I was Brutalized at a Stooges Gig

Before I commence my review of the Stooges documentary, Gimme Danger, I’d like to share with you a Stooges-related anecdote.

Like most of my anecdotes, this one is set in New York, and like most of my anecdotes, this one will make up 99% of whatever I’m meant to be writing about. But don’t stop reading, because in this story I get strangled and punched out.

It was 2004 and my friend, John, and I were attending Little Steven’s Underground Garage Festival on Randall’s Island, a two-kilometre square plot of land in the middle of the East River up around 110 street. Garage Rock was having a comeback at the time, and the lineup for Little Steven’s all-day show was sensational. The Pretty Things, Bo Diddley, The Dictators, The Creation, Nancy Sinatra, Big Star, The New York Dolls, The Strokes, and, you guessed it, the recently reformed Iggy And The Stooges were all billed to play. John and I were stoked.

Another stoke-inducing factor: we’d snagged a couple of backstage passes, and so we spent most of the day drinking in the wings and trying to look cool while rock ‘n’ roll royalty (and Nancy Sinatra) swanned all around us. We actually missed most of the bands because we were loitering backstage, but we only wanted to see The Stooges anyway, so whatever. Now here’s the bit where I get strangled. Dave Faulkner, lead singer of the Hoodoo Gurus, was also backstage, and we met him. He was a nice bloke. We had a laugh and a few beers . Nice. Then we said goodbye and entered the cattle yards to watch The Strokes, who were on before the final act–Iggy And The Stooges.

The Strokes were brilliant and when they were done, who should find us in the crowd but Dave Faulkner, lead singer of the Hoodoo Gurus. “Dave,” I said, “if The Stooges kick off their set with ‘TV Eye’, you’re going up,” meaning we’d boost him above our heads and make him crowd-surf. We all laughed at that. “Ha-ha,” we said. “Ha-ha,” said Dave. Minutes later, The Stooges took the stage and, as luck would have it, they immediately launched into “TV Eye.” True to our word, John and I hoisted Dave Faulkner, lead singer of the Hoodoo Gurus, above our heads and off he went, tumbling and flailing across the audience. About four feet from the stage he plummeted and disappeared. Moments later he reappeared, covered in mud, and grabbed me by the throat. “Dave!” I wheezed, “What are you doing?” I was genuinely shocked. “How do you fuckin’ like it!” he screamed, “How do you fuckin’ like it!” The three of us grappled for a few seconds, and then he gave up murdering me. “Cunt,” he spat and pushed his way through the crowd. I’ll never not feel terrible about this event. Getting into a physical altercation with Dave Faulkner, lead singer of the Hoodoo Gurus, is akin to kicking a koala off a cliff. It’s not right and it’s not Australian.

So that happened, and then minutes later I got punched out in a completely unrelated incident. With Dave Faulkner, lead singer of the Hoodoo Gurus’ purple handprints still on my neck, we made our way to the front of the stage where Iggy was calling everyone up. “Storm the stage!” cried Iggy. “Get up here and dance!” The audience surged forward and suddenly I found myself going over the barricade and reaching out for Iggy’s hand. “Let ‘em up! Let ‘em up!” he screamed, as security pushed and shoved everyone back. “Let ‘em, motherfuckers!” I was almost there, almost being hauled out of the sweaty mêlée by Iggy Goddamn Pop–and then everything went black. 30 seconds later I was back in the audience, about 30 feet from where I’d been, and two girls were holding me up. I’d been cold-cocked and returned to the audience by a bouncer. You can actually watch the footage here. You won’t see me getting punched, so you can put the lotion and the sock away. But what you will see is some people looking really silly and awkward. The whole thing was a lot cooler in my memory, actually; I certainly don’t remember that arsehole in the yellow shirt.

Anyways, that was the time I was twice assaulted at a Stooges show. I’ll never forget it. Likewise, I’ll never forget Jim Jarmusch’s Stooges documentary. Gimme Danger is excellent. La La Land can suck my ever-luvin’ dick.

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