Saturday, April 1, 2017

Iggy and The Stooges, "I Got A Right"

I finally got to see Jim Jarmusch's documentary about The Stooges this week (yay spring break), and it was interesting to see them in the context of their time. I've always thought about Iggy and the Stooges as being timeless, their music so unique and strange and exciting that it just doesn't exist in my mind as a cultural product of the 1969-1973 period when they put out their records. This is also because they set such an obvious template for punk, and that their music was so radically opposed to the trends at the time. It became clear to me that they were in some respects the most radically oppositional musical product of the counterculture more famous for producing hippie bullshit.

"I Got A Right" may be their one song that managed to seamlessly combine both their potential for catchy riffs and total rocknroll mayhem. At this stage in his life Iggy was rock's true Dionysus, making people like Jim Morrison look like Gene Pitney by comparison. The song is also the closest thing the Stooges had to a manifesto: "I got a right to move."

The sound is also appropriately grimy and immediate. It sounds like a caged wolverine being prodded by electric shocks, whirling and lashing but still not totally out of control. By this time James Williamson had replaced Ron Asheton on guitar. Asheton's style was even trashier (and the one I prefer), but Williamson could play with flashes of truly jaw-dropping dynamism, which you definitely hear on this song and classic ravers like "Search and Destroy." The craziest moment of the documentary for me was finding out that Williamson, who always looked super tough and scary in the Stooges, went on to be a computer engineer and corporate guy after the band broke up.

I doubt I will ever run for public office, but if I do, I will have two campaign songs ready for the moment I hit the stage: "(For God's Sake) Give More Power To The People" by the Chi-Lites, and this song.

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