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The Stooges’ eMusic Essentials

To celebrate the new Iggy & The Stooges album Ready To Die, we invited guitarist James Williamson to rifle through eMusic’s catalog and talk us through some of his favorite albums. You can read about the legendary guitarist’s choices below.

Andrew Perry interviews the band about their remarkable comeback album here.

  • There's a lot of real esoteric original delta blues — Robert Johnson and all those guys — and you just can't touch them. I haven't tried to play it much, but I love to listen to this stuff.

  • I didn't ever see him myself, but Iggy took him out on the road, and I think they made a record, or at least a couple of songs together. I initially got in contact with Fat Possum because RL Burnside, Junior and all those guys were on that label. I started looking at their catalogue, and I said, "Hey you guys, I'm this guitar player, could you send me some of your... stuff?" and they ended up sending me this huge boxful of almost everybody that was interesting on their catalog. So I'm quite familiar with their stuff!

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  • I was a huge Yardbirds fan, I saw them play both with Jeff Beck and with Jimmy Page. That was prominent in my evolution. They were so exciting. They had a big hit over here with 'For Your Love', and then that attracted a lot of people to get their albums and stuff, and those albums were incredible, like Over Under Sideways Down — all those songs. Jeff Beck is one of... my very top guitar heroes. A couple of years ago, we were in France, but we came over to the UK to see an artist, and he was playing with her, so I got to meet him backstage, and that was a big thrill for me.

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  • This album was the heyday for those guys. It's a good record. They were great players unlike some bands in the punk era, and Mike's really a talented musician. Today, in his own band, he's writing what he calls operas, but they're basically a huge string of one-minute songs, and they play them back to back [à la vintage Minutemen], and it's amazing to see how they can remember all that stuff... — there's maybe 30 or 40 of those things back to back. He's a very astute student of the industry as well, so he an interesting guy to work with.

    I didn't pay attention to any of this kind of music when I was out of the business. At first I didn't even believe that all these guys were copying my style. I'm like Rip van Winkle, I just left everything and went to sleep.

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  • We played in Australia with them. I do feel that Nick's live act — I think he's taken a few pages out of Iggy's book. There's nothing wrong with that — I mean, even The Boss [i.e. Bruce Springsteen] crowd-surfs now. You gotta go with what works, right?

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