Bad Brains began their three-day stint at a Hardcore Festival hosted by legendary CBGB. This DVD represents the very best of these shows, culled from over 4 hours of footage. Their live performances were legendary, Their visiual recordings were impossible to find. Now, for the first time on DVD, that powerful performance is revisited in extraordinary fashion.
Created by writer/author of 'Fucked Up + Photocopied', Bryan Ray Turcotte (Kill Your Idols), and Bo Bushnell (The Western Empire), The Art Of Punk traces the roots of the punk movement and the artists behind the iconic logos of punk bands such as: Black Flag (Raymond Pettibon), The Dead Kennedys (Winston Smith), and Crass (Dave King).
In addition to profiling the artists, the series includes intimate interviews with former band members, notable artists, and celebrities who have been heavily influenced by the art of punk rock including Jello Biafra, Tim Biskup, Scott Campbell, Chuck Dukowski, Flea, Steve Olson, Penny Rimbaud, Henry Rollins, Owen Thornton, and Gee Vaucher.
The filmmakers Bryan Ray Turcotte and Bo Bushnell take a unique approach to exploring the rich histories of these three seminal punk legends by focusing on the influential imagery and seeking out stories that have not been told yet through the artwork, which is integral to the importance and influence of each band.
In case you haven't checked out the wiki on punk lately:
Punk rock is a rock music genre that developed between 1974 and 1976 in the United Kingdom, United States, and Australia. Rooted in garage rock and other forms of what is now known as protopunk music, punk rock bands eschewed perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. Punk bands created fast, hard-edged music, typically with short songs, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produced recordings and distributed them through informal channels.
The term "punk" was first used in relation to rock music by some American critics in the early 1970s, to describe garage bands and their devotees. By late 1976, bands such as the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Damned in London and Television and the Ramones in New York City were recognized as the vanguard of a new musical movement. The following year saw punk rock spreading around the world, and it became a major cultural phenomenon in the United Kingdom. For the most part, punk took root in local scenes that tended to reject association with the mainstream. An associated punk subcultureemerged, expressing youthful rebellion and characterized by distinctive styles of clothing and adornment and a variety of anti-authoritarian ideologies.
The Surf Punks were a pop punk band formed in 1976 by Malibu residents Dennis Dragon (son of the Symphony conductor Carmen Dragon, and brother of Captain & Tennille's Daryl Dragon), and Drew Steele. Dennis recruited the additional talents of Malibu residents Tony Creed AKA "Hulk", for lead guitar and blues harp, fellow bodysurfer/frisbeeist John Hunt on bass, and south bay resident John Heussenstamm for lead guitar. This was the original core group, produced and engineered by Dennis in his garage studio across the street from Zuma Beach, his favorite body surfing spot.
Scott Goddard [b.1952–d.2006] later joined as lead vocalist on a few songs.
Record producer and then Malibu resident Denny Cordell saw merit in the group and released their first recordings on a single, "My Beach" b/w "My Wave", in Australia on Shelter Records. Their subsequent first album, an independent release on their own label, Day Glo Records, garnered them enough airplay on the then fledgling L.A. alternative radio station KROQ-FM to lead to a re-release of the album on Epic Records in 1980, and the release of two further albums,Locals Only and Oh No, Not Them Again on Enigma Records, with Mark Miller, keyboard player Jerry Weber and lifeguard/guitarist Andy Jackson.
Surf Punk members Dennis Dragon and Hulk also provided the theme song to KLOS Shock Jock Frazer Smith's signature show bumper, "Cool Patrol". Frazier's pushing the band to heavy rotation on KROQ-FM was largely responsible for them selling out their first live performance ever at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The Surf Punks were road managed from 1980 to 1983 by Michael Parenti (the artist, not the political writer), who also provided many of the T-shirt designs for the band. At one time, rock legend Johnny Rivers showed interest in the band by co-producing with Dennis a single titled "Surfs Up Medley", released on his own Soul City label. TV Producer Chris Bearde also managed the band for a short time and tried with movie producer Brian Grazerand Rivers to procure a Hollywood movie deal for the band.
The live shows of the Surf Punks, in the heyday of the punk explosion in L.A., were wild and abandoned. High points of the show were "I Can't Get a Tan" and "Big Top".
The lyrics of the band centered primarily on the in-group/out-group experiences of "locals" (surfers living on the beach in Malibu) and "valleys" (commuters from the San Fernando Valley to the private and public beaches of the exclusive Malibu Beach community). Never truly "punk" in the traditional sense of the word, the Surf Punks were sort of a "Beach Boys" of the punk world, offering an intelligent take on the "turf wars" over the southern California beaches and its waves.
The band made at least five music videos: "My Beach", "Big Top", "Welcome to California", "Shark Attack" and another for their cover of "Come on-a My House", which was originally a hit for Rosemary Clooney.
The Batcave was a nightclub in London, England at Meard Street, Soho. It is considered to be the birthplace of the English goth subculture. As one of the most famous meeting points for early goths, it lent its name to the term Batcaver, used to describe fans of the original gothic rock music. The term Batcave is also still used by Europeans to refer to Gothic music with a prominent Post-Punk sound and spooky atmospheres.
