For the last decade or so I've been wondering whatever happened to Scott Thurston the keyboardist/guitarist who burst onto the scene in the late 70s, first touring on keyboard and harmonica with Iggy and the Stooges and then Berlin era Iggy Pop (I think he replaced David Bowie on that tour). Check out the 33 second mark on this video. That's Thurston suspiciously wiping his nose (so common gesture among 1970s musicians that one might call it an occupational hazard) before playing the harmonica:
Check out the makeup. What a beautiful man! Glam rock makes me happy to be alive.
You can get a better feeling for Thurston's keyboard playing from the performance of "The Passenger," earlier in the same 1977 Manchester concert:
Shortly thereafter Iggy decamped to Los Angeles with Thurston in tow to record what is widely regarded as his best solo effort, New Values. On this album Thurston also did almost all of the guitar tracks even though the production was by once and future Iggy and the Stooges guitarist James Williamson. And the guitar sound achieved by Thurston is absolutely singular. Consider this canonical 1979 performance of "I'm Bored" at the Old Grey Whistle Test:
It's a very strange timbre, so non-distorted yet still so driving. The opening arpeggios are classic. But he could bring the distortion too; consider the little bit of the Stooges' classic "I Wanna Be Your Dog" from the same show:
Note the effortless riff at the forty second mark. It takes quite a human being to pull that off while dodging an on-stage Iggy Pop.
Anyhow, for a decade or so I've been wondering what happened to Thurston (there wasn't a wikipedia entry for him until very recently). So it blew me away to see him playing keyboard with the reformed Iggy and the Stooges for their 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. Here are the speeches prior to the performance.
Check out the 3:38 point where James Williamson makes a shout out to his dear friend Scott Thurston. And then Thurston plays keyboards for their performance of "Search and Destroy":
O.K. So we've established that the man is still alive and can play the keyboards. At this point someone put up a wikipedia page for Thurston, but it still had almost no information. But then while watching a fantastic documentary on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, I found out that Thurston joined Petty's touring band in 1991 and shortly thereafter graduated to full member in good standing, a status that he's retained ever since. And he's got a proper wikipedia page now too chronicling his work between Pop and Petty.
The fact that he's thrived in all these years since touring with Iggy fills me with a ridiculous amount of joy. One injustice in our demented world is its treatment of the NCOs that make up the backbone of the army of rock. In what kind of world does a human lizard like Mitt Romney pay no taxes while Johnny Thunders lies dead and alone for a week in a New Orleans hotel room? It makes no damned sense.
So it's an occasion for joy when things do sometimes make sense. And here's some words of wisdom from the man himself.
- [Punkrockmonday #1] The White Stripes - Jack the Ripper (orig. Screaming Lord Sutch), Black Math, and the Big Three Killed My Baby]
- [Punkrockmonday #2] Roy Cook - Saint Paul Cathedral, Minneapolis Capitol Building, Aayla Secura Mosaic, and Firefly Class Spaceship
- [Punkrockmonday #3] El Général- Rais Le Bled (President, Your Country)
- [Punkrockmonday #4] Charlie Patton -High Water Everywhere, Part 2
- [Punkrockmonday #5] Henry Rollins- What Am I Doing Here; Willie Nelson- Me and Paul; Rainbow Connection (orig. Kermit the Frog)
- [Punkrockmonday #6] Philip Larkin - Church Going
- [Punkrockmonday #7] David Bowie - Time
- [Punkrockmonday #8] P.J. Harvey - When Under Ether; White Chalk; Broken Harp
- [Punkrockmonday #9] Allison Kraus and Robert Plant - When the Levee Breaks (orig. Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie)
- [Punkrockmonday #10] Doog - Famous Blue Raincoat (orig. Leonard Cohen); sElf - Back in Black (orig. AC/DC); Johnny Cash- Down There By the Train (orig. Tom Waits)
- [Punkrockmonday #11] John Lee Hooker - Hobo Blues; Weird Al Yankovic - My Sharona; Edgar Cruz - Bohemian Rhapsody
- [punkrockmonday #12] Pixar Studios - Cars 2; The Bang Bang - Sitting in a Car; Angry Samoans - Hot Cars; Black Flag - Drinking and Driving; Gary Numan - Cars; Queen - Bicycle Race
- [punkrockmonday #13] Betty Bowers - Betty Bowers Explains Traditional Marriage to Everyone Else
- [punkrockmonday #14] Sesame Street - Sure Shot (orig. Beastie Boys)
- [punkrockmonday #15] Neil Degrasse Tyson - Stupid Design
- [punkrockmonday # 16] C.M. Punk - run up to Money in the Bank victory
- [punkrockmonday #17] Dead Kennedys - Riot
- [punkrockmonday # 18] Cookie Monster - God's Away on Business (orig. Tom Waits)
- [punkrockmonday # 19] The Legendary K.O.- George Bush Don’t Like Black People
- [punkrockmonday #20] Mance Lipscomb- Ella Speed