Sunday, October 6, 2013

D.O.A. (A Punk Documentary) DVD

I bought a bootleg of this DVD while I was on vacation and I have to say this is one impressive mess of a documentary.

When I first saw it I thought it was going to be about Canadian punk pioneers DOA, but then I pulled it out and saw Johnny Rotten's face. I turned it over and looked at the back and this is what it says:

"D.O.A. is a documentary chronicling the dog days of the first wave of punk rockers. Most already famous but others never to be, this is a train-wreck-fascinating look into the lives of a generation deciding personally if there really wasn't a future. See Sid Vicious nodding off in bed with his girlfriend Nancy, the girl everyone hated, who would be found dead of a half-inch deep stab wound in the very same bed only a few months later."

I then looked at the bands involved. The Sex Pistols, Terry and The Idiots, The Dead Boys The Rich Kids, Generation X, The Clash, Stiv Bators, X-Ray Spex and Sham 69.

I decided to take a chance. Once I got home I tried to look this thing up on the IMDB and came up with nothing. Apparently this was done in 1981 by someone named Lech Kowalski.

The DVD starts with a baby's conformation, and it just gets weirder from there a lot of stock footage of riots and various punk rockers.

The film loosely follows the Sex Pistols on their ill fated US Tour, I say loosely because there is a lot of stuff in between.

We see the Pistols play in Atlanta, GA and for some stupid reason we have subtitles. Why do we need subtitles for the Sex Pistols?

We have a GLC member go on about how bad the punks are, this person is never identified.

Then we have Mary Whitehouse of the "Anti-Smut Crusade" who says, "I'm not shocked by punk I'm shamed by it."

We then meet Terry Sylvester of Terry and the Idiots, he talks about how it's tough being a punk and how tough it is to get a job and how his mum and dad want him to get a proper job.

Ironically we only see his band play once to a disastrous set, which he walks off, because the band is too nervous to play. I find Terry pretty interesting in his insight and honestly. He also calls himself and outcast with no friends. He also tells a funny story about how to bake banana bread, which is just a dirty joke, still it's kind of funny.

We are then treated to X-Ray Spex "Bondage up Yours."

An unnamed Warner Brothers person talks about problems getting the Sex Pistols to the states and sums the music industry up pretty well,"We're not a non-profit organization." Indeed.

The Rich Kids play "Pretty Vacant,"

This brings us to John (It think that's his name the titling on this thing is horrible) Guinness the er to the Guinness fortune. He aquates punks with people who wish that they lived in another time to see people ripped to pieces.

A pretty funny quote from someone at a Sex Pistols show who claims to be in the "industry" saying, "Punk is not a valid music format in the states."

We are introduced to Bernard Brook Partridge of the GLC, who goes on about how much he hates punks and the Sex Pistols in particular. For some reason I find him pretty funny and very arrogant.

Now we have the Sex Pistols in Memphis on Elvis' birthday. We meet an Elvis impersonator and Elvis fans.

I could go on and on about this DVD, but quite honestly It all seems kind of pointless.

The Jesus Freaks at the Sex Pistols gig in Tulsa, OK is pretty funny.

I'm really not sure why The Dead Boys are on this DVD. They play one song, never talk to the band it just seems like the decided that they need some US punk band thrown in for the hell of it.

The interview of Sid and Nancy is pathetic in so many levels. They just come across as the pathetic junkies that they were. Sid keeps passing out and Nancy is well Nancy, she comes across as being annoying and an enabler of Sid's drug use. She makes the comment that, "He's been sick for the last three months," No shit, that's because they were trying to keep him clean the whole time and he was going through heroin withdrawal. Like I said pathetic.

They also interview some guy about bondage gear.

Sham 69 play a couple of songs.

And we end with the Pistols playing in San Francisco.

All in all would I watch this again? I don't know not for a long time. There was a lot of potential to this, but I think in the end it just falls short. I left some stuff out of my review just to make it a little shorter. It just seemed like it was thrown together  in a hodge podge of  chaos.

So, if you see this for cheep, watch it. I'd say that it's on the same level as early punk documentaries of the UK scene. I have one in mind but I can't remember the name of it.

Just a couple of questions: Did Terry and the Idiots ever release anything? Also, why do they have Dead Boys and Stiv Bators listed when we never see Stiv away from the Dead Boys stuff?

Oh, I guess I'll never know.

This was released by Digital Underground.


Brian Guy

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