Dave Alexander, The Lost Stooge

My daughter went to elementary school with a boy whose father writes for the Please Kill Me web site. I’ve only met Todd a couple of times, in passing, so he’s not my friend, but he wrote this weirdly cool history of Dave Alexander, who played bass on the first two Stooges albums and was then kicked out and died.

What I like about Todd’s treatment is he reports what people said or wrote about Dave. He goes easy on the dramatic build up and is beautifully empathic to the storytelling of Alexander’s peers by using their quotes. Plus he includes some choice descriptions of behavior by various Rolling Stones. This is classic rock storytelling, for sure, but easy going the way rock should be.

You can read, should read, Todd’s piece here.

You’ll get the chance to play the video of Down On the Street while you read the piece, but you might also play it now.

One last thought. How different is Down on the Street from some Doors songs? Especially live? Which provokes the question: When it comes to classifying rock, do we maybe distinguish too much between hitmakers and their edgier cooler peers? The Stooges are punk pioneers on Elektra records, sounding here like the Doors, who made many hits on Electra records at roughly the same time. That’s a sonic fact, but not a complete one. But what is the real story of sound, aesthetics, ambition and commercial viability? Every one thing changes all the others.

This is a reason to read Greil Marcus’s Doors book, which goes deep into the band’s non-hit life as a live band, how they sounded different than the hits, and darker than the public image.

5 thoughts on “Dave Alexander, The Lost Stooge

  1. 1) Excellent and entertaining Dave Alexander article.

    2) Not down with the Doors comp as, for me, 65 percent of the Stooges is “Raw Power” which has nothing to do with The Doors (and blows them out the door). Flippant perhaps, but I’d trade Dave Alexander for James Williamson any day.

    3) Not down with the “we dismiss hitmakers too easily” thing either. Plenty of exceptions, but the masses are usually the asses.

  2. Doors comp was directly about Down on the Street, which features a Manzarek-ish organ and Iggy singing in deep Morrison-ish tones.

    Raw Power is something else. My point is that the Stooges moved through a commercial landscape, were signed to a deal, were judged to have less commercial potential than the MC5, and fuck that!

  3. The Doors moved through that same landscape, the same A+R guys, the same execs, and spit out some big hits. But also played a bluesy bottom heavy music that wasn’t that dissimilar to a lot of the Stooges stuff, live at least.

    There was a difference, and it grew bigger as time marched on. But the Doors were in this mix of sound, even the dark sounds. That they also made hits in this context doesn’t seem that important.

  4. No question Iggy was influenced by Morrison but as bands they had little in common. After Morrison died Iggy played some with Manzarek but it didn’t work out. Manzarek was pretty dinky. I always liked the riff to this song, lifted from the Stones’ version of “She Said Yeah.” It could use a singer:

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