Monday, May 25, 2009

Raw Power

May25, 2009

I worked in a record store. A customer came in, an older man. He browsed around the aisles. He seemed to be listening to the music playing in the background through the store's speakers. Finally he came to the counter and asked:

"Who is that group playing in the background?"

"It's 'The Stooges'," I answered.

He contemplated my answer for a moment and then he asked:

"Is that 'Iggy and The Stooges'?"

"I believe it is." I rummaged for the CD jacket. It was, indeed, Iggy and the Stooges.

He nodded knowingly.

"A number of years ago," he began, "A friend of mine committed suicide. On his body, instead of a note, they found Iggy Pop lyrics from a song entitled, 'Search and Destroy.' Are you familiar with it?"

I was not familiar with the title. We played a good many Iggy Pop tunes. The hard rock beat fitted the signature of the store which also sold a lot of music videos and counter culture items, posters and pins, which were popular with the kids. I was intrigued to realize that Iggy Pop went back that far in time.

"When I finally heard the song," he continued unabashedly, "I realized that the lyrics actually did describe his life. There were personal admissions in those lyrics which he would never have made in his life."

There was nothing for me to comment since I knew neither the song nor the victim nor the customer. He was like the famous ancient mariner who stoppeth one of three. He bought a few items and left the store. The story stuck in my mind. I found the song on an anthology of Iggy Pop tunes which included an album entitled "Raw Power.

The lyrics of the song, "Search and Destroy" are the perfect description of someone who's ready to call it quits in life. I began to play the album in the store. Any time I played the track I received questions and comments. The customer's deceased friend is not the only one who identifies with the song. It's a universal plea.

I did not see the customer again.


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