Happy Birthday today to one of rock and roll’s true blue hard edged, hard nosed mofos, a man who needs no introduction but I’ll give him one anyway – one who doesn’t play it by anyone’s rules, never has and never will, a singer who took the blues influences before him and smashed it over his head, and then licked the metaphoric blood droplets it caused, creating his own personal revolution of aural sounds which were crystallized like the very last ingredients in a homemade bottle of moonshine with cocaine in its ether, the one and only, and only one, Iggy Pop.
Incredibly, it’s the man’s 66th birthday today, and like one of his influences, Mick Jagger, has also spit in the face of Father Time, drove a steamroller over his back, and still chugs his way up the musical mountain range with one hand tied behind his back while hopping up it. With his muscular yet still rail thin, nary an ounce of fat on it frame, and his vocals, which can snarl at you like vipers coming out of a mother’s bosom, or can swoon with the same hidden thunder by way of a Frank Sinatra, and then can mid-range itself like the posturings of Lizard King Jim Morrison, the art and life of Iggy Pop has blurred, remains blurred, wants to be blurred. He seems to live on an edge of an edge of an envelope that continuously cuts him in perpetuity, his work with The Stooges continues to inspire the glorious filthiest of the filthy sounds that birthed punk and the like sounds that at once intimidate, luxuriate, and fascinate at every turn and clip when it violently bleeds its way out of the speakers.
With the music arm of the 2013 edition of SXSW in full swing and sonic force, who better to kick off that inaugural night deep in the heart of Austin, Texas at the House of Vans showcase at Mohawk than Iggy and the Stooges, who have already gained plenty of PR this year, with an album on the way followed by a summer tour. The band threw their hearts full of napalm into the delirious and frenzied crowd a few nights ago, debuting a few songs from their upcoming album Ready To Die, which is the first to feature the lead guitar strains of James Williamson on record since the band’s seminal 1973 release Raw Power, released over 40 years ago this year.
Led by T-N-T [he’s dynamite] lead singer Iggy Pop, who although in his mid-60s, still burns like a white hot, white noise whirling dervish of intensity and sonically apoplectic moxie, had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand, which has been his musical wont since he made mincemeat of a microphone and a stage over 45 years ago when The Stooges’ first musical strains were heard in Southern Michigan.
The late, great Ron Asheton, one of the paramount figures of the original Detroit hard rock/early punk sounds and styles whose work with the original incarnation of The Stooges garnered him as an important of a factor to its influence and staying (raw) power as much as the five foot one man who was born with sonic attitude, Iggy Pop, is being immortalized on a forthcoming DVD to be released in April of this year.
The DVD, which commemorates the man’s legacy and talents via testimonials by fans and friends alike, and a full-length tribute concert done by surviving band members, which was recorded and filmed back on April 10, 2011, bears the direct and to the point title: A Tribute To Ron Asheton.
You can check out the trailer for the DVD here below, along with the track listing and other details.
A new biopic is in the early stages right now which will visually showcase the collaboration between the musical men-about-town punk/post punk/psycho and ambient rock monarchs, Iggy Pop and David Bowie.
Entitled Lust For Life (which was first the name of a 1956 film starring Anthony Quinn about the tortured genius painter Vincent Van Gogh, but in later years became more associated with Iggy Pop as the title track from his seminal 1977 release produced by Bowie and created in Berlin), the film will focus on the trials, trails, and artistic roads the two men walked down during their jaunt to West Berlin in the mid-1970s. The decision to go there was influenced heavily by the writings of Christopher Isherwood, the late British writer whose novels The Berlin Stories and Goodbye To Berlin became literary catalysts that (even though they were set in wartime Germany in decay) still painted a wondrous idyllic Berlin, which became a sort of of artistic avant-garde Disneyland for many budding and established painters, musicians, and artists alike who took its cues and ventured there in hopes of finding their inner muses, Iggy Pop and David Bowie among them. Bowie and Berlin was also the focus of some headline controversy at the time when Bowie reportedly did a few “Hitler salutes” for the burgeoning crowd when he was in the city; fans, townspeople, and press photographers among those around him when he supposedly did it. It is unclear if that or any controversial matter will wind up in the upcoming biopic.
Raw Power, the third album by The Stooges, which is considered one of the forerunners of the entire punk movement which followed and dissected it like The Koran or other religious artifacts, celebrates its 40 Anniversary today.
The record, led by the snarling white hot cracked iron pot vocals of Iggy Pop, the filthy and VU Meter popping guitar sounds of James Williamson, and the lurid yet lucid rhythm section of the Asheton brothers, Ron on bass (who originally played lead guitar for the group) and Scott on drums, or maybe they were garbage cans with drum skins on them, now stands as an important record, a playbook of pre-punk and the punk/grunge gumbo that was to follow. Never before in the history of rock and roll (except for possibly the pioneering Seattle band from the 1960s, The Sonics) has a band profited so much in every which way from a more erratic, disjointed, slap-it-together as quick as you can manner and attitude than the approach and execution of what manifested Raw Power. Even the fact that Raw Power was produced by glam-chameleon David Bowie didn’t bring a sense of commercialism to it. It was a record divinely steeped in nihilism, of regret and bargain basement confidence, a record that was whip smart, the whip covered in barbed wire and napalm, its full milieu and scope in a true teenage wasteland.