photo & text by nacrowe
film and released in part as a celebration of their 25th anniversary as a PUNK ROCK record label, A FAT WRECK: A PUNK-U-MENTARY (OPEN ENDED FILMS, 2016) is a documentary about the bands, employees and greater community that make up FAT WRECK CHORDS. prominent interviews include members of bands ranging from NOFX, LAGWAGON, GOOD RIDDANCE, BAD RELIGION, STRUNG OUT, GET DEAD, THE BOMBPOPS, NO USE FOR A NAME, PROPAGANDHI, RISE AGAINST, WIZO, ANTI-FLAG, THE LOVED ONES, BAD COP/BAD COP and AGAINST ME! among others, as well as the label heads of ASIAN MAN RECORDS and SIDEONEDUMMY RECORDS and, of course, FAT WRECK CHORDS founder/president (and NOFX frontman) FAT MIKE and his ex-wife, vice president ERIN BURKETT.
i think given the fact that this documentary was concerned primarily with the celebration of a community, it made the film a bit meandering and long-winded at times. but in a good way, because although FAT MIKE and BURKETT act as a narrative through-line for the film, what transpires is a seemingly kaleidoscopic perspective on what the record label means to a lot of people. and i thought that that sense of purpose was powerful and vastly made up for the films structural weaknesses.
so a few things that i thought were interesting:
i thought it was awesome that they totally got into the whole PROPAGANDHI making fun of FAT MIKE's PUNKVOTER campaign on one of their records. just goes to show the commitment of the label, and FAT MIKE specifically, to fight for his bands' creative freedom, even when such is at his own expense.
there is a line FAT MIKE makes about how for him business is personal. the whole "it's no personal, it's business" mantra of modern corporate culture is anathema to him. for him, the fairness and reliability of his record label is an extension of himself and his love for his chosen PUNK ROCK community. i thought that was quite touching and powerful. and it made business sense.
whats crazy is how much the world changed in 2016 with election of DONALD TRUMP. i would kill to know what FAT MIKE's take on that debacle was but this film came out right before the shit hit the fan. i guess since im on the topic, itd also be interesting to see how PROPAGANDHI may try to conflate TRUMP with CLINTON just like they did in this film with KERRY and BUSH. i get it that they are a legendary stridently progressive political PUNK ROCK band and all, but seems to me BUSH was way way worse than KERRY. seemed kind of a no-brainer even back then so im a little confused on where they were coming from with that. their take seemed pretty naive. then again, im not CANADIAN.
regardless, i really enjoyed this documentary and suggest anyone watch it that is interested in the history of modern PUNK ROCK, HARDCORE, POP PUNK or POST HARDCORE. that or anyone interested in the power of music to bridge together communities. sounds trite but this whole film is a full-throated testament to that.
i was most definitely not raised on COMICS. as a young child i read CALVIN & HOBBES but that was about it. in fact, its only been in the past few years since returning stateside that ive really dived in headfirst into the weirder world of the genre and all roads seemed to point at SCOTTISH writer GRANT MORRISON. specifically his more personal work in THE INVISIBLES, ANIMAL MAN and DOOM PATROL series.
GRANT MORRISON: TALKING WITH GODS (RESPECT FILMS, 2010) is essentially a documentary made up of several sit-down interviews with the writer discussing his upbringing and influences. essentially he was raised as a child of the cold war with palpable fears of nuclear annihilation that COMICS helped him escape from, specifically those with super powers that had the capacity to neutralize such massive threats. his father was an political agitator who was very much against SCOTLAND's role in NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION and its harboring of the TRIDENT MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM. so that sense of existential dread and loss of agency was part of his nascent sense of identity. fast forward to attending a GLASWEGIAN all-boys school for his teen years and his sense of isolation only furthered his relationship with reading and creating his own narratives in regular school published COMIC STRIPS.
what interested me about his life's narrative is after he became established with the BATMAN vehicle ARKHAN ASYLUM, which allowed him the economic freedom to eventually pursue his THE INVISIBLES series. in essence, once he was financially independent he decided to travel and experience as much as possible. those excursions abroad allowed him to experience various modes of existence in terms of chemical, spiritual and gender manipulations that were beyond what his SCOTTISH identity would allow back home. it is that exploration that he threw into his work. as someone who spent the better part of a decade living abroad on five continents, i understand completely the sense of not being able to escape yourself and the sense of being connected to many, but essentially alone. i get understand that intimately and that sentiment very much resonated with me. i find it interesting that upon meeting his partner he now resides and works comfortably back in SCOTLAND. that sense of leaving only to return but with a new appreciation.
what i found less interesting was all the talk of magical thinking from MORRISON himself as well as those of his numerous peers that are interviewed in the film. MORRISON is not the first or the last person to sprinkle in autobiographical nuggets into his elaborate fictional worlds. maybe the everything ALEISTER CROWLEY and MAGIK related is a BRITISH obsession that doesnt translate to an AMERICAN audience. it just came off like tedious nonsense, like running into "ghost hunters" from STATEN ISLAND. you just nod and keep walking, preferably fast.
i thoroughly recommend this documentary to anyone interested in TRANSGRESSIVE and thought-provoking art or literature. MORRISON is most definitely worth the effort of further investigation, especially THE INVISIBLES which is a personal favorite of mine. no wonder THE MATRIX ripped it off.
from its inception, GORILLAZ was designed as a hybrid multi-media/art/music project meant to provide a creative vehicle with no historical or cultural antecedents for BRITISH collaborators DAMON ALBARN (BLUR) and cartoonist JAMIE HEWLETT (of TANK GIRL fame). in essence ALBARN had long felt confined by the expectations and parlor games of the fickle and often churlish BRITISH tabloid music press and sought a way of removing himself from the equation. the documentary BANANAZ (HEAD FILM, 2008) serves as a behind-the-scenes documentation of notable recording, touring and press circuit madness surrounding the GORILLAZ (PARLOPHONE, 2001) and DARK DAYS (PARLOPHONE, 2001) albums.
