The Iguana Chronicles 2

THE IGUANA CHRONICLES – Detailed Description
Starting any business is a daunting task, but I dare say that goes double for a record company.  Among any number of other roadblocks to success, there is always the danger that your own taste in music won’t match up with that of the record-buying public.  And the big record companies are always sniffing around for something that looks like it might become a hit, and hardly any band is going to turn down a shot at a major-label recording contract no matter how nice you have been to them. 
Greg Shaw launched Bomp! Records in December 1974 with the release of the Bomp 101 single, “You Tore Me Down” b/w “Him or Me” by the Flamin’ Groovies, with the latter song being the Paul Revere and the Raiders song.  The first band signed by the new label was past UARB the Poppees, whose unabashed Beatlesque stylings were at odds with the established rock scene and the punk/new wave scene alike. 
As punk rock began to gain ascendancy in an underground sort of way, Bomp! Records was there to release 45’s by some of the seminal bands and artists like the Germsthe Weirdosthe Zeros, the Romantics, Devo, Josie Cotton, and Venus and the Razorblades
*       *       * 
In the early days, everything was in a 7-inch format; but it wasn’t all two-song singles, and it wasn’t all new music.  Apparently right after the first 45 by the Poppees was released, on Bomp 104-EPBomp! Records put together the first reissue of music by the Choir, a 1960’s Cleveland band that included several members of the Raspberries, which formed in 1970 and released several smart albums along with a million-selling hit single, “Go All the Way”. 
The five songs by the Choir on the EP called The Choir, however, did not include their September 1966 release “It’s Cold Outside”, which was picked up by Roulette Records in May 1967, hitting #1 on all three Top 40 radio stations in Cleveland and peaking at #68 on the Billboard charts.  It’s Cold Outside is one of my very favorite 1960’s garage rock songs, and this song has fans across the country and around the world.  It’s Cold Outside gained more attention when it was included on Pebbles, Volume 2 and later in the first Nuggets Box Set
The Bomp! Records EP by the Boston band DMZ called Lift Up Your Hood is what Greg Shaw is holding in the best known photograph of him, as shown above. 
Yet another early EP by Bomp! RecordsI’m Sick of You by Iggy and the Stooges is discussed in more detail below. 
*       *       * 
The Cleveland music scene has long fascinated me; rock bands from the future home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame also included the Outsidersthe James Gang, and the punk rock band the Dead Boys.  I had picked up a more comprehensive album of songs by the Choir, called Choir Practice, and also an album of material by the Starfires, the predecessor band to the Outsiders who still had that name when they were trying to line up the release of their major hit song “Time Won’t Let Me”.  More recently, many years after locating their other three albums, I finally found a copy of Album #2, considered by most rock critics to be the best album by the Outsiders.
I wrote up several Wikipedia articles on this music, including the Choir and the Starfires; and I greatly expanded the article on the Outsiders and came up with articles on their albums as well.  Another Wikipedia article (much of whose content has been deleted, I was distressed to find out just now) was on the compilation album of music made by Dead Boys frontman Stiv Bators for Bomp! Records, called L.A. L.A., which includes a cover version of the song by the Choir, “It’s Cold Outside
However, I had not gotten around to writing up a Wikipedia article on a Cleveland band called Cyrus Erie, a rival of the Choir whose lead singer was Eric Carmen.  Carmen was the future lead singer of the Raspberries and also had a successful solo career afterward as both a singer and a songwriter with hits that include “All by Myself”, “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again”, and “Hungry Eyes”.  As only my third Under Appreciated Rock Band post, my entry on Cyrus Erie also talked extensively about the 1960’s Cleveland music scene. 
*       *       * 
While we were visiting Atlanta in mid-February 2018, I stopped by two of their record stores and happened to spot a CD called Artifact: The Unreleased Album by the Choir almost as soon as I walked in the door of my old favorite in the Little Five Points neighborhood, Criminal Records.  It was the first record (and only CD) that I bought that day.  Not until I got home did I find out that it was a brand new release of music that had originally been recorded 50 years earlier in 1968.  How brand new?  I bought the album on February 16, 2018, the exact same date it was first released.  This is surely the first time that has ever happened to me! 
*       *       * 
As I have written about previously, the first LP released by Bomp! Records was Kill City, representing music that Iggy Pop and James Williamson put together right after the Stooges broke up.  As Greg Shaw tells the story in the liner notes for the double-CD compilation album, Destination: Bomp! in the entry for the Stooges song “I Got a Right”:  “In 1976-77Bomp was about the only established label in America that was actively pushing the new music.  For a brief time, I could have had virtually any band that I wanted.  It couldn’t last of course, but while it did, it was a real rush. 
“But I never dreamed I could have the Stooges, until James Williamson showed up one day with a tale of woe:  Iggy, fighting to kick drugs, had finished most of a great new album, but his rep was so bad no label would touch him.  Even Sire [Records] had passed on Kill City.  Was I interested? 
“Even though I had to almost sell my soul to raise the needed cash, I wasn’t about to let this deal pass.  To this day, Kill City is the single most important item in the Bomp catalog; but what made it extra nice is that James also threw in a big box of unlabeled tapes that turned out to be mostly demos and rehearsals from the Raw Power days onward – hours and hours of stuff that became the foundation for my long-term Iguana Chronicles project of documenting the unreleased side of this incredible band.” 
*       *       * 
Additional information on Kill City is found in the liner notes for the CD reissue of Kill City in 1992.  Most of the liner notes were written by Tim Stegall of Alternative Press magazine, but Greg Shaw also has a few pages under the heading “. . . As I Recall it”.  For one thing, Shaw remembers “. . . [the Stooges’] amazing ‘last ever live show’ (Metallic K.O. notwithstanding) at some ‘Death of Glitter’ fest at the Palladium in ’75”. 
