Well aren’t I just all snotty and “punk”: I’m sitting here in my room listening to The Stooges’ self-titled debut while my roommate is in the kitchen playing “Hey Jude” and having a flowers-in-your-hair singalong fest. Now all I need is a… red dog collar… oh, and pecs and abs like Iggy Pop, of course, something my “dad bod” might not abide, as it were. It called to mind, anyway, Iggy Pop’s famous interview where he refers to David Crosby and the rest of the Woodstock crew as “Just loathsome… just not music at all.”
Along the lines of him and the band generally going against the grain in both garb and in sound, many refer to The Stooges, whose first album came out in 1969 and features the opening track “1969” (easy to remember, I’d think) as the “godfather(s) of punk.” Now, what’s funny about this, is that it’s easy to question that and say well DEATH is a Detroit band full of black dudes around that same time and white people always copy black people, so obviously, it should be DEATH credited with inventing punk. Well, this is one instance where that race paradigm dissipates, as in fact DEATH didn’t form until 1971 (although along these lines they are still grossly underrated in terms of their impact and truth be told racially biased, almost unquestionably), and The Stooges were at it in the ’60s wielding, seemingly, as influences, only the MC5, drugs and a lot of disgust with hippies. With this being the case, their music is direct, disruptive, and, might I say, “black,” in terms of utilizing the blues scale and rhythm toward a final stew that blasts out of the speakers as undeniably original.
There are many side stories about this band I could touch on, like their excellent, Jim Jarmusch-directed documentary Gimme Danger which I thoroughly recommend, or the fact that in my opinion David Bowie might have ruined them with some tawdry production on Raw Power. I’m going to keep it short though and just (along the lines of them really needing a “self-titled debut” search function on Spotify seeing as I just spend like two minutes looking for the album that put these guys on the map) highlight the story which I’m sure by now is ubiquitous that track three on The Stooges, the unabashedly horsed-out “We Will Fall,” was literally conceived as “filler.” As history goes, the band had a couple solid songs but not enough to fill a whole album (which begs the question if the same is true in the case of White Light/White Heat and “Sister Ray”), so John Cale, Velvet Underground bassist/violist turned rock producer, helped them drum up this cursorily amusing but generally still asinine 11-minute stoner-fest, replete with lyrical asides that seem deliberately hallucinatory and the same weird, Gregorian chant-like background vocal part the whole time. But anyway, I’m indulging in the licentious expedition of online streaming and repositioning this song on a The Stooges playlist so it’s the end, my only friends, the end.