iggy pop - The I-94 Bar

"Gimme Danger" and the trouble with critics

red carpet iggy

It's becoming increasingly obvious that some people just can't be given nice things. They've just got to pull them apart because... hell. I don't know what their problem is.

Case in point: Jim Jarmusch's cinematic love letter to the Stooges "Gimme Danger" that screened in Sydney, Australia, last Friday and Sunday nights. A world famous director makes a film about your most favouritst band in the whole wide world and you're going to have a massive sook fest? Why didn't they break out a fucking ouija board and interview all the dead guys?

"Gimme Danger" is neither a success or a failure

GimmeDangerPressConferenceIggy and Jim Jarmusch at a media conferecde in Cannes.

“Gimme Danger” is not a great movie. It is flawed.

That said, no-one expected the Citizen Kane of rock documentaries. This was a cut about the MTV Iggy doco that you can see online for free, but was mixed in with arty pretensions.

“Gimme Danger” is screening at major film festivals around the world. Tonight (June 17) it is the turn of the State Theatre and the Sydney International Film Festival. The audience is evenly split between film people who might not have heard of the Stooges and are there to judge a film on its filmmaking merits, or hardcore rock pigs who want be blasted with Stooges music.

Axels and Sockets: The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project (Volume III) - Various Artists (Glitterhouse Records)

axels-socketsCypress Grove, one-time collaborator with Jeffrey Lee Pierce (check out their Rambling Jeffrey Lee LP - "Real Steel Blues") is unwilling to let the magic die. He feels Jeffrey’s echoes all around him.

So do his friends and admirers. One can’t help wondering whether, if Debbie Harry had predeceased him, Jeffrey might have been tempted to do a similar project for Her.

Gimme Some Skin - Iggy Pop (Cleopatra Records)

gimme-some-skin-boxSeven 45s full of Iggy Pop and Iggy and the Stooges goodness. Packaged in a box with some incident extras (patch, big hole single adapter) thrown in. OK, you probably don’t need this box set from Los Angeles label Cleopatra Records but you may still want it. 

Grande Ballroom movie released and it's Louder Than Love

It’s been years in the making and "LOUDER THAN LOVE", the long-awaited documentary paying tribute to legendary Detroit music venue the Grande Ballroom, is finally available.

The Grande was the birthplace or breeding ground for the likes of the Stooges, the MC5, The Up and The Rationals. It also became a notorious killing field for visiting international bands who had to undergo a "trial by support band" where the locals did their best to blow them off the stage (sometimes succeeding.)

“LOUDER THAN LOVE: The Grande Ballroom Story” is Tony D’Annunzio’s first independent film as a producer and director.  His movie chronicles the Detroit music scene in the late 1960s, as told through the eyes of the legendary bands that played there.

Have Some Fun: Live At Ungano's - The Stooges (Rhino Handmade)

unganosLong awaited, here are the first live recordings of the Ron Asheton-era Stooges. (Well, maybe Easy Action got there first with their "Popped" fan pack, the audio portion of which they just released separately as "A Thousand Lights"). And these are damn sure the only commercially available recordings of the lineup with ex-roadies Bill Cheatham on second guitar and Zeke Zettner on bass, recorded in a 200-capacity Manhattan club.

Heavy Liquid - The Stooges (Easy Action)

heavyliquidDon’t wanna labour the point but the opening years of this century really are turning into The Golden Age of the Stooges, what with the band’s resurrection, the recording of new songs, deluxe re-issues of the first two albums popping out of the pipeline, a live album kicking around and the prospect of a new studio effort. This six-disc box set from UK heritage label Easy Action really does spoil confirmed Stoogeaholics.

Heavy Liquid LP - The Stooges (Easy Action)

heavy liquid lpThe question’s already been posed by a few people whether they really do need yet another compilation of Stooges material. It’s a rhetorical query so I’ll lay out the facts and allow you to judge for yourself.

Let’s kick off by saying that a lot of crap is released under the auspices of Record Store Day. What was once a marketing platform for the little guys, the ever-diminish number of independent bricks and mortar stores, has morphed into another channel for the big boys - they’d the the major labels - to peddle all manner of shit. 

There are outtakes and alternative versions ad infinitum buzzing about like flies on sherbet, but RSD more often than not seems to be about exploiting the fetishists’ love of anything on vinyl. "Heavy Liquid" is not amongst that crap.

Jarmusch Stooges love letter lacks danger

gimme danger posterDunno what all the online backlash is all about. Jim Jarmusch called his film “a love letter to the Stooges” and that’s precisely what he delivered when “Gimme Danger” made its Australian debut at the Sydney International Film Festival on June 17.