given that the presentation of the band was done through cartoon characters, this provided ALBARN with the opportunity to really pursue musical collaborations and multiple musical genres with gusto. this can be seen with his choice of producers in DAN "THE AUTOMATOR" NAKAMURA and DANGER MOUSE, studio musicians in JUNIOR DAN (BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS), SIMON TONG (VERVE) and DAVE ROWNTREE (BLUR) as well as the litany of notable participants including DAN "THE AUTOMATOR" NAKAMURA, DEL THE FUNKEE HOMOSAPIEN, IBRAHIM FERRERA (BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB), KID KOALA, ROOTS MANUVA, BOOTIE BROWN (THE PHARCYDE), DANGER MOUSE, DE LA SOUL, MIHO HATORI (CIBO MATTO), D12, IKE TURNER, TINA WEYMOUTH (TALKING HEADS), NENEH CHERRY, MARTINA TOPLEY-BIRD, SHAUN RYDER (HAPPY MONDAYS), MF DOOM and even DENNIS HOPPER. and that incredible eclectic list really expands on subsequent releases. it really is an ingenious front that has a definite PINK FLOYD lineage despite what ALBARN thinks of their music (which is a noteworthy scene in the film).
for me the most interesting aspects of this film were not musical in nature and all centered around HEWLETT. watching snippets of his creative process was interesting given that this project arguably produced his most famous characters. just the thought and work that went into something that most people largely passively consume without a second's notice. a virtual band? sure, its not that different than JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS or THE ARCHIES, right? it is a deceivingly straightforward ruse that has a real depth behind it which makes this project continually interesting. you have both character development and an interest in seeing whom ALBARN feels worthy of collaboration.
it was also interesting seeing HEWLETT doing press interviews to baffled AMERICAN DJs on an extended press tour and what total chore that seems. its funny because HEWLETT not being a musician, does not hesitate to take the piss out of them, not caring about alienating the music industry. watching that was beyond entertaining since you know that kids in the know about his career and artistic legacy would appreciate his antics. i cant imagine how lame that must be to talk to drive-time early commute DJs in the midwest. just writing that sentence makes me shiver.
those first two records were especially great so BANANAZ was always going to be interesting no matter the quality. watching ALBARN having his guard down was a joy to watch given that the project was manufactured as a ploy to divorce his music from his public persona.
im surprised more havent followed in his wake. because culture has only gotten more toxic and it has become more virtual. we are all GORILLAZ now.
IT/LL BE BETTER TOMORROW (SQUITTEN, 2006) is a sparse, no frills documentary focused on the life and cultural legacy of HUBERT SELBY JR, literary cult hero and author of LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN (GROVE PRESS, 1964) and REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (PLAYBOY PRESS, 1978) among other titles that centered around the death and destruction of that most seductive of nonexistent myths: the AMERICAN DREAM. i like to think of him as a prophet who showed AMERICA its dark soul, much like other notable clarion voices before him.
the documentary, as you would expect, details the struggle of his journey, which began in his beloved BROOKLYN. leaving school after 8th grade to join the merchant marines during WWII, he ended up contracting tuberculosis which left him scarred and bedridden at at stateside sanitarium where over four years he had multiple operations that result in part of his lung being removed along with six of his back ribs. he had lifelong medical issues dating back to this period, but he was lucky, as he was the only survivor from his ward. during this period he decided to be a writer.
and maybe that pain and isolation he encountered allowed him the PSYCHIC FREEDOM to fearlessly pursue the depths of humanity on display in his work. in the documentary several people make the observation that the subject at hand is the absence and replacement of love. unfortunately the censors and religions hypocrites at the time couldnt get past the JUNKIES, PROSTITUTES and UNION LEADERS of his first novel LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN to appreciate such. makes me wonder what they get out of their bible. whatever greater fame he had at the time was gained through the notoriety of being the subject of such obscenity trials both stateside and in ENGLAND. but who cares about cretins that can't appreciate art.
along with his physical ailments, the other carryover from his time at the sanitarium was an addiction to opiates, brought on initially by prescribed morphine but bloomed in subsequent years into a full-blown heroin addiction. his eventual conquering of both heroin addiction and alcohol dependence midway through his life was the second major conquest of his life, having now beat the odds twice.
the literature that followed made his name, but he took to conventions of grammar, punctuation and basic norms of identifying speakers in a manner that made them bend to his will for his own agenda. i've mentioned this before in my previous entry (linked HERE) on SELBY but for me one of his greatest technical achievements is to have paragraphs with multiple characters speaking without quotes or tags revealing identification ( such as "he/she said"). the cadence and flow of the characters' use of language reveals their individual identities, which only further reveals SELBY's mastery as a writer. cant think of anyone else able to pull that rabbit from their hat.
his later life resulted in him collaborating with screenwriters as well as teaching writing workshops at USC. while never gaining the level of notoriety commensurate with his talent during his life beyond cult status, he was much beloved as showcased by the sheer involvement of noteworthy figures who speak on his influence in this documentary including musicians LOU REED and HENRY ROLLINS, writers JERRY STAHL, AMIRI BARAKA, LUKE DAVIES, NICK TOSCHES, GILBERT SORRENTINO and RICHARD PRICE, actors ELLEN BURSTYN, ALEXIS ARQUETTE and JARED LETO and directors ULI EDEL and DARREN ARONOFSKY.
much like HUNTER S. THOMPSON, SELBY had a deep hatred of the GEORGE W. BUSH administration and their misadventures abroad as well as their abuses to free speech and the AMERICAN constitution. both were ashamed of their country in the wake of his rise to power.
its not hard to think of what their reaction to our current predicament would be. despite SELBY stating outright that his later years were his darkest due to the new administration, we have only slipped deeper into that well of despair in the years since.
but the dude was the ultimate survivor. and i believe ultimately so are we.
its funny how there is the psychic cultural connection between the UNITED STATES and the UNITED KINGDOM, whereby both influence the other in and out of context. it is a dynamic that i have found endlessly fascinating. you can see it in all the great BRITISH INVASION bands taking CHICAGO and DELTA BLUES and making it there own, or in PUNK ROCK initiating a mutual admiration society of artists turn musicians that flourished on both sides in POST PUNK, HARDCORE and INDIE ROCK of the 1980s and ALTERNATIVE ROCK in the 1990s.
so NIRVANA was a continuation of that push and pull across the pond. what is interesting about the recent WHEN NIRVANA CAME TO BRITAIN (BBC, 2021) documentary is that it focuses on the influence of NIRVANA by those who roadied, booked and attended those early shows. also interviewed are surviving members KRIST NOVOSELIC and DAVE GROHL as well as members of the BRITISH music press and members of THE RAINCOATS and THE VASELINES, whom KURT COBAIN famously championed.
