Sunday, July 6, 2008

wiseguy


The Stooges and Funhouse. What could be a bigger slap in the face to self-important hippie fantasies than hearing some bored dolt sing words like,‘Well it’s 1969 okay/ All across the USA/ Another year for me and you/ Another year with nothin’ to do...? If there’s an accidental message running through The Stooges and Funhouse, it’s that the 60s generation has become “No Fun." Nihilistic self-gratification is the new order of the day. 'Every little baby knows just what I mean,' Iggy sings on "Funhouse", 'livin’ in division in a shifting scene/Hold tight - callin' from the funhouse.' …With tracks like "I Wanna Be Your Dog” (‘So messed up, I want you here’), “Loose” (‘I’ll stick it deep inside’), and “1970” (‘Beautiful baby be my love/All night til I blow away’), Iggy stakes his claim to a new vision in which the only thing that matters is getting stoned and getting fucked. In the midst of the rising number of war casualties overseas, and with growing social and cultural strife at home, Iggy barks 'I feel all right' over and over again on Funhouse, each time with more taunting defiance. Compare this with the self-deluded pomposity of contemporaneous offerings from bands like Jefferson Airplane (Volunteers) and Crosby Stills Nash and Young (Déjà Vu), and it becomes clear that, in spite of the dim witted pose he was so fond of adopting, Iggy must be considered one of true visionaries of the Great Collapse.



5 comments:

Molly Stevens said...

I'm really enjoying your blog, Max.

One question, When did the Collapse attitude become a schtick?

Erik Himmelsbach said...

Reactionary lunkhead crap out of Detroit, whose scene was always amazingly overrated -- to this day. No one in rock got more out of less than Iggy.

Max Stevens said...

Harsh, dude. I was gonna do one on Detroit's MC5 at one point but now you have me thinking maybe I shouldn't...

Dan E said...

Erik's partially right — with the Stooges, minimalism was a big (and intentional) part of the equation. But to dismiss the Stooges' dystopian juggernaut as "reactionary lunkhead crap" is just plain silliness. (But then, I suspect Mr. Himmelsbach would say the same thing about Black Sabbath, another one of the greatest and most influential hard rock bands of all time.)

It's true that a lot of bands outta 60s Detroit definitely fall into the "you had to be there" category, but the Stooges and MC5 weren't among them. Aside from being amazing live bands (and there's ample footage to prove it in both cases), their records still pack a mighty wallop. And, as you point out, their recordings reflect what was going on in America at the time WAY more accurately than anything CSNY (or, for that matter, the Grateful Dead) ever waxed.

So please, go right ahead and riff on the MC5. Oh yeah, and add one more for the Detroit Collapse Trilogy: Funkadelic's Maggot Brain. Bleak (and funky) as fuck. Though maybe Erik thinks that one's overrated, as well? ;)

Max Stevens said...

Dan! You are downright inspirational. I had a feeling an attack on the Motor City would not go unanswered. ...I hadn't even considered Maggot Brain, but it's a great example and on the list now. Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time...