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Callin' from the fun house with my song*...

Most rock stars have their audiences so cowed it’s nauseating. What blessed justice it would be if all rock stars had to contend with what A.C.** elects, if it became a common practice and method of passing judgment for audiences to regularly fling pies in the faces of performers whom they thought were coming on with a load of bullshit. Because the top rockers have a mythic aura around them, the “superstar,” and that’s a basically unhealthy state of things, in fact it’s the very virus that’s fucking up rock, a subspecies of the virus I spoke of earlier which infests “our” culture from popstars to politics***

The thing with Lester Bangs was always about what he wrote and not how he wrote. His essays were elaborate and always providing an insightful view on the subjects that he was choosing to write about. Bangs was one of the first to have understood how essential punk rock was for the salvation of rock music in the first place. In an era where mega-dinosaur rock bands were reaching divine levels of adoration, being able to spit in your face of your favourite artists (a common habit since the early days of punk rock concerts) was in that sense one of the most strong statements of "democracy" and equality...

But the Stooges are probably the first name group to actually form before they even knew how to play. This is possibly the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll story, because rock is mainly about beginnings, about youth and uncertainty and growing through and out of them***

Reading his essay about The Stooges 1970 second album, I decided to give Fun House some more spins. Being my favourite album by them I had always liked the sense of "looseness" it provides to the listener by combining Jazz, Rock and Blues elements and emulating a live feeling in the way the songs are recorded and delivered. The band (and as it appears Bangs himself) originally hated the album but in my opinion this lack of "tightness" gives to Fun House its appeal and here I am especially referring to songs like The Dirt (my favourite from the album). Many artists have praised since then how influential it has been to them, from Radio Birdman and John Zorn to Rage Against the Machine and of course not forgetting to mention Henry Rollins himself. Speaking of the later I would dare to say that this looseness in the delivery that I was trying to describe a few sentences before, is clearly obvious in the second side of Black Flag's My War, an equally polarising and influential second album (and a record which subsequently gave the spark to sludge, stoner, grunge and other hard music genres).

A very good documentation of what Bangs was mentioning in his essay is Live at Goose Lake: August 8th, 1970, a live album behind of which there are several urban legends (like the one mentioning that bassist Dave Alexander never played a single note during the specific live appearance of the band). Like in most cases none of them are true however being the last gig and the only live recording of the original The Stooges line-up and despite its raw sound it captures one of punk rocks creation moments...

*This month's blog post title is taken from the opening lyrics of Fun House by The Stooges

**Alice Cooper

***Excerpt from Of Pop and Pies and Fun: A Program for Mass Liberation in the Form of a Stooges Review, or, Who's the Fool? - essay written by Lester Bangs and published in the book Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung


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