Pop Rocks . . .
As music is an ever-changing landscape of trends and tastes, each cyclical period will be highlighted by a handful of albums that stand apart from the rest; albums that transcend genre limitations by simply destroying any semblances of competition. It took an aging punk rocker, in his fifth decade of making brutally honest and endearing noise, to strut his way into the final months of 2003 with arguably the year's finest album. Iggy Pop is the undisputed King of Pop, and Skull Ring is his crowning achievement.
Imagine being sucker punched in an alley, then bludgeoned unmercifully for nearly an hour. This is the essence of Iggy's new album, a sonic assault comprised of 16 songs (and a hidden bonus track) that grabs listeners by the throat and does not let up the entire time.
Skull Ring is not merely a testament to Iggy's staying power as an artist, but it is also an amazing feat in that it melds the past, present and future of punk/pop onto a single CD.
Reuniting with his Stooges brethren Ron and Scott Asheton after nearly 30 years has not diminished their original chemistry one whit, and Iggy leads his former band mates as if they'd never been apart. Opening the disc with a flourish, "Little Electric Chair" harkens back to 1973's Raw Power, and sets the tone for Skull Ring's three other Stooges reunion tracks. Of the four, the title cut best shows that Iggy's songwriting and sardonic wit remain as lethal as a straight razor. Set against the backdrop of Asheton's "Peter Gunn" riff, Iggy let's us know his priorities: "Skull rings / Fast cars / Hot chicks / Money". Who could ask for more?
Continuing on his time traveling journey, Iggy shares collaborative stage space with current luminaries Green Day, as well as punk pop whelps Sum 41. The songs "Private Hell" and "Supermarket" incorporate the fast paced signature crunch that Green Day has perfected over the past few years, while the ultra-catchy "Little Know It All" should garner a modicum of credibility for the lightweight Sum 41 team. Iggy is right at home with these nippers, showing the new generation how to do it right.
The album also includes a pair of songs that find Iggy dueling with rap/electronica siren Peaches. "Rock Show" and the uproarious "Motor Inn" feature sufficient amounts of lewd lyrics and acidic guitar chords to peel paint. Once again, Iggy stands tall against a youngster as he deftly counters Peaches' Siouxie Sioux/Kate Pierson wail with his own trademark growl.
A momentary deviation from the album's tone occurs when Iggy indulges in the solo acoustic "Til Wrong Feels Right". Sounding like a modern day Robert Johnson, Iggy's husky vocals resonate with disgust and frustration as he offers his take on the music industry's penchant for pushing garbage: "I took a pounding / From the radio today / I heard the radio say / Some piece of shit/ Was the sound of today". Social commentary or not, the song is a masterpiece of simplicity.
Of the album's tracks, the most electrifying surprises come by way of Iggy's efforts with his band the Trolls. Nothing less than a new millennium Stooges, the trio follows Iggy with abandon, wreaking havoc all along the way. The high octane blast of "Perverts in the Sun" and "Here Comes the Summer" should initiate spontaneous moshing and crowd surfing at every listen, as well as ensuring a worn out CD in very quick time.
How Iggy has survived as long as he has is a miracle, but his ceaseless ability to create at such a high level is astounding. Whatever his recipe for defying the affects of time, Iggy proves that he's still the one on top of the musical mountain. Judging by the brilliance of Skull Ring, he'll remain the King of Pop for as long as he chooses.
"Ring" Due in Fall
Green Day, Sum, Peaches guest on new set
(July 1, 2003)
Iggy Pop will
release Skull Ring, the follow-up to 2001's Beat 'Em Up, on September 30th.
The album, which Pop produced, will be a cross-generational punk collection,
featuring Pop's original Stooges bandmates Ron and Scott Asheton along with
fresher faces from Green Day and Sum 41.
Pop's reunion with the Ashetons (Ron plays guitar and bass, and Scott drums) marks their first new material together in thirty years. As the Stooges (then including bassist Dave Alexander), Pop and the Ashetons released a self-titled album in 1969 and Fun House a year later, before disbanding. A brief reunion yielded Raw Power in 1973 (credited to Iggy and the Stooges), before the group called it quits for good. The trio headlined a handful of events this spring, and this summer will play gigs including New York on August 9th and in the Stooges' hometown of Detroit on August 14th. Minutemen bassist Mike Watt will be sitting in with the group.
