"The Stooges" by The Stooges - 50 Years On!

The first Stooges album officially is half a century old (released, August 5th, 1969)! I remember buying it when it was thirty years old back in 1999 after someone told me it was the first punk album.

When I played it for my brother and friend Jared, they thought it was the stupidest album they'd ever heard; my brother balked at lyrics like:
"1969, okay
all across the USA
another year for me and you
another year with nothing to do
another year for me and you
I say, oh my and boo hoo"

While Jared said, "Dude, his guitar solo is just a bunch of made up noise!" I mean, we had very formalist, metal musical taste; ya know -- guitar solos, singing in tune, professional production, etc. Then, after a few listens, we suddenly realized how brilliant it was.

The Stooges (originally the Psychedelic Stooges) were these white trash degenerates out of Ypsilanti, Michigan, who wanted to make this weird, droney noise with rock instruments, and they kinda stumbled upon a sound which drew from the mid-60s garage rock of the Count Five and the Seeds but also paved the way for the 1976 punk revolution, kinda like if the Velvet Underground were Midwest hickoids and didn't suck; and they HATED hippies.

In actuality, it's a little too slow and psychedelic to be punk in the "hey ho, let's go, oi oi oi" sense, and it includes the ten minute Gregorian chant "We Will Fall", but just about every punk band borrowed something from the Stooges (album and band as a whole), whether it was Iggy Pop's punky, "untrained" snarl or Ron Asheton's extremely basic approach to guitar; and the Pistols even covered "No Fun" for the b-side to their "Pretty Vacant" single. In any case, stunning debut that made me, my brother, Jared, and a bunch of other people say, "You CAN do that!"

Edwin Oslan
Revenge of Riff Raff

7th August, 2019
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