what comes across is the organic embrace of the band pre-fame by the BRITISH public as well as an open-minded set of outsider and working-class booking agents and support staff. NIRVANA to these people represented a conscious break from the austere conservatism of THATCHERISM and a peak into a more inclusive and freeing future. NOVOSELIC makes the point that NIRVANA was a "feminized" band that consciously rejected the hollow machismo and outright misogyny of ROCK N ROLL during that period. COBAIN is the very archetype of a more enlightened, progressive and ultimately inclusive form of a modern-day MASCULINITY. the fact that within a BRITISH context he cultivated that sort of reaction by an outsider culture he so deeply felt aligned with is heartwarming. because i dont believe he ever felt that way stateside at any point during his life, pre or post-fame.
the narrative of NIRVANA and COBAIN has been retread so many times in books, tv shows, documentaries and articles since his passing 27 years ago that the topic itself seems completely barren of surprise or insight. i think the BBC here did an interesting job of presenting a new angle on NIRVANA by focusing on their work ethic, determination and innocence and how that touched a nerve with a small public and working-class support staff at a formative stage in their career.
WHEN NIRVANA CAME TO BRITAIN is a very touching and ultimately productive documentary worthy of investigation.
when i first came across SLINT's second record SPIDERLAND (TOUCH AND GO, 1991) record years ago, i remember how it had a visceral and immediate quality yet somehow simultaneously seemed opaque and inaccessible, almost like MARK ROTHKO painting. ROTHKO paintings hit you on an emotional level, for me at least, and leave you attempt to meet it on an intellectual level before you give up and just acquiesce to the art itself. that was how i felt about that album in general. much like JAZZ, it is a sublime moment in time with no discernible narrative or entry point other than the seduction of the music itself.
in the intervening years since its release the album and the band have manifest a cult following and a certain mystique, probably because by the time of its release the band had broken up and never toured it. BREADCRUMB TRAIL (2014) is a film that attempts to explore the band , the HARDCORE scene they came out of in KENTUCKY and of course the record itself. interviews with peers such as DAVID YOW (THE JESUS LIZARD), IAN MCKAYE (MINOR THREAT / FUGAZI) and JAMES MURPHY (LCD SOUNDSYSTEM), producers STEVE ALBINI and BRIAN PAULSON as well as TOUCH AND GO RECORD founder COREY RUSK and the band members themselves (BRITT WALFORD, BRIAN MCMAHAN, DAVID PAJO, TODD BRASHEAR and ETHAN BUCKLER.
as much as these interviews are conducted with an eye towards transparency, its interesting to hear the band members discuss the creative process. if anything, the process is in-keeping with the dual DIY ethic of being prepared and putting your time into the craft while also recognizing the importance of being in the moment. there is a looseness to the record that comes with establishing a chemistry between players. again, it is almost like a great JAZZ combo, that unspoken connection. it was interesting listening to the members struggle to identify the spark or reason behind the record coming out the way it did. it just did. they had a weekend to record, they were prepared and just went for it. lightning in a bottle.
and then just left it, purity intact.
for me this documentary doesnt really affect my appreciation for the record. it just provides context to scene that helped influence it, bands such as KILLDOZER, BIG BLACK and THE JESUS LIZARD. that SPIDERLAND sounds nothing like such only further cements its uniqueness. that members of SLINT previously played in a straight-up METAL band as teenagers who opened for SAMHAIN on tour of all things was a pretty unexpected surprise as well.
if you are a fan of INDIE ROCK or appreciate its influence on 90s ALTERNATIVE ROCK, then this documentary is well worth your time.
photo & text by nacrowe
the story of AMERICAN comics basically revolves around two entities: publishers DC and MARVEL. that is until there was IMAGE COMICS, which was founded in 1992 by seven departing MARVEL artists including TODD MCFARLANE, ERIK LARSON, JIM LEE, ROB LIEFELD, JIM VALENTINO and MARC SILVESTRI. it was a huge risk as no previous artists were able to maintain control over their creations beforehand in the industry.
and it worked. THE IMAGE REVOLUTION (RESPECT, 2014) is the story of a company that basically blazed a path forward for writers and artists to bet on themselves at scale with the big players. now that we are nearing thirty years past the founding of IMAGE, it is absolutely heartbreaking to take in and stomach the fact that a legend like JACK KIRBY (legendary creator of THE FANTASTIC FOUR, THE X-MEN, IRON MAN, THE HULK, THOR, THE SILVER SURFER and even CAPTAIN AMERICA) was treated so badly by MARVEL that he had no claim to his creations and had to work to stay afloat until his death in his mid 70s. the industry historically is buttressed on abusing and exploiting its labor force, which it deems easily interchangeable. this is why all these artists leaving en masse was such a power move that still ripples in the industry to this day.
its funny, i recently watched the documentary CHRIS CLAREMONT'S X-MEN (review linked HERE) about the longstanding X-MEN writer who took the fledging franchise on an unprecedented and immensely successful 17-year run, only to be unceremoniously replaced by two industry scabs, JIM LEE and ROB LIEFELD. those two really come across in that film as hungry up-and-comers with no sense of history or honor for the work that preceded them, instead pandering to tired tropes of hyper-masculinity and reductive female sexuality (from a male gaze) that played to a core male audience. and was financially lucrative for MARVEL. how ironic that it was these two that a few years later decided to strike out on their own in establishing IMAGE. even more so that they both left due to the bloated organizations each built under the IMAGE brand, LEE even departing for DC ultimately. its all ego with these two, no shame and no honor. also in this film LIEFELD is seen in recent interviews making fun of MCFARLANE's cadence and vocal affectation and just comes off as some immature, narcissistic egomaniac. the dude must have no sense of self-awareness. then again, it kinda makes sense why his work played to the lowest common denominator, since he comes off very much as the living, physical embodiment of the lowest common denominator.
the real heroes are the remaining members that effectively made good on the paradigm shift in the industry with creators owning their creations by bringing in new blood like ROBERT KIRKMAN and his THE WALKING DEAD series. to date the IMAGE legacy has been one of promoting self-empowerment, whether or not such work with IMAGE or others that followed their credo.
an interesting film that i think should be viewed in conjunction with CHRIS CLAREMONT'S X-MEN (RESPECT, 2018).
internet musical equipment retailer/reseller REVERB.COM recently put out a short-form documentary called THE MU-TRON STORY where they interview engineer and MU-TRON creator MIKE BEIGEL about the famous phase pedal and the nature of creation.
now you find any discussion of OSCILLATORS, CAPACITORS and ELECTRICAL CIRCUITS to be a blur of garbled technical speak, but what draws my attention to content such as this is the process by which new sounds are introduced to the world.
and that gets heavy real fast to think through the implications of such. new signal chains equal new vibrations which equals an expanded range of possible sounds. the lexicon of music has thus been furthered, expanding our consciousness and emotional capacity in the process.
