Posted by:on December 19th, 2007
Fuck, man. It was a stroll down memory lane for me seeing this thing. I loved so many of these bands. There’s plenty of great footage and music. and lots of funny anecdotes. Gang Green touring with a skateboard ramp on stage, remember that?
They do a pretty good job of describing the teenage male pent-up feeling that found such a great release in the scene. Lots of testimony to the influence of Bad Brains and Black Flag. A highlight is watching the transformation of H.R. from short afro through six gnarly big dreadlocks. I also hadn’t heard the story about Think and Grow Rich which had a strong influence on the band.
The film gives a good sense of the separation and connections and rivalries among the various local scenes. A recurring graphic treatment locates the various scenes on a map of the US. I’ll bet people will be bummed that their favorite bands were left out but there was a pretty good sampling. Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Gang Green, D.O.A. Bad Brains, Flipper, C.O.C. Poison Idea, Cro-Mags, Jerry’s Kids, Big Boys, Minor Threat, Teen Idles, M.D.C. Zero Boys… did you know Moby was in a hardcore band?
They talk to Flea of course, Henry Rollins, Ian McKaye, Mike Watt, Keith Morris, H.R., journalists, managers… The big shocker for me was seeing Mugger – ex-Black Flag roadie and Nig Heist singer – as he is now. He had a quarter share in SST records at one time but he didn’t see eye to eye with Ginn about what kinds of bands they would sign so the other guys bought him out. He parlayed that into a personal fortune through tech invesments. I figured him for one of those guys who’d be dead before twenty. I remember he and Henry and a few others piling off the stage to beat a drunken asshole friend of ours.
Great stories about rough living and poverty and fighting the cops. Dang, sounded fun. Ian McKaye says that the the violence becoming the center was what turned him and a lot of people off and says he didn’t leave hardcore, hardcore left him. A lot of it fell apart.
There is an especially poignant moment in the credits when the R.I.P. list starts rolling.
I hated seeing that fuck Ronald Reagan being sworn in twice. but he did provide a focus for the music. There’s a great playlist of anti-Reagan songs at Something I Learned today.
The familiar documentary formula and seeing what these guys look like twenty years later was a bit tedious. It was an amazing thing, though and I’ll agree with the sentiment that it ended at some point. The tour bus, stadium playing current bands that people call punk are not the same thing. The D.I.Y. energy and purity was lost when the industry figured out how to sell it to the masses. Nothing that hasn’t been said before.
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