Officially, the Kill City LP’s were released by Bomp! Records in 1977; but in order to actually get the albums produced, Bomp! had made a deal with a leading record importer called Jem Records, and they were the ones who pressed and sold the original LP’s on ugly green vinyl and also got the licensing rights.  (I have Jem Records and names similar to that, like GEMA, on who knows how many of my albums, though “Jem Records apparently does not appear anywhere on the Kill City-era records).  There are also 8-track tapes of both Kill City and Metallic K.O. out there according to Discogs
Greg Shaw recalls fondly:  “Kill City, besides being Bomp’s first LP (although this [the 1992 Kill City CD] is in fact the first time we’ve ever put it out ourselves!) also had the distinction of being the first LP on England’s legendary Radar [Records] label, as well as Germany’s equally notable Line Records.  It was seen as one of the year’s more significant releases, and looking back over 15 years, I’d have to say it’s still the album I’m proudest of.” 
*       *       * 
Besides the Kill City CD and a Kill City LP on hand-mixed colored vinyl in the stack of albums that I am currently playing my way through (this pressing presumably uses a 2010 remix of the album from the original multi-track tapes by James Williamson and engineer Ed Cherney), I have other copies of Kill City around here, including a copy on purple vinyl and even a 10” vinyl release of Kill City – that one has 8 cuts rather than 11 and omits the two “Night Theme” tracks at the end of Side 1 and the beginning of Side 2, with the only full song omitted being “Master Charge”.  I thought that I had ordered many years ago a package that included a copy of the original 1977 album on green vinyl (that would be one of the LP’s pressed and sold by Jem Records) plus a later copy with a better sound mix, but I cannot seem to put my hands on the green album. 
*       *       * 
When I got a big package of Iguana Chronicles albums several years ago, the first one that I played was the California Bleeding LP (all the rest were CD’s as I recall).  Near the beginning of the album, Iggy Pop gives a little speech:  “I have no desire to continue being a failure.  I’ve already done that, I’ve achieved that.”  There are several other fascinating comments interspersed among the live performances on this album.
What exactly he meant by that is unclear, but it did not appear to be one of his rants during a concert.  Probably though he was talking about the music by the Stooges from a purely financial standpoint.  Decades later, the world would finally catch up – I have already noted that the Stooges were recently profiled on CBS Sunday Morning, and you can’t get more mainstream than that – but that was no help to the bandmembers in the early 1970’s.
In point of fact, ground-breaking music often doesn’t sell all that well.  For artists who catch the zeitgeist at just the right moment, like Elvis Presleythe Beatles and the Rolling Stones, the sky’s the limit.  Although they are household names now, however, none of the other rock and roll pioneers – Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bo DiddleyBill Haley, etc. – made it nearly that big.  That will likely be the subject of a future UARB post. 
*       *       * 
Whatever else might be said of the StoogesIggy Pop and the other bandmembers put their heart and soul into their music; but none of their first three albums were big sellers.  As fantastic as their new songs were sounding in concert, there was no reason to think that a fourth Stooges album would do any better.  Additionally, the excesses of the rock and roll life were taking their toll, particularly the drug use by Iggy Pop.  Thus, Kill City was a move in a different direction, and only two of the songs from the later years of the Stooges were included on the record, Johanna” and “I Got Nothin’.  Kill City is also different from Iggy Pop’s other records, in that it is not a solo album or a Stooges album; the artist is given as Iggy Pop and James Williamson.
As I might have mentioned already, the album that became Raw Power started off as a collaboration between Iggy Pop and James Williamson also.  Iggy Pop had been signed with MainMan Management, the company that handled David Bowie.  They were recording in England, and after many auditions for a rhythm section, James Williamson suggested that the Asheton brothers be flown over from the U.S.Scott Asheton sat in on drums, while the Stooges’ founding guitarist Ron Asheton reluctantly agreed to become the bass guitarist.  Only at that point did it truly start to become a Stooges album. 
*       *       * 
Although it took me a while to warm to Kill City, it has become one of my favorites among Iggy Pop’s albums – even with the truly wonderful first album by the StoogesThe Stooges (1969) that is in the same current album stack.  Considering Iggy Pop’s state of mind at that time – he had checked himself into a mental institution in an attempt to clean himself up and become functional again – the demos that he and James Williamson put together at the home recording studio of Jimmy Webb (!) in 1975 that became Kill City are remarkably self-assured and remind me of the feel of his triumphant solo album, Brick by Brick (1990). 
The Wikipedia article notes some of the critical reaction to Kill City:  “Nick Kent of New Musical Express called it ‘a great album’.  Mark Deming of Allmusic called the album ‘a minor triumph’, writing:  ‘The music is more open and bluesy than on Raw Power, and while [James] Williamson’s guitar remains thick and powerful, here he’s willing to make room for pianos, acoustic guitars and saxophones; and the dynamics of the arrangements suggest a more mature approach after the claustrophobia of Raw Power.’  Martin Aston of BBC Music praised the album, calling it ‘Iggy’s most underrated album’ and one that ‘helped him get back to real life’.  The Wire placed Kill City in their list of ‘100 Records that Set the World on Fire (While No One Was Listening)’.” 
Still, Kill City – and the other albums in The Iguana Chronicles for that matter – has comparatively low marks from some critics.  While the previous two albums by the StoogesFun House and Raw Power, as well as the first two solo albums by Iggy PopThe Idiot and Lust for Life all have 5-star ratings by AllmusicKill City is at 3½ stars.  Robert Christgau of Village Voice gave the album a B. 
