Stooges, Funhouse [Deluxe Edition]
The full evolution of a wild-eyed rock and roll classic
"The tape is rolling…anytime you're ready," announces producer Don Gallucci, and out in the tracking room of Elektra's Los Angeles studio in May of 1970, Iggy Pop and the Stooges count off one of the most frontal, aggressive, and joyously manic records ever to magnetize a one inch eight track reel of oxidized plastic.
Over the course of the more than 14 hours of recorded exploration captured here, comprising two weeks in the studio, these Complete Funhouse Sessions take us on an aural journey that documents the creation of an essential and groundbreaking disc destined to revolutionize rock. On their debut, the Stooges had successfully sliced the fat off the sacred cow of rock's grandiosity and increasing virtuosity; now it was time to make a sophomore (some would say sophomoric) follow-up, upping the ante of flaunt-and-ferocity that was the Stooges stock-in-trade. To capture the group's live intensity and interplay, the sessions were set up as if onstage, getting rid of headphones and baffles, bringing in P.A. speakers and giving Iggy a hand-held microphone. If there was bleed between the instruments and distortion on the vocals, so much the better.
Studio chatter, false starts, and take after take after take (28 for "Loose"!) show just how the band developed their ideas, honed their parts, repartee'd between songs, and interracted with Gallucci and engineer Brian Ross-Myring. They run through all the possible channels of "TV Eye" and keep returning to "1970" over the course of days; you can feel the band getting more comfortable in the studio, physically manifest in Ron Asheton's guitar tone and his brother Scott's whacking snare. It's obvious the Stooges went into Funhouse well-rehearsed — the arrangements and lyrics hardly change — and the succession of takes toward choosing The One allows them the luxury of making minor adjustments. What is most apparent is the band's consistency, it's confidence and — despite their reputation as quasi-primitive musicians — their I-want-to-be-your-dogged professionalism as they explore each song's possibilities.
The lack of overdubs, except for the occasional reinforced guitar, makes the raison d'etre of an album such as this even conceivable, a Funhouse hall-of-mirrors that unfolds much like a jazz session. Steve MacKay's Ayleresque saxophone on the title track and the monumental "Freak" (which never made the final album) heightens the comparison. A legend in the making.