The Stooges: 1973 WABX broadcastIn case you’re wondering, I’m currently reading “Iggy Pop: Open Up and Bleed.” Written by Paul Trynka, the biography was published in 2007, so it’s pretty up-to-date and includes the Stooges reunion.
I’m about two-thirds of the way through the book; up to about the Zombie Birdhouse period. The Stooges’ story is more or less the centerpiece, as you might expect, with chapters devoted to each of the albums and to the band’s eventual implosion. There are also chapters on Iggy’s collaborations with Bowie and the time they spent in Berlin. As time passes and Iggy turns out albums that are less than heroic, Trynka’s praise, and the amount of ink given each, seems to fade.
An interesting perspective Trynka has given the story is his take on the Iggy Pop persona. Throughout the book, Trynka has written as if Iggy is Mr. Hyde to Jim Osterberg’s Dr. Jekyll. It’s frustrating as, over and over, throughout his career, you see Jim achieve near success only have Iggy snatch it away. One brutal example is after the release of Lust for Life. Trynka writes that Jim/Iggy locked himself in a room at the Schlosshotel Gerhus in Berlin where “he stared and stared at the album cover, all the while snorting up a small mountain of cocaine, waiting to see if he’d like the photo. Eventually he decided he hated it.
“He listened over and over to ‘The Passenger,’ waiting for it to get faster. It didn’t, and he decided he hated that too.”
Reading this biography has, naturally, put me in the mood to listen to Iggy, and I’ve dragged out several of the old CDs (I cannot find my Raw Power disk, dammit!). I wanted to share some of the old stuff but couldn’t decide if I should go with something from the commercial releases or something a little more off-the-wall. In the end, I decided to go with what you find here: The 1973 WABX broadcast of an early mix of Raw Power, which comes from a disk called Rough Power.
There’s a whole long story about the original mix of the album and subsequent remixes. I’ll suggest you start here, and then read on as necessary.
As far as this WABX broadcast, I’ve got two not-totally-dissimilar versions at hand as to how it came about. I’m guessing the truth is somewhere in between. In “Open Up and Bleed,” Trynka writes that Iggy himself brought the rough mixes to the radio station, previewing the album, singing along with some of the tracks, then stripping down and dancing naked in the studio.
The liner notes for Rough Power indicate CBS Records refused to allow Iggy to be interviewed or to play the rough mixes on the air. Iggy, however, wanted to do something for the station, which had always been supportive of the Stooges. As a sort of compromise, according to Ron Asheton, Iggy ended up taking some lesser mixes and keeping quiet.
You’ll hear that the sound quality of these recordings is pretty poor – I don’t know the original source, but it seriously sounds like someone with a handheld microphone recording from a portable radio. The one thing that does come through is the “raw power” that was the Stooges. It’s a shame that, despite several efforts, this seminal album has never been properly remastered.
I Need Somebody.mp3
Hard to Beat.mp3
Search and Destroy.mp3