Henry Rollins: The Column! Is Raw Power the American Answer to Exile on Main St.?
This line-up of the Stooges features James Williamson on guitar. He made his introduction on Raw Power, the band's third release. The first two featured Ron Asheton, who sadly passed away in January of 2009. The Stooges performed a memorial show in his honor in Ann Arbor, Michigan in April.
Now that Williamson is back in the fold, the set list leans heavily on Raw Power and songs written around the time of its release. There are many and they are extremely good: "I Got A Right," "Gimme Some Skin," "Johanna," and "I Got Nothin'," to name a few.
This might be a bit of a stretch, but can we consider Raw Power to be the American answer to the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main St.?
Exile was released in May of 1972, Raw Power nine months later. I am not saying that the Stooges were listening and reacting to Exile. I'm saying that for many people the Stones were the bad and dark side of rock, and Exile was their letter from Hades.
It is a hell of a record, absolutely, but as far as a band taking music and themselves down that very bad road, Raw Power quadruples down at the very least. If you have never taken the time to listen to this incendiary collection of songs, it is an absolute must. It is scary good and it's easy to tell when listening that the creation of these songs left marks on their makers.
To speculate further, what if the Raw Power album included some of those other Williamson-era tracks and was released as a double album? I think it would have answered, over four sides, Exile on Main St.'s request to step onto the dance floor. I think I have just invented a killer concept for a two hour radio show!