The classic 1977 album finally reissued as it was meant to be : restored, re-mixed, and remastered under the supervision of both Iggy Pop and James Williamson.
Kill City is Iggy Pop and James Williamson’s often overlooked, yet ultimately essential album. Originally recorded in 1975 and later released by Bomp! in '77, critics have long lauded the songs and performances but have also regarded the overall sound as "sludgy."
The sound quality of Kill City was compromised from the get-go, as it originally suffered from a bad pressing (on the infamous green vinyl), and over the years the quality of the record itself managed to get even worse. When the original distributor went out of business, the 2-track album production masters vanished and every subsequent pressing of the album – on record, cassette and CD – used a copy of that deficient green vinyl as its master.
Now 33 years later, here is the long overdue restored, re-mixed and remastered version of this historically important record. Producer James Williamson remixed the album with engineer Ed Cherney at Capitol Records in Hollywood, and as the guitarist states, "He just made this record sound, well, like it should have sounded all along. It has finally reached its full potential."
I like what this album has to say.
It is rather high concept, and the music is well thought out.
It adheres to no particular genre.
A lot of people have borrowed its ideas.
It’s one of the very first independent LPs I know of.
I hope you like it.
— IGGY POP
Kill City was by all measures a desperate effort, a singularly honest and heartfelt performance, a genuine progression of our song writing, and another in a long line of flops that were later resurrected and heralded as masterpieces.
By the time it was released as a record, both Iggy and I were off doing other things with our lives, but with this re-release we are not only reunited in our musical endeavors but in our appreciation of this album, its remix, and its importance to us as artists.
— JAMES WILLIAMSON
Sometime between the madness of the Raw Power years and Iggy’s rehabilitation as Bowie’s sidekick on theStation to Station tour, Pop and Williamson conspired to make one of the forgotten classics of Seventies rock. I’m talking about the remarkable Kill City, an album recorded in Los Angeles in the summer of 1975 after the violent implosion of the Stooges at Detroit’s Michigan Palace (memorialized on 1976's splendid quasi-bootleg Metallic K.O.).
I happen to believe that Kill City is at least as great as the incendiary Fun House and the crazed metallic blitzkrieg that is Raw Power. Made on a shoestring budget in a L.A. home studio belonging improbably to singer-songwriter Jimmy Webb, Kill City is an urgent and deeply moving collaboration between the enigmatic Williamson and an Iggy in such poor physical and mental health that he’d been sectioned in a UCLA Hospital psychiatric ward. Which only makes the emotion of Kill City the more extraordinary. – Barney Hoskyns /Rock’s Backpages
With crooned harmonies, woozy sax and a louche mood, Sell Your Love imbibes the black soul of Iggy’s home city of Detroit rather than its metal; it sounds more Stones than Stooges. On a similar tack, I Got Nothin’ (one of two Stooges leftovers) resembled the Stones aping Dylan’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door. The other oldie, Johanna, was smeared by Harden’s bleating sax, which showed distinct shades of David Sanborn circa Bowie’s Young Americans, being recorded on the other coast.
Kill City’s original side two is patchier, though the instrumental Master Charge has a strange, sad beauty, like Iggy’s lost and wandering New Orleans’ streets at 3am. The stunning, bruised ballad No Sense of Crime, however, beats the Stones at their own dissolute game. It’s this brew of bravado, vulnerability and crisis that lends Kill City a palpable edge and helped get Iggy back into the studio and real life, beyond those hospital walls. – Martin Aston / BBC Review
This is a great album. The lyrics are probably Iggy’s smartest, from a time when he was still living the role, rather than just inhabiting a persona. The band, built around James Williamson and ex-Stooge/future Tom Petty-and-Jackson Browne sideman Scott Thurston, sounds aggressive but also slick and pro in the same Roxy Music/Mott the Hoople manner as the current touring outfit. Overall, this reinforces Williamson’s stature as a songwriter, rather than just an axe-slinging madman, and confirms that James and Iggy had things to say worth hearing even after the world at large had stopped listening — a situation which has now been rectified. Living well is always the best revenge. – The Stash Dauber
Listening today, it’s evident that Kill City was one of those missing link records. Once you get past the Stoogetastic title cut, you’ll quickly recognize echoes of The Rolling Stones and David Bowie, in addition to the boilerplate for the Dead Boys and an entire generation of post-punk. However, Kill City also reveals Pop and Williamson to be musical diviners, grafting the expressionistic skronk of Funhouse to the fury of Raw Power, and incorporating arrangements and instrumentation that foreshadowed new wave and, in time, indie rock. – MOKB
Kill City sits proudly beside its Stooge predecessors, now making perfect sense as the album that band never did make. It’s a rare breed: A remix and re-issue with a reason. Grab it and see if I’m (we’re) wrong. – The Barman / I-94 Bar
Kill City was Pop’s best record to date song-wise – more restraint and melody, less novelty. The CD version sounds great – a revisionist remix that clears up the bass cloud and dull thud of the original but stays faithful in tonality. Kudos to mastering engineer Robert Hadley for not compressing the life out of the mix. – Detroit Metro Times
Kill City is the most underrated album of Iggy’s career. Conventional wisdom has always held that the album is fatally flawed. Don’t believe it for a second. Any fan of Raw Power-era Stooges is going to find a lot to like on Kill City. It is definitely a reissue worth checking out. – Blogcritics
Kill City has been reworked to sound nearly as good as anything else from the time. As such, the street-smart rockers Pop & Williamson laid down with the help of saxophonist John Harden, drummer Brian Glascock and bassists Scott Thurston and Steve Trano finally gleam with the kind of savagery we always suspected they possessed. Though Kill City can’t match the, well, raw power of Raw Power, it slinks with the same bloodthirsty demeanor. Harden’s sax squeals between Pop’s desperate vocals and Williamson’s mean riffs. It’s the sound of crossed wires, the bridge between the blues inflections of mid-70s Stones and the Bowery-style barbarism to come just a couple years later. There’s a groove to the album too, most recognizable on "Consolation Prizes," with Pop belting out his vocals as much as he growls with clenched teeth. – The Agit Reader
Recorded in 1975 and originally released in 1977, the album captured a decadent and despairing time in Iggy’s post-Stooges career, but also unleashed a fiercely defiant, guitar-driven approach to rock ’n’ roll that proved to be remarkably influential for countless bands to follow. The album’s sonic envelope-pushing was somewhat muted however by a sludgy mix and a poor pressing on green vinyl. Those problems have been addressed on the re-issue, which was restored, remixed and remastered by guitarist Williamson himself, working with A-list engineer Ed Cherney. – Chuck Crisafulli / Gibson site
Since the Stooges circle has been squared its only fitting that this missing link be finally, beautifully restored for posterity. – Steve Wilson / KC Free Press
The new, cleaned-up Kill City is a vast improvement over the previous version and reveals the superb material as the missing, debauched L.A. link between Exile on Main Street and Appetite for Destruction. There’s authentic, ramshackle ’70s rock, there’s a touch of glam, there are tips of the hat to the classic Stooges sound, and there are even some surprising, progressive instrumentals: The title track, "I Got Nothin,’" and "Johanna" are the more typical highlights, but closer "Master Charge" points at the understated sophistication that has been a mark of Mr. Osterberg’s work over the years. – LA Weekly
The 2010 edition of Kill City sounds less like a demo and more like a proper album, and if the rough textures suited the original, the new mix honors the power of the songs, and this is the rare example of a revised mix that comes close to improving on the original… a minor triumph. – All Music Guide