L.A. Blues

The legacy of Iggy Pop and the Stooges in a new box set

Asheton -- who's still a working musician as well as a screenwriter and film actor (you have seen Mosquito, right?) back home in Detroit -- is now able to put his little ol' Michigan garage band into proper perspective. "We never wanted to be any kind of pop band. We really wanted to be something different. And because we started out as musical virgins, we got to develop and create something that was fresh. I think it was really to our benefit that we didn't know how to play our instruments real well. It turned out to be the genesis of a whole new sound."

It will forever be argued among the faithful whether the pinnacle of that sound was Fun House or the more standard hard rock (by Stooge standards, that is) of their third album, Raw Power, which was produced by David Bowie and released three years later on Columbia. To Rhino's credit they're aware that there are just enough Fun House addicts out there to make an undertaking such as this worthwhile. Says David Baker of Rhino Handmade: "I think it's now generally acknowledged that Fun House was a primordial record. It invented an entire genre of music years before that genre became popular. It's now an American classic."

"It's funny. I eventually grew to love it because I loved their rawness," says Gallucci. "There were no apologies in the music. But it wasn't just simple music; it was almost Zenlike. They had pared everything down, not because they were necessarily bad musicians or because they were dumb. They actually got rid of all the fey stuff that started to pop up in rock right about then. They eliminated all the artsy stuff and went back to just pure to the bone, to the studs, rock. At the same time, I knew that nobody would get it in 1970. But pioneers always get the arrows and slings. Eventually they were recognized, and I think that's great. But back in 1970, they were on a mission."

A new box set documents how Iggy Pop and the Stooges created a new genre of music and a now-classic rock album
A new box set documents how Iggy Pop and the Stooges created a new genre of music and a now-classic rock album

Asheton can actually laugh about it now. "The Stooges were always kind of looked down upon. 'Bunch of freaks! They can't play!' So ha, ha, ha! We were freaks back then. Now we're the godfathers of this type of music."

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