I Need A New Drug or Ten Great Alt-Rock Documentaries pt1

For all us obsessed music fans who love to dig deeper into the psyche of our favourite bands, documentaries are the gold mine that allow that little peek. Of course, don’t scratch too far beneath the surface or you might rub away some of the sheen.

  1. Color Me Obsessed: A Film About The Replacements

How do you tell a story about a band without their music, archival footage or band participation? Color Me Obsessed answers the question by having fans, critics and obsessed music geeks tell the story of the world’s most contrarian band.

 

  1. Smashing Pumpkins: If All Goes Wrong

After the debacle that was the Billy Corgan solo record, filming began on If All Goes Wrong. This 2007 film sees Corgan resume the Pumpkins name with only Jimmy Chamberlain coming back in the fold. Surprisingly, the audiences in the film are indifferent towards new material causing Corgan to wonder about artistic expression and commercial success.

 

  1. Upside Down: The Creation Records Story

One part bands, another part attitude Creation records gets a worthy and shocking documentary. Not only does it feature the story of some Brit-pops best bands, but also how the vision and overwhelming hubris of one man, Alan McGee whose own trials saw the rise and fall of a very influential independent record label.

 

  1. DIG! (Dandy Warhols & Brian Jonestown Massacre)

Decried as more fiction than documentary by the bands involved, DIG! has absolute Spinal Tap moments with band disagreements and so-called ‘dust ups’ that leave no one unscathed. Two rival bands attempting to rise above obscurity in the midst of rockstar excess without the benefit of having been rockstars first.

 

  1. The Flaming Lips: The Fearless Freaks

Chronicling the history of the self proclaimed “art-rock” band whose origins go back to the 70’s, director Bradley Beesley films the band over a fifteen year span covering from 1990 until 2005. The evolution of a band from “no talent garage rockers” to “alt-rock pioneers” is both frightening and life affirming.

Please Billy … or William… Whatever, Just Shut the ^%$& Up! Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream

simesedream

A very long time ago I learned that you had to separate the artist from the art. Let’s face it, some of today’s biggest talents are, um, ah… well, afflicted with acute asshole disease. ‘Smack talk’ amongst themselves (other celebrities) is generally the first sign that they need help, but it just doesn’t stop there. Take Jack White; first he starts dissing Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys for “stealing his sound” and then he publically goes after Meg White who is soft spoken, shy, and knows will never say anything back. (He would later apologize for both.) Of course there are dozens of other instances, let’s not forget “rider-gate” a few weeks ago, but let’s get to Billy.

A couple months back mister Corgan was quoted as saying that Kurt Cobain was his only peer, and that everyone else just basically sucked in comparison. Then he anointed himself king by pointing out that his he had a more ‘enduring body of work’ than Pearl Jam. As if that wasn’t enough, he went on a tirade about how much better he was than Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters, this despite the fact that the Pumpkins haven’t released a relevant album since the 1990’s. Then only a week or two ago, an audience broke out into “Happy Birthday” during his show. Instead of simply taking the compliment, he chastised them because he wants to be called “William” now.

Now first off, over the long history of the Pumpkins, I’ve got to give Corgan props. He has always tried to give his fans something to cheer about in terms of releasing B-Sides and collectibles across various formats over the years. Hell, seven years before Radiohead dropped In Rainbows to fans in a “pay what you want” initial campaign, Corgan put out Machina II/The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music over the internet for free. So in terms of fan treatment as a business decision, he mostly gets it. But in actual live situations… where a microphone sits in front of him for the purpose of talking…

machina

Well, William – Dude… of all the 90’s era rock acts I have ever seen, I only walked out on 1 – The Smashing Pumpkins at Lollapalooza. I went expecting a great show by your band. Believe me, L7, The Breeders, George Clinton, and the Beastie Boys brought it that day. However, Billy, you just had to open your mouth to talk. You rambled some shit about the country you were visiting (Canada), and then kept at it. Instead of playing, you kept speaking in a condescending tone to your audience. I knew that day I wouldn’t go to another Pumpkins show, because you just can’t put your ego aside when your outside the studio.

Still, there is no denying the power of the music. You rock… you put out some great records. Furthermore, as artists go, I like what you have done. I may not have followed you on the musical journey past the Machina albums, as it wasn’t really to my taste, but I appreciate your statements about the growth of artists… it’s just that I have a problem with people whose arrogance leads to self proclamation.  “I’m better than – fill in the blank”, just makes you sound like a dink. There is no need to raise yourself on the backs of your peers. You can certainly have an opinion, but remember that sometimes it makes you sound both petty and idiotic.

The result is, now when I put on your records around friends, we don’t discuss how fantastic the music is, we start by rolling our eyes about what obnoxious crap you did recently.

Siamese Dream is a fantastic work, and when it came to a special edition vinyl, I had to grab it. I have no regrets about what music sits in my collection, and I’ll continue to buy your music if I find it interesting. I’m still a fan, but please Bil… William, I’m begging you man – SHUT THE FUCK UP!