BOOK REVIEW! THE STOOGES: THE AUTHORIZED AND ILLUSTRATED STORY by Robert Matheu (Abrams, 2010)
Remember when the Stooges were the cutout kings of the bargain bin? Well now they're BIG BUCK BONANZAS worth a good two million dollars which only goes to show you that if you stick to it, put your nose to the grindstone and take all the drugs in the world YOU TOO could become as big and as famous just like the Ig! Well, it did take a good forty years for him to do it, but better him than the comparatively sissyboy competition that milked the whole Iggy style for eons and still came out looking like cling peaches.
On the heels of this Stoogian resurrection (well, at least a good seven or so years afterward) comes this book which was "written" by "Stoogeologist" and onetime CREEM photographer Robert Matheu, and it's well...kinda what you'd expect some book about the Stooges to be like. Given Matheu's photographic bent this 'un's filled to the brim with choice Stooge photogs, lots of which I ain't even seen before and others that have been around the bend a few times but you still like to see that snap of Ig standing on the crowd at the Cincinnati Pop Festival anyway so why pick the nits? Nice fliers too, and nice overall picture reproduction and there's even a snap of Ig when he put that clown makeup on his face which really made his yellow teeth stand out and he kinda looks like one of the Hello People or better yet Leo Sayer with his curly locks which really cracks me up!
And yeah we (naturally) also get some snaps of the solo-period Ig and crew which thrill me about as much as an invitation to a Mazola Party at Dave Lang's while the shots of the new geriatric Stooges do tend to make me feel ancient myself, but I guess these kinda things come with the territory so why should I quibble, right?
If I do gotta do any quibbling it's gotta be about the printed word that accompanies the snaps. Not that it's bad, but it really doesn't shed any light on the whole Stoogian message extant with writeups on albums we've heard for ages that don't shed any new, revealing light on their subjects or convey the Stooges' energy quotient, in fact reading like college term papers fresh from a Kinko's typeathon rather than a 1973 fanzine rave. True getting Alice Cooper to do the foreword to this book was a stroke of genius (time you paid Iggy back for all the ideas ya swiped from 'im!), but the whole meaning behind the Stooges would have been better served had Matheu gotten some close-to-the-O-mind source like Nick Kent to put his two shillings in, or better yet if the entire Stooge odyssey as seen through the eyes of the chaps at DENIM DELINQUENT or BACK DOOR MAN 'stead of the likes of Dave DiMartino, a guy who helmed CREEM through its worst years in the hair-riddled eighties. Don't get me wrong...I love reading about the Stooges, but only when they are digested on a truly suburban UHF tee-vee ranch house level. Considering how the likes of DiMartino pretty much pissed all over the whole Bangs/Meltzer/Saunders spirit of the seventies CREEM I think the choice of having him contribute to this along with the likes of Jeffrey Morgan (who held his own then, but seems to be holding something else of his own now) and Brian Bowe (makes DiMartino look like James Wolcott) seems more than a trifle misguided.
But hey, it's a Stooges book. It's got pictures and (best of all) it's AUTHORIZED!!!! Reminds me of those tee-vee tie in coloring books I used to get when I was a kid that would sport an "authorized edition" sticker onna front. Now that's quality!
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