At the start of Ed Caraeff’s photography career, he was often asked by record companies to take photos of new bands. When he got the call to go over to a nearby recording studio to take some portraits, he was more than happy to oblige. And when the invite included a night at the famed Whisky A-Go-Go to see the band in action, little did he know what he was going to come away with. The band, The Stooges, were a new band out of Michigan featuring brothers Ron and Scott Asheton on guitar and drums, Dave Alexander on bass and a lead singer named James – but everyone called him Iggy Pop.
“The Whisky A-Go-Go was always the place to be. Even when I wasn’t there working, I was there watching and listening to whoever was playing that night. Everyone went to or played the Whisky. A year before these photos were taken, I just happened to be there when Jimi Hendrix took the stage for an unannounced gig. I mean, The Doors were the Whisky’s house band – before they made it big.
“The Stooges were performing at the Whisky so they could be introduced to the Hollywood hipster set. There was definitely a buzz. They had a unique, raw performance style, with a chaotic, magnetic, unpredictable lead singer in various forms of undress. Iggy reminded me a little of Jim Morrison. At one point during the gig, Iggy picked up a glowing candle off a table and poured hot melted wax down his bare chest.”
A collage of Caraeff’s portraits of Iggy Pop was used on the cover of the second album by The Stooges, Fun House, released on July 7, 1970. Although the record was considered a commercial failure at the time, it is now considered a classic and ranks in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of ‘the 500 greatest albums of all times.’ “Having your photograph on the cover of an album was about as big as you could get as a photographer. That collage of photos on the record all came from that night at the Whisky.” The band portrait known as ‘Stooges on the Rug’, taken by Caraeff at Elektra Studios is widely considered a classic and was featured in the recent documentary ‘Gimmie Danger’ by famed director Jim Jarmusch.
“I’m really happy I kept all those negatives. Revising these shots has been very cool.” The Stooges were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.
Ed Caraeff’s new book, ‘Iggy & the Stooges: One Night at the Whisky, 1970’, includes never-before-scene photos from the performance and essays from Danny Fields, Jeff Gold and DeeDee Keel, who worked in the office at the Whisky when Iggy took the stage.
See more from Ed Caraeff’s archive : https://iconicimages.net/photographers/ed-caraeff/