*       *       * 
Anyway, once Kill City broke the ice, Bomp! Records and their affiliated labels like BFD RecordsVoxx RecordsAIP RecordsMohawk Records, and others began pressing LP’s by the truckload almost immediately.  The label’s first compilation album, The Best of Bomp, Volume One was originally released in 1978.  The Pebbles Series of 1960’s garage rock and psychedelic rock songs that number nearly 100 albums in all began shipping in 1978; besides Pebbles, the various series (both LP’s and CD’s) include the Highs in the Mid-Sixties SeriesThe Continent Lashes BackBest of PebblesGreat Pebbles, etc.  Their other reissues of 1960’s music include the English Freakbeat Series, the Rough Diamonds Series, and the Electric Sugar Cube Flashbacks Series
And then there are the numerous albums of new music that have been released by Bomp! Records and their affiliated labels over the years; besides the bands that have already been mentioned, early examples by comparatively well known bands include those by the PandorasNikki and the Corvettesthe Modern Lovers, Gravedigger Vthe Lastthe Barracudas, and many more.  The music of many of the past UARB’s can be found on these Bomp! records. 
*       *       * 
Besides Kill City, an EP called Jesus Loves the Stooges was released by Bomp! Records at the same time (1977), featuring a dead donkey on the cover (Greg Shaw blames Jem Records for the cover art).  On Side 1 are two songs from Kill City, “Consolation Prizes” and Johanna”; and Side 2 has a previously unreleased jam by Iggy and the Stooges called “Jesus Loves the Stooges” (and I have little doubt that He does!). 
*       *       * 
The Iguana Chronicles are by no means the only albums by the Stooges that have been released outside of the five major-label albums:  The Stooges (1969), Fun House (1970), Raw Power (1973), The Weirdness (2007), and Ready to Die (2013).  Because the music was supplied by a Stooges bandmember, James Williamson with the blessing of frontman Iggy Pop, I would view the albums in The Iguana Chronicles as legitimate releases. 
In fact, as the legend of the Stooges began to grow almost as soon as the final notes were played by the band in their last concert in Detroit on February 9, 1974, putting together albums by the Stooges has become something of a cottage industry.  Discogs shows a total of 29 albums of Stooges music, including two CD’s that were released in 2017.  Allmusic lists an amazing 54 albums.  Cub Koda writes in his Allmusic review of one of the Iguana Chronicles albums, Year of the Iguana:  “[The Stooges] have found themselves being exhaustively documented, with seemingly every scrap of magnetic tape bearing their imprint coming up for reissue air at one time or another.” 
The liner notes on the back page of the booklet in the Rough Power CD say of The Iguana Chronicles:  “The Iguana Chronicles is a series dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Stooges, culled from the vast wealth of unreleased, live and demo recordings residing in the Bomp! Records vaults.” 
*       *       * 

I have already discussed Metallic K.O., a 1976 release on the French label Skydog Records that was taken from live performances by the Stooges at Michigan Palace in Detroit on October 6, 1973 and February 9, 1974.  Allmusic gives the album a 5-star rating, with Dave Thompson’s review of the double-CD reissue Metallic 2xK.O. stating:  “Metallic K.O. means the world – to anyone and everyone who ever sat down and unsuspectingly dropped needle onto wax and then reeled back in horror; this ain’t rock & roll, it’s a snuff movie.  And the fact that it all sounds so tame these days just shows how much it’s become a part of the language. . . .  [T]hrough lurching takes of ‘Open up and Bleed’, ‘Heavy Liquid’, and the ever-inspiring ‘I Got S--t’ (all of which are new to the package), past the familiar dissolution of ‘Head on the Curb’, ‘Rich Bitch’, and ‘Cock in My Pocket’, and into the nightmare closure, this remains rock & roll so far out on the edge that you get dizzy just listening to it.  And, by the time the last glass explodes at the end of the world’s greatest ‘Louie, Louie’, you’ll be ready to take on anything.” 
*       *       * 
While I don’t have Metallic K.O. yet, I do have a CD single by the Stooges on Skydog Records called (I Got) Nothing.  According to Discogs, it is a 1989 reissue of a 12” single also called (I Got) Nothing that came out in 1977 – the year after the original Metallic K.O. album – that had “Gimmie Danger” (the song name is actually “Gimme Danger”) on Side 1, and “Heavy Liquid” and “(I Got) Nothing” on Side 2.  Gimmie Danger is described as being different from the version on Metallic K.O.
Based on the listings in Discogs – and there are 24 of them for Metallic K.O. and 6 for (I Got) Nothing – nearly all of the Stooges releases on Skydog Records are vinyl.  Interestingly, while the cover of my copy of (I Got) Nothing is basically the same as on the 12” single of (I Got) Nothing, the disc itself is marked “Metallic K.O.” and shows the same catalogue number – 622332 CD – as their double CD reissue of Metallic 2xK.O. the previous year. 
*       *       * 
An early release by Iggy and the Stooges on Bomp! Records is a 7” EP from 1977 called I’m Sick of You, consisting of “I’m Sick of You” b/w “Tight Pants” and “Scene of the Crime”.  The catalogue number, Bomp EP-113 is in the original sequence for the Bomp! Records 45’s, so I’m Sick of You might even have predated the release of Kill City; anyway, it does not appear to be part of The Iguana Chronicles.  The EP came out right after the release by the Weirdos on Bomp 112, “Destroy All Music” b/w “A Life of Crime” and “Why Do You Exist?” (all three massive first-wave punk rock classics by the way).
I have a copy of I’m Sick of You that was autographed by James Williamson when he stopped by the Bomp! Records office not so long ago.  Suzy Shaw told me that James signed a box of original sleeves, though the discs themselves are newly pressed. 
