As Iggy Pop releases 'Post Pop Depression' today - his 23rd studio album (17th as a solo artist) - we pose the question did punk start with The Stooges?
A fitting question to mark the release of an album that Iggy Pop himself has described as dealing in some parts with your own legacy.
“A lot of geezers my age don’t work out of their comfort zone anymore because once you become legendary you don’t want people challenging you.”
Punk is more than just a raw and stripped back version of rock n roll, birthed in rebellion against the prog-rock indulgence of the late sixties and early seventies, it is more than safety pins, leather jackets and mohawks, it is more than just a sound, a style, a look, an attitutude or ethos. In short, punk is much more than the sum of it's parts.
Garage Rock in the mid sixties is often considered the earliest form of punk music (proto-punk), with it's raw simplicity, distorted guitars and being best played loud. Los Saicos - a garage band from Peru, were creating music that could be considered punk as early as 1964, check out their track 'Demolición [Demolition]'. More well known than them were bands like The Sonics (Here Are The Sonics - 1965), The Monks (Black Monk Time - 1966) and Question Mark & The Mysterians (96 Tears - 1966) all of which were releasing music that shared elements with what was later known as punk. The 1973 garage/psych compilation album Nuggets, put together by the Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye is often cited as a huge influce on punk bands of the mid to late 70s.
The term proto-punk despite being attributed to garage rock for some time, is most commonly associated with 2 records from 1969; The Stooges self titled debut and MC5's 'Kick Out The Jams'. Both albums showcase a considerable leap forwards towards the punk sound and are the archetypal proto-punk albums.
The term proto itself means original, or first, or earliest. So there is a strong argument to suggest that yes, Punk did start with the Stooges. By the time The Stooges released their critically acclaimed, David Bowie produced, 3rd album 'Raw Power' in 1973 they are as close to the punk sound as your ever likely to get prior to the punk explosion in the mid to late 70's.
The first Iggy Pop album co-created with producer/guitarist/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/bandleader Homme, Post Pop Depression began with a succinctly worded text from Iggy to Joshua, and was realized in seclusion with Homme’s enlisted aid of his Queens Of The Stone Age bandmate and Dead Weather-man Dean Fertitia and Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders.
Both became instantly integral in creating and shaping the Detroit meets Palm Desert by way of old Berlin vibe of Post Pop Depression: Interweaving with and augmenting even more superhuman than expected Iggy vocal performances and Homme’s tapestry of guitar, bass, piano and backing vox, Fertitia’s talent for wringing the most out of only the truly essential notes worked in seamless tandem with Helders’ pushing himself and his new bandmates to unforeseeable heights and depths.
“I wanted to be free,” recalls Iggy of the earliest germ of the partnership with Homme that culminated in Post Pop Depression. “To be free, I needed to forget. To forget, I needed music. Josh had that in him, so I set out to provoke an encounter-first with a carefully worded text, followed by a deluge of writings all about me. No composer wants to write about nothing. He got revved up and we had a great big rumble in the desert USA.”
“This was to go where neither of us had gone before,” adds Homme. “That was the agreement. And to go all the way.”
The album will be supported by a tour realizing Homme’s ambition to assemble a live outfit worthy of both bringing the new album and doing justice to the gems and wreckage of the Ig’s sprawling solo catalogue: The core band that recorded the album will be expanded by QOTSA’s Troy Van Leeuwen and journeyman guitarist Matt Sweeney.
European Tour Dates:
05/04/16 - Stockholm, Sweden - Cirkus
05/05/16 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Falconer
05/07/16 - Berlin, Germany - Tempodrom
05/08/16 - Hamburg, Germany - Mehr! Theater
05/10/16 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Heineken Music Hall
05/13/16 - London, UK - Royal Albert Hall
05/15/16 - Paris, France - Le Grand Rex