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“Punks Not Dead” [DVD] by Various Artists

Artist: Various Artists
Title: “Punks Not Dead”
Label: MVD Visual
Release Date: 8/17/2009
Genre: Punk Rock Documentary
Rating: 3.75/5

“Punks Not Dead” is an interesting documentary film that presents to the viewer what I felt was a great inside and historical look into the Punk Rock and Hardcore movement when it first started to pick up steam back in the mid 70’s. It succeeds in its quest to inform the home audience of today by blending interview footage from notable acts such as The Damned, The Ramones, Circle Jerks, The Subhumans along with many, many more and explains to you in their own words just how reviled and accepted the Punk Rock genre was in its infancy. The film wisely starts at the apparent beginnings of the whole movement and explains how the whole DIY principle worked out. If you don’t know what DIY is, you should know that it stands for “Do It Yourself” and how it is still a larger practice today when it comes to the underground scene of any music genre in addition to what now calls itself today’s Punk. When the term was new it referred to how the bands booked shows by using phony credit card numbers and shared public phones that they were able to use for free and how most bands sent out their music to the fans from their houses and often sought a place to crash from these same fans when they would be in their town. One of the key quotes gives kudos to how all of this networking, touring and building of a music scene was all being done without the support or even interest from major record companies. The experts in the Punk music realm discuss how like many things with an original small fan response or underground only following can get big and eventually reach the mainstream. Of course this happening sometimes generates the feeling in its original fans that it had sold out from the aesthetic that it once held and was no longer relevant. We see this all the time with the fans who stake claim on bands “first” and no longer liking them when the rest of the world jumps on board. Some bands that are cited as helping to push Punk into the mainstream are The Offspring, Green Day, Rancid and Pennywise. They even mention Nirvana and while the Grunge Rock band definitely sold millions of albums, I didn’t see them as a Punk act and wondered how they came to feel they applied to this situation. Quotes from founders of many of the original Punk Rock record companies are spoken to and they explain how almost every dollar earned was put right back into getting the next record out for the band that had earned the money or another worthy act. That’s a lot different from a label earning money on the Joe Blow New band and putting the money into Aerosmith that’s for sure.
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