George Starostin's Reviews



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Solange & Alexandre <> (05.08.2004)

For me the Stooges were a big ????? of the end of the sixties and the beginning of the seventies. Sure the rock was becoming more louder and more noisy than before, but this music was a very surprise for me when I discover it in 1986. There were other groups like Blue Cheer, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath who played heavy, but the MC5 and especially the Stooges were in an other side, more outrageous, more wild, more free too in their Music, and they had two very good Frontmen Iggy and Rob Tyner. The Intensity was more important with them. Now if they had begin in 2000 they would be considered like hard rock groups or punks, but at this period it was new, fresh, intense and spontaneous. For me it's very important, they were the wild one, it's true, they pushed the limits of rock to a noisy experience that I never found later. Sure there was after the punk movement, but they didn't have the Class of this Detroit's Group and the Hard Rock became a Shop like a Supermarket, selling Albums with millions. No the Spirit of these 2 Bands was different, in an other Dimension, they began in a period of Flower Power, the Contradiction was extreme, they put in front of the World a certain sort of Reality, the Flower Power was a nice Thing, but for me very utopic, but I respect that.

I'm not a fan of punk rock, this Music annoys me, the Force of the MC5 and the Stooges is that they had a base of good Rock and Roll, you can hear this in the Albums of the MC5 and especially in the album Raw Power of the Stooges. I consider James Williamson like a Genius, an Inovator, a Killer of Guitar but with a lot of Class. If they had done Raw Power in 2004 it would be a memorable Album. There is no Time in this Album, all was here in this Album, the Violence, the Beat, the Force, the Spirit of Nihilism, a big Door was opened with this Album, a lot of Groups of hard rock and punk were inspired by this one and the others.

They were just the Beginning of something new, a Revolution in Music Industry, a sort of Enigm of Rock they had something of magic and destructif. Now when I see rock Groups I have the Impression they do something like a Machine, something that I heard before with a spontaneous Force like the Stooges and the MC5. They had something of AUTHENTIC that I like, a spontaneous Combustion, a very good Threall, to imitate them after it's easy but they were THE WILD ONE, definitely !!!! I'm sure I will listen to them till the end of my Life, very good and powerful Music, God bless them for ever !!!


wilfie noodnik <> (15.10.2005)

no comments on THE STOOGES review yet?  ok, here ya go.

first a little backround, if that's ok, hope i don't bore you:  i saw iggy in CREEM magazine as a kid (i lived with a cousin who had a subscription to it, as well as EASY RIDER...Boy Howdy tits on choppers, now that's class!)  this guy looked like frankenstein's monster, lanky  pasty pulling his dick out on stage.  gotta say, that cut a pretty insane image of a rocknroll singer to me as a pre-teen, but it made an impression.  same thing with lou reed: heavy eyelids, white pancake makeup...real creppy, boris karloff territory, but i never forgot 'em, either of 'em.  later on i got to love 'em, both of 'em.

anyway, back to THE STOOGES lp...i found it used when i was 19 immediately my cat pissed all over it, either the previous owner had a strong feline or iggy asked him to do it himself.  foreign hardcore was almost exclusively what i listened to at the time (MOB 47, CHEETAH CHROME MOTHERFUCKERS, etc) as you can probably predict, all the "founders of punk rock" hype had me lost on first listen.  a short time later i was driving with a friend in a dangerous part of town when his car broke down.  we were forced to walk home, at night, on one of the hottest days of the summer, with a little hand held tape recorder playing, you guessed it, THE STOOGES 1st lp.  it charged me, that was the first time i really listened to it!  i was puny for my age but listening to those songs at night walking the streets, sweating our asses off walking to what felt like our grave, gave me a strut, way more "bad" than george thoroughgood.  i can almost imagine that those guys wrote those songs to be played in such a situation, when you're living wrong or walking a fine line with your life.  iggy swears that the term punk came from a review of this album: "this is the sound of punks cruising for burgers pussy", or something like that, so i guess context is everything in this case.  it was much more subtle than i expected upon first listen but the underlying attitude feeling makes it far more dangerous than most punk records, save FLIPPER or DRUNKS WITH GUNS, both of whom definitely owe something to this record.


Michael Francisco <> (03.03.2000)

You're absolutely right about Fun House not being punk rock. Sure, there are a few songs that are upbeat, but as a whole, the album cannot be considered punk rock by post-'77 standards. Something that is punk rock, however, is the follow-up to this album, Raw Power (Columbia, 1973). "Search And Destroy" rocks more viciousy that anything by Sabbath or Purple, as does "Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell". Another Stooges CD to check out is Metallic K.O....which is probably the only live album where you can hear a crowd (which consisted mainly of biker gang members and loose women) throwing eggs and beer bottles onstage. It's another testament to the fact that the Stooges WERE punk rock before the phrase became widely used.

jpcs <> (09.06.2000)

whoa,sharp spottin' that chuck berry/"1970" thing! I'd never noticed that!

pretty much on the $$$ about the "In-a-gadda-da-vida"/"Fun House" resemblance too  ....gulp...

