DVD: Punk’s Not Dead

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Label: MVD

Released: July 8, 2008

Most documentaries are just visual histories of a band or a scene. The trouble is that they take a scientific approach with a hypothesis that they attempt to prove over the course of the film. But punk is a human story and one that, at its best, has dictated its own future. Punk’s Not Dead lets the story tell itself, no judgments, no science.

It follows punk from the Ramones through the Pistols and Clash, on to Black Flag and Minor Threat. It picks up the punk revival of the late 80s and early 90s and its subsequent commercial breakthrough via Green Day up through the corporate-sponsored Warped Tour. The interviews include a few big names like Rollins, MacKaye, Biafra and Armstrong, but dig deeper as well into the Charlie Harpers and Jimmie Purseys, right down to the kids who make their own scenes happen (with whole sequences on little sub-scenes like Drunk Tank House as well as bits sent in from kids around the world).

Punk’s Not Dead succeeds largely because it gets it. It doesn’t take an outsider’s view or have that old “back in the day” condescension, but instead focuses on the ever-changing and evolving state of the punk scene and how it has managed to be an alternative for thousands of kids even after it was co-opted by mainstream culture.

Rating: 8/10

About bobvinyl

bobvinyl, writer and co-editor of No Song is an Island, founded its predecessor, Rock and Roll and Meandering Nonsense (whose archives are found here), in 2005 and served as editor and principal contributor until it went on hiatus in 2010. He has also been published in AMP and Loud Fast Rules! (in print) as well as Glide and FensePost on the web. He has been an avid record collector since he was seven years old and enjoys sharing his love of music from the common to the esoteric.

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