The Pop/Asheton reunion yielded four new cuts: "Little Electric Chair," "Skull Rings," "Loser" and "Dead Rock Star." Pop also recorded two songs with Green Day ("Private Hell" and "Supermarket") and one with Sum 41 ("Little Know It All"), which he co-wrote with Sum frontman Derryck Whibley. "He wanted something that rocks," Whibley said, "so I tried to write something classic sounding."
Pop was also backed by his regular touring and recording band, the Trolls -- guitarist Whitey Kirst, drummer Alex Kirst and bassist Pete Marshall -- who worked up six songs: "Perverts in the Sun," "Superbabe," "Whatever," "Here Comes the Summer," "Inferiority Complex" and "Blood on My Cool." Pop also recorded a cover of Mississippi Fred McDowell's "Till Wrong Feels Right" and a pair of collaborations with rapper Peaches, one of which, "Motor Inn" will appear on Skull Ring.
STARS WITH STOOGES AGAIN
New Music Express
IGGY POP has recorded with original STOOGES bandmates RON and SCOTT ASHETON for four songs on his latest album, 'SKULL RING', due for release on September 30.
The tracks mark the first time that the band have written new songs together for 30 years. Album opener 'Little Electric Chair' joins 'Skull Rings', 'Loser' and 'Dead Rock Star', all of which were written and recorded by the Stooges at Miami's Hit Factory Criteria Studios.
The album will also feature Pop's collaborations with Green Day on 'Private Hell' and 'Supermarket', and as previously reported on NME.COM, 'Little Know It All' with Sum 41 and 'Motor Inn' featuring Peaches.
The other six songs feature Pop's band The Trolls and a solo acoustic number performed by the singer called 'Til Wrong Feels Right', based on an old blues tune by Mississippi Fred McDowell.
The release of 'Skull Ring' follows the first show by Iggy Pop and The Stooges in more than 25 years at California's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 27. The group will play two more summer shows at Wantagh, New York's Jones Beach Amphitheater on August 9 and a Detroit homecoming gig at the Clarkston DTE Energy Music Theater on August 14, with support from Sonic Youth. Iggy Pop and The Trolls will our Europe later this year.
POP RECONVENES RON & SCOTT ASHETON OF ORIGINAL STOOGES FOR GIGS AND RECORDING
ON NEW ALBUM, SKULL RING
Friday, July 04, 2003
SKULL RING also features multiple tracks with Green Day, Peaches, and The TrollsHistoric Stooges performance at Coachella; album arrives in stores on September 30th Capitol/Virgin recording artist Iggy Pop, who revolutionized rock on his seminal recordings with the Stooges, has reconvened original band mates Ron Asheton (guitar and bass) and his brother Scott Asheton (drums) for their first new music together in 30 years, to be unveiled on Iggy’s new album SKULL RING, which will also feature two tracks recorded with Green Day, plus the album’s first single recorded with Sum 41, "Little Know It All." The long-awaited follow-up to Beat ’Em Up (2001), SKULL RING - every track produced by Iggy Pop - will also contain cuts with his backup band The Trolls as well as the controversial hardcore rap siren known as Peaches. After a spring and summer that will have seen Iggy & the Stooges headlining several historic shows together - including the annual Coachella Festival in Indio, California in April, New York’s Jones Beach Amphitheatre on August 9, and a major Detroit homecoming on August 14 at DTE Energy Music Theatre - SKULL RING will finally arrive in stores September 30.It’s been 33 years since the Stooges recorded their seminal album Fun House. With guitarist James Williamson no longer actively involved in music, and original member Dave Alexander passed away in 1975, Iggy decided late last year that the time was finally right for a collaboration with the Ashetons, his original co-founders in ‘The Psychedelic Stooges’ back in 1967. A month of wood shedding and recording at Hit Factory Criteria Studios in Miami during January 2003 resulted in four tracks: the album’s opening "Little Electric Chair," "Skull Rings," "Loser," and "Dead Rock Star," all Pop-Asheton-Asheton compositions. On April 29, two days after Coachella, Iggy went into the studio with Sum 41 and recorded "Little Know It All," which he co-wrote with the group’s Deryck Whibley and producer Greig Nori. Iggy and Green Day became friends after sharing European rock festival gigs over the past two summers. When Iggy assigned Billie Joe Armstrong to compose music for two sets of Pop lyrics, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tré Cool decided they wanted in on the project. Iggy joined Green Day on their turf and the four