Showing at the Naro Expanded Cinema!  Norfolk, VA Showing at the Naro Expanded Cinema! Norfolk, VA

Gimme Detroit, ...Gimme Danger! The Stooges Documentary at the Naro!

“There has got to be something else out there.” I would say this to myself at 17 years old growing up on the east side of Detroit, MI in the early 1990s.

Life was not like San Francisco in Detroit at that time, or any time for that matter. There was nothing within the city limits of Detroit, MI. Nothing but burned down houses, stripped cars and vacant buildings, for miles. Nothing. But there was always something to make a teenager like myself think “What happened here? I care to know one day.”

At that time, starting in 1991, I was working at a local Amaco gas station. There was a mechanic working there as well named “Butch” Hobart that graduated from high school in Detroit during the late 1960s. He became, without knowing it, my Detroit Rock ’n’ Roll mentor. I would ask questions about Detroit music history. He would talk about bands that existed in Detroit decades ago in the late 1960s, usually while we worked on cars and smoked cigarettes. The MC5, The Up, The Bob Seger System, SRC, and The Frost, were just a few of these bands Butch would talk about. But also, Butch would say things like “Unger! Fuck Woodstock! Have you even heard of the 1970 Goose Lake Festival that took place about an hour west of Detroit? Now that was a festival!” Butch would talk about not just the bands but the overall atmosphere at the time. It appeared I was missing out and had some Detroit Rock ’n’ Roll history homework to do. This was fascinating!

But Butch also mentioned one band that would really stick out as the most obscene, stripped down and very highly fueled on stage and on record. The so-called “Psychedelic Stooges." As Butch would tell me, the singer of this band would come out on stage all fucked-up and puke all over himself at a place in Detroit called the Grande Ballroom. That alone peaked my interest. I thought, “Oh yeah, The Stooges!” I also recalled a high school buddy of mine named Eli Ruhf, who would talk about this band. Eli always seemed to be knowledgable about many ‘punk/hardcore’ bands throughout the Detroit area, new and old. So, based on that as well, I knew I had to dig deeper. Who were The Stooges!?

Eventually, I scored The Stooges first album on cassette. I would mow lawns with my Walkman cassette player on or be doing oil changes at the gas station with songs blaring in the background. The music was different, even different apart from the almighty MC5. Not only did it generate itself locally from the Ann Arbor/Detroit area years ago, but with the drum beats and guitar chords the Asheton brothers would play over and over continuously it seemed I just couldn’t get enough of it, as though I wanted the songs to keep going, on and on. The guitarist, Ron Asheton, would play the guitar solos all over the fucking place, with what seemed like no calculated structure at all. Yet, it worked and sounded great. The drummer, Scott Asheton, hit hard, over and over. I thought to myself “…well who the fuck needs John Bonham anyway when you have this guy playing?” Dave Alexander on bass. He was crunchy, a perfect fit for the rhythm section accompanied with Scott’s drumming. The singer Iggy. Attitude. You could hear his voice and imagine him pissing off an audience. As though he was NOT singing for me or with me, he was singing AT me. Keep in mind that this first album was released by Electra records in August, 1969. Way ahead of it’s time.

Jumping ahead 25 years later in my life, of course the Stooges have become a regular band playing on my iPhone and through my computer speakers. Hey, the music makes me happy as I sit wallowing through my mid-life adult years. Sometimes friends in person or online want to give the lion's share of the credit to CBGB’s on the Bowery in the mid-1970s NYC as the ‘birth of punk’ …and of course I’ll never accept that as a historical fact. Ever.

Today as I write this, Nov. 11, 2016, the Stooges documentary will be premiering tonight at 9:15pm at The Naro Expanded Cinema in Ghent, Norfolk, VA. I’m very excited to find out what else I don’t know about this band. Hopefully sit with my friends with a stupid grin on my face thinking about what it must have been like at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, and elsewhere 45 years ago, witnessing such energy and rock ’n’ roll brilliance unlike any other band at the time. Now, in a way, we all can. See ya there!


Movie: Gimme Danger: Stooges Documentary

Where: Naro Expanded Cinema: 1507 Colley Ave, Norfolk, VA 23517

When: TODAY (Friday)! Nov. 11th, at 9:15pm! Also,…showing Sat., Nov. 12 at 9:15pm, Sun. Nov. 13 at 7:30pm, & Mon., Nov 14 at 8:00pm

Paul Unger

Paul is from Detroit originally and loves to help out whenever he can.  He has a bachelors in business admin. from University of Detroit Mercy, loves obscure live tracks from his favorite bands and digs happy people.  Paul loves being in Norfolk, VA and is happy to be part of the community.