from the Stooges book I worked on in the early 1990s, rough draft, but maybe of interest anyway:
Coinciding with the release of Fun House, the expanded, six-piece Stooges opened a four-night engagement with two sets each night at Ungano’s in New York, Tuesday, August 18th. They drew large expectant crowds. The media and celebrity-packed audience included Miles Davis and Johnny Winter as well as miscellaneous scene-makers, including the Warhol crowd. “Every time we played New York, this guy would come by our show and give the Stooges a little bottle of coke, completely on his own volition,” recalls Ron. “So we’re sitting backstage with Miles Davis, and this guy finally arrives and just throws down a big old pile. We already had the straws ready. Imagine the great scene – Miles Davis’s head right next to all the heads of the Stooges going ‘snnorrt!’ We all just devoured that fucking pile, man. Later, Miles Davis said, ‘The Stooges are original – they’ve got spirit,’ or something like that. It was great. My head next to Miles Davis, man.”
The Stooges commenced the Ungano’s residency by giving a stunning performance of Fun House in its entirety. Iggy was in his element, spending much of the time in the audience. At the end of one number, he laid lifeless on the floor in the middle of the club, causing someone to ask, “Are you dead?” Iggy used the microphone as a pendulum to hypnotise a victim in the crowd, then took him out of the “trance” with a bop on the nose. At another point, he got down between the legs of a guy and bit him. The second show of the opening night began at 2:35 am and the Stooges played an abbreviated set (the club closed at 3:00 am) focusing on new material instead of reprising Fun House tracks. For one of the numbers, the band provided an instrumental backing for an Iggy monologue about wanting to get “the buzz.” He sat on the floor and told about his youth, the lack of attention, inferiority complex, and the feeling of being a nobody. “When I was younger I always wanted to get a buzz from you,” he said. “I couldn’t get a buzz. Now I feel a buzz through and through.” The music climaxed as Iggy slowly stood up and walked off stage.
The rock writers were intrigued by the Stooges’ Ungano’s performances. Allen Richards of Zygote described Iggy as an “impromptu performer, doing whatever makes him happy at the moment. In his efforts to live his fantasies and pursue his desires, he becomes totally immersed in the act he displays. Maybe too much.” Fred Kirby of Billboard, a firm believer in the band’s potential, felt the group was “as intense and erotic as ever,” and “even more overpowering than before with the addition of Steve McKay on saxophone.”
Circus’ Tony Glover had never experienced anything like Iggy before, which prompted him to ask, “What does it all mean? Is it just a hype, an exercise in theatric weirdness? Is it an act, designed to draw attention that the music alone wouldn’t? Or is it a ‘real’ stage madness designed to make the audience ask questions about themselves and the nature of what they want from rock groups?” He attempted to answer the questions, “People either dig or hate the Stooges, and you can write them off very easily if you’re only looking for surface depth. But if you can dig funky simplicity in its easy depth, and enjoy the play, you’ll dig the Stooges. If you can, see them live first, then dig the record as a soundtrack.” Zygote’s Richards also questioned whether it was an act or for real, “I was dumbfounded at the way he was driven furiously by his pursuits. How well he controlled the bourgeois middle-classers, I thought. His antics had them petrified, astounded, entertained and thrilled. Most of them feared his intrusion into their privacy. Most of them awaited what they thought were premeditated actions. They loved to see the freak go amuck; the nutty kid trespass propriety. But this performance was not an act. I fully believed that no one could take the stage and willingly turn himself from a reserved individual into a screaming hedonist. This was not a put-on.”
Several journalists spoke with Iggy and the band at Elektra’s New York office during their Ungano’s residency. Allan Richards noted that “offstage, Iggy displays a much more reserved attitude. He is friendly and unintimidating. He smiles. He laughs. He talks openly. He is an amiable character. Sudden moments of silence do interlope without warning, however, and he appears to take a mental walk through years of loneliness, pain and confusion.” GQ’s Jan Hodenfield observed that Iggy was “quite calm, quite sane, very normal indeed, and completely unreal. Shy smiles, engaging twinkles, boyish affability. One quiet word follows another. Except that he’s stringing together thoughts of such denseness and complexity that you suddenly feel you missed one too many classes in Logic I.”