BEIGEL speaking about how difficult it was to get his invention off the drawing board and into physical world, yet lived to see it transformed again by the likes of STEVIE WONDER, FRANK ZAPPA, JERRY GARCIA, BILLY CORGAN, BOOTSY COLLINS, ACE FREHLEY and NEIL YOUNG among many others is a pretty satisfying narrative arc to take in. it becomes apparent that those circuits have entered into a spiritual realm, affecting us all.
THE MU-TRON STORY is definitely check it out if you have the inclination.
the story of writer CHRIS CLAREMONT and his relationship with the X-MEN franchise is very much synonymous with the struggle between ART and COMMERCE. the documentary CHRIS CLAREMONT'S X-MEN (RESPECT, 2018) is effectively his accounting of that struggle.
originally a college intern to STAN LEE, CLAREMONT early in his career as a writer at MARVEL was handed over carte blanche control of a newly created but struggling franchise. interestingly, X-MEN was originally devised a means of exploiting an emerging global fanbase of comics enthusiasts with international mutant characters. under the guidance of CLAREMONT, as well as his enthusiastic and supportive editors and collaborators in LOUISE SIMONSON and ANN NOCENTI, came up with an expanding cast of characters that were both relatable and inclusive relative to what was available at the time via DC and even the rest of MARVEL. this included numerous female characters that were not token "girl" team members and, get this, storylines that dealt with issues like RACISM and XENOPHOBIA. these plots often centered around psychological motivations and the sense that these characters were players in an ambiguous moral universe like, say, real-life! who knew such was even possible in COMICS?
eventually 17 years into his run (which ended in 1991) the immense success of the franchise meant that CLAREMONT had to cease control involuntarily to new upstarts in JIM LEE and ROB LIEFIELD who made more palatable material that served the marketing agenda of MARVEL. this seems like an inevitability of sorts due to the nature of commerce. he literally created an economic engine that superseded his ability to control it.
one thing i love about COMIC BOOK culture is the active engagement of its readership. believe me, they know when a franchise has jumped the shark or has been successfully transitioned into a new era by a knowledgeable, creative new WRITERS, ARTISTS and EDITORS. the tenure of CLAREMONT with X-MEN, which is such an anomaly given that such as so singularly identifiable with a single writer over such an extensive period of time, will likely always been seen as its heyday, before the corporate hacks and vultures took their stab at the corpse. i give the readership that credit. they know that X-MEN was the project of an auteur in CLAREMONT. someone who traded in narrative, character and emotional depth, not mere spectacle.
ART versus COMMERCE. was there any doubt that COMMERCE would prevail? don't need some deep understanding of COMICS to figure that one out.
there was a moment in the late 1980s and early 1990s when SKATEBOARDING was in a state of transition from VERT to STREET SKATING. this had as much to do with economics and the gradual democratization of the sport (because who could afford a ramp or a pool?) as it did a grassroots movement in youth culture. POWELL & PERALTA co-owner and film director STACY PERALTA knew this and wanted to promote street SKATING as a vehicle fo kids to take up the sport (and presumably purchase his boards). enter PAULO DIAZ, GUY MARIANO, GABRIEL RODRIGUEZ (R.I.P.) and RUDY JOHNSON. all in their teens at the time, they were a cohort of young riders that did their thing together as a group, supporting and encouraging one another. they rode for a local LOS ANGELES shop that PERALTA was clued into by an assistant and filmed them for his BAN THIS (POWELL & PERALTA, 1989) release.
THE LA. BOYS (THE ORCHARD, 2016) is an intriguing documentary that examines the impact of that influential video part in BAN THIS that focused on crew of DIAZ, MARIANO, RODRIGUEZ and JOHNSON from the perspective of the industry as well as fellow riders. notable interviewees include all four riders as well as STACY PERALTA, TONY HAWK, MIKE CARROLL, ERIC KOSTON, RAY BARBEE, KEITH HUFNAGEL, CHAD MUSKA, FABIAN ALOMAR, JOEY SURIEL, BILLY VALDES and KENNY ANDERSON among various underground filmmakers and cinematographers. the sense you get is that "THE L.A. BOYS" served as evidence of an organic phenomena of urban youth creating SKATE CREWS that collectively transformed their surrounding cityscape into a seemingly endless canvas of obstacles to grind, slide and interact with. no need for a ramp or pool.
there is also the community aspect of these four riders being picked from obscurity and promoted as a collective. all four proved the ethos of SKATEBOARDING as a bonding activity that didnt necessarily need to be competitive. sure, each of them wanted to progress and due gnarly tricks, but equally they wanted to see their friends due them. its interesting given the moment SKATEBOARDING is right now, with the legitimacy of the OLYMPICS bestowing upon this underground activity a sort of forum to spread the gospel. for all that exposure, what is essentially being pushed is a competition that is divorced from the experience of the majority of riders. what is being promoted and monetized by multi-national corporations and an indifferent media ecosystem is a new animal altogether that seeks to create narratives, storylines and legacies.
in other words its all bullshit.
riding, learning and interacting with your friends. that was the message of that group of riders as pushed and promoted by STACY PERALTA and his company. i find no issue with that. seems to be a pretty sweet and hopeful vision of a supportive, nurturing environment to make mistakes and progress and build together. i can get with that.
i am sad to admit that my introduction, like many AMERICANS, to the world of legendary underground BRITISH comic imprint 2000 AD, was that dreadful SYLVESTER STALLONE JUDGE DREDD (HOLLYWOOD, 1995) film. needless to say i didnt pursue the comic at the time. i dont think i was alone in that.
