American Hardcore

Wrapping up my punk rock film festival, I just watched American Hardcore. This one covered American punk, obviously, with a focus on the Los Angeles and Washington DC scenes. While I was always more into the anarcho-punk scene covered in The Day the Country Died, this was the stuff that got me and so many other people started out: Minor Threat, Bad Religion, Black Flag, all that stuff.

They talked to some really great people in this one. Ian MacKaye really carried the film, between his interviews and Minor Threat video clips. He and the Bad Brains were interviewed about how the DC scene came about, and Rollins and members of the Circle Jerks and the Adolescents, among others, spoke up about the LA and OC scenes. NYC was represented by Agnostic Front and the Cro-Mags. Lots of interesting people and some fantastic video clips from live shows.

This film is pretty comprehensive, covering the entire country. From the big epicenters of LA, DC, and NYC, all the way down to Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Vancouver, and all the bands that started up the little scenes that tied the rest of the country together. People from these smaller areas talked about how they were inspired when Minor Threat came to town, or how they traveled to LA and brought back what they saw, and how all these small scenes made US tours possible, even if only by providing sleeping space for touring bands.

Noticeably absent were the Dead Kennedys, which is really strange. DK and Jello Biafra were mentioned a couple times, in interviews with others, but there was no real talk of the band at all, even as they were covering the San Francisco scene. According to the Wikipedia article on the film, “The Dead Kennedys and the Misfits were originally to be featured in the film, but copyright issues and band tensions prevented this”. I’m not sure I understand what copyright issues could be involved, but each these bands have had a falling out among the members and disputes over the rights to use the name. This likely explains why they weren’t real interested in getting together and talking over old times. It’s too bad though, the two of those bands would have completed this documentary nicely.


Mot says:

It’s funny you would say the Misfits would have completed the documentary nicely…Being above them and all! Hehe.


Kenn Christ says:

Hahaha. No, I still enjoy a little Misfits on occasion. I never really got that into the Bad Brains though, not like you were.