Third Man Records
Released August 7, 2020 On the 50th anniversary of the festival – on vinyl, CD and online.
“Like a fucking dream.”
by Madeline Bocaro
© Madeline Bocaro, 2020. No part of this site may be reproduced or reblogged in whole or in part in any manner without permission of the copyright owner.
I do believe in miracles! An historic artifact has surfaced after fifty years – an HQ tape of a long-lost Stooges live performance from August 1970! For this we must thank Jim Cassilly, a deceased Michigan sound engineer who recorded it, and his son Josh who discovered the tapes in the basement of their home. Apparently, these were unofficial recordings made for personal pleasure. Thankfully, Josh recognized their historic value and brought them to Ben Blackwell, co-owner of his uncle Jack White’s label Third Man Records. Miraculously the tapes were in good condition. In fact, it’s one of the best quality live Stooges recordings in existence!
(Read more cool details about the discovery of the tapes linked below).
50 years ago this week, August 7th – 9th, 1970 The Stooges appeared at Jackson, Michigan’s version of Woodstock – The Goose Lake Festival which showcased many of Detroit’s hometown heroes; The MC5, Bob Seger, Detroit, Savage Grace, SRC, and Third Power along with Chicago, The Faces, Jethro Tull, Mountain, Ten Years After, The James Gang and more. It was organized by the owner of Detroit’s Grande Ballroom where The Stooges had played many gigs. At the time, the festival with an audience of 200,000 was not given much national press coverage.
(See my story about the fate of Mia the Indian girl below)
The festival took place two months after the infamous peanut butter incident when Iggy walked on the hands of the crowd at Cincinatti Pop Festival. A blurry, choppy film of The Stooges performing ‘1970’ live at Goose Lake does not show how large the festival was. Another film of audience members being interviewed shows a much bigger picture which looks very much like Woodstock, which occurred almost exactly one year prior; naked people bathing together, swigging from alcohol bottles, smoking joints, not making any sense when speaking… There was a pop-up drug market run by attendees. A groupie tent was made available to the performers. Apparently, the accommodations were a notch above those almost non-existent in 1969 at Woodstock, as the promoters were planning to make this a permanent outdoor concert venue. But one creepy feature was that the fences were topped with barbed wire to prevent stage-rushing.
In a recently surfaced film of the crowd, we see members of the motorcycle gang The Scorpions being interviewed. Luckily, they did not punch out Iggy at this show (as they later did in February 1974 during The Stooges’ second implosion) otherwise we would have had Goose Lake KO.
In an erratic filmic attempt at Goose Lake, during the song ‘1970’ Iggy looks like the survivor of an atomic blast. His jeans are shredded, and his bare torso is accessorized with the fetching red dog collar he bought at the pet store Bowser Boutique. The silver evening gloves that are usually worn with this ensemble (during most of the prior months Fun House gigs) were absent on this day. He deliberately strangles himself with the mic cord. Iggy’s excessive twitching energy seems to be a mutation of radioactive fallout. In fact, the festival was held on 25th anniversary week of the atomic bomb drops on Hiroshima and Nagasaki!
The Stooges appeared onstage at Goose Lake on August 8 – ten days prior to the release of their second album Fun House – performing the album in its entirety – after several other gigs supporting the album. This was the final appearance of the original members; Iggy, Ron and Scott Asheton and Dave Alexander with Steve Mackay’s freak-out sax. On this night, they would dismiss bassist Dave Alexander for his increasing alcohol intake which led to many missed rehearsals and culminated in the chaos of this particular gig.
Now, 50 years later, we can witness Dave’s partial redemption. We learn that he DID in fact play despite the legend that he did not play at all. We should all try playing bass – as messed up as Dave was that day. It’s true that his performance is inconsistent (most notably on ‘Loose’ at the Goose, when he is playing in the wrong key and missing some changes). But he makes up for this later.
