'Scuse me while I Open Up and Bleat
Live at The Whisky A Go Go – Iggy and The Stooges (Easy Action Records)
It’s ridiculous to say, as many of you have, that the management at the I-94 Bar treats Stooges recordings with the reverence of ancient religious artefacts.
Let’s dispel that untruth right now: We hold them in much higher regard than that. If you want to know why, go no further than this Record Store Day vinyl release.
Record Store Day was a good marketing idea that devolved into a clusterfuck. Sure, it encourages otherwise disengaged to find a bricks and mortar shop and lay down their hard-earned, but it’s been taken over by greedy fucks who run major labels that issue/re-issue “product” that cost them sweet fuck-all, or recouped a million years ago.
Their search for a way to capture the consumer dollar will tie up pressing plants for months on end and bump little labels and bands down the production schedule.
And all because it’s on VINYL maaaaaan. People will buy it in all sorts of colour permutations to satisfy their collector gene hormones AND REFUSE TO PLAY IT BECAUSE THAT WOULD BREAK THE SEAL AND BRING DOWN ITS VALUE. Really? Format matters more the music? Give me a fucking break.
So the confession that this vinyl-only release on one of the world’s greatest labels (and they are NOT a major) originally passed me by when it was released in June 2021 should deserve a shit shower of shame for which I will dutifully submit.
There are enough recordings by Iggy and The Stooges from their infamous 1973 run at Hollywood’s Whisky A Go Go to go around, right? That this is one of the previously unreleased ones (September 16) and sounds good rather than bad or indifferent should raise your hackles.
That it’s sumptuously packaged in black and silver, lavishly illustrated packaging might get you going, too.
Ultimately, it’s the performance that counts, though, and this is a fearsome one, spurred on by what sounds to be a small Sunday night crowd. The seven-song set will be familiar to Stoogephiles. “Search and Destroy” and “Open Up And Bleed” are particularly lethal.
It is an audience recording but you’d scarcely pick its cassette origins. Ron Asheton’s propelling basslines and James Williamson’s fuck-you guitar get to the nub of things. Iggy howls in contrast to Scott Thurston’s soulful vocal delivery. Yin and Yang. Right? That Iggy and the Stooges sounded like nothing else on earth at the time is exactly the point.
Rock Action’s simple, firm-footed feel should be an object lesson to anyone trying to work out how to apply musicality to percussion. Less really is more even when you’re not pawning pieces of your kit for drugs.
You can’t slander the Stooges.
Can you imagine how opening act Chris Jagger (in country rock mode) felt being followed by this?
Do you need this because it's on vinyl only (at this stage) or because it's Iggy and the Stooges? If you like getting up and changing the platter's side or you claim to have a superior steroe system to 99 percent of the world and vinyl sounds "warmer" even when most damaged human ears can't discern the difference, you'll lean towards the LP. Just do us a favour and PLAY IT. Me, I don't really care, but my speed-corrected "Metallic KO" on vinyl does shit all over my original copy for dynamics, and that's a fact. Just be grateful this is here.
Only 30 copies remain of the 900 pressed, thanks in part to some Brexit cock-up at the EU borders, so get in fast if you want it on vinyl. Be heartened by the fact that Easy Action pays royalties to the band and families (which is NOT the case with many Stooges releases currently on the market.)