The Holy Modal Rounders
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Dec. 21, 2007
The Holy Modal RoundersBound to Lose(Badbird)
The Holy Modal Rounders were an anomaly: too weird for the NYC folk scene they inhabited in the early 1960s, too unconventional to be considered a straight-ahead rock or psych band. Perhaps that's why Bound to Lose is so bittersweet. Beginning with the genesis of fiddler Pete Stampfel and guitarist Steve Weber's relationship, the film treads heavily along its rocky path. Interviews by filmmakers Paul C. Lovelace and Sam Wainwright Douglas show the effects of drugs – heroin and alcohol for Weber and speed for Stampfel – but they add a human touch to their contentious coupledom. Interviews and footage from the HMR's debut on Laugh-In, with a shot of former drummer Sam Shepard ("We were on Laugh-In?" he asks), add levity, but the crux is the men's relationship, and the tipping point is a 40th anniversary concert in Portland, Ore., that assures us they'll always be an anomaly.