Release Date: Mar 6, 2007
Record label: Virgin
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
History is littered with once-vital rock acts whose reunion efforts couldn’t come close to capturing the oomph of the original outings. So let’s take a look at Iggy Pop’s seminal pre-punk outfit, the Stooges, who are back with a new album titled The Weirdness. When other bands of the late ’60s/early ’70s were busy singing about peace, love, and understanding, Iggy was out to search and destroy.
The creative and interpersonal dynamics of a rock band are notoriously tricky, and when a band hasn't worked together for a few decades, simply getting the same people together in a recording studio doesn't guarantee lightning is going to strike again. In 2003, more than 30 years after the original lineup of the Stooges collapsed after the commercial failure of Fun House, Iggy Pop finally buried the hatchet with his former bandmates Ron Asheton and Scott Asheton, and they hit the road for a series of heroic reunion shows (with Mike Watt standing in on bass for the late Dave Alexander) in which they miraculously re-created the dinosaur-stomp sound and feel of their first two albums. After the riotous reception of the Stooges' reunion shows, Iggy and the Ashetons took the next logical step and recorded a new Stooges album, but while the reconstituted band sounded stunning on-stage (check out the Telluric Chaos CD or the Live in Detroit 2003 DVD for evidence), in the studio the Stooges reunion went horribly awry with 2007's The Weirdness.
When the Stooges' unholy triumvirate of albums - The Stooges, Funhouse and (with a rejigged line-up) Raw Power - defined rock's unhinged nihilism, Iggy Pop was able to brilliantly mythologise his alienated, drug-crazed self as a "streetwalking cheetah with a heart full of napalm". Now he has reunited with the Asheton brothers for their first full album in 33 years, and their tickers are more likely to contain pacemakers than incendiaries - but that uncomfortable fact doesn't explain why The Weirdness fails so lamentably. With the once-explosive Ron Asheton laying down shockingly rudimentary punk riffs, the old Stooges struggle to erect a tribute to themselves.
Review Summary: Iggy is trying to say something but amid the flurry of noise it’s difficult to make out anything let alone decipher itI don’t care much for legacies. I’m a card-carrying (well, do t-shirts count?) devotee of the latter-day Guns N’ Roses cult and, as much as I love Jeff Buckley, it annoys me that his death has been romanticised to the degree that it has. Even I had reservations about a fourth Stooges album, however, but not so much for the fact that it threatened to tarnish a much-polished legend; in fact, I applaud the group for resisting the lure of the KISS route and actually becoming a living, creative band.