Songs like “I Got Nothin’” have harmonies and melodic nuances. What informed that?
In the tail end of the Stooges in that phase, we had introduced background vocals into the set. We became the Singing Stooges. [Laughs] Prior to that the only guy singing was Iggy. We had Scott Thurston, who has a good voice, on keyboards. And we got me, who doesn’t have a good voice but likes to look like he’s singing. So we were kind of singing that way towards the end. It was kind of natural to want to put harmonies on the demo. And we had some good singers that were playing. We had Thurston again, and I also brought in the Sales brothers, who were my buddies. They have really good voices and they did some harmonies too on some of them.
Are there any plans to reissue Metallic K.O.?
None. No. We’ve never talked about that. I mean, I don’t know what the point would be because it’s a live recording and I don’t know how much we could change it. I have mixed feelings about that record anyway. It really was a bootleg. What happens on that record with all the bottles breaking and everything, it seems kind of cool, but by the same token I feel a little bit responsible for the antics that went on after that because, along with Altamont and some other stuff that was pretty dark in those days, I think the whole subsequent attitude became kind of a little violent and unnecessary in my opinion because people thought it was cool what the Stooges did.
In your acceptance speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony you said, “I don’t know of any other band that would’ve had me.” What distinguishes the way you approach the guitar?
Well, I’m more or less self-taught. I did have a neighbor who I was fortunate enough to move next to the summer before eighth grade. And he taught me how to play bar chords and all the basic stuff that you need, but I very quickly realized that it was easier for me to write my own stuff than it was to learn how to play other guys’ stuff. Even though I did a fair amount of that too, from the very beginning I always wrote my own stuff. It didn’t sound like much back then, but it always had a certain characteristic. I liked to play lots of very fast chord changes and things like that, and just make a bunch of noise. That’s kind of how my style evolved.