a few years ago when i rediscovered comics, and by that i mean mostly ALTERNATIVE COMICS, i finally came around to learning about the long-running BRITISH magazine which led me to the excellent recent documentary FUTURE SHOCK! THE STORY OF 2000AD (DEVIANT, 2014). this film definitely felt like a labor of love, with notable participating interviewees including past artists like CARLOS EZQUERRA, BRIAN BOLLAND, DAVE GIBBONS, GARY ERSKINE, HENRY FLINT, LEE GARBETT and STEVE YOEWELL, writers such as JOHN WAGNER, ALAN GRANT, NEIL GAIMAN, IAN EDGINTON and GRANT MORRISON, EMMA BEEBY and editors including PAT MILLS, DAVID BISHOP and ANDY DIGGLE. and that is the truncated list of interviewees. it really is quite overwhelming.
what i found most interesting were the roots of the magazine, which grew out of a milieu of genre specific cartoon magazines written for young boys. founding editor PAT MILLS found his original ACTION comic censored for its violence so he ingeniously reimagined and rebranded such as a SCIENCE FICTION magazine, and importantly kept the violence, and thus 2000 AD was born. its pretty funny that such worked, given that it was somehow palatable and morally passable for the censors to see MUTANTS and ROBOTS being mangled, trampled, dismembered, tortured, drowned, and blown to bits. so long as it wasnt humans.
i also found it interesting the convergence between the magazine and the BRITISH PUNK ROCK movement of the late 1970s, with the JUDGE DREDD character both a reaction and a commentary on such at the time. in essence he was the ultimate authoritarian figure crushing the perceived opposition, of which the PUNKS were an implicit target. it was ultra-violent and tone perfect for an era and generation questioning authority figures and the relationship between the governed and the government.
and in essence that sense of questioning boundary lines in society and culture is what makes the magazine still relevant, and arguably very BRITISH. that subtext is also what differentiates it from its AMERICAN brethren and readership, who often expect clearly righteous figures and dont appreciate moral ambiguity. an interesting point made is how the 2000 AD model has over time found its way into AMERICAN popular culture with former fans writing, directing and acting in films more aligned with the later's outlook rather than the former. even musicians such as GEOFF BARROW of PORTISHEAD and SCOTT IAN of ANTHRAX are interviewed about how this active questioning of the status quo was what he got out of their fandom as kids. thats pretty cool that their readership included a legion of active, and not passive, creatives.
so yeah, this was definitely a worthwhile film and will serve as the basis for my further investigation into the world of comics, even those i'd hitherto not considered, like JUDGE DREDD. pretty cool. most definitely worth investigating if you are interested in the intersection of ART, WRITING and even MUSIC in modern BRITISH culture.
the title a reference to a former BRIXTON sound-system enjoyed long ago by JAMAICAN WINDRUSH GENERATION immigrants, SUPERSTONIC SOUND: THE REBEL DREAD (3FILMGROUP, 2010) is a film about famed director and PUNK ROCK icon DON LETTS and the CULTURAL and PERSONAL HISTORY of BASS over three generations of his family in BRITAIN. its an interesting topic criminally overlooked, especially since, as DON states, "bass is JAMAICA's gift to the planet."
the film is a dialogue of sorts with his son JET, who is an upcoming DUBSTEP producer, which interestingly continues a family legacy that was started with DON's father ST LEGER who set up a small sound-system on the steps of a church after service. in a sense, this intermingling of RELIGION and MUSIC was what got that first generation of immigrants through ECONOMIC, POLITICAL and CULTURAL racism from a new home country that rejected them.
what i found interesting about the film was the interplay between ROOTS REGGAE and the beginnings of BRITISH PUNK ROCK in the late 1970s and how such carried over to NYC HIP HOP in the early 1980s. the through-line between such seems obvious in retrospect (REBELLION, PERSONAL FREEDOM, UNINHIBITED CREATIVE EXPRESSION), but the seeming recognition and collective interest of such at the time by active participants in each scene is pretty remarkable. it also provides an explanation for the formation of BIG AUDIO DYNAMITE (of which DON co-fronted), which was a band i never completely understood after being raised on THE CLASH.
i also found it remarkable how levelheaded JET was about the legacy of his father, how he doesnt feel a need to live up to some outside expectation, but nonetheless appreciates to learn what he can from him. and his father in return sees value in his evolution and appreciation for the use of BASS in his music. it is pretty remarkable.
of course this film was recorded long before the catastrophe of BREXIT and the UNITED KINGDOM's fall back into state-sanctioned RACISM and rampant XENOPHOBIA that led the way for TRUMP and globally ascendent authoritarians worldwide. i can only imagine what this film would look and sound like just 6 years later. my sense is that a common love of BASS would nourish that family's soul and provide a respite just as it did during the post-WORLD WAR II period with the WINDRUSH GENERATION. scary to think about.
the artistic and cultural legacy of DAVID BOWIE is so massive that i often feel like i consume him by way of his acolytes and those inspired by his ability to constantly shape-shift without losing any sense of authenticity. i see his influence in everyone from TRENT REZNOR, MIKE PATTON, BJORK and BECK to basically any artist who ever attempts a radical creative departure or rebranding whether such is successful or not. BOWIE was never afraid of taking public risks and was willing to jump headfirst into new invigorating collaborations, identities and experiences with a sense of abandon and wonder.
sadly i never got to see him play as he ended his touring life in 2006 (a few years after i resettled to the EAST COAST and started regularly going to shows) with his run of A REALITY TOUR live dates that ended prematurely when he had a mild heart attack in EUROPE. it was an interesting tour in that he came out as himself, not as a character as in the past. he never toured again after that and basically became a homebody in NYC for the next several years raising his daughter with his wife IMAN.
the BRITISH documentary DAVID BOWIE: THE LAST FIVE YEARS (BBC, 2017) recounts his reemergence after an almost decade of his self-imposed sabbatical throughout the 2000s with his final two albums, THE NEXT DAY (COLUMBIA, 2013) and BLACKSTAR (COLUMBIA, 2016), as well as a musical, LAZARUS. this end-of-life narrative is told through interview with his many intimate friends and collaborators: most notably his producer TONY VISCONTI, touring and recording band members EARL SLICK, GAIL ANN DORSEY, CATHERINE RUSSELL, GERRY LEONARD, CARLOS ALOMAR, DAVID TORN, ZACHARY ALFORD, REEVES GABRELS, AVA CHERRY and MIKE GARSON, long-time childhood friend WARREN PEACE and directors TONY OURSLER and FLORIA SIGISMONDI and graphic designer JONATHAN BARNBROOK. the film goes through decisions behind notable songs and visuals with these collaborators and provides insight into where his head was at during this period. what emerges is that he was interested in themes surrounding fame, identity and death/rebirth.
