THE STOOGES — Fun House (review)

THE STOOGES — Fun House album cover Album · 1970 · Proto-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
UMUR
"Fun House" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US hard rock/ proto punk act The Stooges. The album was released in July 1970 by Elektra Records. The Stooges have on several occasions expressed their dissatisfaction with the way their debut album ended up sounding. The band felt that Elektra Records pressured them into writing short vers/chorus based tracks when in fact their "real" sound was more based on extented jams. Therefore The Stooges made it their mission to make sure that "Fun House" would be to their satisfaction and represent what they really sounded like. The band travelled to Los Angeles and recorded the album in the 14 days between May 10th and May 24th of 1970 with producer Don Gallucci. Don Gallucci understood the band´s vision and set up a recording schedule where the band would record one track a day live in the studio. They would then pick the best version out of maybe 10-20 versions of each track and put on the album.

The band had some pretty bad drug habits already before going to Los Angeles but it was during these recording sessions that they were introduced to heroin. A drug several of the members would become addicted to and one of the main reasons for the band´s demise. The other main contributor to that demise was probably the fact that none of The Stooges albums sold very well upon initial release and they weren´t very well received by neither critics nor fans either. The Stooges are a classic case of posthumous fame and recognition.

The music on "Fun House" is a pretty interesting mix of several different music styles. You got the distorted hard rock riffing (take a listen to the opening riff in "T.V. Eye". That sounds like Motörhead to me), repetitive krautrock beats that remind me of artists like Can and Popol Vuh and then there´s the dark psychadelic rock vibe that reminds me of The Doors. Most of all you can just hear how much The Stooges enjoy playing and that´s always a positive experience. Lead vocalist Iggy Pop sounds absolutely mad on some of the tracks. The 7:45 minutes long jamming title track which includes saxophone playing by Steve McKay, is probably where you´ll heard Iggy Pop at his most out there, but also the closing noise jam "L.A. Blues" sets standards for chaotic madness. The latter is probably an aquired taste, but as far as I understand it´s tracks like "L.A. Blues" and "Fun House" that tell most about how The Stooges sounded on stage.

"Fun House" is a bold statement from a band that wasn´t even established yet. They took a chance with the relatively experimental approach and failed badly in commercial terms. They were soon after dropped by Elektra Records and the band went into a hiatus. They would resurface as Iggy & The Stooges and release "Raw Power (1973)" through Columbia Records but finally disbanded in early 1974. Alledgedly at this point Iggy Pop had become impossible to work with as a result of his heroin addiction. But that was a few years more down the line. "Fun House" may not have done the trick for the large part of music critics or for most music buyers but they had a cult following that would keep mentioning their name and ensure them a place in music history. The first prolific act to cover a song by The Stooges was The Sex Pistols. The Sex Pistols included The Stooges track "No Fun" as the B-side to their 1977 "Pretty Vacant" single.

I can certainly understand the mixed reactions to "Fun House". If you come to the album expecting neatly arranged vers/chorus tracks you´ll be disappointed. If you come to the album expected tracks creating in the spirit of jamming you´ll be much more likely to enjoy the album. I enjoy every track on the album except for "L.A. Blues", which I actually find quite annoying. Noise for the sake of it, has never been my poison. Unfortunately that track has so much impact on my listening experience that I have to take away half a star from my rating. A 3.5 - 4 star rating is deserved.
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