*       *       * 
Kill City could be viewed as the original Iguana Chronicles release, although the LP’s were not marked that way in the beginning.  The 1992 CD of Kill City that I have shows The Iguana Chronicles printed on the back page of the booklet, but the listing in Discogs showing the same page does not.
In addition to Kill City, the earliest release that could be grouped in The Iguana Chronicles is probably a single by Iggy and the StoogesI Got a Right, i.e., “I Got a Right” b/w “Gimme Some Skin”.  These songs were part of the package acquired from James Williamson, but the single had already been released in 1977 by a small French label called Siamese Records; this company had also been bidding for the rights to Kill City.
In the liner notes for Destination: Bomp!Greg Shaw says:  “‘I Got a Right’ . . . remains one of Ig’s best songs ever, and one he still performs regularly.”  Both I Got a Right” and “Gimme Some Skin are included on The Best of Bomp, Volume One (as is the flip side of the first Bomp single, Him or Me by the Flamin’ Groovies); that’s where I first heard them. 
*       *       * 
For whatever reason, although Bomp! Records received the box of tapes from James Williamson in 1977, and even though both I Got a Right” and “Gimme Some Skin were included on The Best of Bomp, Volume One (1978), the records in The Iguana Chronicles series itself were apparently not started until the early 1990’s.  The 45 release on Bomp! Records with these two songs is dated 1991 (although Discogs shows a copy with a white label that has a hand-written date of December 21, 1990).  The entry on I Got a Right in the liner notes of the 1994 compilation album Destination: Bomp! refers to the single that was released in 1977 on Siamese Records
*       *       * 
The picture cover for the Bomp single I Got a Right – I Got a Right” b/w “Gimme Some Skin, and marked “The Classic Raw Power Outtakes” – says that the two songs were recorded in the same June 1972 recording sessions as the songs on the earlier Bomp EP, I’m Sick of You:  “I’m Sick of You”, “Tight Pants” and “Scene of the Crime.  These are among the first songs laid down for the Stooges album, Raw Power, but none were included on the album.  The single is also marked as being Volume X-1 in The Iguana Chronicles.  It has been reissued several times, as recently as 2011
A 12” single called I Got a Right was also released by Bomp! Records in 1991; Side 1 had the songs from the original Siamese Records 45, I Got a Right” and “Gimme Some Skin, both identified as “Final Mix”.  Side 2 had the same two songs from the James Williamson box that appeared on The Best of Bomp, Volume One, both called outtakes, plus a second outtake of I Got a Right that was previously unreleased.
However, nearly all of the records in The Iguana Chronicles are albums, not singles.  These are a few of the exceptions. 
*       *       * 
In series such as The Iguana Chronicles – it was true of the Pebbles Series and the Highs in the Mid-Sixties Series as examples – Bomp! Records tends to release albums in batches rather than one at a time.  Along with the inconsistent catalogue numbers, trying to decide the order that the albums were released is very difficult.
Based upon the Discogs listings, the earliest album is Rough PowerDiscogs shows a 1994 date for the earliest copies, while Allmusic has a release date of January 30, 1995.  The back page of the CD booklet has a list of 5 other releases in The Iguana Chronicles; though they are not all marked that way (at least in early copies), in order they are the 7” EP I’m Sick of You, the reissue as a 10” EP of Jesus Loves the Stooges, the 7” single of I Got a Right and the 12” single of I Got a Right, the Kill City CD, and the 10” vinyl edition of Rough Power
*       *       * 
As implied by the name, Rough Power includes the original mixes of most of the songs from Raw Power (and in the same order):  Search and DestroyGimme Danger, “Hard to Beat (Pretty Face)”, PenetrationRaw Power, “I Need Somebody”, and “Death Trip”.  The third track was originally called “Hard to Beat”, while its name on the official Raw Power album is “Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell”.  According to the song listings, these songs were recorded on March 10, 1972 and April 10, 1972.
The only Raw Power song that is not included is “Shake Appeal”, but there are two other mixes of this song later in the CD; and Shake Appeal is well represented on another Iguana Chronicles album as discussed below.  However, it is still hard to understand why the full album would not have been presented by, say, including the mix of Shake Appeal that is provided near the end of the CD.
The liner notes on the back tray card have this description:  “Raw Power.  The brutal third album that closed the Stooges’ career and fueled the beginnings of punk rock.  A true milestone.  But . . . it was not the album the Stooges wanted you to hear.
“Although toned down from still more murderous demos (see I Got a Right, BMP 12139 [the 12” single version]), the album delivered by the Stooges put fear in the hearts of record execs, who in turn put David Bowie in the studio to redo the whole thing.  The results, while great, were a far cry from what Raw Power started out to be.” 
For myself, I have not yet retrieved my copy of Raw Power from the albums that went through Hurricane Katrina, so it is hard for me to compare Raw Power and Rough Power.  However, I am much more familiar with the Stooges songs now than I was when I got the original album.  This is not an anarchic mess by any means (and there is some of that elsewhere on the Iguana Chronicles albums); Rough Power presents a professionally finished album that could certainly have been released just like this.  I am delighted to have it in my collection. 
*       *       * 
The back tray card also says, “Guaranteed Bowie-free!!” and includes a small photo of David Bowie in a red circle with a line through it.  However, the point of Rough Power is not to trash the work that Bowie did on Raw Power but to provide an alternative presentation of the classic album.  After all, had David Bowie not personally intervened to revive the Stooges, all we would have are the first two albums; Raw Power and virtually all of the music in The Iguana Chronicles would not exist at all.
