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Street-walkin’ cheetah

By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  August 29, 2010

Williamson’s contribution to the Raw Power sound cannot be understated — whereas the group’s prior incarnation was notable for its primitivism, the 34 minutes that make up this album see lunkhead riffs getting replaced with serpentine friction and hip-moving thunder, and the Stooges re-emerging far sexier and darker. Sinewy shakers like “Death Trip” and “Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell” erupt with Motown violence, Williamson’s guitar spewing endless mirror shards all over the proceedings.

The title track and “Search and Destroy” are now the kind of canonized rockers that infants play along to on Rock Band — but in 1973, this was dangerous stuff, in some ways too dangerous for the music business to know what to do with. The album, like Fun House, was deemed unlistenable. “Back then, if you couldn’t sell records, you couldn’t survive. And no one bought the record. When we made the record, we didn’t care — because we were completely delusional!”

That delusion may have fueled the album’s creation, but its head-on collision with reality meant the death of the band in 1974. Williamson went on to work with Pop on projects that included 1977’s Kill City and 1979’s New Values. But the end of the ‘70s saw him leave the music business — at least until Iggy extended an invitation to revisit RawPower one more time.

“The thing about that album is that it’s so far ahead of its time,” Williamson reflects. “And it’s amazing to me to see how many people sort of imitated the style and sound — so much so that now the album sounds contemporary. In those days, it didn’t sound like anything else around. So it’s satisfying, definitely — I like to say that the album was a success, it just took a while!”

IGGY & THE STOOGES | House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St, Boston | August 31 at 8 pm | $45–$65 | 888.693.2583 or hob.com/boston

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