iggy and the stooges - The I-94 Bar

'Scuse me while I Open Up and Bleat

STOOGES whisky a go go cvrLive at The Whisky A Go Go – Iggy and The Stooges (Easy Action Records)

It’s ridiculous to say, as many of you have, that the management at the I-94 Bar treats Stoogesrecordings with the reverence of ancient religious artefacts.

Let’s dispel that untruth right now: We hold them in much higher regard than that. If you want to know why, go no further than this Record Store Day vinyl release.

Record Store Day was a good marketing idea that devolved into a clusterfuck. Sure, it encourages otherwise disengaged to find a bricks and mortar shop and lay down their hard-earned, but it’s been taken over by greedy fucks who run major labels that issue/re-issue “product” that cost them sweet fuck-all, or recouped a million years ago.

Behind The Shade – James Williamson and the Pink Hearts (Leopard Lady Records)

behind the shadePlenty 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.

Ex-Stooge James Williamson's new album looms

jameswilliamsonpinkhearts

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.

Heads-up for Stooges obsessives: Easy Action to bring A Fire of Life

a fire1What may be the final word in posthumous Stooges recordings for the foreseeable future is looming on UK label Easy Actionand it’s a doozy.

Firstly, “A Fire of Life” is a double CD or LP collection compiling 2006 and 2003 live recording by the Pop-Asheton-Asheton-Watt line-up in Sydney and New Orleans respectively, coupled with high quality basement demos of tracks that would appear on “The Weirdness” and an in-store appearance. 

It will be rounded off with 11 tracks from the legendary stripped back appearance at Newbury Comics in Cambridge MA in 2003 by Iggy and the Ashetons (with Scott on cardboard boxes!)  

You can hear “Dirt” from the Sydney Big Day Out here and here is “Little Doll” from the basement. Pre-order here where you can read the full tracklist.

But that’s not all. 

London calling

london sessions cvrThe London Sessions – Iggy & The Stooges (Easy Action)

This is something for the Stooges obsessives rather than newbies looking for an entry point. But if the newbies take the plunge, is that going to ber such a bad thing? This is s a double-seven-inch pack of five songs from the 1972 pre-production and recording sessions for “Raw Power”, none of which made it to the album in these versions, and all celebrated in true Easy Action style.

There’s plenty you won’t have heard here even if you have the Easy Action “Heavy Liquid” box set. In fact, only one of these versions ("I Got A Right") has been offcially rleleased; “Tight Pants” is a Scotty and James instrumental run-through of what would become “Shake Appeal”. “Gimme Danger” is an early version of the album track that still resonates.

New book delivers a worthy roadkill dissection, one gig at a time

on stage bookIggy & The Stooges Onstage 1967-74 by Per Nilsen (Sonic Bond Publishing)

Cutting to the chase: This is an amazing book and an essential item for any Stoogephile. Swedish author Per Nilsenhas pedigree – he wrote the world’s first Iggy Pop biography, “The Wild One”, way back in 1988 – and he’s an academic, so you know it’s going to be researched to, er, within an inch of its pretty face going to hell.

The concept is simple: Nilsen divides the original lifespan of the Stooges into logical chunks, provides contextual information and then lists every show played, accompanied by as much information as is available. Yes, every show. He draws on a mix of primary sources and published interviews. He relies heavily on advertisements and reviews from local papers, underground press like The Fifth Estateand Natalie Schlossman’s fan magazine “Popped”. 

You can’t beat great research. Nilsen picks up inaccuracies published elsewhere and rules out advertised gigs that were never played. He even calls out a minor error in Paul Trynka’s definitive “Open Up and Bleed” book. I’m not sure the road crew accounts here of the alleged Goose Lake shutdown tally with the Third Man Records record of the same show, but they make fascinating reading.

The roll-call of first-hand accounts is impressive. Early manager Jimmy Silver is a big catch. James Williamson’sbad guy rap for poisoning the band is shown to be the ill-considered myth that it is, with tour manager John Adam (aka The Fellow) confirmed as the real catalyst for various members’ heroin habits.

The Decline Years of the Stooges, post-Mainman, hold a certain fascination for hardcore fans. Part of it is voyeurism – a peek into the on-the-road medicine cabinet and the approval-seeking, self-insulating excesses that it fuelled in a damaged singer – and the other part is wondering why the band kept going on its march of death.

Strait James and The Iceman pair for new album of originals

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.

Vale Marc Zermati, champion of underground rock

time tunnel logoLast weekend was marked by sad news that the founder of French label Skydog Records MARC ZERMATI had passed away.

Zermati is owed a huge debut by fans of the Stooges, in particular. He kept the memory of the Stooges alive for decades, releasing the live "Metallic KO" album and other material when nobody lse seemingly cared. He was the promoter of France's first punk rock festival and a driver of underground culture. We thought it was timely to extract this 20-year-old interview he gave to KEN SHIMAMOTO.  

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