his LAZARUS musical in particular revisited his extraterrestrial THOMAS NEWTON character from NICOLAS ROEG's THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (BRITISH LION, 1976) film in order to explore the nature of human connection, which is an ongoing theme in BOWIE's work since the experience of fame for him was a barrier to an authentically lived reality. in the play, finding an authentic connection in another person is a means of unlocking a proper preparation for death. for seceding from lived reality in totality. its interesting to think of the implications of such a gambit: was he saying goodbye to his audience? maybe hello for the first time?
the hall of mirrors that was BOWIE's personas reveals insight into the nature of our own public-facing images, especially in the age of digital media and social networks. we are all a copy of a copy projecting our ever-shifting hopes and dreams out into the ether. just like MAJOR TOM we are all lost in space searching for some kind of recognition.
i found this documentary highly engrossing and recommend it to any fan of BOWIE or anyone interested in the power of ART.
legendary FRENCH illustrator JEAN GIRAUD, a.k.a MOEBIUS, is universally renowned for his singular mind-bending, often metaphysical visual work that has resulted in iconic work in BLUEBERRY, HEAVY METAL, ARZACH and THE INCAL as well as set/production design for HOLLYWOOD films such as ALIEN (BRANDYWINE, 1979), TRON (DISNEY, 1982) and THE FIFTH ELEMENT (GAUMONT, 1997). MOEBIUS REDUX: A LIFE IN PICTURES (ARTE, 2007) was filmed a few years before his passing and includes interviews with notable past collaborators such as ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY, DAN O'BANNON, STAN LEE, H.R. GIGER and PHILIPPE DRUILLET as well as acolytes such as MIKE MIGNOLA and JIM LEE.
i feel a bit under-equipped using only words in an absolutely vain attempt to describe the sublime work of MOEBIUS, which often depicts figures dominated by their landscape, whether impossibly dense or oppressively empty. his visuals have a metaphysical element that seamlessly invites the viewer to imagine themselves as being an active participant in the narrative. the scale and scope as well as the attention-to-detail is unlike anything ive witnessed reading GRAPHIC NOVELS in the past. its a singular experience.
i think what made this documentary interesting was how it presented this industry giant as a soft-spoken recluse, even amidst the recollections of his celebrated, and arguably more famous, past collaborators. this is said to be rooted in his youth, where he drew feverishly alone as his mother was often away working as a single parent. this solitary work he pursued was a behavior that MOEBIUS fully admits resulted in the hurt feelings among friends and family over a lifetime. it makes you think of the time spent away by past WRITERS, ARTISTS and POETS alike.
obviously this documentary is well worth investigating if you have any interest in GRAPHIC NOVELS or TRANSGRESSIVE ART in general. i think it is also worth your time if you are interested in the nature of genius and the art of collaboration. it is an interesting dynamic that MOEBIUS' most celebrated work are those projects for which he collaborated so effectively at, given his solitary nature.
should also mention that the evocative score for this film was composed by KARL BARTOS of KRAFTWERK.
i think i speak for a lot of people when stating that my mind's eye conception of THE BEACH BOYS is basically synonymous with that of the singular generational talent of BRIAN WILSON. in terms of composition, songwriting and production he is essentially a combination of GEORGE GERSHWIN, JOHN LENNON / PAUL MCCARTNEY and PHIL SPECTOR rolled into one person.
watching the BRITISH documentary DENNIS WILSON: THE REAL BEACH BOY (BBC, 2010), i realize now that what BRIAN WILSON lacked initially was a direction. he got that from his younger brother DENNIS who during his youth was involved with the emerging SURFING scene of the early 1960s in nearby MANHATTAN BEACH. he also drove cars, fast ones. couple those interests with his strong jawline, imposing physique and all-AMERICAN good looks and he was essentially the SOUTHERN CALIFORNIAN embodiment of the AMERICAN DREAM his brother so feverishly and convincingly wrote about. he certainly had his finger on the zeitgeist well into the late 1960s, even inadvertently admitting the wayward drifting songwriter CHARLES MANSON he befriended into his home (and recording one of his unaccredited songs) before his famous later murderous, drug-fueled madness the defined the end of an era.
DENNIS is an interesting and unique figure within THE BEACH BOYS in large part due to his being able to carve out a legacy separate from the group with his celebrated solo album PACIFIC OCEAN BLUE (CARIBOU, 1977), the only released during his lifetime. it is still a startling achievement in comparison to his famous discography for the maturity and complexity of his arrangements as well as the soulfulness of his voice. i am originally from ORANGE COUNTY and i basically grew up on THE BEACH BOYS, and to hear this record was an unexpected joy.
its also hard to listen to it and realize that this was his final hurrah as he descended into an interior world of ALCOHOLISM and DRUG ABUSE that ultimately resulted in a state of mind that led to his accidental drowning before turning 40. for a guy that lived a full life (complete with five marriages, financial freedom and the heights of fame and fortune), it feels like an incomplete story. its heartbreaking, especially hearing the later tapes after his voice started to deteriorate.
it feels a lot like the doomed narrative of HARRY NILSSON. just heart-wrenching.
i should add that this is a strong documentary withnotable interviewees such as BRIAN WILSON, TAYLOR HAWKINS (FOO FIGHTERS) and various recording engineers, roadies, backing musicians and former bandmates who all thoughtfully and lovingly recounted his life's story: the good, the bad and the ugly. again, such a sad, tragic story that is hard to make sense of.
photo by nacrowe
as we are quite possibly reaching our own cultural YEAR ZERO with the ever-present threat of a future TRUMPOCALYPSE, its more timely then ever to consider the example of the former WEST GERMANY and the dilemma its artists felt when working on new projects in the 1970s. for them it was paramount to culturally start from scratch, literally.
the stellar documentary KRAUTROCK: THE REBIRTH OF GERMANY (BBC, 2009) deftly examines how progressive bands like CAN, NEU!, KRAFTWERK, FAUST AMON DUUL II, TANGERINE DREAM and CLUSTER went about creating music who no direct antecedent in GERMAN folk or music traditions. In the process they influenced a whole wave of BRITISH and AMERICAN POST-PUNK bands as well as peers like DAVID BOWIE and IGGY POP, who specifically sought out BERLIN and the scene for some of their most fruitful collaborations.
