This DVD features rare live performances by Black Flag, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, MDC, SSD, Bad Religion, DOA, 7 Seconds, Circle Jerks, and many more from the years 1980-1986. Extras include deleted scenes, musical performances, photo montage, and more.
True hardcore fans may balk at the fact that this vibrant document of a scene that prided itself on some staunchly anti-corporate ethics is being distributed by business behemoth Sony, but they needn’t worry–AMERICAN HARDCORE was in the can long before the men in suits picked it up for distribution. Paul Rachman’s film is bookended by two clips of Ronald Reagan being sworn in for each of his tenures as president, and the director is quick to draw parallels between Reagan’s leadership and the explosion of angry young men who picked up guitars, drums, and microphones and exploded onto an unsuspecting ‘80s music scene. Rachman draws on amazing footage of scene leaders such as Bad Brains, Minor Threat, and Black Flag to tell the story, and splices them with interview clips from band members, scenesters, fanzine writers, label bosses, and plenty of the freaks and misfits who were drawn to the pummeling sounds of hardcore. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Rachman’s film is the fact that that many of the figures who populated it, such as Minor Threat’s Ian Mackye and Black Flag’s Henry Rollins, still staunchly stick to the stringent personal and work ethics their younger selves developed back in the day. And what a day it was! As the various talking heads tell of dust-ups with cops, violent scenes at shows, and the development of a supportive musical community across the country, it will be difficult for younger viewers not to feel pangs of jealousy. However, Rachman does briefly cover some of the downsides of hardcore, such as the lack of female performers and the jock-like mentality of those who just showed up at shows looking for a punch-up, but on the whole the film is an upbeat testimony to a movement that was so underground that it simply passed by a lot of the high-haired and colorfully clothed pop fans of the era.
Theatrical Release: September 22, 2006