November 22, 2006

Adam Small & Peter Stuart, Another State of Mind (1984). 78 minutes.

In August of 1982, punk band Youth Brigade bought a bus and asked their friends in Social Distortion to go on tour with them. It was pretty much the first tour for both, five weeks 35 cities including some stops in Canada, all very DIY. And which is almost always the case with DIY tours, the bus repeatedly breaks down, club owners rip them off left and right, and by the time they roll into Detroit, half of the crew are headed back to LA on the Greyhound. When the bus breaks down again in DC, Ian MacKaye and the Minor Threat folks open up the Dischord House for them. The kids in Social Distortion up and leave their frontman Mike Ness and Youth Brigade to return to LA without bothering to tell anyone. Shots of MacKaye working at a local HaagenDazs while off-camera narrating about the virutes of the straight-edge movement alone make this documentary worth watching.
Ah, the Reagan youth era. . . This movie reminds me of going to the Greystone (all ages club where the Misfits(1) & Black Flag played their last shows) and seeing all the hardcore bands that came from or to Detroit.
Hearing the Mike Ness commentary where he calls his younger self "an asshole" is kind of a nice moment as well. Strangely enough, musically Mike Ness and his Social Distortion vehicle have kept pretty true to their musical approach over the years, not so much continuous repetition but rather a core thread that seems to connect all of his work.
(1) A reunited Misfits without Danzig just isn't the Misfits.

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