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 The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?

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dorianmode

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PostSubject: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Thu Dec 25, 2008 11:56 pm

Here's an excerpt from the liner notes to the compilation entitled: 'Iggy Pop and the Stooges: Original Punks'.

'The Stooges were middle-class delinquents who revelled in a dark, decadent sub-Bohemian lifestyle, which they saw as essential to authenticating their art. Led by Iggy Pop .... they funded the group by selling drugs, wore Nazi regalia, owned guns, fought biker gangs, the police, frat boys and anyone else who challenged their outsider existence'.

Obviously this writer is determined to talk up their punk credentials. And of course they always have been known, if they're known at all, first and foremost as punk legends. Thanks mainly, I guess, to Iggy developing into the wildest frontman and Ron Asheton turning out to be the greatest unbridled genius to ever lay hands on a guitar (oh, and his taste for Nazi regalia ... and guns). And of course, later on, there really were the 'dark days' of heroin. But just how punk, just how rebellious were they to BEGIN with?? I mean, when it all began, with Iggy and the Ashetons and Alexander.

OK...they were all highschool/college dropouts...wore their hair long...smoked pot...

But they also liked classical music, played in church basements, lived with their parents...never had any major falling-out with their parents anyway.

And they never really seemed to fall foul of the law. Unlike the MC5, for instance, who ended up having quite a lot of jail-trouble (but then I suppose they were more politically & socially engaged, if only because of Sinclair). According to Ron Asheton anyway, his brother and Alexander were meant to have been 'stone punks', and what was all that about Alexander having been in with some hoodlums and carrying a knife all the time...but there's no record of him, or Scott, or any of them having really been in any trouble, officially. Certainly not in those early days.

I suppose really the central rebellious thing they did, the statement they really made ( if they even meant to make any statement...I don't know how far they did these things self-consciously, as the writer above likes to make out) was just in turning their backs on formal education and the route to acceptable, conventional jobs...in favour of doing nothing at first (just hanging round the drugstore) and then getting in their own band, following their own style and playing for next to no money.

Just a few thoughts ... any others?
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MJG196

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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Fri Dec 26, 2008 1:00 pm

Gene Vincent.
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Nadja

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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Sat Dec 27, 2008 12:36 am

I like the way you write dorian! it's interesting what you say... I personally am fascinated by the early period, how the Stooges began, just how they evolved, that whole time and place
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homesickjameswilliamson
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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Sat Dec 27, 2008 3:30 am

i think it comes down to what people refer to as punks, its such a broad term that anything under it is usually anything but, amean how can patti smith be considered in the same breath as i dunno the fall for instance, yet they are both 'punk', i consider it US and UK punk, and US punk essentially means art rock really u'no, i dont like to label, nor do i consider stooges punk at all, i dunno, ive used the quote here before but burroughs; "isnt a punk someone who takes it up the ass" thats paraphrasing but itll do lol
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dorianmode

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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Sat Dec 27, 2008 3:39 pm

I wasn't particularly talking about the Stooges being 'punk' in terms of music here, more in terms of their lifestyles/attitudes, the way that they could be, and have been, perceived. Like what the writer is doing in the quote I began with; once it was decided their music was 'punk' - a retrospective label of course - then anything about them that could be construed as being 'punk', rebellious, noncomformist, etc. began to be highlighted by many observers.
And thank you for your kind words Nadja Smile
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G, F#, E
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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:15 pm

I've always labeled The Stooges protopunk, which is sort of an umbrella term for things that inspired punk. Then again "Raw Power" is defenetly a punk album. The Stooges had the attitude and the sound so I would say they probably were punk, just not stereotypical punk. You don't need to be a mohicanned, bondage trouser wearing bulldog shouting "ANARCHY" to be punk.

Of course The Stooges mean a lot more to me (and were a lot more) than the label "punk" but if I had to stick them in a genre, punk is probably as close as you'll get. Because I don't believe "genius" or "gods" are genres Wink

The "punk attitude" could be easily dismissed as a standard "rock attitude" though. This is hard. Laughing
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homesickjameswilliamson
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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Sat Dec 27, 2008 6:50 pm

yeh, protopunk thats a good name, punk but not really punk i guess, yeh, i dont see raw power as a punk album, i dont even konw how to describe lol just like the first two albums, never heard anything like it before or ever, still havent even the wannabe and copy cats can never seem to make the sound even with the same equipment

but its hard to define the stooges as punk, even in their lifesytle/style/attitude, well their attitude actually would be punk, they started that ''bored shitless'' kinda thing, but i dunno about style or lifestyle, they were ostensibly hippies, no? all the pot and macrobiotic diets? i dunno, i just categorise them as uncategorisable!
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Nadja

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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Sat Dec 27, 2008 11:50 pm

dorianmode wrote:
And thank you for your kind words Nadja Smile

well after all you're a fellow-female who seems to really dig the 'original' Stooges Wink
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dorianmode

