King of Punk: DVD

Jan 23, 2008

King of Punk is the latest in a recent glut of documentaries that aim to offer a recounting of punk’s history. Like many of the others, it offers up interviews with lotsa people involved in the early days of punk (Joey Shithead of DOA, Penelope Houston of the Avengers, Marky Ramone, Wayne/Jayne County, and the Dead Boys’ Cheetah Chrome) and hardcore (Dave and Ron from MDC, Wattie from the Exploited, and a couple of Abrasive Wheels) all of whom recount tales and offer insight into those much-ballyhooed days of yore. Unlike others, however, it also recounts the trials and tribulations of a more recent small, all-femme punk band. While there is much to praise in how both story lines are handled (kudos to all involved for mixing up the usual suspects with lesser seen folks like Jack Rabid, Robert from the Zeros/Catholic Discipline, and Charlie from the UK Subs; thanks also for having the foresight to include the guy running shows and putting out records to illustrate that there is still an active underground happening below the, uh, Warped impression being hawked in the mainstream), the resulting film is a bit schizophrenic in its delivery, with both threads neither quite intersecting nor paralleling enough to keep things on track. How are the women of OBGYN a continuation of the tenets and values espoused by their antecedents? Are they “punk” because they play simplistic, snotty rock music, because they claim to be influenced by the Velvet Underground and the Stooges, or is there something deeper going on? In the end, this is much, much better than some, but still feels like it just never quite gels. –Jimmy Alvarado (