Great Punk Stuff on Tape

converse-punkAll Star Punk Footage

Here are some of my favorite documentaries, films or shorts about punk in general, a specific era, style or band. Each of them have this extra edge that somehow gave me an itch to watch them again.

The Decline of Western Civilization (1981) 

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Penelope Spheeris’ documentary on the Los Angeles punk scene. Filmed between December 1979 and May 1980,  featuring Alice Bag Band, Black Flag, Catholic Discipline, Circle Jerks, Fear, Germs, and X was this was the first of a serie of 3 ”Decline movies”.

UK-DK  

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Featuring interviews, live concert footage, and a feature on how punk was transformed from a trend to a way of life, UK/DK is a comprehensive look at the skinhead/punk movement. Some of the most notorious bands on the scene are featured, including The Exploited, The Vice Squad, The Adicts and many more bands from UK.

Born to Lose – The Last Rock’n’Roll Movie 

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Veteran documentary filmmaker and hipster Lech Kowalski creates this film about his friend and hard-partying rock god Johnny Thunders, member of legendary proto-punk band the New York Dolls. Through archive footage and interviews with such musicians as Dee Dee Ramone and Sylvain Sylvain, the film details his stint with the Dolls, the formation of his other band, the Heartbreakers; his rise to fame, particularly in Japan; his descent into heroin addiction, and the mysterious circumstances of his death in a New Orleans hotel room in 1991. Born to Lose: The Last Rock ‘n’ Roll Movie also contains some rarely seen concert performances in Max’s Kansas City and the Mudd Club. The photo on the poster is by photographer Marcia Resnick.

D.O.A.: A Rite of Passage

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From the interviews with seminal bands in their earliest stages, D.O.A features live performances by the Sex Pistols, The Dead Boys, Generation X (with Billy Idol), The Rich Kids, the X-Ray Spex, and Sham 69, with additional music from The Clash, Iggy Pop, and Augustus Pablo to the live coverage of the first Pistols show in America, D.O.A: A Rite of Passage” is thus far the ONLY film to truly capture the feel, spirit and philosophy of the era. A near-comatose Sid Vicious is hilarious, as is the truly terrible, ersatz punk band Terry and The Idiots, whose leader is interviewed about the scene throughout the film. The depictions of a very bleak, “no future” England sum it all up as succinctly as the music itself.

Jubilee

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Jubilee is a 1978 cult film by Derek Jarman heavily influenced by the 1970s punk aesthetic in its style and presentation. Shot in grainy colour, it is largely plotless and episodic. Location filming took advantage of London neighbourhoods that were economically depressed and/or still contained large amounts of rubble from the London Blitz during WWII. Unlike the others this one is really a movie, not a documentary and that is why I thought it would be interesting to include it on the list.
The Plot: When Queen Elizabeth I asks her court alchemist to show her England in the future, she’s transported 400 years to a post-apocalyptic wasteland of roving girl gangs, an all-powerful media mogul, fascistic police, scattered filth, and twisted sex. With Jubilee, legendary British filmmaker Derek Jarman channeled political dissent and artistic daring into a revolutionary blend of history and fantasy, musical and cinematic experimentation, satire and anger, fashion and philosophy. With its uninhibited punk petulance and sloganeering, Jubilee brings together many cultural and musical icons of the time, including Jordan, Toyah Willcox, Little Nell, Wayne County, Adam Ant, and Brian Eno (with his first original film score), to create a genuinely unique, unforgettable vision. Ahead of its time and often frighteningly accurate in its predictions, it is a fascinating historical document and a gorgeous work of film art.

UK Subs – Punk Can Take It

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Fresh from making his cinematic debut with The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle, director Julien Temple wrote and directed this short promotional film Punk Can Take It for punk band the U.K. Subs. The promo mixed live performances—shot during the U.K. Subs’ tour to promote the single “Stranglehold”—with a comedic pastiche of Temple’s source material—a Second World War propaganda film London Can Take It, which had shown the plucky Londoners’ resilience to Germany’s bombing campaign. In Temple’s film the U.K. Subs provided the “symphony of war” while Eddie Tudor Pole and Helen Wellington-Lloyd are embattled punks fighting for victory against crass blood-sucking commercialization of the music they love. The U.K. Subs (short for “Subversives”) were among the original bands who led the British punk charge in 1976. Still performing and recording today, this film captures the Subs at an early high point in their career under the pairing of Charlie Harper (vocals) and Nicky Garratt (guitar) who created a blistering output between 1979-1982.

