“And I’ll lay right down in my favorite place
And now I wanna be your dog.”
1969. A year that gave us a band that would, at the start be looked down on but eventually become one of the most influential bands of all time. Fronted by one of the most charismatic and courageous human beings, ever.
On Monday I went to the cinema to see Gimme Danger. The brilliant film about The Stooges. As I watched it, every part of me wished I was born at the right time to have appreciated them at the start. Instead I came into the world a couple of decades later. I couldn’t understand how or why The Stooges were the underdogs, why they were given so much shit. Maybe it’s because they were completely misunderstood. Their debut record is one of the most remarkable and most raw records of all, and for a debut to sound like that? Shit. You can just tell that they were on the verge of creating something that would make some feel uncomfortable, but what good comes from feeling otherwise?
I was very young when I first heard The Stooges, very young. I wasn’t aware of how important they would end up being to me but I remember instantly being hooked on Iggy. He seemed like someone that nobody could touch. He was like a fictional character brought to life and this character heightened when on a stage. The way he would whirl about on stage and how he would launch himself into the crowd. It wasn’t like anything else, he’s not like anyone else. He moves on stage like a gorilla ready to attack, especially when he crouches down and moves in this way that just makes you wonder what he’s going to do next. When a band can keep you on constant edge like that, that’s when you truly connect and know you’ve got a band to love for life.
Their debut record is a collection of songs that mess with your head. I mean that intro to I Wanna Be Your Dog is probably the greatest intros of all time. As soon as I hear it my ears prick up and I’m covered in goose bumps. I can’t describe what it sounds like but every time I play it, it feels like I’m hearing it for the first time. That new sensation takes over every time I hear it. We Will Fall is 10 minutes of chanting and bliss. It doesn’t sound like anything else on the record or really anything else they’ve ever done. No Fun is 5 minutes of summing up how boring life can sometimes be if you let yourself fall into a bland routine.
This recorded guided a generation into the 70s and brought to life a movement that would establish one of the most influential styles of music ever. Maybe I’m biased in my thoughts there, but for me, Punk is the backbone of everything I love. It isn’t just a 2 minute song telling the world to go fuck itself. It’s more than you or I can describe or explain. It’s a sound, a feeling, an attitude and I’m happy it found its way to me. The more I listen to The Stooges, the more I hear things I may not have initially picked up on. I can hear just how frantic Scott’s drumming was, and I think that’s part of the charm. Scott’s drumming was out of this world and he played in a way that made you want to make your own noise. Hell, The Stooges just made you want to make your own noise.
Their first record is smutty, off the wall and just wonderfully weird. These are the traits that got me hooked on them the first time around, and it is still apparent now decades later. The songs ooze frustration, desperation and the need for something. The need to search and destroy (different record, I know) and this record everlastingly and loving grabs you by the throat and unapologetically plants one right on the kisser. It’s just a brilliant listen, from start to finish. There’s no bad song on the record and each song is a side to The Stooges that we all grew to love and admire.
It took them a long time to get the respect and admiration that they rightfully deserved, and maybe if it happened straight away this raw and urgent sound they constantly possessed may never have been there. If you’re looking for a band that define going against what people expect or a band that just don’t care what you think- The Stooges are for you. The Stooges are for everyone. Everyone deserves to feel that “oh fuck!!” feeling when they hear I Wanna Be Your Dog for the first time. It’s feeling like no other, and man…it’s so timeless.