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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:45 pm

G, F#, E wrote:


The "punk attitude" could be easily dismissed as a standard "rock attitude" though. :

of course punk is generally seen as subset of rock - a bit more extreme version though. Notwithstanding all the stuff about the original dubious definition of the word, it's usually punk rock that people talk about Smile

I'm just interested in the way that a lot of people have chosen to portray the Stooges - with the benefit of hindsight of course - as doing, and being, something really new, but when you go right back to it they were really just doing things a lot of other people were doing then.
But the media, especially, always needs labels... and how convenient that their first album came out at the tail-end of the 60s, so that it was all the easier to portray them as doing something 'new', in revolt against 60s idealism, flower-power etc. And it's become pretty much the standard view of them.
Of course the most important thing is the music ... that does speak for itself. And I don't think there really has been another frontman to match Iggy and definitely no other guitarist to match Ron Asheton, bless him.

Ok, I'll quit rambling. But I find the quote above from the original punks cd quite amusing ... especially as the writer tacked on at the end that, as well as all the Nazi, drug-pushing, gun-running stuff they also managed to 'attract... some of the most beautiful women in Michigan'. How's that for reassurance Laughing

And as for 'Gene Vincent' - what an exciting thought, mg196 Laughing
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G, F#, E
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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 2:46 pm

The Stooges have always said they hate hippies though. So I would definetly not label them that, I think that the fact that it was near the end of the 60shad nothing to do with it.

If you break it down, The Stooges were just a rock band. The took drugs, had a crazy front man and slept around. However The Stooges happen to be the greatest rock band of all time, they were the extreme, they brought rock to an extreme so that nobody could ever better it because EVERYTHING was done in excess.

They had two of the greatest guitarists in the history of anything with Ron and James. They had the greatest frontman in Iggy. They went through bassists like cannon fodder, and great playing cannon fodder they were. And finally they had one of the most cool, dangerous looking drummers to ever take the stage.

They had huge highs (Cincinatti festival) and huge lows (Metallic K.O.) but they carried on no matter what, sor of heroic don't you think?

They were (and are) the greatest rock band of all time. They mean more to me than any "rock band" but can they be classed anything else?
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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 3:30 pm

I doubt very much whether dorian was meaning to imply The Stooges - the original Stooges - were just a hippy band GFE. Just the fact that they WERE of their time to some extent - that's true of anything. They took influences from around them. And, apart from anything else, isn't 'We will fall' often dismissed as 'hippy' shit? Laughing

But also the fact that they started - or started recording - at the end of the 60s is VERY important in terms of the way in which they're generally perceived ... it's cavalier to ignore it.
It's influenced the way they've been viewed in later times. That's a major reason - if not THE major reason - why punk came to be associated with them so strongly - at the very least, they're known as proto-punk - otherwise they would just be more straightforwardly known as a 60s rock band - a very distinctive one, of course, but not one that helped kick off the whole 70s punk revolution.
after all why aren't the likes of the Rolling Stones associated with the punk label more often, they also had attitude and aggression and a distinctive frontman. Because they started their career way earlier in the sixties.

I find it very refreshing to try and look at The Stooges from their absolute, original starting point, and not just everything that came after.

And, as for them being basically a rock band - at the very beginning I don't think they were even that, haha. As Ron has said, they only had sounds, not songs, to begin with. Maybe it would be better to call them an 'experimental' band then... I can't even call any of the tracks on the first album 'songs' , except 'No Fun', which comes across as the nearest thing to a conventional, structured rock song that they managed then. And I think they were a million times better for NOT having conventional rock songs. The minute they did, they went down a little, in my estimation. Not MUCH - it's just that, for me, they STARTED at an impossibly higher plane to all other bands and then later they kind of started sounding a bit more like other mortals. But, in all their various incarnations, they've effortlessly remained the best band of all time, at least that's ONE thing most of us on this board agree on Laughing, no matter what type or genre of band they are.

As dorian rightly pointed out, there's just this urge to label - a basic human urge maybe - but ultimately the most important thing about The Stooges is just their complete and utter genuine-ness when making music, whatever kind of music it may be. They're the realest deal that's ever been.

oh, and GF#E you ALSO forgot to mention they had the BEST BASSIST EVER to begin with Whack and I wouldn't class him as 'cannon-fodder' either, even 'great' cannon fodder


Last edited by Nadja on Sun Dec 28, 2008 6:08 pm; edited 4 times in total
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dorianmode

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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 5:11 pm

cheers Nadja you've summed up what I was trying to get at Smile
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G, F#, E
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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 9:46 pm

Nadja wrote:
oh, and GF#E you ALSO forgot to mention they had the BEST BASSIST EVER to begin with Whack and I wouldn't class him as 'cannon-fodder' either, even 'great' cannon fodder

