Thursday, March 21, 2013

American Hardcore: The History of American Punk Rock 1980-1986 (2006)

This overview of the hardcore scene is not comprehensive, but some of the band included are Black Flag, DOA, Minor Threat, Gang Green, Bad Brains, MDC, and Flipper, to name a few.

These were bands that you knew even if you didn't live in one of the big cities that had a flourishing hardcore scene.  The film covers major cities like Los Angeles, Washington DC, New York City, Boston, Minneapolis and a few other scenes.

At first I was disappointed because the film seemed to be mostly  current day interviews interspersed with a little bit of old footage.  Either I got used to it, or they had more older stuff as the film went along. I found it interesting so maybe I got used to it. But I would have preferred old video footage, photographs, and flyers.

It's funny to see these hardcore kids now that they're middle aged.  Some look exactly like what they were rebelling against. Others are trying to look young with their rock haircuts/clothing. It's hard not to look ridiculous as you get older. Some seem to be perpetual adolescents.  But thankfully there are some that have aged well.

Make sure to watch the extras, or at least some of them.  The most interesting ones are another hour of short interview clips which didnt' make the final cut and a short piece on one of two photographers they interview.

Both Thurston Howes and Edward Colver have some great photos.  I really enjoyed hearing them talk about their experience and was glad they were included in the film.  They talked about how these were just photos of their friends, and not meant to be anything else. One of the guys said the only people who had seen his photos were the bands and himself.  I can identify with this as I spent several years shooting photos of bands and it was because I love photography, loved the bands, and many of them were friends.

The best lines in the film come from Corrosion of Conformity (in the extras) who talk about how things started to change for the worse in the hardcore scene when people started questioning their method of nonconformity. "We're fighting conformity and the way that you guys are doing it... you're appalling.... Don't you know how not to conform in the correct manner?"  Hilarious.

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