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ROCKUMENTARY FLICKS

Updated: Jun 30, 2021


Rockumentary Flicks With Billy Disaster #1 Last nights movie was Amy.

"He walks away/ The sun goes down/ He takes the day/ But I'm grown/ And in your way/ In this blue shade/ My tears dry on their own"… that’s my favorite Amy Winehouse lyric. I love the strength in a vulnerable state.

My favorite song of AW is “We’re Still Friends“. It’s a beautiful modern jazz standard style song that’s reminiscent of Billie Holiday meets Tracy Chapman. Perfectly Perfect.

I do not like “Rehab”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great song, but it makes me cringe when a DJ plays it for an dance floor and everyone is singing along like it’s a party song. Addiction is no party.

And that is what this doc is about. The 1st half of this is a killer view of the jazz genius of a young AW. Her singing and guitar playing are the real deal right away.

As she becomes more successful in this doc, I felt like they missed out on some details, particularly her acquisition of the great Dap Kings as her band.

AW’s wonderful young disposition is quickly swallowed up by a frenzy of fame as a result of her brilliant album “Back to Black”. And it’s terrifying.

This flick does a great job of showing us what it’s like to throw an addict with additional health problems into superstardom. It’s so very sad and unnecessary. A few difficult and responsible decisions by her parents and her management could have saved AW’s life. It’s truly tragic.

The attention that this doc gives to AW’s lyrics was a great decision that I really appreciated. The editing was super effective in conveying the suffocating chaos of the paparazzi. And the music was great. 4 horns for Amy 🤘🤘🤘🤘. Tonight’s movie will Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey. ♥️You billydisaster.com #moviereview #moviereviews #amywinehouse #rockumentaries

Rockumentary Flicks With Billy Disaster #2 Last nights movie was Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey

I’ve been a metal head since my Grandmother gave me a Black Sabbath record for Christmas when I was in the 2nd grade (Masters of Reality). I wouldn’t even pay attention to any modern music after that if it didn’t have distorted guitars. Being a classical piano student, I made the connection between classical music and metal early on. I have always loved the aggression, rebellion, the visuals and technical demand of it. The 1st metal concert I saw was Metallica in 1989 and the greatest one I’ve seen was Slayer/Lamb of God/Rob Zombie. In fact I’ve never seen a bad metal show. What was your 1st and favorite?

This doc was made by Sam Dunn who it turns out I’ve seen a few other cool docs that he’s made (Iron Maiden: Flight 666, ZZ Too: That Little Old Band from Texas etc). Dunn is an anthropologist who focuses on music and making documentaries about bands and genres.

This particular documentary goes deep into many different elements of heavy metal.

Dunn explores the origins of metal (classical music and blues) and who was the 1st metal band (Black Sabbath) using interviews with Tony Iommi, the genius Getty Lee and Alice Cooper among others.

He then goes into the kind of person who gets into this kind of music. Kids with problematic home lives, people who love technically difficult music, and people who look for voices to express their views of the world regarding politics, religion and an alternative look on society.

One of the highlights of this flick was the segment with Dee Snider from Twisted Sister testifying before a Senate committee defending the effect of heavy metal. This doc doesn’t cover the incredible full story of this event but still does it’s job conveying it.

This doc touched upon a number of relevant details with metal (sub genres, gender issues, and levels of brutality and controversy)

Dunn does do a series called Metal Evolution of which makes this flick almost seem like a trailer. So far I’ve loved everything he’s done. This one gets 4 horns 🤘🤘🤘🤘. Tonight’s movie will be Gimme Danger. ♥️You Billydisaster.com

Rockumentary Flicks With Billy Disaster #3 Last nights movie was Decline of Western Civilization

Being a skateboarder in a punk rock world throughout most of my life, this flick was like visiting old friends. This movie covered a few bands in the California scene from ‘79-80, so a little before my time by about 4 years, but I feel like I knew and have hung out with everyone in this flick.

DOWC focuses on the bands Black Flag, Germs, X, Alice Bag Band, Circle Jerks, Catholic Discipline and Fear.

Highlight #1 was the Black Flag segment. I really loved Black Flag when I was a kid. Their music was at just about every skate demo or contest we were at and they have an important history in the overall Seattle grunge scene. In this flick it’s the Ron Reyes era of Black Flag which features the song “White Minority” which at first makes you think that it’s a nazi skinhead anthem until you realize that Reyes is Puerto Rican. The sarcasm is brilliant and performance is killer.