BLITZKRIEG BOP (1978)

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If you were disappointed by the shitty CBGB’s movie made a couple of years back starring Alan Rickman, then you will get a better sense of the energy, talent and musical revolution that took place at CBGB’s in the mid-1970s with this hour-long TV documentary Blitzkrieg Bop . Focussing on The Ramones, Blondie and the The Dead Boys, Blitzkrieg Bop mixes live performance with short interview clips and a racy newscast voiceover. It’s recommended viewing.

Punk: Attitude

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Punk: Attitude is a film by Don Letts. It explores the “punk” revolution, genre and following from its beginning in the mid-1970’s up to its effect on modern rock music and other genres. The cast is a veritable list of alternative musicians and directors offering their opinions on what has been called a musical revolution. One of the film’s celebrated attributes comes in the form of its cast, showcasing the who’s who of punk tock/alternative culture contemporaries like David Johansen, Thurston Moore, Henry Rollins, Captain Sensible, Jim Jarmusch, Mick Jones, Jello Biafra, Siouxsie Sioux, and Darryl Jenifer.

Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead

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From Lemmy filmmaker Wes Orshoski comes the story of the long-ignored pioneers of punk: The Damned, the first punks on wax and the first to cross the Atlantic. This authorized film includes appearances from Chrissie Hynde, Mick Jones (The Clash), Lemmy and members of Pink Floyd, Black Flag, GNR, the Sex Pistols, Blondie, Buzzcocks, and more. Shot around the globe over three years, the film charts the band’s complex history and infighting, as it celebrated its 35th anniversary and found its estranged former members striking out on their own anniversary tour, while still others battle cancer.

Gimme Danger (The Stooges)

 

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Jarmusch has commented: “No other band in rock’n’roll history has rivaled The Stooges’ combination of heavy primal throb, spiked psychedelia, blues-a-billy grind, complete with succinct angst-ridden lyrics, and a snarling, preening leopard of a front man who somehow embodies Nijinsky, Bruce Lee, Harpo Marx, and Arthur Rimbaud. There is no precedent for The Stooges, while those inspired by them are now legion.“He added that the film “is more an ‘essay’ than a document. It’s our love letter to possibly the greatest band in rock’n’roll history, and presents their story, their influences and their impact, complete with some never-before-seen footage and photographs. Like the Stooges and their music, ‘Gimme Danger’ is a little wild, messy, emotional, funny, primitive, and sophisticated in the most unrefined way. Long live The Stooges!”

Blank Generation

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A movie by Ullie Lommel featuring Richard Hell, Andy Warhol and Carole Bouquet. Nada, a beautiful French journalist on assignment in New York, records the life and work of an up and coming punk rock star, Billy. Soon she enters into a volatile relationship with him and must decide whether to continue with it, or return to her lover, a fellow journalist trying to track down the elusive Andy Warhol. Also a 1976 documentary by the same name HERE featuring Patti Smith, Television, Ramones, Blondie and Richard Hell.

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“Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, DC (1980-90)” is a documentary film that examines the early DIY punk scene in the Nation’s Capital. It was a decade when seminal bands like Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Government Issue, Scream, Void, Faith, Rites of Spring, Marginal Man, Fugazi, and others released their own records and booked their own shows—without major record label constraints or mainstream media scrutiny. Contextually, it was a cultural watershed that predated the alternative music explosion of the 1990s (and the industry’s subsequent implosion). Thirty years later, DC’s original DIY punk spirit serves as a reminder of the hopefulness of youth, the power of community and the strength of conviction. There is also an earlier documentary called ‘A History of DC Punk” that predates Salad Days’ overlook of the DC Punk scene.

