THE STOOGES. Ready To Die.
Back. Six years after the underwhelming "The Weirdness", Iggy & The Stooges return for the first record with "Raw Power" guitarist James Williamson in forty years. After Ron Asheton's premature death four years ago, you could rightly consider that perhaps The Stooges had reached the end of the line. Here, Williamson and Iggy - with Stooge-of-a-decade Mike Watt on bass - return with a record that sounds it's been made by 16 years old, not sixtysomething elder statesmen of rock.
"Ready To Die" isn't exactly tasteful - with half of the original 1969-1971 lineup dead, and permanent drummer Scott Thurston incapacitated from touring due to a stroke - The Stooges aren't exactly a band so much as a team of furious rock commandos, bludgeoning huge riffs across the world. Williamson seems to have packed forty years of riffs into thirty four short minutes and 10 blistering songs. The cover is Iggy wearing a bomb belt in crosshairs. The songs are immaculately presented, with can opener riffs that are largely instant classics, pounding drums, and vocals that are miles away from the dunderheaded and melodically slight "Weirdness" record. Here, it's obviously not the first thing Iggy thought in front of the microphone, immortalised forever - thank God. Whilst its not as good as "Raw Power" (what is?), it's the equal of the firey and angry "Kill City" - with both "The Unfriendly World" and "The Departed", being the kind of blues that you saw glimpses of in the past. Also, this record is angry : "Job" rides on a simple premise many of us can live with : I've got a job, and it pays shit.... A few minutes later, Iggy is telling us all about ambition, about a world that wants to crush us, and about fighting to be yourself. Williamson's riffs crunch and roar away as he exercises the kind of chops that make it clear to me that his retirement from music for thirty years was a waste of an amazing talent. Nobody makes riffs quite like this.
Whilst forty years is a long time, you wouldn't know this wasn't made by a band half their age. Set in the clear world of vinyl, at a total length of 34 minutes (17 per side), the lasvicuous two sided album is a rip roaring rampage of riffs, raw power, and an ageless integrity that sees Iggy & The Stooges grow old disgracefully : the best way to be.