Highlight #2 was the X segment. The scene begins with shots of homemade tattoos followed by extensive conversations with Exene Cervenka and John Doe which was a bit of thrill for me as I’ve gotten to play with John Doe a couple of times. The dude is an incredible legend and it’s cool to see footage of him and X from 1980.

Highlight #3 was the Germs segment. Darby Crash is featured and it’s scary. He was such a tortured soul and, as it turns out, committed suicide right before the release of this film.

The thing I appreciated most about this flick was that every performance of a song was done start to finish. Complete with pre-song banter. The performances were fascinating.

What I didn’t like was Catholic Discipline. Claude Bessy is a douche🤮 .

But kudos to filmmaker Penelope Sheeris on making such a rad and gritty punk rock doc. 4 Horns for Decline of Civilization🤘🤘🤘🤘. Tonight’s movie will be Decline of Civilization Part II: The Metal Years. ♥️You billydisaster.com #moviereview #moviereviews #rockumentaries

Rockumentary Flicks With Billy Disaster #3 Last nights movie was Gimme Danger (2016)

Well it didn’t take long for me to do another Jim Jarmusch flick and it did not disappoint. This is a rockumentary that he made about what he calls “The Greatest Rock and Roll Band Ever”. That is certainly a subjective statement but I think it’s a fact that The Stooges are the 1st ever punk band. (Except maybe the MC5? Or perhaps The Iguanas, Iggy’s 1st band)

The story begins with how The Stooges started in 1967 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. JJ gets some great interview sessions from Iggy Pop that explore his early inspirations such as a Soupy Sales from an early tv show that sparked him to keep his lyrics 25 word or less.

Iggy Pop is so great not only because of his music and performance, but for his story telling. As much as he has to tell, he is so good at consolidating a million details into short and interesting spurts. He’s also a terrific actor in a few of Jarmusch’s films.

I really love hearing about a band’s early day and their rise to prominence and this doc does a great job of guiding us through so much of the details. I hate it when some docs just blow by the early days.

This doc has basically 3 acts. The 1st being The Stooges humble beginnings going into their creative process and getting inspire by the MC5 among others.

The 2nd act is about their days of getting signed by Elektra Records and building a reputation, getting dropped because of drugs and bad behavior, and then getting an attempted angel in David Bowie etc. and then breaking up. (There’s a lot more to all of this)

The 3rd Act painfully jumps from the early 70’s to 2003 with not a lot of information during this long hiatus. When we do arrive to 2003 we learn about The Stooges getting back together with influence from J Mascis and playing Coachella and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

This was a really cool rockumentary and did a great job of highlighting the opening guitar riff of “I Wanna be Your Dog”. One of the all time best guitar tones. 4 Horns for Gimme Danger🤘🤘🤘🤘 . Tonight’s movie will be The Decline of Western Civilization. ♥️You

Rockumentary Flicks With Billy Disaster #5 Last nights movie was The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years.

This doc focuses on the LA metal scene between 1987 and 1988. Some of the artists interviewed were Lemmy Kilmister, Ozzy, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Poison, Aerosmith and many others.

This flick ranges from the awesome, to embarrassing to tragic.

The Awesome: The opening performance of Born to be Wild by Lizzy Borden, the hilarious interview segments with Ozzy and the wisdom of Lemmy. All of which were worth the price of admission.

The Embarrassing: The interviews with Poison, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, Riki Rachtman, and especially the segment with a horrible band called Odin that made me wish Reagan had nuked the Sunset Strip. One really embarrassing scene was when this band called London tried to light a Russian flag on fire during a show but the flag wouldn’t catch. Very Spinal Tap moment. Then you have all of the interviews where every person in this movie says they were definitely gonna “make it and be rich and famous rock stars”. And that leads to…

The Tragic: Ultimately everyone in this movie was just going after the carrot of stardom in front of their nose and trying to have a youthful good time doing it. Yes the hairspray and lace and makeup on these guys was cringy but it was still performance art that certainly caught the music world’s attention. And a lot these musicians were really good players. But most of the music from that era lacked integrity and should have listened to more Motörhead than to Faster Pussycat or some shit like that (IMO). There is also the tragedy of the drug and alcohol abuse that rages through the rock and roll lifestyle which is depressingly showcased by Chris Holmes of W.A.S.P. being interviewed with his mom. It was hard to watch.

