Director: Jim Jarmusch
Sitting on a stately chair at the centre of this film about The Stooges is the most unlikely (almost) last man standing of the story is, as billed in the credits, James Osterberg as Iggy Pop – a battle scarred shit eating grinner that you could listen to all day long, Those deep honey mixed with gravel tones simply lay out the facts, m’am, with the other band members, managers and relatives filling in the blanks. Its thankfully free of irrelevant famous musician friend anecdotes or members of U2 telling you how their lives were changed.
Early footage of The Stooges is hard to come by and Jarmusch does a great job in eking it out over 2 hours, smearing it with clippings, sounds and grime. It’s a tale of more dumb luck than judgement as they attach themselves to the fertile Ann Arbor scene and the MC5 who help them get a record deal. Their first two albums are recorded in quick succession seemingly with Elektra having no idea what the hell to do with them. When they decide to drop them the guardian angel of David Bowie swoops down to save first Iggy then the rest of the band but when his attention wanes, the devil Tony Defries is quick to cut the purse strings.
His solo career is not mentioned as The Stooges are slowly resurrected via Mike Watt & J Mascis and finally as a full blown live band at Coachella Festival in 2003. Iggy relates that he got back in touch with the Ashetons quite easily s he could still remember their home phone number from 1966. Obviously then there is plenty of footage of the reunited band and Sony executive James Williamson throwing off his suit and tie to re-join for the Raw Power tour. It maybe be a bit more of a nuts n bolts telling of the story than people would expect from a director like Jim Jarmusch but considering the limited visuals he had to work with the way he illustrates the events is always entertaining.
Oh and Ron Asheton ringing up Moe from The Three Stooges to ask if it was ok to call the band The Stooges – probably never happened but never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Which kinda where the film is coming from.
Might appeal to people who enjoyed:
The Filth & The Fury, Anvil, oh you know, music docs