Rock's perfect storm

By Sergio Ariza

One of the best rock albums of all time. It was dirty work, indecent and dangerous, where Iggy Pop and his boys let loose the biggest gob of spit at American society at the time, a moment when the slogan “peace, love and music” was still moist. That wasn’t what the boys saw, there was violence, racial riots, and so much inequality, and this had to be shouted into their face. Fun House is all of that, and much more, it’s one of the biggest explosions of energy in rock history. You only have to listen to Down On the Street and Loose to get that the Stooges were unleashing the perfect storm of rock with one of the most deafening icons in the history of rock.

Jack White would say that Fun House was “a definitive American rock record” and it was going right on track, punk, grunge and the noisy raving of  Sonic Youth came out of their pores. Two keys to this filthy sound are Ron Asheton’s guitar that builds a wall of sound with his Stratocaster plugged into a Marshall turned up to the max and the primal wild screaming of James Osterberg, TV Eye sounds like hellish blues, as if Howlin’ Wolf was losing his voice  backed by the wildest rock band on the planet. Dirt is, as the name implies, dirty and disturbing, on a bass riff, Iggy shows his most sensually provocative side while Asheton does the same on guitar ( besides leaning on a solo that casts serious doubts on those who only see primitivism in his playing). You can see his debt to The Doors in this song, but Iggy’s boys take it a bit farther. With 1970 raw energy gets back, a meat-eating riff with Iggy screaming his lungs out , and in the end Iggy and the saxman Steve MacKay get into a harrowing duel. The title cut is another free and eccentric blues , with a touch of funk and a bass riff, sax and guitar, although the last two are free to roam wherever they please from time to time, Asheton shines again, but it is Iggy who sounds the most threatening of all. L.A. Blues, is the last track, and is brutal, Iggy and Asheton’s Strat scream like a scalded cat; five minutes of musical anarchy,  disturbance  and filth make it quite clear that the hippy dream is dead.

It is the end of the perfect storm, an outrageous end that makes clear that The Stooges had been ahead of their time, though ironically, they were the perfect soundtrack to those who were living the times, times of riots, protests and brutal assassinations, as in the savage Manson family case. The times were a-changing again, and the happy 60s gave in to the turbulent 70s, the punk storm was becoming clearer, one only had to listen to the seminal Fun House

(Images: ©CordonPress)