To remind us of Dave’s stellar legacy, a friend just mentioned to me that his bass playing on ‘TV Eye’ on the album “sounds like a Monk humming a prayer.” Ron Asheton considered Dave to be integral to the spirit of the Stooges.
Contrary to Ron’s viewpoint, Iggy (while claiming that Ron and Scott were ‘on fire’ that night) recently dismissed Dave as not being an integral part of the Stooges sound. However, in the past, Iggy has contradicted himself about Dave’s improv bass style…
“He’s just looking at the strings and going, ‘I think I’ll just go over here and see what happens… having fun amusing himself, which makes the music special’ A real musician will never do that.”
– Iggy to Jeff Gold, Total Chaos: The Story of the Stooges, 2016
The most beautiful thing about the Goose Lake vinyl is that
the run-out grooves are inscribed,
“Can you hear Dave?” on the A side,
and on the B side, it says,
“Like a fucking dream.”
The recording is glorious – and the sound is shockingly good! For anyone who dares to complain about the sound on this gift from heaven, I will coin a new phrase; “Don’t look a gift goose in the beak!” The gatefold packaging is cool, illustrating the poster and ads for the show and extensive liner notes. Thank god that Iggy finally sanctioned this release (he almost didn’t!) It is all we have of the live Fun House experience. It’s interesting to hear this powerful, aggressive live performance in contrast with the trippy, trancey magnificence of the studio album.
The shining stars here are brothers Scott and Ron. Thank god the drums are so prominent in this mix. Scott’s fills are astoundingly masterful. Ron is simply the maestro.
Let’s take a moment now to thank the parents who spawned this dynamic duo.
I don’t think they had any idea of the sheer magic that their sons brought into this world
– not just one, but two gifted children!
THANK YOU MR. AND MRS. ASHETON!
The Stooges open with ‘Loose’ and ‘Down on the Street’ – the only songs that are transposed in the Fun House album sequence . On ‘Loose’, Iggy sings the alternate lyrics from a rejected album take (‘I took a ride on a red-hot weenie/ on a big hot dog). I must agree with Iggy on this – Dave really derails everything, and there is much confusion.
Of course, Iggy was angry, but how would his band mates have felt if their singer had not recovered from the ‘poisoned’ coke he took that same day and not recalled his own identity and occupation in time for the performance?!
BUT then… ‘Down on the Street’ roars with magnificence. However, it ends strangely. Perhaps they should have stuck to the original order, easing into the set with this designated opener.
There is narration in an old newsreel inferring that Iggy incited the crowd to tear down a fence, as he ventured off-camera. This incitement is not evident on the live recording. Iggy’s deeply desired entry into the crowd is rendered impossible by a moat as well as a fence. He expresses his disdain of confinement to the stage many times. First, he uses the conveniently appropriate lyrics of ‘Down on the Street’ (“ain’t no wall’) and the ‘ram it’ portion of ‘T.V. Eye’. Iggy’s roaring vocals on this are savage. The appreciation of the crowd is heard clearly at the end.
‘Dirt’ is incredible. Iggy’s vocals are beautifully snarly, growly and at times deep and gorgeous. Then the Ashetons take over and work their magic. Dave keeps the pace. Is this bassline something I could have played with a few lessons? Well, maybe, but it’s still 1,000 times better than anything Sid Vicious ever played. And remember, Dave had inhaled an unknown white powder that day after a morning of drinking!
At the end of ‘Dirt’, still frustrated at being unable to ‘cross the proscenium’ Iggy – in a little boy’s dejected voice says twice, “I wanna go out there.” It’s so sweet and sincere. I love that they included the tunings at the ends of each song. Here, Andy starts skronking, setting us up for ‘1970’! Oh god – this just keeps getting better and better!
