Jim Jarmusch presents The Stooges

Within the first few minutes of his new documentary, Jim Jarmusch, director of “Gimme Danger,” declares The Stooges, “the greatest rock ’n’ roll band ever.”

For a brief moment in history, the band led by Iggy Pop, The Stooges, were truly just that, the greatest rock and roll band on the planet.

Before drug addiction and lack of commercial success destroyed the group, The Stooges recorded three albums that are now considered classics: The Stooges (1969), Funhouse (1970) and Raw Power (1973).

Jarmusch revisits The Stooges drug fueled history in interviews with members of the band, mostly in archival footage since by the time the documentary was completed, Iggy Pop himself is the one surviving member.

Surprisingly, the film is very conservative in approach, mostly sticking to talking heads. Understandable, since the band never cracked the Top 100. There’s definitely not a lot of live footage to go around.

There are plenty of rare photographs though, some which are seen here for the first time, displaying the excitement that the band caused during their heyday.

Through these gritty black and white images, the chaos and raw power of the Stooges can be seen in all of their glory. From the early days as the Psychedelic Stooges to their eventual breakthrough and implosion, we get detailed accounts of their glorious brief existence.

Some of the most interesting bits here are of the band recounting their songwriting and recording process. They were ill prepared to deal with the demands of the recording industry, yet ended up recording some of the most influential music of their era.

There are explicit details of the band’s live performances, some of which fans have only known from legend. Much has been said about their infamous performances but here we get first hand accounts from every band member, managers and friends who saw them at their raw, sweaty, howling peak, The Stooges were ferocious and untamed.

Nothing about this documentary should work, rough typefaces, bizarre superimposition and sloppy editing. Amateurish at best, somehow it all seems rather fitting for a band that would go on to inspire punk rock, hardcore and noise rock.

The irony is that time forgot many of their more well-known contemporaries and The Stooges reemerged in the early 2000’s with a string of critically acclaimed performances and two new studio records.

Ultimately, those familiar with the Stooges’ legacy know that this document is simply a canonization of the band into the rock and roll pantheon. For those who don’t, they will see an exciting testament of why The Stooges are considered to be as influential and regarded by so many to be the greatest rock and roll band of all time.

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Jim Jarmusch presents The Stooges