of them recorded two songs at Berkeley’s Studio 880, "Private Hell" and "Supermarket." Iggy’s hardworking touring and recording band - guitarist Whitey Kirst (a co-writer with Iggy for nearly ten years), his brother drummer Alex Kirst, and bassist Pete Marshall (who replaced Mooseman, who joined Iggy from Body Count but was killed in a drive-by shooting) - recently gave themselves a name, The Trolls. They worked on six original songs back in November 2002 at Hit Factory Criteria: "Perverts In the Sun," "Superbabe, "Whatever," "Here Comes the Summer," "Inferiority Complex," and "Blood On My Cool." Iggy performs a solo acoustic number, "Till Wrong Feels Right," based on a country blues by Mississippi Fred McDowell.Canadian gender-bending rap phenom Peaches (aka Merrill Nisker) came to Iggy’s attention via her way-underground (and strictly X-rated) debut CD, The Teaches Of Peaches (Kitty-Yo/Beggars XL). One of the cuts on that CD, "Rock Show," was digitally remastered and remixed at Hit Factory Criteria, with Iggy overdubbing his vocal as an ‘answer’ to Peaches. She brought her repertoire of beat box grooves to Miami and worked with Iggy on two fresh tracks, "Motor Inn" (for SKULL RING) and a second title to be included on her next album.After a weekend (June 14) performance with the Trolls at the Isle Of Wight Festival in England, Iggy and the band headed off for a week of dates in Germany, Austria, Denmark, and France. On June 21 in France, Iggy was this year’s only international artist to receive the prestigious Officier des Arts et des Lettres award from the Minister Of Culture, in a special decoration ceremony at the annual Fete de la Musique held on French Cultural Ministry Day. Iggy and The Trolls will return to Europe for concerts in Spain and Belgium (on July 4 and 5, respectively), followed by the Mount Fuji Festival in Japan on July 26.
Pop keeps his integrity safely intact on Skull Ring
Cincinatti City Beat
Edited By Mike Breen
· IGGY POP -- SKULL RING (VIRGIN).
At an age when most musical figures have devolved into doddering nostalgia and pointless historical revisitation, Iggy Pop shows the world the true craggy face of original punk-ass Rock with his integrity safely intact and his brass balls firmly in place. With the stripped down brilliance of Skull Ring, Iggy dares to revisit the scene of his earliest victories with a number of surprising moves. First and foremost, Iggy resurrects his long dormant relationship with the elemental Asheton brothers, his shambling cohorts in The Stooges, arguably one of the most influential Rock groups of the late '60s. Their tracks together ("Little Electric Chair," "Loser," "Dead Rock Star," the title track) are jagged little shards of simple sonic perfection that thunder and rage with the most basic ingredients. With this gauntlet laid down, the rest of Iggy's Skull Ring co-conspirators (Green Day, Sum 41, his touring band, The Trolls, and Peaches) have little choice but to give like-minded performances that abandon subtlety in favor of bonehead Rock of the most thrilling variety. (Brian Baker) Grade: A
Release Date: 11/4/2003
Reviewed by RJ Smith
With help from his spawn, Iggy reclaims the punk-rock franchise
In the late ’60s, when the Stooges first terrified audiences by raging about animal desires and spreading themselves with peanut butter, they were coming for your daughters and your drugs. Iggy Pop has reunited with former bandmates Ron and Scott Asheton for the first time in 30 years, and now, they mostly want their riffs back.
From the Hives to the Vines, Nirvana to the White Stripes, the Stooges’ lascivious garage-punk has been recycled and resold on a scale these scorned Detroit hooligans never could have imagined.
.The reunited Stooges appear on four songs, and an assortment of descendants are all over the rest of the album. The standout track, “Little Know It All,” features Sum 41. On “Private Hell” and “Supermarket,” Pop is backed by Green Day, who were learning how to drool when the Stooges formed. And on “Rock Show” and “Motor Inn,” Pop and foulmouthed female rapper Peaches swap slobber. In Peaches, he clearly spots a kindred spirit: crude, indefatigable, driven by her appetites. She probably even likes peanut butter
The record thuds on, reprising the snarling riffing and garbage-can drumming of the Stooges’ early-’70s albums. The six songs with the Trolls, a band Pop formed in the last few years, sound every bit as Stoogeified as the ones with the Ashetons.
Pop has made more nuanced albums than this in recent years, but Skull Ring is about reclaiming the franchise as unselfconsciously as is possible.