VARIOUS ARTISTS: Wassup Rockers Soundtrack: CD

In the interest of full disclosure, I gotta say that, speaking as an older Latino punk who spent most of his life playing punk rock, this CD and the related movie really fucking bug me. It’s not the music on here—courtesy of South Central Riot Squad, Defiance, The Revolts, The Retaliates, The Remains and L.A.’s Moral Decay (not to be confused with the ‘80s band Moral Decay, who tore shit up in the SGV back in the ‘80s)—that irks me. It’s just more of that certain breed of hardcore that kids have slammed to in L.A. backyards since the ‘80s, nothing more, nothing less. No, what really pisses me off is the apparent seediness of the whole Wassup Rockers trip. Putting aside the supposed questionable, lurid motives and controversy over director Larry Clark’s—who first came to prominence with the movie Kids—selection of subject matter for this and his previous films, I’m more than a little curious about how the leads for Rockers—a bunch of South Central Latino skatepunks upon which the whole shebang, from subject matter to script to stunts to soundtrack, is based—were financially compensated for their work. Did they receive proper compensation for playing principal roles? Did they get stunt pay for doing their own stunts? Although numerous articles indicate the script was based on their stories and that they ad-libbed much of their dialogue, they didn’t receive writing credit. Is it safe to assume, then, that they also weren’t given screenwriters wages for their efforts? Finally, for their efforts on the soundtrack being reviewed, will they be receiving writing and performance royalties for their inclusion here? Judging from the demo-quality-at-best recordings of the songs included (and finding no “recorded at” credits anywhere on the CD insert or tray card, one is led to assume that they indeed compiled this from assorted demos), my guess is the answer to all of the above would be a resounding “no.” I seem to remember Tony Adolescent once saying that the sum total he received for the inclusion of “Amoeba” on the soundtrack to SLC Punk was one copy of the soundtrack, and I’m willing to bet that’s the case here, at best. The thing is, if they’re gonna fuck these kids out of all that is due to them, the least they could’ve done is sprung for a really good recording session for their bands. At worst, that would’ve cost a couple of weekends with a computer rigged with ProTools and someone who knew how to use it. My suggestion is to seek out the bands on the Internet, get their demos directly from them and ignore the film and its soundtrack.

 –jimmy (Record Collection)