Stooges On Screen: Iggy Pop And Jim Jarmusch On The New Film 'Gimme Danger' The two men join NPR's Scott Simon to talk about Jarmusch's new documentary on the band — and why its pioneering work has staying power.
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Stooges On Screen: Iggy Pop And Jim Jarmusch On The New Film 'Gimme Danger'

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Stooges On Screen: Iggy Pop And Jim Jarmusch On The New Film 'Gimme Danger'

Stooges On Screen: Iggy Pop And Jim Jarmusch On The New Film 'Gimme Danger'

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In the late 1960s, a lot of popular music was about peace, love and harmony, like this hit Crosby, Stills and Nash.


CROSBY, STILLS AND NASH: (Singing) Wouldn't you know we're riding on the Marrakesh Express? They're taking me to Marrakesh. All on board the train. All on...

SIMON: Oh, but at the same time, an altogether different sound was emanating from a house on State Street in Ann Arbor, Mich.


IGGY AND THE STOOGES: (Singing) And I'll lay you right down in my favorite place. Now I want to be your dog. Now I want to...

SIMON: "I Wanna Be Your Dog" by Iggy and the Stooges - they were a quartet - two brothers Ron and Scott Asheton, their friend Dave Alexander and, of course, Iggy Pop, formerly known as Jim Osterberg. The rock and roll band had a relatively short career. They'd broken up by 1974, but the impact of Iggy and the Stooges lives on. Iggy and the Stooges are the subject of a new documentary. It's called "Gimme Danger." We're joined now from New York by the director of the film, Jim Jarmusch. Thanks so much for being with us.

JIM JARMUSCH: Thank you.

SIMON: And Iggy Pop - Mr. Pop - is that what I call you? Thank you very much for being with us.

IGGY POP: Yeah, you can call me that. That's very nice. Thanks.

SIMON: Well, OK, Mr. Pop. Why a documentary on Iggy and the Stooges now?

POP: The brothers who formed the real foundation of the group with me have both passed away - 2009 and 2014, respectively. So I thought it would just be great for the legacy of the group if we could get Jim Jarmusch to have a look at us and share his view.

SIMON: And, Jim Jarmusch, I guess you were already a fan.

JARMUSCH: Oh, yeah, I've been a big fan since my late teens when I first discovered The Stooges when I lived in Akron, Ohio - a suburb of Akron.


POP: Yeah. Turn the lights...

JARMUSCH: When we heard the MC5 and we heard The Stooges from Detroit - from Ann Arbor - this became our music, you know? This was industrial, working class, ass-kicking rock and roll, and it was also very innovative, you know? So it combined a lot of things into something new and strong and primitive and wild. You know, so I don't know, but it really spoke to us.


SIMON: Iggy Pop, talk about your stage presence if you can - nothing quite like it, is there?

POP: Well, there's nothing quite like the music - most of it - that I've been privileged to inhabit, and I try to bring it to the people. I try to get in the music like it was a Helloween suit.

JARMUSCH: One of the most important things to me and Stooges fans is that Iggy Pop breaks down the wall between the audience and the band. He dives into the crowd. He was the first person to do that - to merge the two things. He invites people up on the stage. And that breaking down of things is a big thing for all Stooges fans because he joyously involved us. You know, he's up there for us, and he is embodying us, in a way. And there's something incredibly joyful about seeing The Stooges or Iggy, in any incarnation, playing live. But The Stooges - that was the first time really that happened.

SIMON: How do you gauge the appeal of The Stooges in this day and age - the revival of interest in them?

JARMUSCH: Well, you know, good stuff stays good. It doesn't - and sometimes it takes the world a while to catch up. You know, The Stooges are, in a way, a kind of avant rock band. When they started in the '60s - in fact, they started as The Psychedelic Stooges as a kind of experimental noise group. But I know from - in my life, by the late '70s, which was only five years after The Stooges kind of demise - the first incarnation - you know, they were incredibly influential. So, you know, for me it's not like they didn't get their due till now or till - you know, until 10 years ago because five years after they were kind of gone, they were hugely important.


IGGY AND THE STOOGES: (Singing) Hang on. Don't you let me go. No fun to be alone.

SIMON: Iggy Pop, at the age of 69, you look terrific. And I want to know your secret because it doesn't seem like you've done a lot to take yourself, or am I wrong?

POP: Well, that's deceptive. I started to try to turn a corner in life in 1984. And gradually over the next seven years after '84, I completely put down drug use, unless you count coffee and wine and beer and wine. And I started doing things that my mother always told me to do. You know, she said, Jimmy, early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise (laughter), so I do a lot of that except when I'm out working. But otherwise, I go to bed early, try to get enough rest, try to get a normal amount of exercise without being goofy about it. And except for this year, I try not to work too hard, but this year's kind of - I've been real fortunate, and I can't say no.

SIMON: Well, you look terrific. And who knew that Iggy Pop would tell us to be, you know, early to bed, early to rise (laughter). That's the secret.

POP: (Laughter) Yeah, I know.

SIMON: Jim Jarmusch and Iggy Pop - Mr. Pop - their documentary "Gimme Danger" is out now. Thank you, gentlemen, for being with us.

JARMUSCH: Thank you.

POP: Yeah. So long.


IGGY AND THE STOOGES: (Singing) Give me danger, little stranger, and I'll...

SIMON: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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