Badsville: I Love Rock’n’Roll But These People Don’t

“It’s part concert film, part documentary” says the copy on the postcard promoting this event. They forgot to mention the other part that’s so pitifully rock cliched and pathetically hip. Yes, everything you wanted to know and probably didn’t really WANT to know about the sleazy Los Angeles rock community culminates in this spastically edited, idol worship cinema tragedy. My male companion the esteemed New Times and Razorcake contributor returned from a jaunt over to the restroom where he saw one of the members of Dragbeat, a featured artist in the film, pounding his head against the wall and chanting, “Why? Oh why did I say all those stupid things?” The screening room was thick with the cloud of regret and remorse. Yes, there are many stupid things being said by stupid people about stupid places and stupid situations, but then again there are many smart things said in this film by smart people involved in this music scene—mainly the “survivors” of the scene who have been/seen/done it all. These horrifically dolt experiences translate as a grain of wisdom to the wannabe’s still out there—glamorizing and canonizing these “rock stars” but for the most part, stupidity reigns and I was getting quite bored of watching the endless dribble coming out of these people’s mouths. I was sincerely hoping they would say something I would give two shits about but most of the interviews deal with bragging shamelessly about who gave them a record deal and which label dropped them from their roster. Then while displaying a stupendous range of cerebral dexterity, the conversation veers towards the usual drinking and drug stories of a rag tag band of rock’n’roll fools. I give up!
Let it be knownst that the bands featured here represent only a slight portion of the Los Angeles music scene. Plain folks who watch this film should be aware that there are countless other bands that were not featured in the film, making a whole different kind of sound with a whole other set of beliefs, morals and ethics. This sloppy sketch of the mainly Hollywood, decadent rock scene features the The Superbees, Extra Fancy, Throwrag, Texas Terri and The Stiff Ones, Bubble (great insight from the drumer a surviving bastion of the hair metal days. He spins the weave of tales you wished you could tell at that age- that is IF you make it that far), the aforementioned Dragbeat, Coyote Shivers (live singing about wanting to make a million bucks and complaining about being down and out), The Streetwalking Cheetahs, The Hangmen, etc. Jesus, are these people as shallow and as one dimension as the film portrays them to be? I’m willing to bet that there are a few of them with a functioning brain cell left that can hold an interesting conversation that does not involve pussy, booze, drugs and rock—Ha! Who’s kidding who here? The main point to remember while reading this is to clench your teeth and fist and call bloody murder if you were in this film. The other point is to remember that not all musicians in Los Angeles are “in it to win it.” We all don’t care if Tom Zutaut signs our band. We don’t want to play at the Opium Den every fucking night. Some bands out of Los Angeles actually have a heart and tons of spirit that comes through when they play; they just weren’t featured in this film. Badville’s interpretation of the music scene leaves a bitter taste in one’s mouth. What’s also sad about this expose is that it’s happening in every city around the world! Yikes the asshole quotient rises! It’s a bitter pill I’d rather not swallow. – Namella J. Kim (Acetate Records, 2020 Broadway, 2nd Floor, Santa Monica, CA90404)