Gimme Danger

If Jagger is the King of Preen, and Johansen the Heir of Flair; then Iggy was the “forgotten boy,” a prince in exile from rock royalty; a product of the unholy union of Johnnie Ray and Dennis the Menace. Midway through this comprehensive documentary by Jim Jarmusch, it dawned on me that 43 years ago, I’d seen The Stooges perform at Richards, which was a club generally located on that same spot now known as Landmark Midtown Art where I attended the screening! James Osterberg, aka Iggy Pop, dropped out of the University of Michigan to travel to Chicago where he backed up Southside bluesmen after his garage band, The Iguanas, ended. Drawing inspiration from childhood memories of Soupy Sales, who ended his broadcast with requests for viewers to send him a letter “in 25 words or less,” Iggy wrote brief, pungent songs that would spearhead a rock band at the crossroads of 1967, determined to erase the hippie stench – and in so doing sets in motion the prophesy of punk aesthetics to come. Meeting up with the Asheton brothers and David Alexander (whom he credits with expanding the band’s sound beyond what other bands sounded like), The Stooges turned up Detroit’s decibel level. Encircled by the likes of MC5 and later Fred “Sonic” Smith’s Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, it would lead to the harsh high energy of punk and hardcore in bands as diverse as Sonic Youth, The Germs and Dead Boys. Not simply another rock doc but a missing link between now and then, making its case that through connections to Danny Fields (both The Stooges’ and later The Ramones’ manager), Nico, Warhol, Harry Partch and Bowie, brushed by heroin addiction and a shirtless pharaoh image, Iggy and The Stooges would lead the first stage dive, create the foundation of DIY culture and do it all smeared with peanut butter!