“Gimme Danger” was never going to be a deep dissertation about what made the Stooges tick. Read Paul Trynka’s magnificent “Open Up and Bleed” for that.  It was more like a shallow duck dive into the broad history of the band. Or bobbing for apples.

I enjoyed "Gimme Danger" but this was the Stooges, dumbed-down for beginners. Or “Stooges 101” as someone later said.

Louder Than Love - The Grande Ballroom Story

louder than love coverSeismic changes in music don’t occur spontaneously. They’re usually a result of people unwittingly being in the right place at the right time, running into a catalyst and stumbling over a big stockpile of serendipity.

Does anyone think CBGB would have been anything more than the source of dogshit on the soles of a few Bowery bums’ shoes if Hilly Krystal hadn’t been conned by a supposed bluegrass band into giving live music a try?

How quickly would the Sex Pistols have fizzled out if Queen hadn’t cancelled on Bill Grundy at the last minute, presumably so Freddy could get his nails done? McLaren had no more planned the TV outburst that propelled his band to infamy as Steve Jones had sworn off the booze.

In 1966, a former dance hall on the shady side of Detroit called The Grande Ballroom became both a focal point for the counter culture and a scene. It attracted and generated a strain of high-energy, blue collar rock and roll, the likes of which have been seen rarely anywhere else. It came into being through good management, but also through incredible luck.

Popped - The Stooges (Easy Action)

popped-smallThe Golden Age of the Stooges is upon us and the onetime "biggest joke in SW Michigan" (so described by more than one person who saw them in their original incarnation) now has almost universal critical respect. From derided to celebrated and the latest news is that Easy Action's latest offering, "Popped", does them justice.

Post Pop Depression - Iggy Pop (Loma Vista)

Post Pop DepressionThere are two reviews already here, each definitive in their own right. Beaten to the punch with little to argue about, all I can offer are some additional observations.

A quote in a pre-release interview has led many to believe that this is Iggy’s recording swansong. The neat closure of the record’s final song “Paraguay” supports the proposition…and don’t writers love that sort of shit. If “Post Pop Depression” is Iggy’s “LA Woman” - and a shambolic Jim Morrison performance with the Doors in Detroit had a big impact on Teenage Jim – then it’s a shutting of the creative loop.

Preliminaires - Iggy Pop (EMI)

preliminairesAt this stage of his storied life he’s probably entitled to put out any damn thing he likes, but that doesn’t mean glued-on Stooges fans have to buy it. In fact why “Preliminaires” is billed as an Iggy record is beyond me. It should have come out under Jim Osterberg’s name.

Raw Power Live: In The Hands Of The Fans - Iggy and The Stooges (MVD Audio)

rawpowerliveThe last couple of years have been a bonusburger for Stooge aficionados who just have to own every last artifact (which presumably you are if you're reading this). Easy Action brought us live documentation of the original Pop-Asheton-Asheton-Alexander unit (the deluxe "Popped" and pristine "A Thousand Lights"), as well as the seldom-heard Pop-Asheton-Asheton-Williamson-Recca lineup ("You Want My Action") and even James Williamson's waters-testing stand with his guitar tech's y'allternative band the Careless Hearts. Rhino contributed recordings of the hitherto undocumented Pop-Asheton-Asheton-Cheatham-Zettner configuration "(Have Some Fun: Live At Ungano's"). "Kill City" got the whole reissue-and-revisionist-history treatment. Even Williamson's reform school band, the Coba Seas, have a release.

Ready To Die - Iggy and the Stooges (Fat Possum)

Ready-to-DieThis one's just for the fans. By which I mean, if you're new to the Stooges, don't buy this record. Instead, buy "Fun House", then "The Stooges", then "Raw Power".

Shot Myself Up - Iggy Pop (Easy Action)

shot myself upIf 1977 was the year Iggy Pop presented his professional face to the American public, it was really by a matter of degrees. Think about what constituted Mainstream USA back then and ask if it was ready for Iggy, even in the guise of a clean-living and professional working stiff? The question’s rhetorical so don’t bother answering.

The Iggy that Americans saw (those who took notice) is captured on “Shot Myself Up”, a made-for-radio recording captured live in a studio on Pop’s ’77 tour of his homeland.

Stooge in talks to team with Texas Terri

stooges-1971Ex-Stooge Jimmy Recca (picured at the left in the 1971 photo) continues his return to stages on Friday with a gig at Empire club (formerly JAXX) in Springfield, Virginia, with plans for more US touring and a European visit.

Talks are underway to team Recca with confrontational vocalist Texas Terri and her band in Germany later this year, and a US tour is in the works for October with an ex-member of The Doughboys.