Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


American Hardcore

After dropping Kate off with her dad last night, I had a couple of glasses of wine with R&C and then met up with Pramas in the U District to catch the late showing of American Hardcore. There we were, all 20 aging punk rockers who showed up for opening night, spikes and patches, leather jackets and wallet chains (and me, looking all middle-aged mom). In all honesty, I was never part of the hardcore scene. Hell, I lived in Minnesota! I was a nice girl... angry and depressed to be sure, but not fucked up enough, still hopeful enough, too innocent to go seeking out the kind of scene I might have been able to dig up in Minneapolis if I'd known where to look (which I didn't). I didn't live in Hermosa Beach, Boston, DC, Austin, or New York. I collected recipe books and learned to cross-stitch, while listening to The Replacements or Husker Du albums. It took me years to become fully aware of bands I came to love after the fact. Giving credit where credit is due, it was Pramas who gave me my hardcore education. American Hardcore is the test I was able to pass because of his influence. I knew and recognized nearly all of the bands, most of the songs.

There are several scenes (one clip is part of the trailer) where Vic Bondi is being interviewed and even today he's got that passion, that anger, that disgust with those things that disgust me, too. It's still right there, close to the surface, intelligent and rebellious. I'd never seen him speak before. I like me some Vic Bondi. I've seen Mike Watt, Keith Morris, Henry Rollins, and Ian MacKaye interviewed plenty of times, almost to the point of over-exposure, so it was great to see interviews with people like Bondi, Joey Shithead, Greg Ginn, H.R. from Bad Brains, Paul Mahern and others having a chance to speak.

A lot of the footage in the movie is great. That is to say, it's jerky, amateur, out of sync, blurry and full of energy, fury, and that balls out passion that marks hardcore. Some of the interview bits are hilarious, especially several clips of H.R. who is apparently being filmed out in a public park during prom season as a series of teens in formal wear wander in and out of shots in the background. The movie focuses tightly on the period of 1980-1985. Much like Punk Attitude, to watch this movie you'd think that everything in hardcore happened in a period of four or five years and then it was "over". While it's true that many of the originators of hardcore were getting out of it after a brief couple of years, there was certainly more hardcore happening after 1986. We also get a bit of a glimpse into the lives of many of the old-timers; while some of them are still involved in the music scene and appear little different from their 80s selves, we also see third grade teachers, Rastafarians, yogis, vegan composors of electronica, and (in the case of Black Flag's infamous roadie, "Mugger") independently wealthy CPAs.

I give this movie a thumbs up if you have even a passing interest in the subject matter.


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