Iggy Pop & The Stooges: Greatest Rock & Roll Band Ever?

iggypopIn Gimme Danger, his new documentary about Iggy Pop & The Stooges, director Jim Jarmusch calls the Detroit punk pioneers “the greatest Rock & Roll band ever”, which sounds at first like sweeping Trumpian hyperbole. But like so many things, so much depends on your point of view. If you took the narrow perspective of a strict Rock purist like Jarmusch, you probably could make a pretty good case for the Stooges.

If you believe that Rock & Roll is only about rebellion with an assault of raw power and energy, then nobody did it better or was more influential than Iggy and the Stooges. They loudly and proudly turned the page on the hippie revolution of the Sixties before just about anybody else did, and Iggy himself reset the bar for the limits of Rock performance.

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Make sure you watch the film’s trailer above, it really looks like an amazing experience not to be missed. Jarmusch is a rebel himself, having brought his unique cinematic vision to the screen through indie classics like Down by Law and Broken Flowers. But he is also a musician and a long time friend of Jim Osterberg aka Iggy, and it looks like he draws a lot of truth out of one of the most extraordinary human beings of his generation.

I mean seriously, show me somebody else who is anything like Iggy Pop. This is a guy who would cut himself in the chest and bleed all over his audience, or whip out his manhood and flop it unceremoniously on an amp. Physically he’s a freak with an unbelievably high tolerance for a lot of bad things over the years. With his six-pack abs and his crazy spastic rubber man stage presence, it’s like he was put together differently than the rest of us humans.

At the same time, the guy has a formidable, well-read intellect, drug-addled as it may have been, that makes him even more fascinating. He named an album after a Dostoyevsky novel, and speaks about music with eloquence and conviction. He should donate his body to science when he’s gone so we can learn about the retention of brain cells under challenging circumstances.

And judging from the trailer, it looks like the film gets close to the heart of what makes Iggy Pop tick. There’s a clip where he talks about growing up near a Ford Motor Company factory and hearing the “mega clang” of a giant metal pressing machine, and saying that’s the kind of sound he was always looking for in his music. It’s the kind of telling detail you only get in a deep and thorough treatment of a subject.

This movie is definitely worth looking for. It is scheduled for a limited release via Amazon Studios on October 28, and it will drop worldwide November 4.

Photo credit: Michael Markos [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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