Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Stooges - Fun House (1970)

This album is raw. This album is primal. Like a catfish stripped of its whiskers and thrashing violently. Like a mad hatter dying of mercury poisoning and careening sideways from exhaustion. This is the steely without the dan and the grit without the grist -- a veritable low-fi fuzzbox of sounds and sinister sweets. "Down On The Street," the opening track, begins with a filthy guitar riff played by Mr. Ron Asheton, who is a certified fucking monster. It is said that imitation is nothing more than flattery and that it never supersedes an original. Often cited as proto-punk, if punk owes Asheton anything, it's an apology, because it never sounds as good as he does here. My favorite track is the excellent "T.V. Eye" where Asheton rips along to a nasty riff whilst the bass punches along and Iggy sneers. The erratic interweaving guitar solo is priceless as well. "1970" has some tasty sax, very much in the vein of Ornette Coleman, who I've dug into recently. Did I mention that the guitarist is completely awesome? Ok, just making sure; it's hard to type with tea in one hand and my brain in the other. "L.A. Blues," the last song, is complete random bursts of something or the other that somehow sounds coherent -- which I believe is a result of preconditioning from the album's previous six dizzying tracks (minus "Dirt" -- I care little for that one.) It's a shame that they wouldn't go on to bigger and better things after this, but it is what it is. Enjoy. B


taotechuck said...

I made the mistake of cuing this up immediately after Mars Volta Amputechture. Changing between the two albums was like getting whiplash after being rear ended by a bus.

I've never heard the album before, and I wasn't in the mood for it after Mars Volta, but I can recognize that it's really good. I'm looking forward to trying it again very soon.

The Mad Hatter said...

Yeah man. I'm on a Stooges kick lately. Remember when we talked about how few bands made just simple rocking albums. Well, this is one them. Just a straight train over your face.

Starrlight said...

This is one of my daughters favorite albums. She has excellent taste for a 13 year old =)

The Mad Hatter said...

Wow, tell your daughter she rules. I bet other kids her age have suckass taste.

Starrlight said...

She does rule and they do have suckass taste. She went as Alex from Clockwork Orange on hat day. Her teachers got it, her classmates were clueless.

Looking forward to the Muse review.

The Mad Hatter said...

That's awesome! When I was in college I dressed up as Alex for Halloween. I did it mostly because I do an excellent vocal impersonation and because I looked similar to Malcolm McDowell back then. One of my favorite books, although after learning Russian it's not as glorious as it once was.

Starrlight said...

Ruined the language eh?

And kidlet bears a striking resemblance to Cobain. But without the chin his poor kid has. Suffice to say she has the ice blue eye routine down well.

The Mad Hatter said...

Pretty close to ruined. I still think it's a gorgeous book. But I guess I understand why Anthony Burgess thought it was a novel little trick he did, Pyccku-ing everything.

I have a neat eye routine, too, that I've perfected: it's called sleeping with your eyes awake. It's the most useful thing I've ever learned in my life. You just have to remember when you're startled to act natural and to say vague non-descript utterances that could recuse you from responsibility and provide you additional time to form a coherent response.

bob_vinyl said...

I never understand why Raw Power is seen as the Stooges finest moment. This and the debut are much more interesting. They're raw, but not straightforward.

The Mad Hatter said...


I agree. I love their debut as well. Raw Power is simply okay. I'm not sure what happened to them, but it was a might drop-off.