Fun House (The Stooges album)
|Studio album by The Stooges|
|Released||7 July 1970|
|Recorded||11–25 May 1970 at Elektra Sound Recorders, Los Angeles, United States|
|Genre||Hard rock, avant-garde rock, proto-punk, punk jazz|
|The Stooges chronology|
2005 reissue sleeve
Even though Elektra Records' Jac Holzman believed that the MC5 had more potential than The Stooges, he made the crucial intervention to ask former Kingsmen keyboardist Don Gallucci to produce the album. Having seen the group live, Gallucci told Holzman that The Stooges were an "interesting group, but I don't think you can get this feeling on tape". Holzman said it didn't matter because he had already reserved recording time in L.A. The album was recorded at Elektra Sound Recorders in Los Angeles, California from 11 May to 25 May 1970. Gallucci's plan as a producer was to use each day to record about a dozen takes of a particular song and then pick the one that would appear on the album. The first day consisted of sound checking and run-throughs of all songs. The entire band used headphones with the bass and drums isolated by baffles while Iggy Pop sang his vocals through a condenser microphone on a boom.
The result was terrible in the band's opinion. They took exception to the atmosphere inside the studio with sound-proof paddings and isolators. To achieve their vision, The Stooges and Gallucci stripped the entire studio of its usual gear to emulate their live performances as closely as possible. According to Gallucci, they set up the band in the way they normally play at a concert. For example, Iggy was singing through a hand-held microphone, and the guitar and bass amps were placed side by side. The results were very raw when compared to many contemporary records; for example, without the normal isolation baffles the vibrations from the bass amplifier cause audible rattling of the snare drum on several songs.
The Stooges intended for "Loose" to be the album's first track; Elektra, however, felt that "Down on the Street" would be the stronger opener.
An alternate version of "Down on the Street", featuring a Doors-style organ overdubbed by Gallucci, was pulled from the album and released as a single. It was released the same month as Fun House, and fared slightly better on the charts.
Music and lyrics
According to Billboard magazine, Fun House is set in hard rock and improvisation. Music critic Robert Christgau characterized the album as "genuinely 'avant-garde' rock" because of the music's apt "repetitiveness", "solitary new-thing saxophone", and "L.A. Blues", which showcases the "old avant-garde fallacy ... trying to make art about chaos by reproducing same." Greg Kot called Fun House "the Stooges' punk jazz opus".
In 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (2005), music journalist Stevie Chick wrote that the sleazy tales of hedonism and reckless abandon on the album's first half are followed by "the comedown", as evoked by looser song structures, Steve Mackay's freeform saxophone, and "Iggy sounding like a scared, lost child, warning from bitter experience that 'The Fun House will steal your heart away.'" "L.A. Blues" concludes the album with a flurry of noise and disoriented dual drumming, which Stylus Magazine's Patrick McNally interpreted as the Stooges being "lost culturally and spiritually in the smoke and riots and confusion of Detroit and America at the dawn of the seventies, but also in the overwhelming squall and clatter of the sound that they—from nothing, from nowhere—managed to create."
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
In a contemporary review, Charles Burton of Rolling Stone magazine found Fun House "much more sophisticated" than the Stooges' debut and said that they are "so exquisitely horrible and down and out that they are the ultimate psychedelic rock band in 1970." In a negative review, Roy Hollingworth of Melody Maker called it the worst album of the year and described it as "a muddy load of sluggish, unimaginative rubbish heavily disguised by electricity and called American rock." Robert Christgau, writing in The Village Voice, gave it a "B+" and said that the Stooges' competent monotony and incorporation of saxophone have intellectual appeal, but questioned whether it is good if "I have to be in a certain mood of desperate abandon before I can get on with them musically." He later said that his original grade was based on the album's "inaccessibility" as popular music. Christgau gave it an "A–" in a 1981 review and elaborated on its musical significance:
Now I regret all the times I've used words like 'power' and 'energy' to describe rock and roll, because this is what such rhetoric should have been saved for. Shall I compare it to an atom bomb? a wrecker's ball? a hydroelectric plant? Language wasn't designed for the job.
In a retrospective review, AllMusic's Mark Deming hailed Fun House as "the ideal document of The Stooges at their raw, sweaty, howling peak", and wrote that it features better songs than their debut, significant improvement from each member, and Don Gallucci's energetic and immediate production. Dalton Ross of Entertainment Weekly wrote that the "radical" album sounded "primal, unpredictable, dangerous." Pitchfork Media's Joe Tangari felt that the music's aggression has rarely been matched. He recommended it to "any rock fan with a sense of history" and asserted that, along with the Stooges' debut, Fun House is one of the most important predecessors to the punk rock movement. Barney Hoskyns called it a "proto-punk classic".
