Week in Rock

Now that Jack White’s White Stripes have hauled in a sufficient boatload of money to allow him to join weird bands like the “Racketeers” or whatever, and do Coke commercials, he’s started to draw a little bit of less wanted attention. Jim Diamond, producer of the duo’s self-titled debut and second record De Stijl is suing the band for royalties that he deserves, apparently, for helping the band shape their “signature sound.” While only listed as “co-producer” and “sound mixer” on the records respectively, Diamond is still taking the Stripes to court this June to try and wrangle his cut. Naturally, the White Stripes deny Diamond’s self-professed “shaping of signature sounds.” “It is a meritless case which will be defended with vigor,” said the group’s lawyer Bert Deixler. They maintain that the $35 an hour they paid Diamond in the first place should be sufficient, which seems totally reasonable to me. In all honesty, though, those first two White Stripes records are my favorite of the lot, so maybe Jim has a point. At least he kept out all those fucking marimbas and ’70s pop songs that ended up on Get Behind Me Satan. Of course, though, White is undaunted and unfazed by this development, and continues his jack-of-all-tradesery playing with the Raconteurs at Lollapalooza in August. While The much-ballyhooed Coke commercial is also available for viewing on the inter-web, and Jack will also be making good use of his time helping produce a couple of tracks on the upcoming Stooges reunion album.


I bet that, at the end of that last bit, you said to yourself “What? Stooges Reunion Album?” and got super-excited. I mean, who cares about the “Rocketeers” and Jack White when there’s a new Stooges album coming out? Yes, gentle readers, your eyes have not deceived you. Holed up in “a little cottage in the boonies on a little river” in Florida, Iggy Pop is reunited with Ron and Scott Asheton, original Stooges guitarist and drummer, working on an LP due next year. The album, which is still untitled, will be produced by Steve Albini with the aforementioned Jack White lending a hand on a few songs as well. In addition, the reunited Stooges will hit the road with bassist Mike Watt (Minutemen) in tow for a massive tour that should dwarf the previous reunion shows they’ve had at festivals and such. Iggy talked recently to Billboard.com at length about the upcoming record and working with the Ashetons again. “All the same passions and problems are there, but the problems are in a more muted style. I’m still the showoff in the group that gets all the attention. Everyone has their role. It’s pretty much the way it was in high school.” That’s certainly a relief to hear, after Iggy’s questionable collaborations with bands like Green Day and Sum 41 on his last record, 2003’s Skull Ring. Incidentally, that was the year that he started playing again with the Asheton brothers, who ended up on Skull Ring as well. “[I] just threw it open and did a guest-oriented album. I had resisted doing a Stooges reunion, but when I was putting Skull Ring together, [the Ashetons] were getting really active on the road playing Stooges songs. Suddenly they were in sight and in mind. I thought, ‘If I’m going to try a couple tracks with Green Day, why not get the original band?'” This planted the seed that grew into appearances at high-profile festivals such as Coachella, and with the Stooges getting the recognition they deserved as innovators and becoming popular with new generations of fans, the time seemed right for the Stooges’ return. As far as what that’s going to sound like, Iggy elucidated; “We experimented a lot. We’re stubborn people. We could have just started out and in 10 minutes we would have sounded like us, but that would have been too easy. We’d have these get-togethers every two or three months for four or five days and bang out stuff. As time went on it started to sound more and more like us.” Well, that’s reassuring, since no one has done a good job of sounding like the Stooges yet. Sure, plenty of bands have tried and come up with their own fine enough sounds, but nailing the Stooge sound is more elusive than you might think. In any case, the return of the Stooges means at least one good record will come out next year.