In a long essay in the booklet for Rough Power that includes an interview with guitarist/bassist Ron AshetonFrank Meyer says of David Bowie’s involvement:  “Finally . . . Iggy brought the tapes to [David] Bowie in L.A. for remixing and mastering.  Bowie’s mix turned out to be very different than the original Stooges mix.  He buried the drums and bass, took out backup vocals, percussion and keyboard parts, and brought the lead guitar up in the mix.  While the band was not happy with it, CBS [Records] was thrilled that [Raw Power] was produced by Ziggy Stardust himself, and felt it would boost sales.  Although Bowie’s mix stands the test of time and, in fact, adds to the overall originality of the album, it’s very interesting to hear some of the Stooges’ original attempts.” 
*       *       * 

Not long after Rough Power came out, as I mentioned in my last post, a new edition of Raw Power was released in 1997 by Columbia Records with a new mix in 1996 by Iggy PopBruce Dickinson, and Danny Kadar.  A short note by Iggy Pop on the back tray card says:  “People kept asking me – musicians, kids I would see, ‘Have you ever thought about remixing Raw Power?’  Everything’s still in the red, it’s a very violent mix.  The proof’s in the pudding.”
I also found a quote from Iggy Pop in the Wikipedia article that was taken from the liner notes of the new mix of Raw Power that was released in 1997:  “Very few people recognized the quality of the Stooges’ songwriting, it was really meticulous.  And to his credit, the only person I’d ever known of in print to notice it, among my peers of professional musicians, was [David] Bowie.  He noticed it right off.” 
*       *       * 
But that’s not all; as I have said before, when you get an album from Bomp! Records, you get your money’s worth.  Rough Power also includes the complete broadcast in early 1973 by WABX radio of Ann Arbor, MI (including commentary by DJ’s Mark Parento and Dennis Frawley) after they were furnished with some very early recordings of some of the Raw Power songs that had apparently been smuggled out of the recording studio.  The broadcast was made prior to the release of Raw Power.  The songs and portions of the broadcast had been previously released on bootleg records in Europe, but this is the first presentation of the entire broadcast, as taken for the first time from the original master tape.
Presented during the WABX broadcast, and interspersed with discussion (and a lot of apologies about how bad they sound), six of the songs from Raw Power – I Need SomebodyHard to BeatDeath TripRaw PowerSearch and Destroy, and Shake Appeal – are followed by “Not Right”, with the latter song identified as a “previously unknown outtake”. 
To call these recordings “mixes” of any kind is probably a compliment that they do not deserve; much of the music is almost unintelligible, and in more than one case, I could not recognize the song at all even though I had the song listing to go by.  However, they are a fascinating glimpse into the earliest versions of these amazing songs; and at least for the people in Ann Arbor – the hometown of the Stooges – getting to hear any new Stooges material three years since the previous album, Fun House came out would be considered a blessing.
Rough Power closes with three other mixes by the Stooges of Raw PowerShake Appeal and Search and Destroy that possibly date from November 28, 1972
The vinyl edition of Rough Power has eight songs that are evidently the same as the early tracks on the Rough Power CD, plus Shake Appeal” and Not Right but not Gimme Danger”.   

*       *       * 

I also have the 10” vinyl EP of the Stooges album Rough Power that has two of the mixes from the CD – Search and Destroy (from the beginning of the CD) and Raw Power (near the end of the CD) – plus Gimme Danger (the April 10, 1972 version as opposed to the March 10, 1972 version on the CD) and Hard to Beat (from the November 28, 1972 mixes where the final three songs on the Rough Power CD were taken).  The latter two versions are not available elsewhere. 
*       *       * 
Three other albums in The Iguana Chronicles rework previous releases by Bomp! Records.  One of these is the Jesus Loves the Stooges 7” EP that came out at the same time as Kill City and was also actually put together by Jem Records.
The new release of Jesus Loves the Stooges is a 10” vinyl EP that has four songs instead of three; Side 1 opens with the title song from Kill City, “Kill City” followed by Johanna; and Side 2 has Jesus Loves the Stooges and Consolation Prizes.  The latter three songs were those on the original 7” version.  The back cover has a photo of Iggy Pop rather than the Christmas style layout on the original Jesus Loves the Stooges; the liner notes on the back cover say that the 7" EP was originally released for Christmas 1977.  As a bonus, there are 3-D glasses provided. 
*       *       * 
An expanded album based on the 1977 Bomp! Records EP, I’m Sick of You was released in the same time period.  The Discogs listing for the I’m Sick of You CD has a date of 1991, but that is in error; both this CD and the I Got a Right CD came out in 1995.
The songs originally released – I’m Sick of You”, “Tight Pants” and “Scene of the Crime – are demo recordings by the Stooges that were made in June 1972.  Along with I Got a Right” and “Gimme Some Skin, they were summarily rejected by David Bowie’s management company MainMan Management, with only Tight Pants considered to have any promise; this song was rewritten and included on the Raw Power album as Shake Appeal.
The new Iguana Chronicles CD, I’m Sick of You – I have a 2006 reissue of I’m Sick of You with the original cover – starts with the three demos from the 1977 EP I’m Sick of You – I’m Sick of You”, “Tight Pants” and “Scene of the Crime – and then presents five live versions of these songs that were made between 1978 and 1993.
Cub Koda notes in the review of the album for Allmusic:  “The sound quality is surprising good on these [demos], and any of them would have fit in perfectly with the final sequence on the released version [of Raw Power]. . . .  The other five tracks capture an intriguing idea:  live versions of the same tunes entering [Iggy] Pop’s solo set list throughout the ’80s and into the ’90s.  It isn’t the Stooges, but it’s pretty darn good and well worth a listen.” 