basically the KRAUTROCK bands grew up in the post-WWII generation, meaning that they were born with the guilt of knowing that the generation before them had either tacitly consented or directly participated in the war effort of the NAZIS. for them, understandably, everything before their generation was tainted. this included famous composers celebrated by the NAZI PARTY such as LUDWIG VON BEETHOVEN, RICHARD WAGNER, WOLFGANG AMADEOUS MOZART, JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH, JOSEPH HADYN, JOHANNES BRAHMS, RICHARD STRAUSS and ANTON BRUCKNER. even GERMAN folklore was a no go because of its perverse transformation by the NAZIS. to save GERMAN culture they had to essentially rip it up and start again.
what came out of that was a music rooted in the lexicon of AMERICAN BLUES, R&B, JAZZ, FUNK and ROCK & ROLL traditions but with a sense of experimentation and abandon yet unexplored previously. to my ears the music of CAN or NEU! is a about sonic textures and group improvisation, not too unlike the FREE JAZZ of someone like ORNETTE COLEMAN, just more intense. there is a real aggression there. even in the case of KRAFTWERK, who went the other direction sonically with a sound constructed specifically to be devoid of humanity, there was still a tension.
i definitely recommend this documentary if you are unfamiliar with KRAUTROCK or the bands associated with the scene. in my estimation, it is a storied music scene both because of its sonic experimentation and its political consequences. WEST GERMANY was very much in the process at the time of self-determining into something new. the KRAUTROCK scene being backed by the STUDENT PROTEST MOVEMENT of the time was very much a part of that process. beyond interesting and worth watching.
BUDDY HOLLY: RAVE ON (BBC, 2017) is a recent BRITISH documentary that examines the life and work of early ROCK N ROLL pioneer and cultural icon BUDDY HOLLY. notable interviewees include the likes of DUANE EDDY, SONNY WEST, DON EVERLY (THE EVERLY BROTHERS), BRIAN MAY (QUEEN), HANK MARVIN (THE SHADOWS), DON MCLEAN, ALBERT LEE, DION, PAUL ANKA as well as original CRICKETS JERRY ALLISON and SONNY CURTIS as well as his brother LARRY and his widow MARIA ELENA HOLLY.
what this documentary does a good job of is presenting the scope and breadth what was a tragically short 18 month recording career. its unfathomable to consider how impactful his short career actually was, profoundly influencing everything that came after, especially the BRITISH INVASION of the 1960s.
being from the small town of LUBBOCK in rural panhandle TEXAS, HOLLY was originally part of a duo with local BOB MONTGOMERY. after being signed to DECCA RECORDS, MONTGOMERY was let go unceremoniously as HOLLY was determined to be more marketable. it is an interesting what if in ROCK N ROLL history. after an unsuccessful stint recording in NASHVILLE, as the machine there didnt know what to do with him (didnt even let him play guitar or participate in arranging his own compositions), HOLLY relocated back to LUBBOCK and started recording with engineer NORMAN PETTY at his studio located across state lines in nearby CLOVIS, NEW MEXICO. that is where all the iconic early recordings were made including "PEGGY SUE," "EVERYDAY," "RAVE ON," "NOT FADE AWAY" and "MAYBE BABY" among others.
going into this i didnt know about how experimental those sessions were and their impact on THE BEATLES. essentially PETTY and HOLLY created unique arrangements that include eccentric recording techniques including the use of palm-muting ("THAT'LL BE THE DAY"), chord soloing and rolling patterns on tom-tom drums ("PEGGY SUE"), hands and knee slapping as percussion ("EVERYDAY"), cardboard boxes as percussion ("NOT FADE AWAY") and long intros that precede the opening verse ("MAYBE BABY"). this studio trickery opened up possibilities and gave permission for young emerging artists of the period to utilize nontraditional techniques in making each song sonically unique.
case in point are the final orchestra-backed recordings he made in NEW YORK CITY weeks before his passing with help from PAUL ANKA including the touchingly intimate "TRUE LOVE WAYS" written about his new wife MARIA. you get the sense that he was on to something new and attempting a new phase in his development. his loss is still senseless and tragic more than half a century later, much as his music is still relevant as ever.
in summation, BUDDY HOLLY: RAVE ON is a touching, insightful documentary well worth watching even for the most ardent ROCKABILLY aficionado or BUDDY HOLLY fan.
HARMONIES FROM HEAVEN (BBC, 2016) is a BRITISH documentary released a few years after the passing of PHIL EVERLY from LUNG DISEASE and basically follows the highlights and chart success from roughly 1957-1962 of THE EVERLY BROTHERS.
its interested hearing from a bunch of musicians and record execs i've never heard of (notable exceptions being brief supplemental commentary by the likes of ART GARFUNKEL, GRAHAM NASH, KEITH RICHARDS and JACK BUGG) explaining to me the importance of one of the most seminal AMERICAN pop acs of the 20th century, but i have to say they did a pretty decent job. the documentary gets into how ROCK N ROLL was a fusion of WHITE and BLACK musician traditions, namely BLUEGRASS and BLUES, and that THE EVERLY BROTHERS were early pioneers of that style, influencing THE BRITISH INVASION of the early 1960s. part of their appeal were songs tailored to the perspectives of teenagers, a growing demographic in the postwar period who also represented a new emerging economic power driving AMERICAN popular culture. songs that lightly touched on juvenile delinquency like "WAKE UP SUSIE" had a hint of subversion to them that resonated with their fans, even though now compared to modern pop provocateurs like NIKKI MINAJ or CARDI B this stuff is beyond tame, even adorably so.
i was taken aback by their downfall which was caused by their publisher. they had signed a deal with the newly constructed WARNER BROS and left CADENCE RECORDS. at the time they left their old management as well. their publisher, who was aligned with their management, held the rights to their old songs as well as managed their key songwriters, husband and wife team FELICE and BOUDLEAUX BRYANT. effectively that shut the valve on new songs as well as their old songs. today this kind of thing would be unimaginable and would result in intense litigation and negotiation. back in the 1950s it effectively killed their career, opening the door to the next generation which turned out to be BRITISH INVASION bands like THE BEATLES, THE KINKS and THE ROLLING STONES. you really get the sense, although it is never uttered, that THE EVERLY BROTHERS were the victims of a growing power struggle between NASHVILLE and the greater entertainment industry. its not like the AMERICAN SOUTH is known for being recalcitrant, tribal, stubborn, petty and downright cruel... hmmmmm.
