Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ready To Die

This is THE Stooges comeback album the world has been waiting for, not The Weirdness from 2007, with all due respect to the late, great Ron Asheton. This release is rather significant because Iggy Pop has recruited back guitarist James Williamson, who has not worked with the singer since the '70s. He is the reason why 1973's Raw Power (40 years already!) is one of the most influential and important rock albums of all time. One could even say it marked the birth of the whole punk movement. Scott Asheton remains behind the drum seat and Mike Watt fills in for Ron on bass. Released on Fat Possum Records, a small label that specializes in obscure Mississippi Blues artists, Ready To Die will never match the immense brilliance of the group's first three albums, but nevertheless it's a hell of a ride, with almost the same short running time as Raw Power. The only dud for me is the second song, Sex And Money. Everything else kicks my ass. The sound is back to classic Stooges. Humor and sex still reign in the words. Burn, Job, Gun is so damn good. Williamson shows no sign of slowing down whatsoever. And this is a man who only recently rejoined the music biz after having worked in a corporate environment (eventually becoming vice president for Sony Technology Standards) for thirty years. He's even better live. I love the return of the sax, coupled with a fat, juicy riff on DD's. Meanwhile, Iggy still has that 'seductive' voice; I especially love it when he sings in a lower register (Beat That Guy rocks hard), like in the closing ballad, The Departed, which I assume is a tribute to Ron Asheton, ultra-dark but beautiful in a twisted kind of way. It was a thrill to finally see the band live this year; I'll probably never get the chance to do so again.