This Day in 1967: The Stooges Make Their Live Debut

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Wednesday, October 31, 2018
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This Day in Music

51 years ago today, The Stooges played their first show, but to say that it was an actual concert would probably be an overstatement: it was at a house party in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and it was, uh, something else.

John Sinclair, manager of the MC5 was there, along with a number of other folks, but it’s fair to say that the Stooges themselves were the stars of the show, and the performance, based on how it was described by Rolling Stone, was decidedly memorable:

“Iggy, in a thrift shop nightdress and a robotic wig created by pasting foil strips on a bathing cap, sat on the floor playing Hawaiian guitar, each string tuned to the same note, before he made experimental noises with a theremin, a vacuum cleaner and ‘the Osterizer,’ a whirring blender half-full of water into which he inserted a microphone. The band bashed out heavy drones behind him, making for a loud, druggy, crazed event that the many Michigan notables in attendance didn't soon forget.”

Years later, Sinclair told writer Joe Ambrose, "I don't know if there were 20 people there. I was terrified. I just thought, 'Jesus, they can hear this all the way downtown.'"

“We set up our amplifiers until we kept blowing fuses, so we played for maybe half an hour or 40 minutes,” said Ron Asheton in a video interview, which you’ll see posted below. “It was our first performance in public, even though it was more of a party atmosphere. It was a party, but it was our first job.”