A diverse array of bands would play at the club, backed up by their resident DJs Hamish 'the paranoid' McDonald and Annie Hogan (Marc Almond band member). The bands involved included electronic leading act Alien Sex Fiend. The host's band Specimen, who took ample influence from 1970s glam rock and Sex Gang Children, is a group that would go on to prove influential in the gothic rock, dark cabaret and deathrock movements. The club also showed 8mm movies in the old theatre and occasionally featured unusual cabaret such as Mr Swing the fakir. Much of the image and fashion used by the subculture can be traced back to the bands who played at the Batcave.
In 1983, a vinyl record entitled The Bat Cave, Young Limbs & Numb Hymns was released on the London recording label. The compilation included Specimen ("Dead Mans Autochop"), Sexbeat ("Sex Beat"), Test Dept. ("Shockwork"), Patti Palladin ("The Nuns New Clothes"), James T. Pursey ("Eyes Shine Killidiscope"), Meat of Youth ("Meat of Youth"), Brilliant ("oming Up For The Downstroke"), Alien Sex Fiend ("R.I.P."), and The Venomettes ("The Dance of Death"). The inside notes:
"Look past the slow black rain of a chill night in Soho; Ignore the lures of a thousand neon fire-flies, fall deft to the sighs of street corner sirens — come walk with me between heaven and hell. Here there is a club lost in its own feverish limbo, where sin becomes salvation and only the dark angels tread. For here is a BATCAVE. This screaming legend of blasphemy, Lechery, and Blood persists in the face of adversity. For some the Batcave has become an icon, but for those that know it is an iconoclast, it is the avenging spirit of nightlife's badlands — its shadow looms large over London's demi-Monde: It is a challenge to the false Idol. It Will Endure."
In 2008 Specimen played live at a 25th Anniversary Batcave party hosted by Club Antichrist in London. The show was recorded as a live album Specimen Alive at the Batcave and released on Eyeswideshut/Metropolis records. In 2009 Specimen's Jonny Slut and Jon Klein appeared at New Yorks Fashion Institute of Technology following the exhibition 'Gothic Dark Glamour', which featured Jon Klein's 1983 'Pigeon Shit' DIY stage outfit alongside high fashion designers such as Christian Dior and Alexander McQueen. The Fashion Symposium acknowledged the Batcave as a major influence on current high fashion.
Back in the day, most of the punks that I knew, once you really got to know them, were pretty nice. They partied hard, sure. But they also worked hard at their bike messenger jobs, and studied diligently at the Art Institute so that they could one day make the borderline pornographic Marxist art film that would finally alienate their parents once and for all.
But then there was that one group that everyone was afraid of. They lived in a cave, and their mohawks were big and fuzzy -- like their mustaches -- and colored in every shade of the rainbow. They had names like Tarzan, Pirate and Caligula. The girls in this group were particularly scary; something about their breasts seemed somehow… unnatural. And, oh, the violence! On more than one occasion, I was tempted to alert the authorities of their activities, but feared that no one would believe the tale. Fortunately, someone made the movie Intrepidos Punks –- did I mention that they were Mexican? -- so that the onus of proving their existence no longer lays with me.
Intrepidos Punks is basically a biker movie that uses the excuse of those bikers being punks to have them act like a bunch of spastic, wantonly destructive morons. (And by the way, I’m going with the book Destroy All Movies’ release date of 1983 for this, rather than the IMDB’s 1980, because there’s just no way this movie predates The Road Warrior.) Even Alex and his Droogs might try to sit this bunch down and counsel them about thinking before they act. With all reason thus removed from the equation, the whole field of depravity is open: rape, devil worship, torturing and killing random strangers for kicks… even the accompaniment of sex scenes with godawful bar band blues rock in condoned. Nothing is forbidden, I tell you.
Yet, amazingly, it’s still hard at times not to side with the punks in their war against authority, because every representation of that authority in Intrepidos Punks is miraculously more odious than that of the punks themselves. The gang are able to free their leader, Tarzan (played by the luchadore El Fantasma), from prison because the jailer and his male staff are busy taking part in an orgy with a bunch of hookers. The two cops charged with tracking the gang down are a pair of stereotypical 1980s action movie “loose cannons” who openly get their rocks off by roughing up suspects. When they’re not making jokes about each others' sisters, most of their police work involves making cars blow up, including one fleeing hood’s car that drives off a cliff and somehow explodes before making contact with the ground. (Lesson: When you’re a badass movie cop, cars explode just because you hate them.)
Despite being a shameless work of exploitation, Intrepidos Punks manages time and again to undermine its ability to shock with its own ridiculousness. An impending home invasion and gang rape looks like it might prove to be uncomfortable viewing, until a live rock band suddenly appears in the room for no reason and you have no choice but to be overwhelmed by bemusement. The simulated sex is plentiful, but it is all of that particular variety of softcore that sees tentative boob nuzzling as the consummate sexual act rather than as tepid foreplay. At a celebratory orgy, the punks display the whole gamut of perversions, providing your idea of “the whole gamut of perversions” runs from mild S&M to compulsive masturbation followed by weeping.
At ninety minutes of pure, unadulterated stupidity, Intrepidos Punks acts as its own anesthetic. Your brain will never be awake long enough to realize it’s being insulted. On the other hand, I’m laughing now, but who knows? I remember that, when some friends and I went to see the original Class of 1984 back when it opened, we were deeply offended by the fact that the punks in it were portrayed as racists. (We had yet to meet real racist punks.) Who knows what we would have made of Intrepidos Punks? We might have felt compelled to burn down the theater and rape everyone on principle.