SALAD DAYS: A DECADE OF PUNK IN WASHINGTON, DC (1980-90)
Director: Scott Crawford
Writer: Scott Crawford
Stars: Fred Armisen, Brendan Canty, Dave Grohl, Tim Kerr, Ian MacKaye, Thurston Moore, George Pelecanos, Henry Rollins, Tom Sherwood
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REVIEW – As people who are close to me know, music is my life. The thing to me getting started on a passion for music at an early age would really welcome so many experiences into your life. Growing up as a child of the 70’s, you had Midnight Special, Night Flight, Soul Train, American Bandstand, Saturday Night Live, and so many other shows that were an outlet for such exciting and fresh music. In the 80’s, you had Friday Night Videos, the birth of MTV, Solid Gold and etc. People thought when disco came to town that it took all the other music genres down, but shockingly metal and rock were still alive as was punk. The punk scene in the 80’s seemed to shift to Washington DC and the influential Dischord Records was born. Dischord Records has always maintained its independent cred being the label that specialized on the scene in D.C. The label is owned by Ian MacKaye (who a lot of people know from his time in both Minor Threat and Fugazi) and Jeff Nelson (who was the drummer in Minor Threat) The label was founded to release a record by a band called The Teen Idles and the cd was Minor Disturbance. If anything you get from Iam Mackay or the label they have a strong DIY feel to them both. Unlike past punk films that tried to be scattered and focus on so many different places, this one zeroes in on Washington.
This film is really insightful and at times has a strong message, the problem I have is this film is just scattered in the way it is paced. It is like the director is so giddy he wants to get to everything so fast and does not let things absorb or get an emotion. This film has interviews with Grohl, Rollins, and Thurston Moore among others and really has such a charm to it. I have seen so many documentaries that really had no concept or idea on what they trying to convey to their audience, but this film while at times it feels obnoxiously fast at least has heart and personality and the era is represented very well. Of course, we do not stop at just the music and the label, but we also see the political culture at that time, and those scenes were intense and at times very powerful which reflected on the music that was coming out at that time. While I always felt Fugazi really set the standard for punk and sales. They would tell you in ads “do not pay more than this price for the cd”, and they would make stores lower the price and not try to get greedy off their music. Dischord Records like SST, Touch and Go and so many other labels, Invisible and etc really made underground independent music fun. This film while not perfect is a must watch just for the fact that Ian really has a message that should he heard and absorbed in an era when music seems to be forgotten or looked at as what can be pirated. This is the heart and soul of what makes people like me such diehard music fans.
Salad Days | Official Trailer:
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