I GOT A FUCKIN' RIGHT
It’s funny—I was out on my daily walk today and, as usual, had my trusty MP3 player and headphones with me. Suddenly, I had to urge to hear Iggy & The Stooges’ “I Got A Right.” The Stooges, of course, have a lot of classic songs, both with the original lineup and the later, James Williamson-on-guitar grouping. In fact, “Raw Power” is one of my all-time favorite albums. I’ve told the story many times about how I got this album in the summer of ’76 so I’ll skip that segment for once. If you want to read it, my June 21 blog entry on MySpace has the whole story.
So, yeah, “I Got A Right.” I can’t believe this was an outtake from “Raw Power.” This song was recorded in July of 1972. It starts with a big fanfare, then Williamson’s razor guitar kicks in, along with Iggy’s unhinged vocal, starting with a primal yell. The tempo is fast and furious—not hardcore speed but I’d describe it as mid-to-fast in current parlance. There’s a searing guitar break in the middle and then that fucking riff comes back.
As I’m chugging along Lynn Shore Drive, that song pumping through my brain, I’m thinking “this is punk rock”—the guitar sound, the tempo, the fuckin’ BURN. From Nineteen-Fucking-Seventy-Two. This was the year I was still digging “Who’s Next” (nothing wrong with that, of course) and getting such singles as “Small Beginnings” by Flash, “Go All The Way” by the Rapberries and “Long Cool Woman” by the Hollies. “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper came out just before I finished grade school and I got that 45, too. “Hold Your Head Up” by Argent was a big summer hit and also connected with me, but I didn’t get the single until sometime after.
Those songs sound like they belonged in 1972, though. Etched into that time, maybe because they’re etched into my memory banks. Still, “I Got A Right” sure doesn’t feel like it’s a part of that time. As it turns out, the single (backed with another outtake, the shakin’ “Gimme Some Skin,”) wasn’t even issued until 1977 and under the name “Iggy Pop/James Williamson” on Revenge Records. While googling (shut up pervert) on the ‘net, looking for various info on the single, I found Chris D.’s review in issue #3 of the infamous Slash magazine: “‘I got a right' has to be the most violently crazed ditty anyone's ever kicked ass to (and that goes for most previous Stooges material too). This song is so unimaginably violent, yet simultaneously poignant and tear-jerking, that it takes a few listens to believe one's ears. There really aren't adjectives to describe the beautiful abandon here . . . all stops out quite literally and nothing left to lose.”
I first heard it in the fall of ’77—probably on the Salem State station WMWM and I taped it. It may have even been Paul Greenberg’s radio show—as I’ve said before, “Greeny” was the guy who got me into punk rock. I think I heard “I Wanna Be Your Dog” a bit after that one, so this was my first exposure to anything outside of “Raw Power.” Well, for the Stooges—I probably heard some of the first two solo records but they didn’t make much of an impression.
The song has been reissued a multitude of times—it seems as though every note Iggy recorded back then has been dredged up and released by Bomp Records. There’s a CD single with “I Got A Right” that has 7 takes and a live version, plus two versions of “Gimme Some Skin.” The best of these collections is probably “The Year Of The Iguana,” since that includes the most listenable of the odds and ends. There’s also a 7” reissue with a picture sleeve.
The greatness of this song isn’t a newsflash to most people reading this entry, I’m sure. It’s stating the obvious. Iggy is obviously a pioneering figure in the history of punk. But, after 29 years, when I hear the opening chords of “I Got A Right,” it’s mandatory I turn it up good and fucking loud...
REVIEWS REVIEWS REVIEWS...
CAREER SUICIDE-Anthology Of Releases: 2004-2005 (Deranged, CD)
I would guess most readers here know how much I love this band. If not or you haven’t heard them, get with the program! This is hardcore, it’s punk fuckin’ rock, it’s rockin’ fuckin’ punk and, at the center, Martin Farkas rants away. Leading off with a pair of unreleased songs and two more later on—“The Last Stay” is a rousing entry to this collection. 20 seconds in, Martin gives out a primal yell and it’s off we go. The disc includes their split LP with Jed Whitey, the “Signals” EP and the “Invisible Eyes” 12”. Most of the time is spent thrashing, but then they’ll come up the pure ’77 KBD dumbo punk of “Bored Bored Bored” but it ain’t that dumb. They capture the same feel for “There’s Something Wrong With You.” I think the reason Career Suicide are such a good band is because they understand the history of the music they’re playing and draw what they love from those influences. I’d guess (in fact, I know) that they’re record geeks. The New Bomb Turks are also record geeks and knew how to mix everything into an ass-kicking sound that’s more than the sum of its parts. Same here. This kind of music shouldn’t be overproduced, it should be rough-sounding and, most of all, it should be catchy AND fun. That’s why it works so well. (http://www.derangedrecords.com/)
CHANNELS-Waiting For The Next End Of The World (Dischord, CD)
