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Old 08-13-2010, 01:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Decline Of The Western Civilization - Part 2 - The Metal Years

Decline Of The Western Civilization - Part 2 - The Metal Years

Part 2 of a three part trilogy by filmmaker Penelope Spheeris documents the decadent days of the hair band scene in Los Angeles around 1988. Sure that may sound like the musical equivalent of a root canal but this cult favorite is just too hard to pass up and must be seen if you haven't. It centers around concert footage and interviews with musicians and fans alongside various scenes showing the sleazy LA rock scene of the late 80's.

Its been bandied about in recent years amongst musical historians that this very film may well have played a role in the downfall of the hair band scene and for good reason. It holds nothing back and does a fantastic job exposing the shameless decadence and excess for which the scene was notorious. Some argue the over the top rock stars and brain dead fans shown along side sophomoric, almost comical performances and trashy club scenes made the whole thng look ridiculous in the eyes of the fans who flocked to see it. Keep in mind not everybody shown in this film looks like a complete moron and a few interviews and performances really shine through and provide a nice balance.

Anyway its a little slice of modern music history sitting online free for the viewing if you're interested and trust me its worth a viewing.
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Old 08-13-2010, 02:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Wow, I had no idea there were multiple DoWC's. Thanks for posting this.

As most would guess, I've seen the original Decline of Western Civilization millions of times. It's one of those definitive punk rock movies. It did a lot for the scene. I don't think this movie had the same effect on the 80's metal scene. I think it really showed how little substance that music scene had. It was all about the sex. Hell, I think the silly, preplanned Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley interview scenes alone did a pretty good job of focusing the light on that.

That was everything the 80's hair metal scene stood for though: sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.

I haven't quite finished it yet, but plan to a bit later and may have more to say afterward. So far, a very good and interesting watch, though...
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Old 08-13-2010, 11:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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No problem, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I love the first movie too, it was wonderful and like you said did a lot to turn people on to the scene...this one not so much...the words train wreck and embarrassing come to mind. Try to track down the third if you can, I haven't seen it in years but it revolves around homeless punk rock in the late 90's around LA. If I remember right it was pretty fascinating.

I don't know if you've gotten to it yet but if you think the Simmons/Stanley shit was corny wait until the get to the part with Chris Holmes of wasp, its almost horrifying in a way. OH and my god, the stick up her ass women with her "heavy metal deprogramming" program, seriously how much more 80's rock could you get with out a puritanical battle axe going on about satan and heavy metal.

But yeah that whole scene was just a giant microcosm of what the 80's were all about excess, fame, money, designer drugs, irresponsible sex (at the height of aids hysteria none the less) and this film really did a good job turning the glamor that stations like MTV worked so hard to associate with it into something that just looked kind of sad and ridiculous. Average Joe music fan just couldn't relate to the bands in this film in the way they could in the first one and it probably did more to turn people on to the burgeoning college/alt scene, early grunge bands (a lot of those bands were getting signed around the time this came out) and thrash metal then anything else.

Hope you enjoy the rest and look forward to hearing what you think, I always love a good discussion about music.
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