If you’re a listener to modern alternative and indie rock and in tune with the sub-genres of psychedelia, grunge, and garage rock, then you’ll have heard the overtones of The Stooges third album Funhouse.
This album was created in a drug field burn in the late sixties and released in 1970. The key components are the Asheton brothers Ron and Scott in the rhythm section banging out loud grinds chords and Iggy Pop growling and screeching the lyrics. The songs all start suddenly and stop as if that was enough. This is not a big album in the number of ‘packer and filler’ songs, its straight to the bone rock. Reading other source material and at the time this was a poor seller commercially and critically panned, and yet it has something unique and long lasting about it. Its not fools rock, its a band who have been indulging and getting strung out, seeking to make amends because they need to play rock music. The trappings of the life seek to rend them asunder and it was the lack of success and the overloading of excess that pulled them apart until the great fan Bowie kick started a reemergence.
The swirling guitar chords and vocals stand out on all tracks, with some amazing guitar work on each track. It really grows on you quickly and it is a masterpiece of genre-hopping rock music, born out of crashing British blues and grimy psychedelic rock. If you wanted to pick one track to get the overall feel for the style and content, ‘1970’ would cover that with the introduction of saxophones and Iggy’s far off aching vocals. The opening track ‘Down on the Street’ does introduce you to the album and is a portent of whats to come, but one dares not look away for fear of missing out. The title track seems to be a rolling over of the sax from ‘1970’ and some of the vocals, but it eventually gets into its own space and time as Iggy works into a new vocal.
Individualistic artists like Joan Jett followed, influenced by the Stooges, who were influenced by The Doors. Their contemporaries like MC5 still have offerings out there, and Black Flag is another band that has roots in their 1967-1970 period. It is a classic album of music you wouldn’t normally listen too, but I’m glad I did.