*       *       * 
The redo of the 1977 Siamese Records 45, I Got a Right” b/w “Gimme Some Skin” – and the only one of the Iguana Chronicles albums and EP’s that I don’t have at all, as best I can tell – is like a miniature version of the box set on Rhino Records1970: The Complete Fun House Sessions that I have mentioned before.  Like the songs on the 1977 EP I’m Sick of YouI Got a Right” and “Gimme Some Skin are early demo recordings by the Stooges dating from June 1972 that were rejected by MainMan Management for the Raw Power album.
For the I Got a Right CD, Bomp! Records put together every take available of these two classic songs – 7 of I Got a Right and 2 of Gimme Some Skin – as well as a live performance of I Got a Right that was made in Paris on September 23, 1977.
Cub Koda writes in Allmusic:  “This collection rounds up every existing take of those two titles with a live version of the title cut to round things out.  This is Iggy and the Stooges at arguably their peak and well worth seeking out, as the sound is appreciably better than the original 45 issue.” 
*       *       * 
Coming next in the catalogue number sequence is the best of the albums in The Iguana ChroniclesOpen Up and Bleed!.  I have mentioned this album before, first because it happened to show up in my CD rack bookended by the CD’s for two of my favorite past UARB’sthe Invisible Eyes (Laugh in the Dark) and Les Hell on Heels (Les Hell on Heels).  The CD player on one of my turntables can take three at a time, so I played that trio of albums many times. 
For Open Up and Bleed!, which has a subtitle “The Great Lost Stooges Album?”, Bomp! Records collected available recordings of songs that were written and developed by the Stooges after the release of Raw Power in February 1973.  The first six songs – “Rubber Legs”, Open up and Bleed, “Johanna”, “Cock in My Pocket”, “Head On”, and “Cry for Me” – were made during practice sessions at CBS Records in New York in 1973 and are taken from the only tape that has surfaced from these rehearsals.  The liner notes for Open Up and Bleed! by Frank Meyer state that “Head On” is also known as “Head on the Curve”, but not “Head on the Curb”, as the song is called on the Metallic K.O. albums.
The next three songs on Open Up and Bleed! – Rich Bitch, “Wet My Bed” and I Got Nothing” – were recorded at the Latin Casino in Baltimore in November 1973.  “Heavy Liquid” / “New Orleans” is another live performance that was made at the Whisky a-Go-Go in Los Angeles in September 1973.
Two other songs from rehearsals close the Open Up and Bleed! CD.  “She Creatures of the Hollywood Hills” was laid down in Detroit and is the only known rehearsal version of the song.  A second rehearsal of Rubber Legs is also given and has never been previously released. 
There is also an LP release of Open Up and Bleed!, but it has fewer songs, with I Got Nothing”, Heavy Liquid” / “New Orleans”, and the second version of Rubber Legs” being omitted.   

*       *       * 
I am not near through with describing The Iguana Chronicles, but it is not hard to tell that this is a mountain of music – much more even than in the six-CD box set by the Stooges, 1970: The Complete Fun House Sessions.  While there is some repetition on these albums that is probably unavoidable, as I have played my way through the records, I have gotten to know these songs pretty intimately in a variety of contexts.
And what keeps coming back to me is that the new songs on Open Up and Bleed! (and on other Iguana Chronicles albums; this CD does not have all of them) sound better to me than the songs from the Raw Power era – both the official album and the rejected demos alike.  We will never know for sure whether the Stooges would have released an album with all or most of these songs had sales of their first three albums gone better, but there is no question that this is the closest thing to what could have been the fourth Stooges album. 
*       *       * 

Naturally, the material would have been arranged and polished and mixed and mastered, and the songs might have sounded completely different from the way they do on Open Up and Bleed!.  That is certainly true of Johanna” and “I Got Nothin’ as they are presented on the Kill City album.  I have said before that this could have been the best Stooges album of them all, and I mean it. 
*       *       * 

Open Up and Bleed! is still available from Bomp! Mailorder for a bargain price of $5.00: .  Truly, I cannot recommend this album highly enough.  With the release of Ready to Die in 2013the Stooges are well and truly finished, even though Iggy Pop is still around.  To my mind, there is no better document of this band’s legacy than Open Up and Bleed!
*       *       * 

For some reason, Year of the Iguana is not shown as an Iguana Chronicles album in its Discogs listing, though it is clearly marked that way.  The songs are mostly taken from finished masters and rehearsals (Open up and Bleed is a live recording) and are often but not always alternate versions of the same songs on the other Iguana Chronicles albums.
Writing for AllmusicCub Koda says of Year of the Iguana:  “This is an interesting collection that’s primarily culled from other Bomp CD collections and 10” vinyl LPs.  If you’re into Iggy and the Stooges enough to have made it this far, this collection of alternate mixes (‘Death Trip’), raw rehearsal tapes (‘Rubber Legs’, ‘Head On’, ‘Till the End of the Night’, ‘Wild Love’, and an extended run-through of Raw Power), and ‘suppressed masters’ from the original Raw Power sessions (‘I Got a Right’, ‘Gimme Some Skin’, and ‘Scene of the Crime’) will almost seem like a greatest-hits package of sorts.  And for the new fan who’s just discovered the chaotic magic that was the Stooges – and has heard the rumors that there’s material far more incendiary than their three studio albums – this compilation will serve just that purpose, sifting through the unending maze of unissued Stooges material to make a single-disc package that hits on the spots.” 
*       *       * 

When I read the description of The Iguana Chronicles in the liner notes for Destination: Bomp!, the first album that I ordered was Wild Love, since it really sounds like it was taken from “mostly demos and rehearsals from the Raw Power days onward”.  In the best bootleg tradition, the other albums that I have not yet mentioned are all or mostly taken from live performances.
