22 December 2009

American Hardcore

Here's the trailer for the film American Hardcore:


Although the book was pretty much crap, at least the subject matter is an interesting one and perhaps the film version can capture the spirit of hardcore better...if it can, then this flick could do for the 80's what Dazed and Confused did for the 70's...Since American Hardcore will be one of those films that cover the era of my teenage years, and because I experienced the Chicago Hardcore scene during the summer of '85, I will be watching it with a particularly skeptical eye. My main concern is that the film will be somewhat delusional and give a glorified view of the scene. By the time I experienced the scene, Hardcore had become redundant with no new content to offer. Skinheads were taking over and there was all this macho posturing going on. It was no better than the high school cheerleader mentality that hardcore proclaimed it loathed.

At around that same time Penelope Spheeris' Decline of the Western Civilization was released and has since been considered the definitive documentary on the subject--eventhough that film basically only dealt with the LA punk scene of the early 80s.
The important thing about Spheeris's flick was that it was so topical. Doing a film, now some 20 some years later, there is bound to be some major waxing poetic and lots of jibber jabber championing the 'good ole days' of hardcore nonsense--which is partly why I didn't like the book. So I'll be looking to see if this film falls victim to that, but on the other hand I am also open to the possibility that there might be some interesting new perspective on the subject matter, now that those involved can look at it in a more historical context.
One thing that I think American Hardcore--as a movement/genre or whatever you want to call it--did that was important for the evolution of Rockism is that it helped provide the blueprint for how a band could be successful in this country without kowtowing to the Corporate Consumer Culture. Fugazi is a prime example. There are a lots of reasons not to like Fugazi. First of all they come from Washignton DC, and DC is basically the Anus of America. It produces nothing but shit and attracts nothing but perverse and corrupt dicks (Dick Cheney, Dick Nixon, etc.)...although admittedly (like an anus) DC will occasionally provide some funny sounding farts (the Make up, Henry Rollins) from time to time--which are always good for a laugh. But for the most part (like the anus) DC produces nothing but shit. Photobucket
Fugazi is an exception however. Even though their music is not great--it is just slightly good like thousands of other bands they will occasionally will hit upon somethng kinda interesting. For the most part they are just ho-hum, yet--I still think of Fugazi as a great band if for no other reason than they did help create the blueprint for how to be a successful rock band in today's society without getting eaten up by the corporate music industry. Fugazi have sold millions of records all of which have been through their very own label--Dischord records. They also booked all their own shows, set the prices and conditions of their shows, even carried their own instruments. They did everything, in fact, at the grass roots level. And, they took a strict anti-consumer culture stance. For instance, they wouldnt do magazine interviews with any magazine that they wouldnt read themselves. And they didnt sell band posters, t-shirts and stickers at their shows. It just seems so obvious that that is the way Rock is supposed to be--yet so few bands do it that way.
But to put Hardcore into context, you have to step away from the idealistic and revisionist image of punk that has been filtered through the Mtv/pop culture parascope. Ian MacKaye (of Minor Threat and then Fugazi) was part of the third incarnation of punk that is known as Hardcore. But initally Punk arose from the bowels of the neglected Industrial wastelands of America's inner cities during the late 60's and early 70's, most famously from NYC, Detroit, and urban parts of Ohio. The DC and Boston and Chicago and LA things came in later, a year or two after Malcolm McDowell had already hi-jacked the punk ethos and dressed it up in the form of his punk rock barbie dolls like the Sex Pistols. THEN came Hardcore and MacKaye's precious straightedge movement, which was basically a bunch of rich kids from the Suburbs posing as punks by shaving their heads and putting safety pins through their noses. It was pretty much a joke, although there were a few of good bands; the Minutemen, the Dead Kennedys and the Circle Jerks being some of the most obvious. Beyond that, the scene quickly deteriorated into one big poseurville. 

, I do give hardcore some credit for helping develope the DIY ethic that was instrumental in founding the Indie Underground of the 80s and beyond...
Here's the tracklisting for the American Hardcore soundtrack:
01 Black Flag: "Nervous Breakdown"
02 Middle Class: "Out of Vogue"
03 Bad Brains: "Pay to Cum"
04 D.O.A.: "****ed Up Ronnie"
05 Circle Jerks: "Red Tape"
06 Minor Threat: "Filler"
07 MDC: "I Remember"
08 Untouchables: "Nic Fit"
09 Gang Green: "Kill a Commie"
10 The Freeze: "Boston Not L.A."
11 Jerry's Kids: "Straight Jacket"
12 SS Decontrol: "Boiling Point"
13 Void: "Who Are You?/Time to Die"
14 Scream: "Came Without Warning"
15 Negative Approach: "Friend or Foe"
16 Articles of Faith: "Bad Attitude"
17 Die Kreuzen: "Think for Me"
18 Battalion of Saints: "My Minds Diseased"
19 7 Seconds: "I Hate Sports"
20 Big Boys: "Brickwall"
21 Really Red: "I Was a Teenage ****up"
22 Adolescents: "I Hate Children"
23 YDI: "Enemy for Life"
24 D.R.I.: "Runnin' Around"
25 Cro-Mags: "Don't Tread on Me"
26 Flipper: "Ha Ha Ha"

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