Wednesday, 3 December 2008

MP3 of the Week - Iggy & the Stooges: "Gimme Some Skin"

This record cost me a (then) prohibitively expensive £1.50 on a French Skydog import when I bought it from Probe Records in Liverpool during the summer of 1977. I can't remember whether the person who actually sold it to me was a future pop star or not, but Probe being what it was around that time, the odds are it probably would have been.

If you're anything like me, you're probably sick of reading a seemingly endless stream of absolute guff about how this bunch of herberts or that shower of slumming Tristram Trustfunders are this week's Living Embodiment of the True Spirit of Rock'n'Roll - they're dangerous, they're wild, they bunk taxis, they date fashion models, they appear in the gossip weeklies, and they all look exactly the fucking same. Invariably, when you hear the music, it sounds just as you'd imagine from a band who've probably hired a PR company first and built everything else arse-backwards from there. It therefore becomes difficult to imagine that any such band would ever - indeed, could ever - make a record as terrifyingly, psychotically good as this as long as they had holes in their arses.

Recorded sometime in 1972 by my favourite Stooges line-up - Iggy, Ron Asheton on bass, his brother Scott on drums, and the great, great James Williamson on guitar - but unreleased until around five years later, "Gimme Some Skin" sounds less the work of a rock band than it does the end product of supplying musical instruments and studio time to a gang of delinquents, sociopaths and sexual perverts. Iggy's vocal sounds depraved, becoming ever more hysterical to the point where he's almost literally gibbering by the final verse. Scott Asheton pounds the kit like he just caught it robbing his stash, and Williamson's primitive, slashing riffs are closer to threats of violence than to music. It probably cost about $50 to record, and it sounds completely out of control. There was a particular reason the Stooges remained at the fringes of the music scene for as long as they did; they disgusted people, and it isn't difficult to hear why. Every time some knobber has tried to convince me that, say, "Appetite For Destruction" is a great rock'n'roll record because it supposedly signalled the death of Corporate Rock - as if a record that sold 28 million copies could signal the death of anything - I'd have loved to have played them this. Over thirty-five years after it was recorded, it still sounds as if you could catch something unpleasant just by listening to it.

Iggy & the Stooges: "Gimme Some Skin" (1972)

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