I'm saying thats how The Stooges treated their bassist not how I look on them. Iggy fired Dave because he mucked up at one show, Zeke seemed to have been kicked out for no reason, Recca was forgotten about and Ron was excluded from the rest of the band. They weren't exactly treated like the other members of the band.
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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Mon Dec 29, 2008 12:04 pm

Dave was gradually dropping out anyway when he was fired. They just were never so cohesive a unit again after the making of the first two albums. No matter how great all the bassists and everything else to follow, they've missed Dave sorely ever since he left
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dorianmode

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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Mon Dec 29, 2008 10:57 pm

Nadja wrote:
No matter how great all the bassists and everything else to follow, they've missed Dave sorely ever since he left

They certainly have.
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G, F#, E
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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:10 pm

Fair point. But have they missed Dave because hes not in The Stooges or because hes passed away?
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dorianmode

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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:50 pm

G, F#, E wrote:
Fair point. But have they missed Dave because hes not in The Stooges or because hes passed away?

???? Huh?

They miss him in the sense that they haven't been able to find as good a bassist since. Although maybe I'm doing Recca and Zeke an injustice, because I don't recollect having actually heard their playing. Ron Asheton needless to say was good but he is more suited to guitar. Mike Watt is brilliant, but not as good as Dave. In my opinion.
That was all I meant, and I hope it's clear to you.
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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:02 am

You think The Stooges miss him because they haven't had a good bassist since but I think hes missed because he died. Personally I think hes one of the greatest bassists theres ever been but I don't think The Stooges were that bothered about his talent.

They could have given him another chance if they were that bothered, instead he got kicked out for one bad performance. Now I think they look back and miss him because he was one of their friends that died rather than missing him for the bassist he was.
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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:21 pm

G, F#, E wrote:
. I don't think The Stooges were that bothered about his talent.

.

what on earth makes you think that?

and he wasn't just kicked out, if you read important accounts, from Paul T for one, and 'Please Kill Me', the others say he was removing himself fom the band anyway. I don't think it would've taken much for him to come back if he'd really wanted to, I think they would've given him another chance alright. Ron seems to have been against the idea of his leaving too. Of course, I don't know all the ins and outs of it, for certain, but then neither do you.
And as for not appreciating his talent - well Iggy's said helluva lot of nice things about his bass-playing in recent interviews, he really appreciates him as a bassist now, even if he didn't so much at the time. Ron and Scott I doubt were EVER dismissive of his talent -they all played together SO well.
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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:29 pm

Yes, in hindsight. The Stooges could have tried talking to him or giving him a second chance if they really valued his talent that much. But if you think about it Iggy was pretty selfish to his musicians for a long time, a few years or so after firing Dave Iggy got tired of Ron and demoted him to bass in favour of James.

It could be said that it was like Ron was distancing himself from the band at that time, because he wasn't taking heroin. Around the point of Gooselake Dave hadn't taken any drugs in sometime (which caused it to effect him a lot more when he took a lot of them) unlike the rest of the band who were all taking drugs. That could be seen as "distancing" in their eyes.

We'll never know for sure though.
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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:36 pm

you're not getting my point, I just get the feeling now that it was Dave himself that didn't want to go back.


Last edited by Nadja on Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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dorianmode

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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:42 pm

True that Ron and Dave, at least, were very good friends for quite a long time. Ron says they were 'inseparable'. Although Kathy Asheton says she noticed him first! Smile
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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:53 pm

dorianmode wrote:
. Although Kathy Asheton says she noticed him first! Smile

yes indeed!!
although what she had to say about him wasn't that flattering, haha, much as it galls me to admit it

of course you're right that Ron and Dave were best buddies. He was in with all the Ashetons, really, seems like - they formed their first band - along with Cheatham, etc...
Ron says he thinks of Dave often, which is nice. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:18 am

Nadja wrote:
you're not getting my point, I just get the feeling now that it was Dave himself that didn't want to go back.

From what I've heard Dave was depressed for some time after getting kicked out. He never really seemed to get over some of his closest friends doing that to him.
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PostSubject: Re: The Stooges: Original(ly) Punks?   Wed Dec 31, 2008 11:46 am

I suppose then it ends up becoming a moot point whether Dave was depressed because he left the band, or whether he left the band because he was depressed. No doubt it was a bit of both, but by all accounts he had problems with addiction from pretty early on, LONG before he left, or even joined the band.

As to Iggy behaving badly towards his musicians, of course Dave was never just 'Iggy's musician', there was no suggestion of any hierarchy then

Actually, looking back, I should've made it clear that when I said 'the Stooges have missed Dave ever since he left' I wasn't really meaning that the other band members consciously, personally miss him, whether as a person or as a bassist or whatever, I really meant in a general, MUSICAL sense, in the sense that their music has suffered without his playing, that their music has lacked, or 'missed' a vital element ever since. I should have made that clear and thus avoided this discussion of 'personalities' - although when it's Dave I just can't help myself.
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