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The Stooges to release first album in 33 years

The Stooges

Story by Jack Foley

THE Stooges, the band that predated punk and helped make rock and roll dangerous, will release their first studio album since 1973’s Raw Power on March 19, 2007.

The Weirdness will feature three of the four original bandmembers – singer Iggy Pop, guitarist Ron Asheton and drummer Scott Asheton – along with ex-Minutemen and fIREHOSE bassist Mike Watt and original Stooges sax player, Steve Mackay.

The Stooges wrote over 30 songs for the record at a cottage in Florida early this year, then rehearsed in Ann Arbor, Michigan before they entered the Chicago studio of esteemed producer Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies) in early October.

The album is being mastered in the UK at the legendary Abbey Road Studios. Tracks include Trollin’, Greedy Awful People, Claustrophobia, Mexican Guy, I’m Fried, ATM, O Solo Mio, She Took My Money and End Of Christianity.

Iggy decided to reform The Stooges in 2003 while he was working on his solo album Skull Ring. He called the Ashetons, who still had the same phone number he had last called them on 25 years ago.

The brothers agreed to contribute to four songs on the disc and the reunion seeds were planted. Then on April 27, the full band (with Watt on bass) played its first show together in 30 years to a spellbound audience at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Coachella, California.

A triumphant reunion tour followed, and in 2005 The Stooges were nominated to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They didn’t win, but were recently nominated again for induction at the upcoming ceremony to be held in early 2007.

If any rock band deserved Hall of Fame kudos it’s The Stooges, one of the most influential, powerful and explosive outfits ever to plug in a guitar.

Formed in Ann Arbor in 1967, The Stooges were a forceful poke in the eye of commercial rock. Volatile and incendiary, the band wrote grimy psychedelic blues songs that grooved, droned and stomped in equal measure. Onstage, Iggy was commanding and menacing, cutting himself with glass, smearing his body with peanut butter and baiting the crowd out of its complacency.

The group’s volcanic energy earned it a record deal in 1968 and a year later, the Stooges released their self-titled debut, which featured the proto-punk classics I Wanna Be Your Dog, No Fun and 1969.

In 1970, they followed with the heavier, more confrontational Fun House, which many consider the band’s finest hour. Three years would pass between Fun House and Raw Power, a primal, powerful slab of gyrating clamor from a band on the verge of physical and psychological collapse.

By the end of 1973, the Stooges had broken up. In the decades that followed, Iggy established himself as a successful solo artist, releasing 15 studio albums between 1977 and 2003.

Meanwhile, Scott Asheton played in Scot’s Pirates, Sonny Vincent’s Rat Race Choir and Rock Action and Ron Asheton rocked with Destroy All Monsters, the New Race, the Empty Set and Dark Carnival.

In 1998, Ron joined forces with Watt and members of Mudhoney and Sonic Youth in the one-off supergroup Wylde Ratttz, an experience that paved the way for Watt to join The Stooges.