The latest project for J. Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines) and not as jabbing or electrifying as his earlier bands. Actually, the band he did with Vic Bondi, Report Suspious Activity, had a lot more brawn to it. Here, J. is in a three-piece lineup again, with bassist Janet Morgan and drummer Darren Zentek. Rock that has a strong rhythmic base (that’s the main focus) underneath mainly melodic arrangements, with a dollop of post-punk. It increases the volume and perks up from time to time and you can hear echoes of those older bands—I mean, the vocals and guitar sound are the same, just not always as gripping. For instance, on “Mayday,” it starts with a cool Gang of Four-ish guitar jiggle and has a near-edginess yet holds back and doesn’t completely push the envelope. “Chivaree” and “$99.99” have the same set-up—fiery sounds but also tempered a bit. I imagine that’s the balance they’re looking for and Channels entice on occasion but not consistently enough. (3819 Beecher St. NW, Washington, DC 20007, http://www.dischord.com/)
CHRONIC SEIZURE-s/t (Fashionable Idiots, 7” EP)
Four more hot slabs on this platter—hey, I’m hep with the boss lingo, here. OK—in English now. Another enjoyable effort from these Chicagoans who play straight-forward, catchy hardcore punk. The production brings out the band’s sound without either being too primitive or over-produced. If you haven’t heard this band yet, what are you waitin’ for? (PO Box 580131, Minneapolis, MN 55458, http://www.fashionableidiots.com/)
LIFETIME-Somewhere In The Swamps Of Jersey (Jade Tree, 2xCD)
Two full discs worth of EPs, comp tracks, their “Background,” live stuff and unreleased mixes. You get the idea. And after listening to this collection, I’ve reached the conclusion that Lifetime weren’t all that great a band. One of those classic good live/not so great on record bands. Melodic/emo-laden punk from the early to mid 90s and it has a real whiny quality to it. Yearning vocals and, although some of the songs have drive, it’s not gripping and many of the songs have a slower-tempo lethargy.. Also, the production for “Background” is miserable, with echo-y sounding drums. Same for the live songs—I saw them play a few good shows in the middle part of the decade but this performance, from ’92, isn’t all that electrifying. Guitarist Dan Yemin’s post-Lifetime bands, Kid Dynamite and Paint It Black, are a lot better—Kid Dynamite maintained the melodic aspects but had a lot more energy and Paint It Black is just full-on burn. One of those bands from the 90s I’ve left behind. (2310 Kennwyn Rd., Wilmington, DE 19810, http://www.jadetree.com/)
ORIGINAL THREE-Been Dealt A Losing Hand (Empty, CD)
Memphis low-down dirty blues/garage—by way of New Orleans (I wonder if they moved after Katrina?). With help from Jay Reatard and Alicja Trout, that should give you a pretty good idea of what the Original Three are all about. Recorded at different sessions (all of it primitive-sounding but not ridiculously low-fi) and hit and miss at times. Still, the likes of “Scene” and the shakin’ groove of “This Is The Way I’m Walking” are dead-on. (PO Box 12301, Portland, OR 97212, http://www.emptyrecords.com/)
SPERMBIRDS-Something To Prove/Nothing Is Easy (Rookie/Boss Tuneage, CD)
A former American serviceman fronted a band of Germans—that’s the Spermbirds and their first two albums, plus a few extra tracks, are packaged here. A late 80s band that embraced thrash, along with poppier/melodic influences and that was fairly commonplace during that time frame. Hardcore bands were either going heavier or catching a little of the mid-80s DC bug and going in the direction. Unfortunately, not a ton of this has aged particularly well. First off, “What A Bitch Is” is just dumb. The band’s best song remains “You’re Not A Punk,” with an irresistable guitar line and some killer hooks. “Another Dead Friendship” has a similar effect. The more tuneful material is strongest here—relatively speaking. When the Spermbirds attempt to thrash out, it comes across as tepid. I definitely liked this a lot more then than I do now. (PO Box 74, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2WB, UK, http://www.bosstuneage.com/)
TOTAL CHAOS-Freedom Kills (SOS, CD)
The latest from Total Chaos is a litany of criticism against the current state of affairs in America, starting with a dramatized announcement, “SOS America,” imagining the declaration of martial law. Observations about the conflict in Iraq and other “system” abuses. Pretty obvious targets, spelled out in black and white and the booklet includes essays about these issues. I can’t say I disagree with their take on things, either, even with the agitprop trappings.Musically, Total Chaos retain their mainly fast, aggressive punk sound along with a few street punk turns, especially for “Another Boot Party” and the umpteenth cover of Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”. They also cover the Misfits’ “Attitude” to provide a respite from the heavier lyrical matter. Rob’s hoarse vocals almost veer towards overkill yet do effectively convey his outrage. A loud, spiked and studded musical state of the union address. (PO Box 3017, Corona, CA 92878-3017, http://www.sosrecords.us/)
UNDER PRESSURE-Come Clean (Yellowdog, CD)
“Come Clean” is even more diverse than Under Pressure’s recent self-titled disc. Some of the songs were recorded around the same time as that one and some more recently. There’s an increase in melody in spots and a variation of tempos and styles. “I Explode” is grinding and heavy, throwing in some atonal saxophones and it doesn’t devolve into pretentiousness. “Muddy Water” takes from the Wipers’ somberness a bit. Meanwhile, there’s no missing the speed/rage of “One In One.” A dark power. (PO Box 550209, 10372 Berlin, GERMANY, www.yellowdog.de)