Wednesday, March 17, 2004

I Feel Alright!!!

When I was 11 or 12, my mom told me that there had once been a kind of music called "Acid Rock". Not knowing anything about LSD, I assumed that the reference was to battery acid eating into your eardrums or something like that.

I assumed that the entire genre of "acid rock" consisted of whole songs, whole albums, whole discographies of nothing but guitar feedback and similar noises.

Hearing to Jimi Hendrix's version of The Star Spangled Banner confirmed this theory.

I wanted to make my own Acid Rock, but this was before I had an electric guitar. So I would do things like put an AM radio near a TV (try it..) and "play" the thing by tuning in different frequencies of RF interference. The lyrics consisted of spoken prounouncements like:
Oh yeah, baby!
Don't you know you're mine?
Just sit back, relax,
let all the noise pour in,
and let all your brains pour out!
The idea being that the music was so acidic that it would eat all the up way through your inner ears into the inside of your skull, where it would liquify your brain, which would then ooze back out your ears.

A number of years ago, after having already owned the Stooges' first album and Raw Power, I gave a listen to Fun House. For some reason, the only song I listened to was "L.A. Blues", which if you've never heard it is more or less acid rock as described above. Which is all well and good, but by that point in my life I was no longer particularly interested in that kind of thing. So for a long time I never gave much more thought to Fun House.

During the past week, however, my wife and I were cleaning out our combined tape collection, and among other things I came across a tape of Fun House which she (a recovering Iggy Pop completist) had since college. I ended up taking it in the car for my commute, since my car doesn't have a CD player and I'm always needing new cassettes to listen to. Holy crap! "L.A. Blues" aside, this thing rocks. With all due respect to Raw Power, Fun House outdoes it as the Stooges' claim to the all time great garage-punk-metal album of the late sixties/early seventies.

(Yes, I said "metal". The Stooges (like the MC5 and other bands normally classified as proto-Punk, and Blue Cheer (perhaps the closest thing to a true "Acid Rock" band according to both definitions of that term (HDANCN))) were heavier than anything produced on this side of the Atlantic until the Thrash and Deathmetal era. Proof: "Down in the Street", "TV Eye", "1970" (listen to the part where Iggy sings "I feel alright!" and tell me it would sound out of place in any of the songs on your NWOBHM compilations.))