An album of new music from a legendary band is always welcomed; not so much the pre-release blathering of the artists themselves. Forty years after the release of the seminal punk album “Raw Power,” Iggy and the Stooges will return with “Ready To Die,” a brand-new studio album set for an April 30 release on the Fat Possum label.
That’s the good news.
“Ready To Die” features the reunited lineup of vocalist Iggy Pop, guitarist James Williamson, and drummer Scott Asheton, with Mike Watt (formerly of the Minutemen) taking the late Ron Asheton’s spot on bass. Asheton died of a heart attack in 2009. A complete track listing has not been released, but confirmed songs include the lead single “Job,” along with such punkie-sounding titles as “Burn,” “Sex & Money,” and the title track.
While Iggy and the Stooges have not released an album since 1973, Pop, the Asheton brothers, Watt, and saxophonist Steve Mackay released an album entitled “The Weirdness” as the Stooges in 2007. Iggy and the Stooges reformed and have been touring together since late 2009, when original guitarist James Williamson rejoined the group.
“Although ‘the Stooges’ died with Ron Asheton, there is still ‘Iggy and the Stooges’,” Pop said in a press statement at the time.
To herald the release of “Ready To Die,” Pop released a profanity laden, somewhat incoherent video statement. After watching Pop opine, the title of an old Frank Zappa album – “Shut Up ‘n Play Yer Guitar” – comes to mind.
“My motivation in making any record with the group at this point is no longer personal,” Pop begins in the video statement. “It’s just a pig-headed [blanking] thing I have that a real [blanking] group, when they’re an older group, they also make [blanking] records. They don’t just go and twiddle around on stage to make a bunch of [blanking] money and go, ‘Oh, it wouldn’t be as good.”
Not sure what Pop means by that first line. Not “personal”? If making music isn’t personal, what is it?
As for the rest of that paragraph, it’s great that Pop feels it’s important that a “real [blanking] group” should continue to record new music, but it’s somewhat disingenuous coming from Pop, considering that the Stooges (in any incarnation) have released only five albums (including the forthcoming “Ready To Die”) in 44 years.
It sounds like Pop can’t resist that oldest of punk clichés – dissing capitalism – with his reference to bands that “twiddle around on stage to make a bunch of [blanking] money.” But to be fair, maybe he always refers to money as “[blanking] money.” Maybe he’s not anti-capitalism at all. It would appear that way; since he still accepts “[blanking] money” in payment for the time he spends twiddling around on stage.
But wait, it gets better. Pop then decides, in the true spirit of punk, to insult another band. So who does he go after? Those commercial sell-outs Green Day? Overrated art-rockers Fun.? Money-grabbing dinosaurs Guns N’ Roses?
Try Smashing Pumpkins.
“This is not the [blanking] Smashing Pumpkins, you know, we’ve got the bald guy and whoever,” Pop says. “The Stooges are a real group.”
Pop is referencing the fact that Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan recruited an entirely new lineup for the band’s current “Oceania” album and tour. Pop does have a point. Even though Corgan is the Smashing Pumpkins’ lead singer, and has written over 90% of his band’s material by himself, using a band name when you’re the only original member is a bit cheesy.
In contrast, “the Stooges are a real group,” Pop says. But shouldn’t that be “were” a real group, since Pop himself said that “the Stooges died with Ron Asheton”? Either way, the Stooges are not to be confused with Iggy and the Stooges, or with any of the recording/touring lineups for Iggy Pop’s various solo albums – which sometimes included members of the Stooges.
“Ready To Die” is available for pre-order now at the Fat Possum label site.
Welcome back, Iggy and the Stooges!
Now shut up and play your music.