james williamson - The I-94 Bar
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.
Plenty of people won’t “get” this record. That’s the inherent risk when you move forward and don’t stay comfortably treading water in one swimming pool.
It’s the second solo album for James Williamson (third if you count the live one with The Careless Hearts) and “Behind The Shade” doesn’t kiss-off his substantial Iggy & The Stooges legacy. More pointedly, it reinforces that Williamson is no one-trick pony.
Of course you should know James for inventing one of the most brutal guitar styles ever. Iggy himself paid him a back-handed compliment by saying that his former collaborator filled every possible space in their band’s soundscape. He did say it was to the point of claustrophobia, or words to that effect.
You want more Bob Short? He's back with Episode 15 of The Complete History of Rock and Roll. It's entitled "More of the Same Old Same." What does that mean? You'll have to listen to find out. Tracklist after the MORE button.
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.
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.
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.
The first look at the tracklist for the James Williamson album "Re-Licked" is public and it's a dizzying reflection on the backlog of Iggy & The Stooges material that's been bootlegged over the years.
There's also a track - an inciendiary version of "I'm Sick Of You" featuring Mario Cuomo from Chicago band The Orwells - being promo'd on the Net for your listening pleasure.
In case you hadn't heard, Williamson is releasing the album of re-recorded but largely not properly released Stoogesongs on his own Leopard Lady label on October 29 with an array of guest vocalists.
The Iggy and The Stooges guitarist and the BellRays vocalist. Out July 29.
Okay. Let's get one thing straight. This album is great. Here's your six bottles, James. (Last time I tried to give you six bottles for something, the Barman turned me down but now we seem fine with that kind of thing). Now, if the Barman would do a quick edit we could be three for three. Six. Six. Six. Apt.
Of course there are elephants in the room. Great hulking elephants and the occasional five foot one elephant. I guess we'll just have to tackle them head on. (Can I pun my way through this whole review? ) As a spoiler, I've read Robert's review because I know he'll have a different take to me. I haven't read the Barman's because it is always funny how often we write the same review. There could be some overlap.
Punk/proto-punk guitar heroes, James Williamson (Iggy & The Stooges) and Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman), have joined forces for a studio album. "Two To One" is released in September 18 by US label Cleopatra Recordsand "Stable" is the lead-off video track..
Williamson and Tek met at a memorial show for founding Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton in 2011 and reconnected when Williamson finally made it to Sydney with Iggy & The Stooges in 2013. They’ve since become neighbours in Hawaii. Although generationally separated, they share roots in the fertile Ann Arbor/Detroit high energy rock scene of the late '60s and early ‘70s.
These bloody phone interviews. If you’ve never done one, this is how it goes:
First, you notice unfamiliar terms in the email from the publicist like AEDT and CST that refer to time zones. And that excremental daylight saving kicked in two days ago. Cue frantic fiddling on the computer to make sure you’ve got the right time.
You’ve been given a choice of times - if you’re lucky. Bit awkward if you get stuck with a time when you’re at work and you have to excuse yourself to go to the bog and do an interview. Trust me, you get looks.
“Who were you cackling away to in the toilet, Robert? New … chum?”
Cue: furious blushing.
This interview was with James Williamson, the guitarist for Iggy and The Stooges, who has a new solo album, "Re-Licked" in the racks. And I got lucky on another front this time, and the nearly-threenager grandchild didn’t arrive until after I’d finished, so assorted boing noises, yowls and her squeaky voice didn’t float up into the recording.
With most "phoners"you do have a strict 20 minutes to adhere to, a weird time (in this case it’s from 8.55am to 9.15 am). But you do worry that it’s 4.30 am where the interviewee is, and he’ll be off his head on Tequila and mushies. As rock stars do.
Just 20 minutes to gain rapport and probe the poor bugger’s most intimate self? Poor bugger? He’s on the receiving end of a long line of assorted gits like me for several hours.
One minute before the appointed time, you dial a local number - with the area code prefix. A recorded message asks you to select your language. I am always very tempted to fuck with this but have so far refrained. One day I’ll select Croat or Bulgarian or Tig or something.
A Stooges Asthma Attack at th Grande Ballroom in1968. Robert Matheu photo.
The year 2006 was something of a watershed for fans of high-energy rock and roll of the Detroit variety. The reformed Stooges were in full flight and an historic six-CD, eponymous Sonic's Rendezous Band box set came out on UK label Easy Action.
The box set's executive producer of the box was ROBERT MATHEU, a Detroit-raised and former Creem magazine staff photographer. Sadly, Robert passed away in 2018, but a dozen years before, he told the back-story of the box set to the I-94 Bar - and of course regaled us with stories about the MC5 and the Stooges.
We're revisiting many of the stories originally published on the I-94 Bar that were archived when we moved virtual location a few years ago. This is one of the trips back in The Time Tunnel.
Confession time. I love Wendy James. But not in the way you're probably thinking. The five bottles you see at the end of this review are well earned but some will not share my enthusiasm. Wendy’s blistering hysterical British syllables may well strike terror in the sensitive ears of some. Fuck ‘em.
You'll immediately remember Wendy from '80s pop punk band Transvision Vamp. She'd tell that girl to shut up. She wanted your love. But baby she didn't care. A fierce blonde strumpet in a short black dress. The pin up girl who launched rather more than a thousand lustful teenage fancies for those too young to have noticed Debbie Harry.
Studio work: Jqmes Williamson and Deniz Tek. Franklin Avery photo.
It’s a back to basics, guitar album but “Two To One”, the joint effort from James Williamson (Iggy & the Stooges) and Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman), had a complicated gestation that birthed a record in the nick of time.
Commissioned by Los Angeles label Cleopatra Records a year out from its planned release, most of its 11 songs were worked up in face-to-face sessions in Hawaii, where Tek now lives and Williamson spends half his year at his vacation home.
After Williamson went back to his home in San Francisco, the songs were refined via file sharing before Tek flew to the mainland in December last year for rehearsals and a recording session for the basic tracks at Studio D in Sausalito, California.
Sessions for vocal tracking and guitar overdubs followed on both sides of the Pacific. The record was mixed and about to be mastered when the first ripples of the COVID-19 pandemic became a global tidal wave.
After collaborations for singles with Petra Haden (“Blues Jumped The Rabbit”), Lisa Kakuala (“I Love My Tutu”) and Maia (“Sickkk”) in the last six months, ex-Iggy & the Stooges guitarist James Williamson is poised to release an acoustic EP with Radio Birdman’s Deniz Tek.
“Acoustic KO” is being released digitally and as a vinyl EP on March 31. The track listing is “I Need Somebody”, “Penetration”, “Night Theme” and “No Sense Of Crime” and you shouldn’t need to be told that the first two come from “Raw Power” and the others from the Williamson-Pop “Kill City” album. Tek provides vocals and guitar on three cuts and Williamson contributes guitar (naturally) but expect acoustic drums, guest singers and an orchestra in there too.
You’ve heard a lot about Stooges guitarist James Williamsons’ stellar “Re-Licked” album here but you may not know that he’s playing it live. The first of what are expected to be selected dates only is at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles in January.
Williamson will be joined by guests including Alison Mosshart, Lisa Kekaula, Jello Biafra and Carolyn Wonderland on January 16. Tickets here.
Straight James did a guest spot with The Icarus Line earlier this month, joining vocalist Joe Cardamone on “Pinpoint Eyes.”