The Punk Rock Movie

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Roxy club disc jockey Don Letts was given a Super 8 camera as a present by fashion editor Caroline Baker.When Letts started to film the acts at The Roxy, it was soon reported that he was making a movie, so Letts determined to film continuously for three months.  The film features live footage of The Clash, Sex Pistols, WayneCounty & the Electric Chairs, Generation X, Slaughter and the Dogs, The Slits, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Eater, Subway Sect, X-Ray Spex, Alternative TV and Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers. Backstage footage of certain bands, such as Generation X, The Slits and Siouxsie and the Banshees, is also included. All live footage was shot at the Roxy, except that of the Sex Pistols, who were filmed at The Screen On The Green cinema in London on 3 April 1977. The performance was Sid Vicious’ first public concert with the band.

DANNY SAYS

Danny Says is a documentary on the life and times of Danny Fields. Since 1966, Danny Fields has played a pivotal role in music and “culture” of the late 20th century: working for the Doors, Cream, Lou Reed, Nico, Judy Collins and managing groundbreaking artists like the Stooges, the MC5 and the Ramones. Danny Says follows Fields from Phi Beta Kappa whiz-kid, to Harvard Law dropout, to the Warhol Silver Factory, to Director of Publicity at Elektra Records, to “punk pioneer” and beyond. Danny’s taste and opinion, once deemed defiant and radical, has turned out to have been prescient. Danny Says is a story of marginal turning mainstream, avant garde turning prophetic, as Fields looks to the next generation. When I asked Legs McNeil what documentary I should watch, this is the one that he pointed out to me so imagine my joy when I saw it was featrured on Netflix. I’ve watched it twice in a row, and then some more…

ROCK’N’ROLL HIGH SCHOOL

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Vince Lombardi High School continues to lose its school principles. The students are more concerned with rock ‘n’ roll than their education until the new principle, Miss Evelyn Togar is hired. She promises to set Vince Lombardi High School straight, and get the students focus back on education. However, a Ramones concert is coming to town, and Riff Randall, the biggest Ramones fan at the high school, plans on getting tickets to the concert in order to give them a song that she wrote entitled “Rock N’ Roll High School”. A series of events including Miss Togar taking away Riff’s tickets, a record burning and a taking over of the high school by Vince Lombardi High students and the Ramones, leads to a school evacuation by the police and an even more surprising ending!

The Great Rock and Roll Swindle 

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Let Malcolm McLaren show you how to achieve fame and fortune by making your pop group the most despised band in the world! This film about the brief but eventful career of The Sex Pistols primarily focuses on McLaren, their manager, as he presents his ten-point program on how to achieve success through chaos, ineptitude, and abusing the music industry. Despite some remarkable footage of The Sex Pistols’ infamous Jubilee Day performance and clips from their final concert in San Francisco, there’s surprisingly little screen time devoted to the group actually performing. Instead, The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle offers McLaren’s agit-prop philosophies on music, culture, politics, and the entertainment industry, as well as an amusing (if often inaccurate) account of the band’s rise and fall. Along the way, we’re also offered some curious animated sequences, “film noir” episodes starring guitarist Steve Jones, footage of the band recording with exiled British train robber Ronnie Biggs, and Sid Vicious singing “My Way” (he had been dead for over a year by the time the movie was released). The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle began life as “Who Killed Bambi?”, a project written by Roger Ebert and directed by Russ Meyer, which closed down after two days of shooting when funding fell through. By the time McLaren and Julien Temple got it off the ground (with a radically different script), Johnny Rotten had left the group, which explains why the band’s front man is hardly in the movie. The rest of the group broke up a few months later. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Punk’s Not Dead

 

Of course that doesn’t cover them all but it’s a fairly good start. There is also very good documentaries about The RamonesMC5, The Velvet Underground, The New York DollsCrass, The Stranglers, Joy DivisionThe Dead Kennedies and Black Flag (just click on the band to acess link) Enjoy the view!

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X Manson and The Presidency

Matriarch -vs- Patriarch
By Grandfather  & Grandson Productions
Part I
Part II

It’s Voting Time in America Again, Let’s Ask Manson…

     It is purely an American phenomenon, that almost every United States President, since 1969, starting with President Nixon has had either something infinitesimal or infinite to do with the convicted criminal Charles Manson in one way or the other.

The answer will never be as fascinating as the question itself as to try to find out why… Why, during every election year since 1969 does the public and press always have such a strong urge to know . . .  What Would Charlie Do?

How is it that a convicted conspiracy to commit murder guy is the go-to-guy in America to ask who to vote for??

