Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Iggy and The Stooges
I'm Sick of You EP

Released 1995 on Bomp!
Reviewed by Joe Kenney, 08/09/2004ce

“I’m Sick of You” is an EP Bomp originally released on vinyl in the 1970s, and then on CD in 1995 with some extra tracks. The CD sounds like it was taken directly from vinyl though, as you can detect several faint scratches and pops on occasion. The first three tracks are the sole reason to purchase this, as the live tracks are of varying audio quality and are taken from different periods of Iggy’s solo career.

The first three tracks – “I’m Sick of You,” “Tight Pants,” and “Scene of the Crime” – were all recorded in 1972 in the UK, prior to the Raw Power sessions. These tracks were performed (along with “I Got A Right” and “Gimme Some Skin,” as well as several other Iggy-mentioned but unknown tracks such as “Fresh Rag” and “Egyptian Woman”) by the Raw Power version of the Stooges: Iggy on vocals, James Williamson on guitar, Ron Asheton on bass, and Scott Asheton on drums.

After having the Ashetons flown over to the UK from Detroit, the Stooges holed up in a studio and recorded these demos, which they then presented to MainMan, their new managers. MainMan, because they were cowards, rejected each of them, though they saw promise in the riff for “Tight Pants.” How anyone could reject a track like “I Got A Right” is beyond me, but regardless, the Stooges went back into the studio and worked on some newer material, which eventually became the songs on Raw Power.

The first thing to mention is that even though these are demo recordings, they still in some ways have better production quality than the Bowie mix of Raw Power. Every instrument comes through loud and clear, even if the recording sounds slightly raspy (no doubt due to the age of the tapes, and Bomp Record’s inability to digitally clean up them up; I’d say a proper remastering job would make these recordings sound brand new). In fact, the only evidence that belies the fact that these recordings are demos is that Williamson’s guitar is on only one track; when he solos Asheton’s bass carries the tune along unaccompanied. Despite that, Williamson still makes enough racket for ten guitarists, and if anything this gives these tracks a raw and live feel.

“I’m Sick of You” starts things off. It’s a slow affair, reminding me of the opening to the Doors’ “The End.” Williamson’s guitar echoes all over the mix, slightly obscuring Iggy’s low moaning: “Goodbye Betsy I’m goin away/I’m sick of you and there ain’t no way/Don’t want to know, don’t want to see/Don’t you ever bother me.” Okay, so maybe the lyrics aren’t Raw Power-literate or Fun House-simple, somewhere in-between. Like the other two demos on here, Iggy’s vocals are drenched in echo. Two minutes in, Williamson’s guitar hovers for a moment in the pause after the last run-through of the slow section of the song, and then the track explodes, slashing away out of control, and, uh, totally ripping off “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago” by the Yardbirds. Sad but true: the second half of this song is “Happenings” note-for-note, but with different lyrics. Williamson tears into one of his patented, chaotic solos towards the end, and then after the storm clears we’re back into a brief refrain of the track’s quiet section, before things wrap up with a long, solemn note from Williamson’s guitar. A great track, but not one of my favorites, mostly due to the outright riff-thievery. (As a final note, you can find this track, in much improved audio quality, on the Iggy Pop “Nude and Rude” compilation. Just shows how, with a little more cash, these old demos could so easily be cleaned up.)

“Tight Pants” is next, and currently you can only find this track here. This is the sole song MainMan saw promise in, and it was eventually rewritten and released on Raw Power as “Shake Appeal.” It’s basically the same here, just more raw, shorter, and with different lyrics. In fact, I like these lyrics better. The gist of them are, the sight of a girl in hot pants makes Iggy want to start a fight. Though sometimes it appears it also makes him want to “take a bite.” Once again, everything’s mixed just right, with Williamson spiraling off into a solo in the fade; another difference from “Shake Appeal,” which features another verse after the solo. Judging from Iggy’s chatter before the track begins, this is the first take of the song.

“Scene of the Crime” is the third and final track from the pre-Raw Power sessions on this CD, and it’s the Stooges exploring the world of funk rock. I like this track a lot. Williamson opens the song with a riff that twists in on itself and struts along arrogantly; I don’t mean this as an insult, but this is the sort of riff Asheton probably WISHED he could’ve played on Fun House. This song just thumps along, the riff pounding you into the ground. Iggy’s vocals are nice and profane: “She gave me money/Gave me head/Gave me everything/And she lit [made?] my bed.” A piano pops up during the chorus; the rudimentary playing suggests it was one of the Stooges hitting the keys. The guitar solo at the end is pure white noise. I’d place this song right behind “I Got A Right” as one of the best, lost Stooges tracks. You can also find it, with improved audio quality, on the Bomp “Year of the Iguana” compilation.

Now we move on to the live tracks, which honestly don’t do much for me, and which I’ve only listened through a few times. “Shake Appeal/Tight Pants” is the first of them, and it sounds like it’s come from an audience recording. Iggy’s voice at the beginning sounds a bit too high-pitched, making me wonder if the tracks needs some speed correcting. The track rips along mostly like the Raw Power version, with Iggy throwing in some lines from the “Tight Pants” version of the song. I do love how the drummer bashes away at his cowbell.

“Winners and Losers” is the Iggy solo version of “Scene of the Crime,” and it just can’t compare. Iggy seems to channel David Bowie on this recording, and the audio quality isn’t that bad, but I like the original Stooges version so much I’ve barely given this live recording its due.

The first of two live run-throughs of “I’m Sick of You” follows. This version really brings home the Doors comparison, the drums thumping along almost tribally behind the guitar. The fast section still rips off the Yardbirds, but here it’s in total speed metal territory, with the cymbals predominating. Audio quality isn’t that great, as at times it sounds like this has been recorded from the bottom of a well.

Another live recording of “Shake Appeal/Tight Pants” follows, better-recorded and heavier than the previous. Iggy again throws in lyrics from “Tight Pants.” This is probably my favorite live song on here. It basically just rocks along for the duration.

The CD wraps up with another live version of “I’m Sick of You.” It’s an audience recording, but worse than the previous, as you can actually hear people in the audience talking. Bootleg territory, for sure. The fast section seems to be even heavier than the previous version, but again the poor audio ruins everything.

As a final note, if you can only find this CD at ridiculous prices, contact Bomp directly. They generally have plenty in stock for cheap.

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