<> (16.08.2000)

i hate when critics use words like "arty"to describe a musical gesture that may have no references to rock as you know it.the sax playing on this record is ,in my opinion,wonderful...and i love "dirt"..not everything has to go"somewhere" can also hypnotize you like a mantra.after all,what can be more boring than a mantra without music?

Colin Wilson <> (02.10.2001)

The Stooges Funhouse is in a way such as you described 'a insane blues rock' album, as if you listen to early blues it is very earthy and primitive and shares some of the themes that Iggy is singing about; sinning and women, albeit taken to a more extreme level. The Stooges,the MC5 and the 60's garage rockers such as the ones included on Lenny Kayne's classic Nuggets collection were never punk rock as some people like to state, rather they emphasized the whole musical freedom of the punk ethos that was to come, the 'attitude' if you will, the fact they couldn't play as well as the Stones or the Who, but still had the balls to get out and do it!

Francis Mansell <> (28.01.2004)

Not produced? Well in a way, I guess. The producer (Don Gallucci, former keyboard player of The Kingsmen of Louie Louie fame) had the very good sense to allow the band to essentially record their current live set in the studio, even bringing in a p.a. - the important thing is, the actual recording was excellent. This is pretty much what the Stooges sounded like live at the time, and fortune allowed it to be recorded at their peak - the hard drugs (Iggy and Scott Asheton) and booze (Dave Alexander) started destroying the band very soon after this recording.

You can tell from the incredible screams and grunts on this album that one of Iggy's fave artists at the time was James Brown - musically this is most obvious on the title track, which I guess is almost a kind of ultra-vicious funk meets (as you say) 'In-a-gadda-da-vida' jam, with Iggy all hyped up and ready for some really steamy sex. And guess what? I think Fun House is superb, though I'm with you on '1970' and 'LA Blues'. The latter, apparently, represents the only point where Gallucci prevented them from doing what they normally did live - segueing it directly from the title track at the end of their set, with all the energy built up from the previous song, rather as you describe using the Who as an example. He made them record it separately, and their hearts (especially drummer Scott Asheton) were apparently not in it, so much so that when they edited the 5 minutes or so that they used from the much longer jam, they had to overdub a new drum track.

A few years back Rhino put out a limited edition box set of the entire sessions for this album - 30+ takes of 'Loose' is a bit much (no, it's way TOO much!) but you do realise how much most of this stuff was absolutely all ready to record, this was no "we'll write/arrange the songs in the studio" album. A couple of the out-takes of the title track are even better than the very good one here, I suspect they were rejected on grounds of length, and perhaps some minor fluffs (not obvious), but there's some wicked sax/guitar/vocal interplay while the bass and drums keep dead on the murderous groove.

The box set has some fabulous versions of 'Dirt' too, with some interesting variations, but none quite approaches the version on the original album - the tension filled initial section, and the almost beautiful and plaintive descending riff that appears later on. I sometimes think 'Dirt' is the best thing they ever did. When I'm listening to it anyhow!

And finally, I can't see your point about 'Loose' and 'TV Eye' having nearly identical riffs. Similar tempo and energy level, for sure, but 'Loose' just blasts out three full chords, while 'TV Eye', while harmonically in a fairly similar place, has a much longer riff played mostly on two strings. And I just love that chugging interlude where Iggy emits a wonderful sequence of unholy wails and screams. The astounding thing is, Iggy's vocals are EVEN BETTER on their third album, Raw Power. Do us a favour and review that one too George, like Fun House it's one of the greatest rock albums of the 70s (and it's not a punk record either!)

David Dickson <> (31.08.2004)

You know, music is kind of like politics. Most elections pit an incumbent against a challenger. Let's say the incumbent in question was a notorious figure for leading the country in time of war for dubious reasons. (There are numerous such examples in the world right now; please do not think I'm implying a specific case.) If you praise the incumbent, then you're "protecting" the country from subversives. If you scrutinize the incumbent (or praise the challenger), then you're being "unpatriotic" and bordering on treason. It is rhetorically impossible to challenge both sides, or, conversely, to see both sides. You've got to pick a party, or risk being isolated.

Music runs much the same way--only this time, along the lines of "the mainstream" and "the underground". If you hate the mainstream, then you're automatically an "open-minded" individual. If you love the mainstream, or even parts of it, especially in today's modern world, then you're automatically "close-minded." Or as some enlightened individuals would eloquently put it, a "brainwashed, uneducated retard."

Same goes if you hate the underground. Or again, even parts of it. Why the hell is it so impossible to see both sides? Why is it seemingly against the law to like music that sells better than gold today? Is it because everyone's just jealous of people who look good, make money, appear on TV, date actors, and weren't alive in the '60's, when artists were supposedly genetically more talented than those of today?

