Attn: 'Mats fans. A documentary is in the works. [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


View Full Version : Attn: 'Mats fans. A documentary is in the works.

12-01-2006, 10:52 AM
They're calling it "Color Me Obsessed", although that may be the working title. I know there's a fairly large contingent of fans on the board that may be interested.


12-01-2006, 01:25 PM

Just saw We Jam Econo, about the Minutemen. The Ramones docu is probably a better production, but there's a lot more footage to draw from and the backstory is more involved. But the Minutemen thing is great for filling in blanks on an era, early 80s, that's just woefully underrepresented in many ways. In a time when "classic rock" was in steep decline, and most punk rock band had either broken up or grown up or changed their direction, there was a strong underground scene that was mostly centered around hardcore that was arguably the most ignored youth movement of the past 50 years that could claim that it was in fact reasonably popular. With, of course, no radio play, just about no exposure in any form of popular culture, and no major record labels remotely interested in signing such bands...until Elektra dared touch the later, watered-down PiL, MCA went after the later, watered-down Damned, etc. And, of course, Warner Brothers signed Husker Du, with Sire picking up the Mats. But by 1985-86 there was probably some semblance of magic gone from the bags of tricks of bands like that which didn't make for anything resembling a smooth transition.

I'm all for anything that sheds more light on that period. Another State Of Mind is, as recently mentioned, another good 'un, but I also like Penelope Spheeris' fictional 'Suburbia,' which was pretty interesting as well. I think it was the first thing she did after The Decline Of Western Civilization, and it was a nice document on underground youth culture. But there just wasn't & isn't much else, even today. I'll be very happy to see something on the Mats, and though Husker Du is equally deserving for that treatment, to me the Mats were the better band, the best American band of the 1980s, perhaps on the planet.

Can't wait.

12-03-2006, 07:17 AM
I'll watch it. I'm mixed about the Replacements. I've listed to Let It Be tons and do love that album and they have some great songs spread around, but I think their overall output was kinda spotty and that they were helped out critically by the utter lack of any other decent rock bands during the mid 80s when hair metal was all the rage and Madonna and Debbie Gibson ruled the airwaves. I mean, they were a good band, but I just always seem to see critics salivate over them way more than seems necessary.

Anyway...I'll still be looking forward to the flick.

And, yeah Subuirbia was a really fun movie. It's actually on DVD now...unlike Decline of Western Civilization, my favorite document of the era. Watching a very young Flea and his pet rat is a kick. And, the live stuff with DI and TSOL is great to see.

Oh...and for other documents of the hardcore culture, check out Desperate Teenage Lovedolls and the sequal Lovedoll Superstars. There's a smattering of LA hardcore icons throughout and some backing tracks from Red Kross and Black Flag on the first and the sorta higher budget (although still bargain basement) sequal has a bunch of different bands on it.

12-03-2006, 07:40 AM
I'll watch it. I'm mixed about the Replacements. I've listed to Let It Be tons and do love that album and they have some great songs spread around, but I think their overall output was kinda spotty and that they were helped out critically by the utter lack of any other decent rock bands during the mid 80s when hair metal was all the rage and Madonna and Debbie Gibson ruled the airwaves.

There were plenty, but you wouldn't find them on the "airwaves" with the likes of Madonna and Debbie Gibson. How about XTC, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Pixies, The Smiths, The Pogues, Violent Femmes, The Clash, Chameleons, Sisters of Mercy, Dead Kennedys, Jesus and Mary Chain, Joy Division, Midnight Oil, Psychedelic Furs, the Police, Roxy Music. And that's just off the top, but if I went thru my cd collection I'm sure I could find another 20 or 30 that would fit the bill. Anybody else care to chime in?

I thought you were in my age group and would appreciate many of those I listed, but perhaps you're a bit younger and only know about worst of the 80s, like hair metal and Debbie Gibson, but there was certainly plenty of good music back then, and I'm a bit surprised by your response.


12-03-2006, 11:36 AM
I agree with you in a listed quite a few bands I was quite fond of...still am. But, most of all of them were not really so much a straight up rock band as I would consider the Replacements. A lot of those were new wavey/synthy/quirky or just a different animal. It seems like the Replacements are much more of a straight ahead rock 'n' roll band than most of what was going on at the time. They sounded pretty punky at first, but by the time they had a couple albums under their belts, they pretty much lost that and never did get into that more polished new wave angle.

Outside maybe someone like Springsteen, who was way too big to be a critical darling by the 80s, I just didn't hear many bands playing the conventional rock style like the Replacements too much. So, they kinda took the heart of every music writer that longed for more good ol' rock 'n' my mind at least to some degree through a lack of similar competition.

