Fun House [Deluxe Edition]

by: The Stooges

The Stooges' first album was produced by a classically trained composer who dabbled in rock & roll and the avant-garde; their second was supervised by a guy who had once been the keyboard player with the Kingsmen, and if that didn't make all the difference, it at least indicates why Fun House was a step in the right direction right out of the gate. Producer Don Gallucci took the sensible approach that the Stooges were a powerhouse live band, and his best bet was to re-create the group's live set with as little fuss as possible. As a result, the production on Fun House bears some resemblance to the Kingsmen's version of "Louie Louie" -- the sound is smeary and bleeds all over the place, but it packs the low-tech wallop of a concert pumped through a big PA, bursting with energy and immediacy. The Stooges were also a much stronger band this time out; Ron Asheton's blazing minimalist guitar runs had gained little in the way of technique since The Stooges, but his confidence had grown by a quantum leap as he summoned forth the sounds that would make him the hero of proto-punk guitarists everywhere, and the brutal pound of drummer Scott Asheton and bassist Dave Alexander had grown to heavyweight champion status. And Fun House is where Iggy Pop's mad genius first reached its full flower; what was a sneer on the band's debut had grown into the roar of a caged animal desperate for release, and his rants were far more passionate and compelling than what he had served up before. The Stooges may have had more "hits," but Fun House has stronger songs, including the garage raver to end all garage ravers in "Loose," the primal scream of "1970," and the apocalyptic anarchy of "L.A. Blues." In 2005, Rhino Records released a deluxe edition of Fun House that gave the album a long-needed remastering for CD, and included a bonus disc of alternate takes from the original recording sessions. The additional disc isn't especially revelatory for hardcore fans, since everything on it (except for a very raw demo of "Loose") appeared on the box set 1970: The Complete Fun House Sessions, including the hilarious single mix of "Down on the Street" (with a neo-Ray Manzarek keyboard part clumsily overdubbed over the top), two songs that didn't make the final cut of the album, and Iggy imitating his favorite wrestler. But given the fact the 1970 box is out of print (and commanding big bucks on eBay), the bonus disc does a nice job of condensing its material and summing up how this Fun House took shape, and the remastering of the original album makes it sound as loud and proud on CD as it deserves. Fun House is the ideal document of the Stooges at their raw, sweaty, howling peak, and this expanded edition only adds to the album's glorious fury. ~ Mark Deming

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