Starring Jim Osterberg (Iggy Pop), Ron Asheton, Scott Asheton, James Williamson, Steve Mackay, Mike Watt, Kathy Ashton, Danny Fields. Directed by Jim Jarmusch. (2016, 108 min).
I was never a big fan of The Stooges' music, though Gimme Danger gave me a new found respect for them.
This documentary features interviews with all the surviving members of The Stooges (though a few more have died since then), who discuss in detail the struggles to get the band off the ground through their drug-addled demise, right up to a surprise reunion decades later. Most of the film focuses on their glory years, roughly 1969 to 1973. The Stooges never achieved much popular or financial success during that their time, but posthumously had as big of an influence on punk rock as The Ramones.
Of course, The Stooges are best-known for blessing us with the one and only Iggy Pop, whose own career would greatly eclipse the rest of the band (and whose music I actual do like). He's the primary focus of this film as he reflects on his life and career, coming across as more charming, intelligent and down-to-Earth than his hellraising image suggests.
|"I used to rub what all over myself?"|
Interspersed among the interviews is vintage concert footage (including Pop's infamous peanut butter gag) and photos from the era. We learn a lot about The Stooges' struggles to get noticed, as well as behind the scenes anecdotes regarding their now-classic albums. Considering Iggy and the band's somewhat notorious reputation, this is a surprisingly straightforward career retrospective, mostly relegated to the music itself and The Stooges' influence. Those expecting lurid tales of debauchery should look elsewhere.
Gimme Danger is an interesting document of one influential band's rise, fall and resurgence (culminating with its induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame). The film isn't likely to make anyone a convert, but it's hard not to respect The Stooges' legacy and what they managed to accomplish during such a brief period.