Produced by Carter Logan,
Fernando Sulichin, Rob Wilson
Written and Directed by Jim Jarmusch
Starring Iggy Pop, Ron Asheton, Scott Asheton,
James Williamson, Steve Mackay, Mike Watt,
Kathy Ashton, Danny Fields, Steve Mackay
Directed by Jim Jarmusch
Featuring Jim Osterberg, Ron Asheton, Scott Asheton, James Williamson, Steve Mackay, Mike Watt, Kathy Asheton, and Danny Fields
Premiering this past weekend at the 54th New York Film Festival, Gimmie Danger is Jim Jarmusch’s documentary love letter to the infamous rock band The Stooges. The director couldn’t be more perfectly matched to pull this definitive account off.
It’s as off-beat and infinitely entertaining as his fictional films, and his first since what I consider his best, Only Lovers Left Alive.
From their ambitious Michigan beginnings to their ironic Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction, Jarmusch passionately details the legendary band, starting with a mic check of the always charming Iggy Pop from the laundry room of his home.
I grew up learning about Iggy and the Stooges firsthand. His childhood trailer-home residence was only blocks away from my house in Ypsilanti Township. It seemed everyone had some sort of connection to Iggy or at least one of the band members. Iggy even worked at my local record shop Discount Records off and on. Iggy was legend, and so much cooler to name drop Michigan’s other rocker Bob Seger.
What I admired most about Gimmie Danger, is the way Jarmusch just lets the story flow from the band’s memories. The pacing is playful and brisk, the vintage clips and photography (much never seen before) are plentiful, and there’s an onslaught of fun facts to keep you amused.
Some of my favorite nuggets of Stooges trivia from the film below:
LUNCHTIME WITH SOUPY
Iggy Pop sparked to Clarabell the Clown on The Howdy Doody Show recognizing this was the character getting all the laughs and attention. But Iggy’s true inspiration, apparently, was Michigan’s own Soupy Sales. In related, though unmentioned in the film, Iggy trivia, Soupy’s sons Hunt and Tony Sales, performed rhythm on Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life album.
THE PSYCHEDELIC STOOGES
The band originally called themselves the “Psychedelic” Stooges, and it was during their performances in Ann Arbor that Danny Fields from Elektra Records was introduced to them. The MC5 is credited to sparking that connection, as they were briefly on the label.
After getting signed to Elektra, Ron Asheton actually called Moe Howard to ask permission to use the shortened name, The Stooges. The original Stooge said yes, with the caveat that “as long as you’re not the Three Stooges!” The band took the shortened name thereon.
THE FIRST STAGE DIVE
According to Iggy, he was inspired to first stage dive at a show in which he saw two women crawling on the floor near the stage. His premiere leap into the audience resulted in missing teeth as nobody was responsive to catching him. That would, thankfully, change at future gigs.
THE VELVET GOLDMINE
It’s fitting that Gimme Danger play the New York Film Festival. Eighteen years ago Velvet Goldmine played the fest, which features Ron Asheton as a back-up musician on fictional Curt Wild’s version TV Eye. Wild, played by Ewan McGregor is a little bit Lou Reed and a lot Iggy Pop, and the film is credited to sparking the reunion of The Stooges at Coachella in 2003. At least according to Ron Asheton. In a 2009 interview with Detroit’s Metro Times, Iggy claims to still have never seen the film; “I never saw it. Doesn’t some guy snort coke off my ass in that? That’s what I heard.”