Illogical reader Elmo asked for more music-documentary recommendations after Manslaughter's endorsement of the epic hard-rock underground film Such Hawks, Such Hounds (right) recently, and today I will oblige him, but with a catch:
NONE OF THESE FIVE MOVIES ARE ABOUT HEAVY METAL.
Did I just blow your mind? Don't lie. I did, right?
I mean, I've seen some excellent movies about metal in the past (Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, Global Metal, and Heavy Metal In Baghdad come to mind), but to be honest, when I pondered Elmo's request these were the first five movies that came into my head. NONE of them about metal. Whoa.
Am I crazy? Am I "losing my edge"? Who know? But all of these movies scored at least 4 out of 5 stars on my internal Netflix rating system, and I'd like to share them with you all accordingly. I'll keep it brief since it's Saturday and you've got better things to do.
1) MOOG (2004)
Documentary about the life and times of electronics wizard (and keytar impresario) Robert Moog. Maybe I'm sort of a sucker for Bob Moog due to my checkered past with theremin ownership, but this is a solid, well-made film about a brilliant (and super mellow) Bro. The soundtrack features a bunch of musicians I don't really care about (Stereolab) and a couple that I do (Rick Wakeman). Rock. R.I.P. Bob.
Rick wakeman! Eat your heart out:
2) THEREMIN: AN ELECTRONIC ODYSSEY (1994)
While we're on the subject, how about another documentary involving theremins, this one about Russian inventor Leon Theremin? Dude had a crazy life, getting mixed up with Bucky Fuller, romantically entangled with She-Bro Clara Rockmore, and deported at the height of his success in 1938. Dude was never seen or heard from again... UNTIL the makers of this film track him down. Seriously heavy shit.
3) HYPE! (1996)
On the surface, this movie might seem like a posthumous attempt at cashing in on the "grunge" craze of the early 90's, but in fact it's something quite different. Hype! is a testament to the awesome underground Seattle bands who got overlooked when grunge hit, and even though you've got your required interviews with Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, brief forays into Accused/Fartz territory, interviews with Dead Moon and
Watch it on Youtube: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
"The Nirvana Part":
4) BAD BRAINS LIVE AT CBGB 1982 (2006)
Do concert films count as documentaries? Whatevs.
It gives me fucking chills every time I watch it. THIS is what playing music is all about.
NPR knows what's up
Download the whole thing at Hangover Heart Attack
"Banned In DC"
5) WE JAM ECONO: THE STORY OF THE MINUTEMEN (2005)
Mike Watt. SST. Black Flag. The sad story of D. Boon. Required viewing. Get to it.