I Wanna Be Literated #165

I Wanna Be Literated #165

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Thursday, 12 October 2017
COLUMN

Total Chaos: The Story of the Stooges
by Iggy Pop (Editor), Jon Savage (Editor), Jeff Gold (Editor), Johan Kugelburg (Contributor)

The Stooges are a great example that you can’t keep a good thing down, for better or worse. At least not in this day and age. For whatever reason, the Stooges were revived more than 10 years ago, with as original of a lineup as possible and Mike Watt on bass. Aware that he was not and would not ever be a Stooge, Watt preferred to be molded into whatever shape the rest of the band wanted him to take. But this reunited Stooges didn’t just play festivals, they also released a new album which, depending on your opinion, served to ruin the band’s reputation. I heard it once. I did not care for it.

But tragedy kept striking the band that would not die. First, guitarist Ron Asheton passed away. “No worries,” I imagine Iggy Pop saying. “James Williamson is still alive. He was our guitarist too. If we get him we can still play as the Stooges.” So this version of the Stooges now took the spotlight, touring and releasing yet another album. But then, drummer Scott Asheton passed away, followed by saxophonist Steve MacKay. The Stooges seem to finally be dead, but I wouldn’t put it past them if they didn’t resurrect in some form or another as long as Iggy Pop is still alive, or even after he’s dead.

Why will the Stooges not go away? Maybe because they’re like living fossils of a bygone era. Maybe because all these news fans never got to see them in their heyday. Whatever the case, people are interested in the Stooges and some will never get enough. We’ve seen bootlegs and live performances and a new documentary by Jim Jarmusch ever since their reunion. And also, books…

When I received Total Chaos: The Story of the Stooges, I was expecting a normal sized book. What I got was a behemoth of a hardcover. Total Chaos, in many ways, is an odd but more digestible biography of the Stooges. Imagine hanging out with Iggy Pop in a museum or even basement loaded with Stooges stuff and having him tell you stories behind what each of the items mean. Sounds fun, right? Well it’s exactly that feeling that the editors have brought to this book. It’s like spending a week with Iggy Pop, talking about the Stooges, from their beginning, through their three albums and dissolution, and their reunion. There are also interviews with newer artists who were inspired by the Stooges, like Joan Jett and Josh Homme. Questionable choices, if you ask me.

So, Total Chaos is quite a monster of a book, looks gorgeous and could be used as a weapon under the right circumstances. A cooler coffee table book would be harder to find. Especially considering it’s published by Third Man Records.

 

Get it from Third Man!

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