Gimme Danger | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Gimme Danger

Iggy Pop and The Stooges are the focus of Jim Jarmusch’s new documentary

Never commercially successful — and a careening mess of dysfunction during their brief run — The Stooges, fronted by Iggy Pop, nonetheless made a serious dent in rock ’n’ roll. See for yourself in Jim Jarmusch’s new documentary charting the history of the band from its formation in late-1960s Michigan through some nominal success and the break-up in 1974. It’s a straightforward music bio-doc, tapping archival footage and contemporary interviews with band members. The earliest days are interesting, as the band members stretch themselves with psychedelics and experimental music, often playing with homemade instruments cobbled together from household objects. There are formative trips to New York City and Los Angeles, and (perhaps) the “birth of the stage dive.” Much of the narration falls to Pop, who is an engaging and self-effacing raconteur. And for closure, the band reunites in 2003 and even makes it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That’s an ironic victory, of course, for such a bratty, iconoclastic crew; a better tribute is the included clip reel of punk and alternative bands covering Stooges’ songs, an acknowledgement of the band’s critical influence on rock’s evolution.