Fifteen different versions of "Down in the Street" blasted into the air of my office and I barely felt a thing. That never has been a favorite of mine off this record, and I guess repeated exposure didn't help its standing. Now "T.V. Eye" into its third take still sound exploratory and dangerous - that sssssshhhhhhhhhhh hohoooooooooooooo-thwock-howl-cough-cough-gasp he does in here, the stillness in the break before they kick back into it, its like passing under an overpass during a hailstorm, louder than loudness. The band is getting punchy, doing Wolfman Jack impressions, announcing themselves before the next take.
I always thought this was the tight number on the record, the possible single, but really its where the band is stretching out and jump-starting the mothership. I don't want to get all nostalgic for an era in which I did not live, but having The Stooges and MC5 roaming the ballrooms of Detroit hungry and juiced would have been something to see. Or maybe not. Maybe they sucked like everybody sucked/sucks. Somebody not long ago said Led Zeppelin sounded terrible live, all out of tune through shitty PA's manned by speed freaks. Still, I have to think having this kind of orgone generator at one end would pump out something, no matter how shoddy the hose.
Maybe that is the underlying lesson of warts-and-all boxed sets; they feed and feed on the fake nostalgia, becoming their own system outside of the listener and the music. It's like eating and eating because you caught a tapeworm while on holiday in Thailand, the act of feeding is not about you or Thailand, but about the food and the worm.