February 9, 1974
THE STOOGES CRASH AND BURN!
By Madeline Bocaro
© Madeline Bocaro, 2018. No part of this site may be reproduced or reblogged in whole or in part in any manner without permission of the copyright owner.
In February 1974, Iggy & the Stooges detonated. They had exhausted everyone’s patience An endless stream of drugs and hostility implemented their downfall. In spite of this premature ending (which we view in hindsight as merely a speed bump) the band’s legacy endured. After a few more false starts, there were wildly successful reunions decades later – leading to The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. And Iggy is still alive! But at this point, their future success was unthinkable…
Notoriously, The Stooges’ audiences usually brought along ammunition to fling onstage; eggs, beer, condiments, a varied menu of edible missiles and delicacies that could be combined to make a nice salad. Iggy would eventually hurl back his own arsenal in response. This strange ritual began when guys saw their girlfriends admiring the strangely beautiful creature who was pulling their hair, sitting in their laps, dragging them by the feet or pressing his face into theirs while singing. Iggy reveled in the glares of jealous boyfriends.
Imagine Stooges fans preparing for the concert…’Hey, you bring the eggs, I’ll bring the peanut butter!’ The rations – most notably the cracking eggs and shattering beer bottles – are certainly audible on the recording of the Stooges’ final concert, immortalized on the recording aptly titled Metallic ‘K.O.! The band knew that this was the end. Iggy’s attitude was,
“Who hates The Stooges out there?
We don’t hate you. We don’t even care.”
Dozens of bikers attended a prior Stooges gig on February 4th 1974 at The Rock and Roll Farm in Wayne, Michigan. Iggy fought back fearlessly when biker gang members in the crowd taunted him, without anticipating the inevitable repercussions.
“Onstage I’ve been hit by a grapefruit, beer cans, eggs, spit, money, cigarette butts, Mandies, Quaaludes, joints, bras, panties, and a fist. We were playing a gig at a place called the Rock ‘n’ Roll Farm in Wayne, Michigan, in the late 1970s, and some guy kept egging me—throwing eggs at me and all over the stage—and finally I got sick of it and called this bastard out.”
“He was much bigger than me, a 6’5″ mountain man wearing a large plaid lumberjack shirt, a knuckle glove, and a big grin, and he stood there waiting for me to confront him, so I came up to him and, kind of like a bandy cock, put my fists in a fighting position. He decked me with one punch. I knew he would, but I couldn’t back down. At the time I was a little different than I am now.”
On February 9th, Iggy further aggravated the situation by challenging the Scorpions biker gang during a radio interview on the day the Stooges played at a larger venue, Detroit’s Michigan Palace.
On the night of the show it was business as usual. The hostile crowd pelted the Stooges with the typical fare of foodstuffs, along with beer bottles and other projectiles.
Yet the band played on with Iggy reveling in the chaos,
casually deflecting the barbs off his chest like Godzilla.
While dodging the projectiles, Iggy yells out, “You pricks can throw every goddamned thing in the world, and your girlfriend will still love me…!”
The set included songs from the Raw Power album and unreleased songs such as ‘Head On’ and ‘Cock in My Pocket’. But during their X-rated version of ‘Louie Louie’ Iggy is fed up. He defiantly jumps off the stage (wearing a sarong, a leotard and ballet shoes) and goes face-to-face with a biker twice his size. Guess who wins. Iggy goes flying backwards across the room like a cartoon character.
The clanking and shattering glass from the brawl can be heard on the infamous recording of the Stooges final concert (amidst Iggy’s scathing verbal retorts), while Iggy gets pummeled and knocked out – hence the ‘K.O.’
Metallic K.O., a semi-official vinyl album (a compilation of two Stooges gigs in October 1973 and February 1974) was released on Marc Zermati’s label Skydog Records in 1976, outselling the first three Stooges albums. Zermati obtained the Michigan Palace tapes from journalist Nick Kent. Other tapes acquired from James Williamson appeared on Metallic 2X K.O., released in 1988 containing the complete shows from both dates. The photo on the album cover was actually taken at the Whisky A Go-Go in Los Angeles by Ed Caraeff during a Fun House era gig in 1970.
The songs include three from Raw Power, ‘I Got Nothing’ (introduced as ‘I Got Shit’) which would later appear on Kill City, and some which never appeared on any albums, including ‘Rich Bitch’, ‘Cock in my Pocket’, ‘Heavy Liquid’, ‘Head On’ and the incredible ‘Open Up and Bleed’. Introducing a pornographic version of ‘Louie Louie’ Iggy utters the immortal words…
“I never thought it would come to this, baby!”
The Stooges would not play together again until 2003 when they reunited for the Coachella festival. They went on to tour successfully and claim their place as the legends they are – and have always been.
On its 40th anniversary in 2016 (in a limited edition of 1500 copies), Metallic K.O. was released for Record Store Day on metallic gray vinyl by Jungle Records.
In the immortal words of Iggy Pop,
“I never thought it would come to this, baby!”
“I don’t care if you throw all the ice in the world, – you’re payin’ 5 bucks
and I’m makin’ $10,000 baby – so screw ya!”
The Stooges’ Michigan Palace Contract
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