According to Rolling Stone, Iggy Pop will reunite with the Asheton brothers, Ron and Scott, in April for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California 30 years or so after the Stooges split. Mike Watts, formerly of the Minutemen will take the place of original bassist, David Alexander, who died in 1975. This now means that every band that ever broke up and has more than one living member has reformed in the last few years.
Although they made two of the greatest records of all time in The Stooges and Funhouse — and at the peak made the most glorious and timeless rock noise ever, an irresistible slab of overwhelming visceral bliss that celebrated everything about being young and alive and open to the mindless pleasures life had to offer — I can’t really see this as being much more than a cash-in on punk nostalgia. (Although they might as well get some of the money rather than their countless copyists.)
For me the reason for dragging out those old Stooges albums is to hear the unique moment they captured: a moment in their time, America’s time and rock’s time… the fierce affirming howl of snotty urban youth at the end of the sixties, the defiant rejection of everything else that was going on, a tremendous and joyous re-invention of rock and what it could do. When Iggy sings:
Last year I was 21
Didn’t have a lot of fun
Now I’m gonna be 22
Well ‘oh my’ and ‘boo hoo’
(“1969″ from the first album) you feel the gleeful sense of recklessness that grows from boredom and youthful frustration captured like no other song before or since. But they’ll all be in their late 50s now….
Whatever creative outpouring they still have — and this goes for all these old rockers getting back together to churn out their old stuff — should be directed towards music that expresses what it is to be that age in America now. What was it Lou Reed sang? “You’re still doing things I gave up doing years ago?” And he sang that a long, long time ago.
I’d love to hear Iggy follow up the fearless pursuit of heavy rock crossed with free jazz that was achieved on the second side of Funhouse and has been matched nowhere since, but I can’t imagine that being done on the novelty reunion circuit….