In a movie full of sleeze bags, none was worse than this dude Bill Gazzarri who hosted a “sexy rock” dance contest. Oh! And Dave Mustain🤢. I hate Dave Mustain. 3 Horns for The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years🤘🤘🤘 . Tonight’s movie will be Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap. ♥️You billydisaster.com #moviereview #moviereviews

Rockumentary Flicks With Billy Disaster #6

Last nights movie was Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap (Prime)


This was a killer doc where Ice T goes around and interviews some of the most iconic rappers about their writing process and how they feel about their careers as well as the state of hip hop itself.


The interviews with some of the biggest names in rap (Eminem, Dr. Dre, Kanye West etc.) are the headliners in the 2nd half of this flick. And they are all pretty cool, but the 1st half with the slightly less know MCs is truly great.


The 1st interview with Lord Jamar sets the stage with a conversation about his 1st days of getting into rap and the spirit of hip hop. It’s informative and super entertaining.


There are a million highlights in this but I’ll keep this as brief as possible.


Grandmaster Caz “Hip hop didn’t invent anything, it reinvented everything”. This guy is awesome, and he has beautiful handwriting.


Doug E. Fresh could be a professor of hip hop at any university. And the Inspector Gadget driven “The Show” was one of my favorite songs when I was a kid. “6 minutes Doug E. Fresh you’re on.


The genius and charismatic energy of Rakim, Q-Tip, Nas, DJ Premier and so many others make this a great time and an awesome education. I only wish that it would have had some concert footage to go along with it. That would have sent it over the top. 4 Horns for Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap🤘🤘🤘🤘 . Tonight’s movie will be Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage. ♥️You

Rockumentary Flicks With Billy Disaster #7 Last nights movie was Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage

I watched this doc last night with my homie Garcia who has been a Rush fan since he was a lower case G (early 70’s). It was rad to see it with him because his knowledge and enthusiasm for Rush helped make this super fun to watch. “Garcia, have you ever seen Rush in concert?”…”Only a few times, not nearly enough.”!

This movie was made just a couple of years before the great Neil Peart passed away. It covers their 40 year career of being a hard working, intensely talented, and misunderstood band.

Aside from the music and story, the best thing about this flick is how genuinely nice these guys are. They are also really REALLY smart with great senses of humor.

The story begins with Getty Lee and Alex Lifeson becoming nerdy friends in middle school, forming their band, and working their mother fucking asses off. They seemed to be misunderstood by just about everyone…but KISS in the early 70’s. KISS took them on tour and the rest is history.

We also get some great interviews from Danny Carey (Tool), Tim Commerford (RATM), Trent Reznor (NIN). Even Billy Corgan🤢(Smashing Pumpkins🤮) has some cool insight about Rush’s music.

There’s one hilarious segment where they talk shit about Getty Lee’s polarizing singing voice…”He sounds like a hamster in overdrive” “Mickey Mouse on helium” etc. There is also a lot of fun poking at the nerdyness of Rush and their all male fans.

The concert footage, the discussions of their musical style and virtuosity, and the focus on the albums and experiences make this a killer rockumentary. 5 Horns for Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘 . Tonight‘s movie will be Stop Making Sense. ♥️You. billydisaster.com #moviereview #moviereviews #documentaries

Rockumentary Flicks With Billy Disaster #8

Last nights movie was Stop Making Sense starring Talking Heads


Am I the only person on earth who had never seen this? It’s taking me awhile but I am catching up.


The 1st thing worth mentioning is the sound quality of the music. It sounds awesome. It’s not just a recording from the sound board, they obviously had mics placed around the theater to get the vibe of the room. I hate live recordings that are straight from the board. (I’m looking at you Nirvana).(Muddy Banks of the Wishkah)..


The next thing worth mentioning is the overall production of the show. Starting with David Byrne with just a guitar and a boom box for accompaniment for a killer version of “Psycho Killer”. Then the band and production grows with every following song. My favorite was “What a Day That Was” with the shadow lighting. And I really love that song. What about you?


Mention #3. How much coke did these guys do before this show? Jesus Christ that’s a lot of physical energy! Was it meant to be a jazzerzise video? Im still exhausted just from watching it!


Mention #4. The filmmaking by Jonathan Demme was unbelievable. You feel like you’re part of the band, the audience and the tech crew. The central shot of Byrne dancing like he’s one of those inflatable wind tube men you see at car dealerships was perfectly perfect.


Mention #5. The Band. Part Tom Tom Club, Bernie Worrell from P-Funk on keys…that band was so fucking amazing with a killer rhythm and unique style.