another thing i didn't realize was how different the two brothers were, PHIL being a staunch conservative and his brother DON being a leftist. i can only imagine during that period, which included the HUAC TRIALS and MCCARTHYISM how intense that must have been. after their demise in the early 1960s, the two brothers didn't speak for 10 years. i wish they'd dive into that a bit more, but i guess with this being an authorized documentary such a thing wouldnt be explored out of respect.
interesting yet slightly underwhelming documentary about probably the greatest harmonizers in music history. a good introduction but nothing revelatory revealed.
based on the excellent book of the same name, MURDER IN THE FRONT ROW (BONDED BY BLOOD, 2019) is a documentary that tackles what made the BAY AREA THRASH METAL scene of the early 1980s such a potent breeding ground for some of the most enduring bands in METAL including EXODUS, DEATH ANGEL, TESTAMENT, POSSESSED, VIOLENCE and FORBIDDEN and a scene of influence and import for those not from the region like ANTHRAX, SLAYER, MEGADETH and METALLICA.
its an interesting conceit to base a film on since most of the conversation historically regarding THRASH METAL is centered THE BIG FOUR, i.e. the aforementioned ANTHRAX, SLAYER, MEGADETH and METALLICA. by providing a community of promoters (WES ROBINSON), venues (RUTHIE'S INN and THE STONE), meeting places/record stores (THE RECORD VAULT) managers (DEBBIE ABONO) and rabid fans (SLAY TEAM), SAN FRANCISCO basically provided the supportive environment that allowed the scene to thrive and punch much beyond its weight culturally over time and serve as the focus of this documentary.
the TAPE TRADING scene also served as a vehicle for the underground decimation of music both nationally and globally, which served the scene well as a cheap and efficient means of promotion to the most hardcore of audiences. gaining notoriety with this audience allowed foreign promoters the opportunity to gain familiarity with their sound far in advance of their arrival. this of course was in the days of snail mail and letter writing, decades before e-mail or internet searches were a thing. luckily these bands had a work ethic to engage with this community.
i found the most interesting part of this documentary was the idea of the SLAY TEAM, who were scene enforcers at shows who confronted charlatans and "posers" that would show up at shows wearing shirts of HAIR METAL bands or wearing the wrong attire. on one hand they served as gatekeepers and a check on the intentions of the audience. on the other hand the idea of being accosted at a show by a team of vigilante fanatics sounds terrifying and an extreme form of bullying and thuggish behavior. its indicative of the extreme insularity of a scene that at once nurtured the artists but eventually stifled them creatively, as THRASH METAL became rather confined to a sound that few attempted to move beyond. and when one did (i.e. METALLICA), they paid for it dearly with their core audience. but that downside is never explored. this documentary mearly provides information and withholds judgement.
one downside to this documentary is that it minimizes the influence of bands outside he scene like SLAYER (LOS ANGELES) and ANTHRAX (NEW YORK CITY). METALLICA and its cousin MEGADETH are both presented as hybrid LOS ANGELES / SAN FRANCISCO bands since they either moved to the bay area and/or poached musicians from the scene. i think minimizing SLAYER's influence on THRASH METAL is almost discrediting in hindsight, since the film only presents one side of this cultural dialogue by exploring the scene's influence on the band's look. i imagine the mark of SLAYER on the scene far surpasses the scene in SAN FRANCISCO's imprint on the band. but that is just my opinion.
this is an interesting documentary about a place and time and the birth of modern stateside METAL. definitely required viewing for the uninitiated. worth checking out.
filmed in SEATTLE after the initial wave of GRUNGE had crested and crashed, HYPE! (HELVEY-PRAY PRODUCTIONS, 1996) is very much a contemporaneous attempt to make sense of what turned out the be the last organic pre-internet mass cultural phenomenon in AMERICAN history.
utilizing interviews from participants from bands the likes of SKINYARD, THE MONOMEN, BEAT HAPPENING, THE MELVINS, SCREAMING TREES, SOUNDGARDEN, THE FASTBACKS, MUDHONEY, TAD, GAS HUFFER, COFFIN BREAK, THE SUPERSUCKERS, LOVE BATTERY, 7 YEAR BITCH, THE GITS, DEAD MOON, PEARL JAM and THE WALKABOUTS among others and scene producers like JACK ENDINO, STEVE FISK, FRANK HARLAN and photographer CHARLES PETERSON as well as local indie record label founders CALVIN JOHNSON (K RECORDS) and BRUCE PAVITT and JOHNATHAN PONEMAN (SUB POP RECORDS)
it has been repeatedly said that due to this scene's relative isolation from all but major touring acts in the 80s that a void was filled by local bands that had a fierce DIY ethic informed by HARDCORE and INDIE ROCK of the period. when this insular scene burst open nationally in the wake of the success of ALICE IN CHAINS, SOUNDGARDEN, PEARL JAM and, of course, NIRVANA, things became more unbalanced in the scene once a financial motive got involved. suddenly catwalks where filled with flannel and opportunistic bands moved to SEATTLE to be "discovered" and outright careerism polluted the once vibrant scene that house and nurtured misfits.
i found the crux of this film to be that intersection between art and commerce. that point at which expression is informed by winds of passing fad. once your scene is a fad, where do you go? what do you do?
the film never really answers that question but offers an amazing look at how such commercial interests affected that small intimate scene at a time it was wholly unprepared for it. and yet it seems inevitable that once you become en vogue, your season will ultimately fade and another thing will replace you. i think fortunately for SEATTLE, to this day that city name is synonymous with highly influential strains of ALTERNATIVE ROCK, INDIE ROCK and even SLUDGE METAL. it is still relevant to anyone who loves ROCK AND ROLL. there is still a purity to listeners to this day. of course, this idea of commerce affecting a scene's perceived purity makes no sense in today's climate. through technology there is no more isolated local scenes, the playing field is relatively horizontal in terms of means of exposure and music distribution. when nobody is making money anymore from music, those lines that existed during the filming of this documentary seem rather quaint by comparison.
interestingly, director DOUG PRAY 20 years later revisIted the scene and talked to some of the same participants again (video embedded below) about the impact of that initial wave. for most of them they just kept on their same path and nurtured upcoming artists. for band that came about long after GRUNGE came and went, the true legacy is that commercial viable artistry that is vibrant can come from anywhere, even SEATTLE.