The Stooges – Fun House

Fun House (1970)

A+

1. Down On The Street 2. Loose 3. T.V. Eye 4. Dirt 5. 1970 6. Fun House 7. L.A. Blues

 

Iggy’s Inferno. An adequate soundtrack for losing one’s mind, descending into hell, or possibly both. One of the most powerful, unhinged collections of rock ‘n roll in the history of man. You need to hear it.

I don’t really have much to say about this album; partially because the experience of listening to it is so leveling and speech-defying, and partially because I don’t really need to say anything beyond “you need to hear it.” It’s one of those not-actually-a-concept-album concept albums – the songs work so synergistically in tandem with each other that they ultimately amount to one long freaky, fucked up groove that progresses over the course of 36 minutes from a relatively controlled neighborhood electrical blaze to a massive, end-of-days wildfire that envelops all. In other words, what it must’ve felt like to live in Detroit in the late 60’s.

It starts out there, all right: “Down On The Street.” Certainly a dangerous enough place to be at the time, with cops beating the shit out of protesters and black people in the middle of intersections and flipped over cars catching fire on sidewalks, but it’s nothing compared to where we’ll end up. Likewise, the song itself is actually the most restrained, most tightly constructed track on the album, but it’s about 100 times looser than anything on the first album. Take Asheton’s riffing on that record and remove the strict on-the-beat adherence and John Cale’s attempted neuter job and you’ve got this super fluid, full and crunchy riffing with a shrieking lead overdub and Iggy only beginning to warm up his insane screaming. “Loose” is similar, with a stronger chorus, and is about exactly what it sounds like: “I’ll stick it deep inside! Stick it deep inside!” Be glad Iggy just wants to fuck you when he feels “loose;” goodness knows what he’ll do with you once he starts to “feel all right” later. The proceedings start getting wilder with one of the all-time great riff rockers, “T.V. Eye,” as Iggy the Freak is once and for all truly born (“BROTHAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!” or whatever the frig he’s screaming), lose more control during the sinister slow groove of “Dirt” (Ron unleashes his full bag of tricks and produces the sensation of getting buried under a pile of the stuff… gotta be the shortest 7:04 I’ve ever experienced. I could live inside that groove, provided I was in a pissed off enough mood: “I been dirt and I don’t care”), and then the screws just come loose completely midway through “1970.” Right around the time Steve Mackay and his free-form saxophone show up and don’t go away until we hit the run out groove. “1970” is “1969” re-imagined by speed freaks, the title track is the nastiest attempt at soul jamming you’ve ever heard (in a good way), and “L.A. Blues” is, as Mark Prindle so eloquently describes it, “screaming and a guy throwing his drum set down the stairs.” It’s an absolutely, terrifyingly awesome piece of “music.” It actually alters my headspace when I hear it. Holy shit.

I guess that’s the best description I’ve got for Fun House. “Holy shit.” You need to hear it.