soundstreamsunday: “1970” by the Stooges

stooges1970_2Three months after Miles Davis unleashed Bitches Brew on the rock and jazz worlds, the Stooges second record, Fun House, appeared.  Like Davis, like a lot of music in 1970, the band was looking for the elemental, pushed by psychedelics to the fringes of structure, open minds creating extremes of focus.  For the Stooges that meant following the train to the auto plants of Detroit, putting into music the sisyphian rhythm of the line, in the same way that Maurice Ravel cited in Bolero his memories of the factory his father worked in.  The merciless repetition, the stamping power of machinery.  Already one album into creating a trinity of punk rock templates, the Stooges on Fun House sound at once heavier, funkier, freer than they did on Stooges.  Bringing in fellow Michiganer Steve Mackay on saxophone, whose presence created both space and chaos, the band occupied a far more complex and dangerous place than probably anyone around them truly expected, finding at their crossroads a vévé made of free jazz and Louie Louie, summoning the era’s riots and Kent States and Vietnams, holding up the same mirror that Hendrix traveled through in “Machine Gun” or Funkadelic gazed into on “Wars of Armageddon.”  But at the end of it there’s no message of peace and love or some kind of lesson learned.  It’s really a blank stare, a do-what-you-will-with-this, a Punk manifesto.  It’s no wonder, although still kind of remarkable, that Miles Davis thought the group was good, or at least that their cocaine was excellent.  The song “1970” begins the album’s second, disintegrating half, an answer to “1969” from Stooges, with Iggy’s proclamation “I feel alright!” feeling anything but.  It’s the dark stuff, completely and totally honest, because Iggy probably always did feel alright when things went to the edge.  The Stooges cut deep, to the bone, burning towards the true dark star of rock and roll.

soundstreamsunday playlist and archive


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s