Iggy & The Stooges
Iggy Pop was one of the first true punks, and he very well may end up the last. For four decades, he’s gotten his kicks stunning audiences, tormenting the record industry, and keeping hope alive for the true spirit of rock and roll.
With the Stooges, Iggy defined the heavy proto-punk sound that would lead to grunge, thrash, stoner rock and countless other offshoots. “1969,” “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” “T.V. Eye” and “No Fun” became the anthems that inspired the Sex Pistols, the Damned, and the other punks of the late ’70s. Meanwhile, Iggy was gaining notoriety for his incomparable stage act, where nightly feats of masochism—including slashing himself with glass—were a way of life.
The band eventually morphed into Iggy and the Stooges, with the addition of James Williamson. In 1973, they released the monster Raw Power album, with its granddaddy of all rawk songs, “Search and Destroy.” The album would go on to be a huge influence on acts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Kurt Cobain considered it his favorite record of all time.
But the band was always too far ahead of its time, and within a year it had imploded. Iggy found solo fame with the help of David Bowie, but the legend of the Stooges only grew. In 2003, thanks in large part to the efforts of superfans Mike Watt and Dinosaur Jr.’s J. Mascis, Iggy reunited with the Stooges’ original lineup. But in 2009, guitarist Ron Asheton passed away, and Iggy famously said that the Stooges died with him. But he offered hope to fans, pointing out that there was a possibility that Iggy and the Stooges could return.
In fact, Silicon Valley played a huge part in keeping that hope alive. James Williamson was living here, but hadn’t stepped onto a stage in three decades when Iggy approached him about returning to the fold. When he brought his guitar in to a local shop, San Jose guitarist Derek See recognized Williamson’s name, and the two struck up a friendship. In order to prepare for re-joining Iggy and the Stooges, Williamson enlisted the aid of See’s then-band Careless Hearts. They performed a legendary show at the Blank Club doing Stooges covers with Williamson accompanying on guitar, and Careless Hearts vocalist Paul Kimball doing a freakishly spot-on Iggy.
Williamson rejoined Iggy and the Stooges in time for the band to tour the world and be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This year, they returned to form on record with the raw Ready to Die.