Could it be that he’s become an icon in popular culture and that what he thinks has an influence? Could it be that his thoughts an ideas actually make sense??

Charlie and the Presidents

Let’s start with President 37, Richard Nixon who deliberately declared Manson guilty during the Tate/La Bianca murder trial and by doing so could/should have freed Charles Manson-not by an act of executive clemency, but by one of errant stupidity. He was refused a mistrial. Nixon later on became the most disgraced 66DRUG WAR99 President in all of U.S. History, shaming himself and the whole country by being implicated in the Watergate scandal.

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Moving on to President 38, Gerald Ford who almost got shot by one of Manson’s favorite wives,  Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, dressed in a red robe, armed with a semi-automatic pistol loaded with four rounds. No cartridge in the chamber.

Trust me when I say that if Squeaky would REALLY have wanted to kill Ford, he’d be dead. Right then and there.

Secret Service agents lead Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme away after she pointed a gun at President Gerald Ford in Sacramento in 1975. (Associated Press)

President number 39; This is what Jimmy Carter‘s brother Billy said about his stay with Charles Manson in the nut-house: “I really like him . . . Charlie Manson is my friend. A lot of Christian people write me and say I should have salvation and that Jesus will cleanse me of my sins. As far as I’m concerned the person who talks to me, that helps me get rid of my guilt, the only person that’s ever talked to me about that and given me any understanding is Charlie.

There was also a little story between Charlie and Jimmy’s wayward nephew, Willie.

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Next, President 40, Ronald Reagan and first son Ronald Reagan Jr. who, both have something infinite to do with Charles Manson as well. I think we see some patterns here? While Nixon, was the 1st dominant President of Television; Reagan was the 1st Hollywood Actor to become a United States President. And, it has been said that the so-called ‘Manson Family’ actually did have – Ronald Reagan Senior’s gun in possession – while those ‘in the know’, all know; that Junior, did one, if not the best, of all mass- money minded -medias- reporter’s interviews, ever with the Manson.

Manson’s Letter to President Ronald Reagan About the “War On Drugs” Bill

U.S. President
Ronald W. Reagan
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington D.C.
August, 1986

The government didn’t beat the moonshine still and whiskey has power just as coffee and tobacco do. Uncle Jess from Kentucky said, when I was a child, that the government would end up with whiskey in stores and would run the stills because people in government were the big crooks. I tell you what he said and I say this: You’re not going to beat drugs. I was in prison before people came to prison for drugs, I saw the government make the problem. From your foundation you can’t help the people who don’t want help. You’ve got to go with the will of the people or lose heart within your own government. Your going to rip it apart and waste a lot of money.

Your war should be against pollution and for putting trees back before you lose the air, water and wildlife. Take over the drugs and use their power to move people to work on CCC projects. put the trees back fast before the pollution destroys all life. I saw it dying in Death Valley. That’s why Krishna Venta blew himself up in 1949 at the Fountain of the World in Box Canyon, California, when the Feather River Project cut off his fountains of water off.

Plants and herbs that you call drugs have more power than you understand. All the distorted thoughts and rules make problems worse. Here is a story: Two men are in a cell. One said he wanted to die and was going to kill himself. The other said he wouldn’t let him. So the first guy killed the other one and then himself. If people want to eat shit you can’t stop them without going with them.

No one even knew what drugs were until Mr. Anslinger told everyone what not to take. Cops teaching kids what not to do only shows them what they can do if they want to go against someone. And you put a bunch of fools who only know what the books say… No new game, honor or purpose. Some of the meanest fighting men in history got high before they went into battle. Remember why the .45 caliber gun was put into service?

You can take a pile of rocks and use them to build a house, or you can take the same pile and start a war. Tell children not to throw rocks, make rules against picking up rocks, and then make them mad. Keep projecting what not to do and you can make the thought in their brains of what can and will be done.

Before the U.S. had a government, the monks sat on top of the grapes, the wine, Buddhists and other monks had the poppies and flowers of power under control. Control must be in order and order must be in truth. And when in truth you can face the problem as it is, not through distorted judgements. Roots and herbs are part of life, things not known but by a few. One day all you space cases will face the Earth dying under your feet. We saw the water out of balance with the land at the Fountain of the World, and the old man in Death Valley told me the same after I got out from 17 years of service to the truth in government hallways. I’m the last guy in line but I’ve got all the thoughts for the balance of order and peace with a one world government if we all are to survive.

