February 9, 1974:
THE STOOGES CRASH AND BURN!
By Madeline Bocaro
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 probably 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.
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.!
In February 1974, Iggy & the Stooges were detonating. They had exhausted everyone’s patience and an endless stream of drugs implemented their downfall.
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 bikers in the crowd taunted him, without anticipating the obvious repercussions.
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.
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 Skydog Records in 1976, outselling the first three Stooges albums. 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 gig.
Metallic 2X K.O., released in 1988 contains the complete shows from both dates.
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 had 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!”