitarist James Williamson and his new band, The Pink Hearts, comes out on June 22 and we’ll have a review live in about a week.
“Behind the Shade” by James Williamson and The Pink Hearts will be on Williamson’s own Leopard Lady Records and is a diverse but powerful effort, with Frank Meyer (Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs) and Petra Haden (That Dog) sharing lead vocals.
Haden was one of the feature vocalists on Williamson’s album of previously unreleased studio versions of Stooges songs, “Re-Licked”. She also contributed violin to “The Departed” on the final Stooges album. “Ready To Die”.
On “Behind The Shade”, Williamson supplies all of the riffs, guitar parts and most of the bass. The album also includes a host of accompanists.
They include Michael Urbano (Smash Mouth, Bourgeois Tagg, Todd Rundgren, John Hiatt) on percussion, Gregg Foreman, Hervé Salters, Paul Roessler, Nick Hart, and Audrey Vera on keyboards and piano, Jason Carmer on bass, Don Rooke on lap steel, Geoff Yeaton and Tony Peebles on saxophone and Steffen Kuehn on trumpet.
Click Read More for a video teaser and the tracklist.
Let’s get the obvious ones out of the way first, shall we?.
Firstly, after what he’s done in the past, Iggy is entitled to play whatever music he wants. Any outstanding debts have been repaid. In full. And with interest. He can be as indulgent as he wants. Except for that cover of “Michelle”. Or “White Christmas”. Oh boy.
Secondly, if his solo career doesn’t stack up against what he did with the Stooges, that’s almost certainly because most other people’s best work doesn’t, either. Being an ex-Stooge can be both a blessing and a curse.
Seven 45s full of Iggy Pop and Iggy and the Stooges goodness. Packaged in a box with some incident extras (patch, big hole single adapter) thrown in. OK, you probably don’t need this box set from Los Angeles label Cleopatra Records but you may still want it.
It’s been years in the making and "LOUDER THAN LOVE", the long-awaited documentary paying tribute to legendary Detroit music venue the Grande Ballroom, is finally available.
The Grande was the birthplace or breeding ground for the likes of the Stooges, the MC5, The Up and The Rationals. It also became a notorious killing field for visiting international bands who had to undergo a "trial by support band" where the locals did their best to blow them off the stage (sometimes succeeding.)
“LOUDER THAN LOVE: The Grande Ballroom Story” is Tony D’Annunzio’s first independent film as a producer and director. His movie chronicles the Detroit music scene in the late 1960s, as told through the eyes of the legendary bands that played there.
Long awaited, here are the first live recordings of the Ron Asheton-era Stooges. (Well, maybe Easy Action got there first with their "Popped" fan pack, the audio portion of which they just released separately as "A Thousand Lights"). And these are damn sure the only commercially available recordings of the lineup with ex-roadies Bill Cheatham on second guitar and Zeke Zettner on bass, recorded in a 200-capacity Manhattan club.
Don’t wanna labour the point but the opening years of this century really are turning into The Golden Age of the Stooges, what with the band’s resurrection, the recording of new songs, deluxe re-issues of the first two albums popping out of the pipeline, a live album kicking around and the prospect of a new studio effort. This six-disc box set from UK heritage label Easy Action really does spoil confirmed Stoogeaholics.
The question’s already been posed by a few people whether they really do need yet another compilation of Stooges material. It’s a rhetorical query so I’ll lay out the facts and allow you to judge for yourself.
Let’s kick off by saying that a lot of crap is released under the auspices of Record Store Day. What was once a marketing platform for the little guys, the ever-diminish number of independent bricks and mortar stores, has morphed into another channel for the big boys - they’d the the major labels - to peddle all manner of shit.
There are outtakes and alternative versions ad infinitum buzzing about like flies on sherbet, but RSD more often than not seems to be about exploiting the fetishists’ love of anything on vinyl. "Heavy Liquid" is not amongst that crap.
Sydney Opera House
Monday, April 15, 2019
Lisa Doust photo
Firstly, you have probably all heard that Iggy still has it and he does. But the damage is there. You can see how fucked his leg is. And when rugby prop forward size fans manhandle him, you see that he's actually a five-foot-one man* in his 70's who may have shrunk an inch or two.
Stage security takes much greater care of him. Iggy also takes more care of himself, adapting the old poses into well timed rest breaks. Once or twice, he lives on his back. He feigns leaps into the crowd only to step back. He has learnt how not to be dragged off stage. He makes robot like motions to cover the limp. He uses the stairs.
Dunno what all the online backlash is all about. Jim Jarmusch called his film “a love letter to the Stooges” and that’s precisely what he delivered when “Gimme Danger” made its Australian debut at the Sydney International Film Festival on June 17.
“Gimme Danger” was never going to be a deep dissertation about what made the Stooges tick. Read Paul Trynka’s magnificent “Open Up and Bleed” for that. It was more like a shallow duck dive into the broad history of the band. Or bobbing for apples.
I enjoyed "Gimme Danger" but this was the Stooges, dumbed-down for beginners. Or “Stooges 101” as someone later said.
Despite an increasing lack of consistency with his official album releases, it's fair to say Iggy Pop continued to reign supreme in the live setting throughout the eighties. You could always guarantee he wouldn't actually sound like the horror that was "Blah, Blah, Blah" in the flesh.
This disc emerges from around the period of the equally undigestable "Party" LP. Fortunately, despite sharing two guitarists, it sounds nothing like that.
Along with other companies, Easy Action has recently all but flooded the market with a seemingly endless slew of concert releases from this period. The "Where the Faces Shine" box sets proved more than worthy but they alone bought us more than 12 hours of live Pop music.
Seismic changes in music don’t occur spontaneously. They’re usually a result of people unwittingly being in the right place at the right time, running into a catalyst and stumbling over a big stockpile of serendipity.
Does anyone think CBGB would have been anything more than the source of dogshit on the soles of a few Bowery bums’ shoes if Hilly Krystal hadn’t been conned by a supposed bluegrass band into giving live music a try?
How quickly would the Sex Pistols have fizzled out if Queen hadn’t cancelled on Bill Grundy at the last minute, presumably so Freddy could get his nails done? McLaren had no more planned the TV outburst that propelled his band to infamy as Steve Jones had sworn off the booze.
In 1966, a former dance hall on the shady side of Detroit called The Grande Ballroom became both a focal point for the counter culture and a scene. It attracted and generated a strain of high-energy, blue collar rock and roll, the likes of which have been seen rarely anywhere else. It came into being through good management, but also through incredible luck.