I want a telephone and the charge to call anyone … or simply a courtroom with the rights I was denied 17 years ago.

Easy,
Charles Milles Manson

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Now since President, number 41, George Bush Sr., has no immediate visible web presence, at a glance, to find associated with Charlie, we’ll just chalk that one up to them, ‘Masters of the U.S. intelligence agencies,’ since Senior was the boss of all that jazz even before he became a President.

And then we have the number 42, President Clinton’s; beginning between the Bush’s. Here’s a little something about the husband Bill: Joe Bananas, Bill Clinton, And Charles Manson. Food for thoughts…

And the wife Hillary (click on image):

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What Do Hillary Clinton, Silicon Valley, and Charles Manson Have in Common?
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Click for quotes

Which leads us back to another junior, President  number 43George W Bush Jr, who, Charles Manson’s own New York Times bestselling Author/Prosecutor, Vincent Bugliosi, wanted ”charged for murder”!

Vincent Bugliosi, photo by Damon D'Amato
Vincent Bugliosi, photo by Damon D’Amato (click for link)

(…) prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi who co-authored the 1974 bestseller Helter Skelterwhich detailed the investigation, arrest and prosecution of Manson and the Manson family.

Bugliosi went on to write an additional 11 books including The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder in 2008.

Bugliosi believed President Bush should have been charged with the murders of more than 4,000 American soldiers who died in Iraq since Bush, according to Bugliosi, launched the Iraq invasion “under false pretenses.”

It was one of Bugliosi’s four books that were made into films. The 2012 documentary film The Prosecution of an American President was based on Bugliosi’s Bush book. In June 2015, Bugliosi died at the age of 80.

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Giovanni Di Stefano

And, so, now, last but not least, the current African American President, number 44, Barack Hussein Obama, for all of the next few days of this year of our Lord 2016 November 5th until election November 8th (but not technically) wonders. “What Would Charlie Do?” This is where it all gets even trickier. Pay attention. There is really nothing easy to find that says Obama didn’t, doesn’t or, don’t, like Manson while there is plenty to find that says Manson don’t like Obama, or any of them for all of the above for that matter. Ignoring all of that, and considering this, there is still at this late date a document on the table of President Obama’s White Houses tables, asking for the release, pardon or retrial of Charles Manson. 

It was filed by an International Attorney, Giovanni Di Stefano,  who happened to have been clearly justified in representing Saddam Hussein yet, is now incarcerated basically by Tony Blair of Great Britain AND HAS BEEN.  And appealing a conviction for basically not being a real attorney. 

But now and then, things are always way more complicated than just the basics, now aren’t they?

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Artwork by Butcher Billy

So, what is this strange proclivity and magnetic like attraction of attentions that are religiously, habitually, perpetually, playing out before the worlds eyes, concerning half a century of United States Presidents with one single lowly convict? And, why does every single, Tom, Dick and Harry reporter and or underground citizen of the United States care what Charlie thinks?  Well the answer is in the question itself.

Let me put forward a little theory here. The race to Presidency has now become a show. Not just a parody of a show, not even a parody of politics, a real partly scripted reality show in which whoever does something striking, shocking or provoking is good.

We are now experiencing with horror the prophecy made around 40 years ago by some guy who is now forgotten or remembered, not as an artist but as a publicist, yes I’m talking about Andy Warhol who said that ‘‘there is no bad publicity”.  In terms of shocking, what has been attributed to Charlie is quite hard to beat so of course, any which way you can be related to good old Charlie is publicity and, remember, there is no such thing as bad publicity so…

As you saw, I never answered the question because it doesn’t matter in the end, as long as he mentions your name or that your name is associated to him, one way or another, it’s fine! It’s perfect!! We have become victims of our own repressed inhibitions our boredom and our vicarious depravity/anger as a society and as individuals.

The Jester is no longer a Fool and about to be King. I am just curious to see how far it will go. Seems to me that I will not have to wait very long…

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AIR, TREES, WATER & ANIMALS ®

“A revolution against pollution is the only solution.”  –See’Em?

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Click here for the original article by Robin Graves