Blowing the Dust Off Punk Record Collections
Filmmaker Jason Blackmore on his new doc Records Collecting Dust II
"Basically, instead of starting my 50th band, I wanted to try something different," Jason Blackmore laughed. The 48-year-old San Diego-based punk musician-turned-filmmaker has just finished making Records Collecting Dust II, a documentary featuring punk/hardcore/alternative/metal musicians talking about their musical evolution through the records they've bought and enjoyed over the years. It makes its Texas debut this week at the Alamo Ritz – appropriate, considering its history as one of the city's premier punk/hardcore venues.
"I didn't go to school for film [but] I just love musical documentaries," added Blackmore, a veteran of bands like Molly McGuire and Rats Eyes, among others. "I'm a fan of anything you can get lost in, filled with information, checking out different cultures and scenes. Like I love watching hip-hop documentaries, and to me hip-hop goes hand-in-hand with punk rock or hardcore."
Coming from punk rock, a culture where you create with whatever tools are at hand, regardless of qualifications, Blackmore did not see why he couldn't make his own punkumentary. After initially discussing it with his wife as a film about hardcore record collectors, he then hit upon a more compelling tack. "Wouldn't it be cool to talk to musicians about their record collections, and/or the bands that influenced them?"
For the first Records Collecting Dust, he worked with a bare-bones crew, filming West Coast punk heroes in their living rooms, surrounded by their record shelves. He caught gold, including Black Flag/Circle Jerks/Off! vocalist Keith Morris rhapsodizing over him and his friend Chuck taking a $50 bill Chuck found in his parents' fruit bowl to buy two copies of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Or former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra insisting, "I just wanted access to a whole fallout shelter of good songs to protect me from crappy radio."
Records Collecting Dust II could almost be subtitled East Coast Edition. Among the 28 seminal Eighties punk/hc legends interviewed: Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat, Fugazi), Brian Baker (Dag Nasty, Bad Religion), Government Issue's Tom Lyle, Cro-Mags' John Joseph, DYS/Dag Nasty/All/Down by Law singer Dave Smalley, Agnostic Front's Roger Miret, and Suburban Voice editor Al Quint. As with RCD1, many mosh pit heroes confess to Kiss/Led Zeppelin/Hendrix records igniting their music mania. The comedy money shot's courtesy Last Rights/Negative FX/Slapshot singer Choke musing about how records were once purchased for cool cover art. Meat Loaf's Bat out of Hell cured him of that: Blackmore said, "He took it home, put it on, and thought, 'What the fuck?!'"
After breaking to "do whatever my wife wants to do," Blackmore envisions RCD3 being Midwest-bound. But, he added, "A few folks have asked, 'Why isn't this a show on Viceland?' You can travel the world with this concept, talking to these people from the punk/alternative/hardcore/metal underground about the records and bands that got them into music in the first place."
Viceland? How'd you like to feature Nick Cave or Johnny Marr talking about their formative records? Jason Blackmore awaits your call.
Records Collecting Dust II @Alamo Ritz, Sunday, Aug. 19, 3:30pm