In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked Fun House number 191 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Melody Maker said that it is, "no contest, the greatest rock n' roll album of all time". Lenny Kaye, writing for eMusic, called it a "rock and roll classic" and "one of the most frontal, aggressive, and joyously manic records ever". In The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), Scott Seward claimed that, although saying so "risks hyperbole", Fun House is "one of the greatest rock & roll records of all time" and that, "as great as they were, the Stones never went so deep, the Beatles never sounded so alive, and anyone would have a hard time matching Iggy Pop's ferocity as a vocalist."
In 2005, the Stooges performed the album live in its entirety as part of the All Tomorrow's Parties-curated Don't Look Back series. "Dirt" was ranked number 46 on Gibson's "Top 50 Guitar Solos" list in 2010.
All songs written and composed by The Stooges.
|1.||"Down on the Street"||3:42|
|5.||"1970" (also known as "I Feel Alright")||5:14|
|2005 reissue: Disc two|
|8.||"T.V. Eye (Takes 7 & 8)"||6:01|
|10.||"Loose (Take 2)"||3:42|
|11.||"Loose (Take 22)"||3:42|
|12.||"Lost in the Future (Take 1)"||5:50|
|13.||"Down on the Street (Take 1)"||2:22|
|14.||"Down on the Street (Take 8)"||4:10|
|15.||"Dirt (Take 4)"||7:09|
|16.||"Slide (Slidin' the Blues) (Take 1)"||4:38|
|17.||"1970 (Take 3)"||7:29|
|18.||"Fun House (Take 2)"||9:30|
|19.||"Fun House (Take 3)"||11:29|
|20.||"Down on the Street (Single Mix)"||2:43|
|21.||"1970 (Single Mix)"||3:21|
- Iggy Pop – vocals
- Ron Asheton – guitar
- Dave Alexander – bass guitar
- Scott Asheton – drums
- Steve Mackay – saxophone
- Don Gallucci – production, organ overdubs
- Brian Ross-Myring – remastering, engineer
- Funhouse 2005 Deluxe Edition booklet, pages 13–14.
- Eric Rudolph (1 June 2000). "Rocking in the Studio With The Stooges: Inside "The Complete Fun House Sessions"". Mix. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
- "Iggy Pop: Chicago Blues". Rolling Stone (1119): 59. 9 December 2010.
- Liner notes of 1970: The Complete Fun House Sessions.
- "Album Reviews". Billboard: 36. September 19, 1970. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
- Christgau, p. 376.
- Kot, Greg (October 21, 2005). "Gris Gris takes garage rock on a rocket ride". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
- Chick et al. 2010, p. 214.
- McNally, Patrick (August 18, 2005). "The Stooges – The Stooges / Fun House – Review". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
- Deming, Mark. "Fun House – The Stooges". AllMusic. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
- Christgau 1981, p. 376.
- Kaye, Lenny (January 11, 2010). "Stooges, Funhouse [Deluxe Edition]". eMusic. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
- Ross, Dalton (April 2007). "Then and Now". Entertainment Weekly (New York): 66.
- "Fun House CD". Rakuten.com. Muze. Archived from the original on June 27, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
- Tangari, Joe (August 17, 2005). "The Stooges: The Stooges / Fun House". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
- "Review: Fun House". Q (London): 119. January 1991.
- Seward et al. 2004, p. 786.
- Burton, Charles (October 29, 1970). "Funhouse". Rolling Stone (New York). Retrieved June 27, 2013.
- Hollingworth, Roy (December 26, 1970). "The Stooges: Fun House (Elektra)". Melody Maker (London).
- Christgau, Robert (November 19, 1970). "Consumer Guide (14)". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved June 27, 2013.
- Christgau 1981, p. 5.
- Hoskyns 2009, p. 271.
- "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone (New York): 136. December 11, 2003.
- Melody Maker (London): 34. February 19, 1994. Missing or empty
- "Gibson.com's Top 50 Guitar Solos of All Time – 50-41". Gibson.com. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
- Chick, Stevie et al. (2010). Dimery, Robert; Lydon, Michael, eds. 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Universe. ISBN 0789320746.
- Christgau, Robert (October 13, 1981). Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 0899190251.
- Hoskyns, Barney (2009). Waiting for the Sun: A Rock 'n' Roll History of Los Angeles. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 0879309431.
- Seward, Scott et al. (2004). Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
- Listen to the album online on Radio3Net, a radio channel of Romanian Radio Broadcasting Company.
- Fun House at Discogs (list of releases)