Again, just before starting ‘Fun House’ Iggy mentions his frustration, ‘Just one guy wants to go out there…’ He manages to transcend anyway, with the help of Mackay who somehow makes his sax sound like a herd of braying donkeys converging with a train transporting elephants. Iggy, yearning to be amongst the crowd again invokes situationally-appropriate lyrics, screaming ‘Lemme in!’ amidst yelps and yowls. I think he’s starting to have fun now!
Then we have eight minutes of ‘L.A. Blues’ – a total freak-out.
Here are Iggy’s memories of the day, (despite his amnesia) from a recent interview in The Oakland Press (full interview is linked below.)
“…It was certainly going to be a big deal, and it was something people had been talking about and looking forward to for weeks, both within the music scene, and the general party population, which is pretty huge in southern Michigan. I myself got there early on the day, and I remember snorting cocaine in a tee pee with a guy named Hiawatha. This was out in the public area, where there was a very, very big crowd. At that point, when I was in a band that was fairly far down the bill, I often liked to go out and mix in the crowd, both to get the vibe and just for the social pleasure. Unfortunately, the cocaine in this teepee was poisoned in some way, I still don’t know exactly how. And I had a brief episode of amnesia.”
– Iggy, The Oakland Press 2020
At the end of the festival, crowd members felt like sitting ducks (or geese?). They were afraid to leave the festival in fear of being busted. They were also hesitant to stay, afraid of being apprehended within the grounds. There were several arrests made.
Dave Alexander died five years later in 1975 at the age of 27.
© Madeline Bocaro 2020. No part of the materials available through madelinex.com may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated, reblogged or reduced to any electronic medium or machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of Madeline Bocaro. Any other reproduction in any form without the permission of Madeline Bocaro is prohibited. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without prior written permission of Madeline Bocaro.
A fantastic account of Third Man Records’ release of the Goose Lake Recording!
Mining unearthed Stooges gold is a labor of love for Ben Blackwell
Written by The Barman on 01 August 2020
IGGY’S RECOLLECTIONS of the Goose Lake Festival
An incredible version of “Fun House” from Goose Lake – the last gig the original Stooges ever played
Remembering Goose Lake — Michigan’s Woodstock— 50 years later
Read more – Cool details about the Goose Lake tapes discovery and the guy who recorded the show!!!
A documentary film about Hiawatha Bailey is soon to be released! Iggy is in it…
The Song of Hiawatha – FilmFreeway
April, 2020: Farewell to Mia
Mia has Retired! I’m going to miss her. I hope she can collect Social Security!
Land O’ Lakes Retires Problematic Native American Logo
After nearly a century, dairy company Land O’Lakes will be removing the image of a Native American woman from their packaging. The logo has since been changed to feature a blue lake lined with green trees. The character, known as Mia, was designed by illustrator Arthur C. Hanson in the late 1920s. She was revamped in the 1950s by Patrick DesJarlait, a member of the Ojibwe tribe.
Land O’Lakes’ CEO released a statement in February saying, “As Land O’Lakes looks toward our 100th anniversary, we’ve recognized we need packaging that reflects the foundation and heart of our company culture — and nothing does that better than our farmer-owners whose milk is used to produce Land O’Lakes’ dairy products.” In addition to the new artwork, real-life farmers will also be featured on the Minnesota-based company’s products.
The retirement of Mia has been met with a wide swath of responses. Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, praised the change.
But while the move earned praise, it also raised some questions. Many considered the company’s refusal to address the controversy as a sort of cop out, quietly burying the offensive mascot instead of using it as a teachable moment. Adrienne Keene, a professor at Brown University and citizen of the Cherokee Nation, told the Minnesota Reformer, “It could have been a very strong and positive message to have publicly said, ‘We realized after a hundred years that our image was harmful and so we decided to remove it’ … In our current cultural moment, that’s something people would really respond to.”
Some folks are calling for a boycott of the Land O’Lakes brand, which is ridiculous and will go nowhere. Imagine getting that worked up about a butter logo?! But I guess it’s something to complain about after a long day of protesting healthcare workers and demanding the right to get your nails done…