The liner notes for Wild Love, which sound like they were written by Greg Shaw, lay out the process that Bomp! Records went through to sift through the box of tapes that James Williamson gave them.  The box included rehearsal tapes from DetroitCBS Records in New York, and probably Los Angeles that evidently date from 1973, plus others made in 1972 that included demos for some songs that wound up on Kill City.  However, there was no way to know for certain when much of the music was recorded, since the tapes were mostly unlabeled or incorrectly labeled.  Among the bandmembers in the Stooges, only Ron Asheton was forthcoming with information about the tapes, and he was unclear on many of the details or wasn’t present at all.
After pulling the finished studio masters that provided the songs on the Kill CityI’m Sick of You and I Got a Right albums, and also the live concert performances that make up a third to a half of the Iguana Chronicles releases, the remaining tapes were almost all post-Raw Power rehearsal sessions.  Greg Shaw mentioned that songs like Johanna and Head On were practiced seven or eight times in a row, often with stops and starts.  Many of these songs were taken out on the road after Raw Power was released and often show up on the Iguana Chronicles concert albums.  The best of these rehearsal performances were pulled out and assembled, along with selected live versions of other songs, for the hypothetical fourth album by the Stooges that was released as Open Up and Bleed!
*       *       * 
Greg Shaw continues in the liner notes for the Wild Love album:  “But there were other songs, also endlessly rehearsed, that never seemed to get beyond the practice stage, though some have every bit as much potential as the ones taken on the road.  Among these I would include Wild Love, ‘Pin Point Eyes’, ‘Hey Baby’, and ‘How it Hurts’.  Most interesting of all is ‘I Come from Nowhere’, a fairly well developed song with impassioned vocals and very personal lyrics, and some magnificent instrumental parts.  It’s a pity that they never played this one in their live show (that I know of).  Though several rehearsal versions exist, this is the only one that is complete.”
Most of the 13 songs on Wild Love had never previously been released in the U.S. even as bootlegs; most of the Stooges bootleg albums and unofficial releases were made in Europe.  According to the song listing, more than half of the songs – “Wild Love”, “I Come from Nowhere”, “Delta Blues Shuffle”, “Old King Live Forever”, “Look So Sweet”, “Mellow Down Easy”, and “Move Ass Baby” – are “never before released in any form, anywhere!”   This is a bit over-stated; the album’s liner notes mention other versions of some of these songs that have been bootlegged elsewhere.
Charles Spano writing for Allmusic says of Wild Love:  “Though lacking the teenage venom of cuts like ‘1969’ and I Wanna be Your Dog off of The Stooges and the unadulterated raw power of, well, Raw PowerWild Love is still essential for die-hard fans.  The album, culled from rehearsals in DetroitLos Angeles, and New York for the band’s 1973 tour, runs the gamut from full-fledged, ready-to-record tunes to the types of swampy jams that the band has claimed indicative of their studio songwriting process.  Gems like the three minutes of rock & roll bliss dubbed Wild Love, the rambling, grinding ‘Pinpoint Eyes’, the Stonesy I Came From Nowhere’, and the eerie, sprawling ‘Til the End of the Night’ could have given Iggy Pop the material for a stunning solo debut as early as 1973.” 
*       *       * 
Wild Love is a great CD.  If this was the only album by the Stooges that I owned – or even if it was the only Stooges album that existed – they would still be one of my favorite bands.  People talk about “deep album cuts”, but those songs are sitting on albums for anyone to pick up and play.  These are “deep archive cuts”, buried on rehearsal tapes that in the normal course of events for any musicians would never have seen the light of day, on an album that runs for well over 60 minutes.  The thrill that I felt when I found an unknown 1960’s Bob Dylan song on a new bootleg album purchase is only matched by what I felt the first several times that I played this album.
As a hardcore Dylan fan, naturally I am delighted to have the remarkable cover by the Stooges of “Ballad of Hollis Brown”.  Not surprisingly, it is much different from Dylan’s own acoustical rendition of “Ballad of Hollis Brown; the hard rock performance backing Iggy Pop’s passionate vocals has a metronomic feel to it that suits the grim subject matter well.
Some of the songs on Wild Love are familiar, such as the Skip James song “I’m So Glad” that Cream covered so memorably; and the Bo Diddley classic “I’m a Man” – both versions by the Stooges are terrific and unconventional, almost needless to say.  As I have said before, I have never heard a performance of “I’m a Man” that I didn’t love. 
*       *       * 
Some of the cuts on Wild Love are jams by the Stooges (with or without vocals).  The sketchiest ones, shown on the song listing as Delta Blues Shuffle and Old King Live Forever, were extracted from a 30-minute jam by the band with Iggy Pop beginning to mumble ideas as James Williamson tried to follow them on the guitar.  Old King Live Forever really isn’t a song yet, though it could have become one if the band had given it more attention.
As readers of these posts know, I love to find religious references in the most unlikely places; and I recognized the repeated lyric, “O King Live Forever” (and some of the other vocals as well) as coming from the Book of Daniel – the line was said several times during the Bible story, and once by Daniel while he was famously in the lions’ den.  Greg Shaw didn’t know where the ideas had come from; he speculated that it could have been from something Jim Morrison of the Doors had written.  Since Iggy Pop is clearly singing “O King” rather than “Old King”, I passed along what I knew to Suzy Shaw at Bomp! Records, saying that this Stooges song should really be named O King Live Forever.
I should point out that many of the songs by the Stooges on Wild Love don’t have official names, so Greg Shaw was coming up with his own titles based on what he was hearing.  The liner notes cite previous releases of some of the songs with very different names:  Wild Love showed up on bootleg releases in both France and England as “My Girl Hates My Heroin”; a French bootleg referred to I Come from Nowhere as “Born in a Trailer”; and “Till the End of the Night” was on one previous release as “I Got a Problem”. 