I refuse to fall into the simplistic trap of judging everything popular and non-'60's to a higher standard than everything else. If that makes me a retard, a geek, and a drooling brainwashed drone, then fine--call me that, and to hell with you. I like some underground music, and I also like some mainstream music. I also hate some music from both sides. End of story. In my opinion, there is no such thing as one genre being inherently superior to the other. Ever. Shania Twain has just as much chance of putting out a good album as Neutral Milk Hotel, the Cows, and Squirrel Nut Zippers. Sorry if that infuriates you.

I'm telling you all of this to prepare you for this next paragraph, although it might not be adequate for some people. I don't like Fun House. At all. This is widely considered the "beginning" of punk music as we know it: anti- mainstream, loud, primitive, chaotic, etc. And it DOES have energy, I'll give it that. It also lacks everything else I like about music: hooks, flow, melodic originality, listenability--other than it's historic value, it seems to have no reason to exist. Both The Stooges and Raw Power are better albums, but that's not saying much. You want a decent proto-punk band, check out the New York Dolls. Maybe the Stooges came first, but quite frankly, I don't care. Bad production, loud noise, and authentically rebellious attitude, by themselves, cannot a good album make.

"1970" isn't a bad song, though.

In conclusion, I have one last request: Please, everyone reading, do not automatically assume any artist, album, or form of music that you have not listened to and do not EVER intend to listen to, sucks, since you have absolutely no evidence to base that on. Everyone here is guilty of that, even me. Only the reverse--I assumed Fun House, Surfer Rosa, and the Pixies would rule if everyone else praised them to the nines.

Aleix Vallejo Pons <> (20.09.2006)

I'd wish to get started in your site with a very special album for me. I came across The Stooges almost a year ago. By the time I did, I didn't trust Mr. Pop very much. In my home punk rock was not welcome (or any kind of "Noisy-Rock"), so I've had to wait until I've been able to dive into rock by myself.

I decided to give a chance to Iggy and the Ashetons because I wanted to tear down all of these prejudices that I had learned at home, from my father (he taught me lots of things about rock, for good and for bad). In the website by Federico Fernandez, one of your Certified Commentators, I read a raving review on Raw Power, and got the album at once. I found it brilliant. Powerful, catchy, rocking, I love it. So I wanted MORE. I tracked the other Stooges' albums. Eventually I heard of Fun House. Many reviewers said it was even better than the great Raw Power. I wanted to find out whether it was true or not, and I did. It was true, at least for me.

I worship Fun House. It kinda surprised me, I only had Raw Power as a reference and couldn't expect the kind of...uh, "sound" that FH offers. You see, I love Blues and Rhythm&Blues, especially when they're played the 'heavy' way, I mean like the Who or the early Led Zeppelin or Jethro Tull. And The Stooges played it the heaviest way. I can't help but love the strength of Down on The Street, the "cool" Loose (it does sound cool, eh?), the despair of T.V. Eye, the madness of 1970 (what if it's a rip-off? sure good Chuck must feel honoured by this one), the beat of Fun House... As a teenager, I MUST love Fun House. I had never felt frustration so deep from an album, and I had never experienced insanity so closely. Whenever I feel like breaking my neck, or anyone else's, I just sit through Fun House and everything flows...

But the (other) great thing about it is that, apart from this emotional side, which one could share or not, it is an excellent album of "music", which is quite the point. It is awesome the way they let themselves go without ending up in stupid jams or pointless growling. I think that's the strongest point of these guys, what you call 'adequacy'. It would be very easy to go into the studio and just yell along, stomp along, and jam along. But I think The Stooges managed to mix successfully good music (good playing and even songwriting) with madness. Their way of playing is not exactly "professional", I think, especially at that time (no jams, no showing off, no virtuosi). Nevertheless, that's not bad, I just get mad with the energetic soloing of Ron, one of my favourite guitarists, and the devastating, minimalistic style of Scott. Not to mention Iggy's "has-to-be-heard-to-be-believed" performance.

Having stated all these excellencies, I must mention the great, incredibly intelligent production (by Don Gallucci, former keyboardist for the Kingsmen). I fully agree with you that production is one of the most remarkable things that don't work in the first album. That is corrected here, and the result is explosive. And probably thanks to ol' Don we have a mighty LA Blues of 5 acceptable minutes instead of that We Will Fall thing. I love the man.

Just EVERYTHING is fine with this album for me, so I can easily place it at the very top of my personal list of favourite albums of all time, along with Selling England by the Pound.



PS: I didn't miss the chance to see the very Stooges three weeks ago in Azkena Rock Festival, Vitoria. The concert was incredible, with Iggy displaying an unbelievable youthful performance. I was even lucky enough to climb upstage with a bunch of crazed fans, at Iggy's spontaneous invitation (he's the best!). It was great to be just by his side, and touch him, just one of my life's definitive experiences.

I was delighted to find a video in Youtube by one of the fans who came upstage. He managed to film it all even though it was forbidden. I do appear briefly in minute 2:40, the short, "blonde" (dyed) guy in a black T-shirt who touches Ig in disbelief.

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