A while ago I did an article on Films That Rock! and it was received well enough that I’ve decided to do a Round 2 on the topic. There are thousands of films about music and the industry and bands and such, and contained here will be a few more that I’ve seen and recommend you have a little seat and watch.
1. Sound City: Dave Freaking Grohl! That should be enough to get you into this, but incase it’s not here’s some more name dropping for you. Josh Homme! Trent Reznor! Rick Springfield! Steve Nicks! Corey Taylor! Tom Petty! Lars Ulrich! Rick Rubin’s Beard! Frank Black! Robert Levon Been! Brad Wilk! Sir Paul McCartney! And on and on, so. Are you convinced yet? No? How about a unifying premise? Ok, Well Its about the Rise and fall of Sound City Studios, where many many records you know and love where made, Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ to Neil Young’s ‘After the Gold Rush’ to A Perfect Circle’s ‘Mer De Noms’ to Arctic Monkey’s ‘Suck It and See.’ Then the film continues on to Dave Grohl’s Purchase of the original Sound Board and the life they breathe through it in it’s new home at Studio 606. Sprinkled throughout the film exist studio performances of the accompanying album ‘Sound City Real to Reel.’ So Rent, Borrow, Buy this one and get some modern history of the studio that shaped modern music, and see Rick Rubin’s Beard.
2. It Might Get Loud: Exploration into the lives and careers of Jack White, Jimmy Page, and The Edge. if the opening scene doesn’t hook you, you might be watching the wrong film. I’ve never felt more invited to ‘Walk in their shoes’ than this film, whilst doing you the favor of picking three completely different approaches to guitar mastery and artistry. For the longest time I have had no reason to back up my dislike for U2, fortunately The Edge spends every moment on screen validating it, just my opinion. Adversely, Jimmy Page took my by the hand and should me all kinds of cool things about being a rockstar in the 70’s and 80’s, some of the tricks they used to get certain sounds on various recordings, things no one had ever done before, but nowadays people cheat and do digitally. Jack White, blew me away, here’s a guy doing all this great stuff for modern rock, and he confesses he just wants to make 40’s blues records. There’s plenty in this film for everybody, even those of you who like U2.
3. Pleasure + Pain: Performance enhancing liquids… it exists for singers, and can only be found out side the U.S. Ben Harper exposes his torrid past with this ‘drug’ and… sorry, thats not really what this film is about, nor what Ben Harper is about. Instead this film gets on the bus and goes no tour, showing the late night stops at krispy kremes the near delirious state of a band on the road gets bussing from city to city to bring you the one night experience night after night after night. The average music fan/concert goer should really watch this film, to gain appreciation for the real lack of glamour found on the road. There are some good quotes from some really terrible interviews, missed family moments from being on the road. So, why do bands do this to themselves, to break even on their record. one of the harsh truths about the industry is any group who you see in records stores, or on t.v. went deep into debt and spend the next one to three years digging their way out so they can release another record, and the cycle continues. Sometimes though, there are some sweet italian loafers in the deal.
4. From The Basement: This is really cheating, Its not really a film per-se, It was/is a show on IFC but they did release a DVD that is a collection of some great up close and personal live in studio performances. So, I included it here, you can see some up close, nitty gritty filming of some really great acts. Included in this project are (more name dropping): Sonic Youth, Queens Of The Stone Age, Andrew Bird, PJ Harvey, Beck, Eels, Damien Rice, Gnarls Barkley, My Morning Jacket, and More! Go to the link I included in the title and watch some of the videos, I truly believe this will be the favorite way to see these acts, no audience, just the musicians and their music. Of course, I may be way off, and feel free to leave a comment to that effect.
5. The Fearless Freaks: Ever wanted to get inside the mind of a mental person? Here’s a great opportunity, The link I provided here is to the entire film on Vimeo. take 103 minutes out of your day and watch this thing. If all you know about The Flaming Lips is ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’ or ‘Do You Realize’ then this will open your brain to more mysterious ways. In a film that was filmed over the last decade, You’ll learn about what takes an oklahoma punk band to the extreme psychadelica party band that they are today. I got the chance to meet Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd at The KXT Summer Cut in 2012. They are some titans in music today, and just the nicest guys, Wayne hung out with us till nearly 4 a.m. after the show and told stories, and listened to some of the other fans stories of how their music changed their lives, the whole time making little doodles, one for everyone sitting around, (nearly 30 of us) signed each one, hugs and photos, and a wild good time. This film, will help you understand why thats so freaking cool.