*       *       * 

If I had to pick out my favorite song on Wild Love, it would be “Pin Point Eyes”; the couplet “She looked into my pin point eyes / and she cried” is hard to top in the Stooges oeuvre.  It sure would have been nice to hear this one on Open Up and Bleed!, but maybe it was just too unfinished.  Greg Shaw speaks of this song in the liner notes:  “Never before released in the U.S.Pin Point Eyes might well have evolved out of a jam on ‘St. James Infirmary’, until Iggy grafted his own graphic addiction story over it.  Some great crazed piano on this one from Bob Sheff.  Gotta love the lazy mood in which Iggy starts off urging them all to join in, then to take their solo parts.  It’s almost the kind of party that Dylan threw on ‘Rainy Day Women’, set in perhaps-ironic contrast to the really harrowing story he’s telling.  (Did he really say he traded his girl for a bag of snow?).” 
*       *       * 
Buying Wild Love first is certainly not the route most people would follow if they wanted to start buying albums in The Iguana Chronicles series.  I imagine that Rough Power would be the best album to start with for most people, since it features the original mix by the Stooges on the Raw Power album; and/or Open Up and Bleed!, a presentation of a potential fourth album by the Stooges.  Then one or more of the live albums – California BleedingDouble Danger, and Michigan Palace 10/6/73 – would likely follow.  As noted above, Year of the Iguana serves as sort of a greatest-hits set of the Iguana Chronicles albums.  Perhaps someone whose interest had been piqued would then check out the more in-depth examination of the Stooges demos that were rejected by MainMan Management on I Got a Right and I’m Sick of You.  If you already have Kill City, you wouldn’t even need Jesus Loves the Stooges unless you just wanted to hear what a song called Jesus Loves the Stooges sounds like.
After all of those purchases or selected ones, only people who would be referred to by rock critics as “Stooges completists” or “diehard fans” would likely go for Wild Love.  Unless the idea of getting Stooges songs that have hardly been heard at all by anyone is appealing to you, like it was for me. 
*       *       * 
Frankly, the three live albums by the Stooges in The Iguana Chronicles series – California BleedingDouble Danger (which is a double-CD album), and Michigan Palace 10/6/73 – run together in my head.  I am replaying some of the albums as I am writing this, and they sound amazing – by the second cut on California Bleeding, I was saying to myself that it has been way too long since I played these records.  But naturally, the same songs appear over and over, and it is the same band performing them, so there can’t be but so much variation.
California Bleeding is probably my favorite of these albums and likely the one of most interest to collectors.  The first four songs – Search and Destroy, I Need Somebody (which has probably never sounded better), an extended performance of Open up and Bleed, and a shortened version of Johanna” – are taken from the five-night stand (two sets a night) by the Stooges in September 1973 at the landmark nightclub Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles.
The songs on a CD called The Stooges Live at the Whiskey a-Go-Go that was released in France on Revenge Records are taken from the September 16th show; these songs are from the September 19th concert and have not been previously released.  Also, Johanna is the only recorded version of the song that the Stooges played at the Whisky.  It was the first time that I had heard the song as performed by the Stooges at all, and it was an instant favorite. 
*       *       * 
One tape that was found in the James Williamson box is from the only known show by the Stooges in San Francisco (at Bimbo’s in January 1974).  The liner notes by Frank Meyer say that there are only four songs on the tape, with Open up and Bleed being incomplete, so the other three songs – Wet My Bed, I Got Nothingand Head On – are included here, with the versions of the last two songs never being previously released.  The California Bleeding album closes with three songs from the September 15th show at the WhiskyShe Creatures of the Hollywood Hills and Heavy Liquid” / “New Orleans (the Gary U.S. Bonds classic) – the first concert performances of these songs ever.
The vinyl release of California Bleeding has the same music except that I Got Nothing” and Head On are omitted. 
*       *       * 
The other live album by the Stooges where I have both the CD and the LP is Michigan Palace 10/6/73.  A shot of the actual tape and also the box that the tape came in are given in the booklet for the CD, and the photo of the tape is used as the LP labels.  The entire tape is evidently included on the album, and for a change, the music is the same on both the LP and the CD.  Despite what is shown on the tape box, I Wanna be Your Dog is not included; in fact, Iggy Pop specifically says in “Rant #3” that they were not going to be playing that song, though he does read some of the lyrics.
The concert was performed at the Michigan Palace in Detroit about four months before the supposed “last live show” of the Stooges there on February 9, 1974; and this is the other concert that the Metallic K.O. albums are taken from.  While some of this music has been included as bonus tracks on some European albums, this is the first time that these songs have been released in the U.S.  The short liner notes call this the best of the tapes of Stooges concerts, as recorded by James Williamson (the famous February 9th concert was actually recorded by an audience member). 
*       *       * 

Double Danger includes two other full-length concert tapes by the Stooges.  Disc One is the November 1973 performance at the Latin Casino in Baltimore; three of the songs from Open Up and Bleed! – Rich Bitch, Wet My Bed and I Got Nothing (and in the same order) – are taken from this concert.  The liner notes call this “perhaps the best Stooges live show captured on tape so far”.
Disc Two is a concert on New Years Eve at the Academy of Music in New York City.  Also on the bill that night, according to the liner notes, are “KISS (supposedly their first gig), Teenage Lust, and Blue Öyster Cult.”  While the concert was professionally recorded by Columbia Records, this tape was made by someone in the audience, though the liner notes say:  “Although in the world of Stooges live tapes, this is certainly among the best.”  The concert is notable for including several comparatively rare post-Raw Power songs – Rich Bitch, Wet My Bed, I Got Nothing, and Cock in My Pocket.  It should be noted that all of the songs on Disc Two of Double Danger also appear on Disc One. 
(December 2017)
Last edited: March 22, 2021