The Stooges, Live At Goose Lake, 1970

By: Rolando J. Vivas

First I have to get something out of the soul, The Stooges are the best rock n roll band in history, it is difficult to go beyond this truth, one that very few know today, and surely many less knew in 1970, if with the first album they released, under the production of ex-Velvet John Cale, the band already showed a peculiar personality and an abysmal distance from the popular bands of the time, The Stooges were in a particular war against the limits of rock n roll, Iggy Pop, the lead singer of the band, had taken his presence on stage beyond the adventures of famous people of the time such as Jim Morrison, Pop wanted to go more out there, endangering his physique in every show, while the band became that excess that only some groups had been able to reach, and that the group had managed to access due to its admiration of non-rock musicians, such as Sun Ra and Albert Ayler, The Stooges was a rock n roll band, no doubt, but they had found a way to go a step further, and in this way they had injected their records with a generous dose of pure adrenaline, of danger in each note, of a feeling that the group would explode at any second, and although on their first album, it is possible to find something of recognizable structure, for their second album, the mythical Fun House, the band had decided to play the whole for the whole, heading at full speed and without the intention of stopping towards a sonic precipice, impossible to understand 50 years ago.

Live At Goose Lake, recorded during a performance on August 8, 1970, it is a striking document of a band at its boiling point, after finishing their defining disk and on a path of no return, unlike the Fun House sessions, the band’s live music becomes even more of their own, thanks to the benefit of the live context, growing up before audiences adverse to their music, as great artists usually do, in this way, the Ashton brothers’ guitars and drums become a brutal demolition vehicle, barely followed by a bass that is responsible for creating that rough and rocky bottom on which Pop would choose to play his physic once again, surely before an audience that, like many of the time, must have hated the band, few rhythmic sections as glorious as those revealed during Loose, and few with as much abrasion capacity as that shown in Down on The Street, another highlight of the set, anticipating many years of the explosion of sounds that would bring punk rock, hardcore punk and thrash metal.

On the powerful guitar of Ron Ashton it is still possible to hear the influence of scriptwriters like Jeff Beck, although it is clear that Ashton would be more aligned to the sonic explorations of characters like John Coltrane, Lou Reed or Sonny Sharrock, in powerful almost apocalyptic exercises led by an Iggy Pop possessed by the spirit of a malevolent Howlin´ Wolf, with a devastating Scott Ashton on drums, with his peculiar and aggressive style of playing it, as very few drummers would be capable 50 years ago, pushing the band to the limit in the monstrous and expansive TV Eye, and then into the slowly burning Dirt, where Ron’s guitar spits out fierce tongues of fire, by the time the band starts the first chords of 1970, it is already possible to perceive that everything is beginning to fall apart, and the chaotic nature of the band begins to take over everything, even though Pop claims to feel “all right”, and allows his band to go completely insane by letting out its most experimental spirit.

Dave Alexander’s bass growls angrily at the start of the legendary Fun House, supported by Steve Mackay’s schizophrenic saxophone, an impressive character who would join the band during the recording of the album, and who would become the band’s great connection with the free jazz world, yes, the Stooges were not only the biggest rock n roll band, they were also something else, something cosmic, apocalyptic and transcendental, mavericks and anarchists determined to create their own musical universe under their very own and particular rules, if we could talk about them, heroically destroying themselves during the process, turning into pure sound when you get to the incredible LA Blues, in this way, Live At Goose Lake becomes a monumental document that 50 years later gloriously adds to the legend of what would be the best rock n roll band in the history of the universe, no more and no less, this material is extraordinary, and a testimony of a band that at its highest point, was also on the verge of self-destruction.