Down on the Streets
Punk rock’s foundations are agreed to have begun sometime in the late 1950’s. But in my mind the first band to embody punk rock as we now know it is The Stooges. And it all starts with Iggy. Here on Fun House he screams, squeals, barks, claps, burps, cajoles, and sings as abrasively as he can for thirty minutes, trying his damnedest to replicate the energy from his legendary stage persona. And what a stage persona. A man willing to do anything to rile the audience, he would roll in glass, throw up on stage, dance like a lunatic, and his most lasting antic, stage dive into the audience, being the first to attempt what is now a concert past time.
As much as I like punk rock though, The Stooges are a group I appreciate more than I rotate regularly. Fun House is solid but I think punk rock works best in compact doses. The repetitive melodies are effective and outstanding on the shorter songs here (“Down on the Street”, “Loose”) but wear out their welcome on anything +5 minutes (“Dirt”, “1970”, “Fun House”). Still, I love to hear the roots of the genre. Everyone from the Wire to Fugazi to Nirvana to NOFX owes to the music of the The Stooges. And just as Iggy created his persona out of his idols (Jim Morrison in particular), countless others would study and follow in Iggy’s steps. Shit, Ozzy should be sending him regular royalty checks.