The Stooges’ Fun House and Remembering Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis
In a Classic Album Dissection, Jim and Greg examine The Stooges' Fun House record from 1970. The album brought together garage rock, rhythm and blues and free jazz, setting a template for the punk revolution to come. Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton talks about the album as well as producer Don Gallucci, whose unorthodox studio technique is credited with capturing the singular sound of The Stooges.
For our first Classic Album Dissection of the year, we're looking at The Stooges' second album, Fun House. It was a big left turn after their debut album in 1969, The Stooges, which was produced by John Cale fresh off The Velvet Underground. Where their debut featured production flourishes like hand claps and sleigh bells, Fun House was recorded almost entirely live to tape- including Iggy Pop's energetic vocals. The album wound up being recorded live because the producer, Elektra staff producer Don Gallucci (who also happens to have played keyboard on The Kingsmen's "Louie Louie,") removed all the sound proofing from the studio in an attempt to replicate the band's live set-up — including giving Iggy a hand-held microphone. With no baffles, there was so much "bleed" that multitracking was impossible. The irony was that the Elektra studios were state of the art to achieve quiet and "clean" recordings for the folk artists who made up the majority of the Elektra lineup at the time.
It's easy to draw parallels between the Fun House sessions and Gallucci's experience recording "Louie Louie" seven years prior. Gallucci told Jim and Greg that The Kingsmen weren't happy with Jack Ely's vocals on their first take, but the engineer refused to turn down his vocal microphone (and he lacked the self control to stand further away). The band's creative solution was to suspend the mic above Ely, so he couldn't reach it and his vocals would be buried in the mix. The unintended side effect was a room sound, creating the "goofy party" effect as Gallucci described it.
Jim and Greg both profess to be big fans of The Stooges, though they differ when it comes to Fun House. Greg declares it one of the greatest rock records ever recorded, while Jim says he loves the song-oriented first half, but can't stand the free jazz-influenced second half. Jim cites "Down On The Street" and "Dirt" (and a Lester Bangs essay on Fun House) as crucial to the development of the punk aesthetic. Greg calls the experimental second half of the record an evocative synthesis of rock, funk and free jazz. He insists that the chemistry between Iggy, guitarist Ron and drummer Scott Asheton, bassist Dave Alexander and saxophonist Steve Mackay was so singular, that is may never be replicated.
Greg puts another quarter in the Desert Island Jukebox, this time paying tribute to Mark Hollis of the British rock band Talk Talk, who died last month at the age of 64. During his career, Mark evolved from a punk rocker into a composer of complex post-rock on albums such as Laughing Stock and Spirit of Eden, inspiring later bands like Radiohead. In between, Talk Talk scored a few synth-pop hits, like 1984's "It’s My Life." Greg's selection, the aptly-titled "Life’s What You Make It," is from an album that he think was a breakthrough in Hollis' career: 1986's The Colour Of Spring.
The Stooges, "T.V. Eye," Fun House, Elektra, 1970
The Stooges, "Down On The Street," Fun House, Elektra, 1970
The Stooges, "Loose," Fun House, Elektra, 1970
The Stooges, "Dirt," Fun House, Elektra, 1970
The Stooges, "1970," Fun House, Elektra, 1970
The Stooges, "Fun House," Fun House, Elektra, 1970
The Stooges, "L.A. Blues," Fun House, Elektra, 1970
Iggy Pop, "Dum Dum Boys," The Idiot, RCA, 1977
The Stooges, "I Wanna Be Your Dog," The Stooges, Elektra, 1969
The Stooges, "Not Right," The Stooges, Elektra, 1969
MC5, "Rocket Reducer N.62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa)," Kick Out The James, Elektra, 1969
The Stooges, "No Fun," The Stooges, Elektra, 1969
The Stooges, "Loose (Demo Version)," Fun House (2005 Deluxe Edition), Elektra, 2005
The Stooges, "Slide (Slidin' The Blues)," Fun House (2005 Deluxe Edition), Elektra, 2005
Bread, "It Don't Matter to Me," Bread, Elektra, 1969
The Kingsmen, "Louie Louie," The Kingsmen In Person, Wand, 1963
The Stooges, "T.V. Eye (Takes 7 & 8)," Fun House (2005 Deluxe Edition), Elektra, 2005
The Stooges, "1970 (Take 3)," Fun House (2005 Deluxe Edition), Elektra, 2005
Iggy and The Stooges, "Louie Louie (Live)," Metallic K.O., Jungle, 1976
James Brown & The Famous Flames, "I Feel All Right (Live 1967)," Live at the Apollo, Vol. II, Polydor, 1968
John Coltrane, "A Love Supreme Pt 2 Resolution," A Love Supreme, Impulse!, 1965
The Doors, "Touch Me," The Soft Parade, Elektra, 1969
The Stooges, "1969," The Stooges, Elektra, 1969
Sonic Youth, "Kool Thing," Goo, DGC, 1990
Minutemen, "Maybe Partying Will Help," Double Nickels On The Dime, SST, 1984
Mission of Burma, "The Ballad of Johnny Burma," Vs., Ace of Hearts, 1982
Depeche Mode, "Dirt," Exciter, Mute, 2001
The Damned, "I Feel Alright," Damned Damned Damned, Stiff, 1977
Radio Birdman, "T.V. Eye," Radios Appear, Trafalgar, 1977
Nirvana, "Scentless Apprentice," In Utero, DGC, 1993
Mudhoney, "Touch Me I'm Sick," (single), Sub Pop, 1988
The Stooges, "Down On The Street (Single Mix)," (single), Elektra, 1970
Talk Talk, "Talk Talk," The Party's Over, EMI, 1982
Talk Talk, "Life's What You Make It," The Colour of Spring, EMI, 1986
Robert Cray, "Phone Booth," Phone Booth, HighTone, 2003
Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers, "Give Me Back My Wig," Hound Dog Taylor & the HouseRockers, Alligator, 1971
Townes Van Zandt, "The Catfish Song," At My Window, Sugar Hill, 1987
John Lee Hooker, "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer," The Real Folk Blues, Chess, 1966
Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter, "I Can't Please You," Right Place, Right Time, Delta Groove Music, 2017
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