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Stooges Headed To Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame
Iggy Pop says the best part about the Stooges’ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction this week is that “we can stop being nominated, finally!”
It has been a long road into the Rock Hall for the group, which formed in 1967 in Ann Arbor and churned out a primal brand of rock that became an iconic influence on generations that have followed, cited in particular by punk rockers of the mid and late ’70s and the so-called “grunge” scene of the ’80s and early ’90s.
The original lineup was together until 1971 and recorded two albums (“The Stooges” and “Fun House”), then regrouped in 1972 for another three-year run that included the “Raw Power” album. The group got back together for Pop’s 2003 album, “Skull Ring,” then began touring regularly and released its own album, “The Weirdness,” in 2007.
But Pop and company appeared on the ballot seven times before getting the word that they’d be part of the Hall’s class of 2010, along with ABBA, Jimmy Cliff, the Hollies and Genesis.
Pop, in fact, says he figured it would never happen for his band.
“I didn’t expect this, I’ll tell you that,” says Pop, 62, who was born James Osterberg in Muskegon and raised in Ypsilanti, and who now resides in Florida. “You could’ve knocked me over with a feather when I heard.
“You have a kind of feeling like OK, that’s done. We got the group to the point where at least we can feel respected for our talent and what we did. There’s some of that feeling of, like Groucho Marx, I don’t want to be in a club that would have me as a member, but it’s mostly ... a real nice thing.”
James Williamson, the Stooges’ guitarist during the “Raw Power” era, adds that “it’s really nice to be appreciated, to get some approval. I think the band was beginning to believe we’d never get in and we were about to set a record if we hadn’t gotten in this year, so I’m happy for everybody that it worked out. It’s satisfying.”
The induction does come with some mixed feelings, however. Pop and founding drummer Scott “Rock Action” Asheton will be there for the induction, but they’ll be missing bassist Dave Alexander, who passed away in 1975, and particularly guitarist Ron Asheton, who died in January of 2009 at his home in Ann Arbor after seeing the Stooges come up short the previous seven times.
“I think it would have meant a lot to him,” Pop says. “He was pretty disappointed when it didn’t happen. He would have enjoyed the gesture and I think it would have given him a lot of peace of mind...And he probably would’ve enjoyed sitting and having a martini after it happened, with everyone else.”
The Stooges did attend the ceremony in 2008 to perform for fellow Michigander Madonna’s induction. But she won’t need to return the favor. “We’re going to do it ourselves, actually,” says Pop, noting that he and Scott Asheton will be joined by Williamson, longtime saxophonist Steve Mackay, Mike Watt, who’s been the Stooges’ bassist since 2003, and multi-instrumentalist Scott Thurston, who toured with the band during the ’70s and is now part of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers.
The induction finds the Stooges in active mode yet again, this time with Williamson back in the fold after retiring from his post-Stooges position with Sony Electronics. The band played a November “warm-up date” in Brazil and will be releasing two new versions of “Raw Power” on April 13 — a two-CD Legacy Edition with a “George Peaches” live recording and a three-CD/one DVD Deluxe Edition with a rarities disc and a documentary. Williamson, meanwhile, is putting together a new version of the post-Stooges “Kill City” album he and Pop recorded in 1975 and released in 1977.
Pop and Williamson are also starting to write new songs, and the Stooges have booked 25 shows for this year, according to Pop, starting April 14 in Bourges, France, and including a Sept. 3 performance of “Raw Power” at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in Monticello, N.Y. Most of the dates will be overseas, but he has a three-year plan that will see the Stooges tour extensively in the U.S. as well.
“We’ll give it a good, sharp poke for the next three years and then step back and see where we are, see what we can do with it after that,” Pop says. “After that we should step back and pick our shots once in awhile. Hopefully we can be like something that convenes for certain occasions.”
The 25th Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be televised live at 8:30 p.m. Monday, March 15, on Fuse TV. Check your local cable provider for the station number
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