I first heard Funhouse when I was 12 years old. My mom had it on CD and one night I pulled it out of the racks to give it a listen. To be honest, I checked it out because I was in the middle of a huge Doors obsession, and the font and logo on the Stooges album looked real similar to the Doors logo (not by any coincidence I found out later), as well as it being on Elektra Records (the Doors’ record label). What came out of the speakers sounded nothing like the Doors. “Down on the Streets” had a primal and primitive sound, a crunchy prowling guitar, stomping drums, and this slurring mutant animal on vocals that were just coming at you from every angle. It sounded like dark cities and street lights, walking in a crowd among a blur of faces, it sounded like some kind of drug had been laced into the sound and the effects had hit me immediately. The album went on and kept getting just more and more alive, wiggling, abstract and weird. If “Down on the Streets” felt like drugs, “Loose” felt like sex to my virgin head. I hadn’t even kissed a girl yet, but once after one of the times I listened to this, I did…I was shy around girls but it was like I gained some strange confidence from this music. It was something I didn’t get from other music I had listened to before. “TV Eye” was a trance of rabid repetition building into a frenzy, before burning up all this adrenaline focused heat and dropping into “Dirt”- a grinding slow scumbag antisocial freak anthem. One of the first times I had the a total emotional connection of feeling like a mutant and it being like “O.K. this is for me.” The rest of the album was just pure insanity to my ears..The high energy “1970” introduces that great wailing screaming vomiting blurting saxophone (this is pre-free jazz for me but it sounded just right) before fully degrading into the loping funk of “Funhouse.”  Everything you had heard and felt previously goes into a critical meltdown wall of noise that is “L.A. Blues.”

It sounded like weird freedom and introduced a bar of intensity that other music had to match up to. That’s why I, like my mother, swear by Iggy Pop and the Stooges as a liberating, eye and ear opening factor in my life. When I found Raw Power a year or so later, I showed it to a so called “friend” and he looked at the cover and said “He looks like a fag.” I knew right then I couldn’t hang with this guy anymore. On top of it being a fucking stupid slur of thing to say, I couldn’t get why the music didn’t hit him like it did me. Why he didn’t get excited looking at the graphic equalizer on a stereo and watching everything peak out in the red for the entirety of “Search and Destroy”…Different strokes for different folks, I guess. Raw Power is an entirely different story, but basically Funhouse and Iggy is always going to be that big of deal for me. 

I can’t believe I didn’t buy Flip Your Wig when I had the chance. DUMB. Same thing with Let It Be by the Replacements…This is like Husker Du’s version of that album to me, just a band making a perfect album of songs that really writes the definition of that band. People always talk about Zen Arcade (which is great, don’t get me wrong), but to me that album is like them working out the remnants of their hardcore era into what was to become New Day Rising and Flip Your Wig, which all came out in about 16 months. Both Bob Mould and Grant Hart’s songs are just great pop tunes, but with this underground punk edge.  The songs on Flip Your Wig are just phenomenal, and it’s such an on-point concise statement. A perfect, beginning to end classic.

I think I figured out that all my favorite albums are the ones I want on vinyl. The ones that I want to sound like they are right in the room with me. Making a list.

Leonard Cohen and coffee this morning. I forgot how much I love Songs of Love and Hate. Thinking about it now, it’s probably one of my favorite albums. This is a lusher version of a tune from that album.

Love this record from side to side. But I’m real stuck on this tune for some reason, its just a short instrumental, but to me it sounds like a Nashville backup band pickled on mescaline trying to play a Neu! song at like four times the speed..