I loved this flick so much I watched it twice. 5 Horns for Stop Making Sense 🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘. Tonight’s movie will be 20 Feet from Stardom. ♥️You

Rockumentary Flicks With Billy Disaster #9 Last nights movie was 20 Feet From Stardom.

This doc was the story of back up singers. Most of the focus was on African American female back up singers of the highest quality.

We learn from a series of interviews from Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and the back up singers themselves among others about the thrill and the plight of life of back up singing on other and in the studio.

Why do these people, who are so incredibly talented put themselves in the position of working their asses off only to make someone else rich and famous? 1st of all, (as this flick shows) the sound and beauty of harmony vocals is reason enough for so many of them. 2nd of all, its a job in the music business which some people are just cut out for. And in this movie’s case, working for artists like Stevie Wonder. (Who wouldn’t want to do that? 3rd of all, being the featured artist is a different monster with a lot more risk and responsibility that takes a different skill set that very few artists have. And finally,…the “it” factor, 1% have “it”, 99% don’t.

Many of these back up singers cut their teeth singing in church. And many of them found jobs in studios with deals from labels to provide vocals for the artists recoding records. There’s a shitload of super well known songs by different artists that all have the same back up singers in them. (Same rhythm sections etc. too.) It’s fascinating.

Some of these women try to break out on their own to try to “make it” and fail. A few break through. We also learn what a dick Phil Specter was. Same with Ike Turner, (but we already knew that).

The extraordinary talent and passion these folks have is really fun to watch and I wish I could just sit and listen to them rehearse. It was a cool doc but is towards the back of the line in this Rockumentary series. 3 Horns for 20 Feet From Stardom 🤘🤘🤘. Tonight’s movie will be Echo in the Canyon. ♥️You

Rockumentary Flicks With Billy Disaster #10 Last nights movie was Echo in the Canyon.

This doc was with Jacob Dylan doing a concert playing music that came out of the Laurel Canyon area in the 1960s . Intertwined are interviews with people who made that music like Crosby Stills and Nash, Eric Clapton, Brian Wilson, and MY NEW CELEBRITY GIRLFRIEND MICHELLE PHILLIPS!! Damn she was stunning back in her Mamas and the Papas days! Wow!

There are also interviews with the artists that participated in the concert like Beck, Cat Power, and Nora Jones♥️ among others.

This flick explores the awesome vibe and creativity that was present in Laurel Canyon in the 60s that resulted in some of the greatest music of that era. Most noteably Buffaloe Springfield, The Beach Boys and The Mamas and the Papas. There is some cool old footage of those days as well as some pretty good stories about the experiences with those that experienced it.

However, this wasn’t a well made documeantary. As much as it featured some intersesting people with their great music, it lacked any sort of story that builds into any thing. Its just a bunch of snippets of the cool shit that happened there. And it seemed like Jacob Dylan was just using it as an excuse to promote himself singing with music stars who CRUSH him in the talent department. He’s a decent musician and seems like a nice dude, but he should’ve taken himself out of this and focused on the subject at hand. And he spends about 45 seconds on the fact that Frank Zappa was a big part of this scene? Please. 2 Horns for Echo in the Canyon🤘🤘 . Welp thats it for now for Rockumentary Flicks. I hope you’ll join me for Marvel Flicks With Billy Disaster! ♥️You billydisater.com #moviereview #moviereviews

Rockumentary Flicks With Billy Disaster #11 (Bonus Edition!). Last nights movie was KISStory (A&E 2021)

As a kid in the 70s, like pretty much every other kid, KISS were my super heros. They didn’t exist in the real world. They were from outer space and from hell below. Their music was very much secondary for me (youth) but whenever I saw anything with even the slightest glimpse of them or their logo, my imagination went crazy. I wish to god that I could have seen them play in the 70s.

I remember when they announced that they were going to reveal their faces without makeup on MTV in the 80s. I made damn sure I was tuning in and it was a big moment. What followed in their 80s MTV years era was umm…embarrassing. Thank god they acknowledge it in tis doc.

Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons come across as endearing and its cool how this flick spends a lot of time reflecting on their long friendship.

As Ive learned more about KISS, my favorite thing about them is their resume of helping launch Rush and Van Halen in the 70s. KISS draws a lot of criticism for many things but there’s no question that their legacy is incredible for many more right reasons.

This doc does a good job of scratching the surface of that legacy and It’s rad seeing them in this light. 4 Horns for KISStory 🤘🤘🤘🤘. ♥️You Billydisaster.com #moviereview #moviereviews #kiss #kisstory

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