12-03-2006, 03:48 PM
I don't know, man...when hair metal & Debbie Gibson ruled the airwaves, I remember quite a bit of 'rock' that was perhaps more straightforward than some of the more 'new wave' or 'new music' bands that Swish listed, and less punk than, say, 'Stink.' And I've always heard the mid-80s Mats as having put together far more good work. By mid-decade, Husker Du were relatively 'straightforward,' perhaps not in a Bruce Springsteen sense, but after Zen Arcade, their albums became less noisy & more song-oriented. If the Minutemen had stayed together following Three-Way Tie, all bets are off, but we know what happened. Soul Asylum was always pretty straightforward, and, I dare say, better live than the 'Mats, though I hadn't seen them in their prime. The Meat Puppets were being compared to the Grateful Dead by their 3rd album. Then there was Jason & the Scorchers...outfits like Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians...I never saw any reason to not consider the Hoodoo Gurus to be 'straightforward...' The Ramones, though in decline, were still around. X put out followups to More Fun In The New World, which had been a big critical success. Don't forget about Billy Idol. Well, he's not a 'band,' but neither was Marshall Crenshaw. Or Iggy.

In the era of Corey Hart, none of these people sounded like the Birthday Party or even the Cure, they were mostly making fairly straightforward rock records that, unlike what passed for rock at the time, sounded like what I think we would mostly agree a 'rock' record sounds like. Specifically, mostly involving song structures that weren't too far outside a straightforward pop model, and, just as significantly, mostly avoiding the production techniques that were in vogue at the time, especially with regards to drum sounds, an overabundance of synths, and, to a slightly lesser extent, guitar sound processing.

Hey, there's no rule that says that anybody has to share anyone else's view about a band. But I think there was a fairly decent pool of 'rock' bands that weren't so 'weird' or whatever, even if they were considered 'college radio' bands at the time, or what people began increasingly referring to as 'alternative.' The term 'alternative' never made sense to me when I listened to records like 'Tim.' Alternative to what? Lots of bands that I thought of as just plain 'rock' were tagged with that label because radio didn't touch anything that wasn't on a major, and there just wasn't enough appeal for the people who weren't big 'rock' fans yet crossed over for superstar acts like U2 & Bruce Springsteen. A good portion of those audiences were just as likely to be fans of, respectively, dance music (some later British 'new wave,' some more along the lines of Madonna), or dinosaur classic rock bands. But most people who dug the huge rock acts of the era had no use for bands like the Replacements. I've always thought it was because, after a decade of AOR, they were starting to get used to being forcefed only the familiar. There was no frame of reference for most bands not signed to major labels. And it's not like the audience all of a sudden closed its mind, because there were still bands like the Hooters breaking through. But I get the feeling that their publicity machine had a much easier time with them than whoever it was that had to present the Replacements to interviewers, label execs, radio station people, etc. Oh, and then there was MTV...and for a bunch of guys with sculpted mullets who teased their hair & wore makeup, their anti- stance doesn't make much sense, does it. But then I knew a bunch of people who loved the Smiths, Bauhaus, the Cure, etc., and for them...the Replacements were too 'rock.' That didn't make a heck of a lot of sense, either, but try telling that to people who thought the Damned were a better goth band than a punk band, who thought Public Image was brilliant but had no use for the Sex Pistols. Although...the reverse snobbery was perhaps a bit easier to understand. Especially given the tendencies of adolescents towards cliques & uniforms.

If the Mats had provided just a bit more in the way of a reasonable stance towards building an audience, then I think that hipster critic stance, which in this case I agree with, might look a little different in retrospect. But I do think they faced some competition, and they were just heads & shoulders above anyone that was around at that time.

12-03-2006, 04:26 PM
Well, I guess it's just splitting hairs, but for me most of the bands you listed were doing something very different than the Replacements. Jason & the Scorchers were more country than rock. Hitchock never had the balls to really rock...way more pop...although I do like some of his stuff. X was still putting out records but their best days were behind them and didn't really provide much competition for anyone after More Fun in the New World. Same with the Ramones, who were way more defined as a punk band with no change in sight. Marshal Crenshaw again is more of that pop thing to me.

Never was much into Soul Asylum, so can't say much there...although you've made me curious about them live since I've seen bands as well who were much better than expected live. I also remember seeing them grouped with the Replacements around that time, so that could be one to look into. Speaking of bands I liked better live than on record...and poking a hole in my own arguement would be the Smithereens. Meat Puppets I only really listened to their first one then they disappeared for me until I heard them on the radio in the 90s and wondered what had happened. So...maybe that's a gap.

Don't get me wrong, I like the Replacements. I just think that they really were one of the few bands working in their genre of any quality at all and it made them stand out more than maybe they otherwise would have. The 80s were way shiny and bright out side the punk stuff which spawned the Replacements, but which they really sounded nothing like after a couple albums. The 70s and the 90s were flush with guitar driven, scraggly rock. The 80s, not so when a band took that route, they stood out.

Its kinda like you saying alternative never made sense in reference to an album like Tim. While most bands were either jumping trends on the radio or trying to do something different or put a big twist on something, the Replacements just came at you with good, soild rock songs...something I do like.

I think I better go listen to Hootenany now.

12-12-2006, 06:48 PM
They're calling it "Color Me Obsessed", although that may be the working title. I know there's a fairly large contingent of fans on the board that may be interested.


I can't hardly wait!


The Replacements (along with Husker Du, Sonic Youth, R.E.M, the Meat Puppets and the Minutemen) saved me from hair metal hell back in the mid-80's... It was really like discovering a brand new flavor (or drug if you may) after doing the same thing for years and years... so they'll always hold a place in my heart.. their output really didn't start to get "spotty" until DON'T TELL A SOUL.. but even TIM and PLEASED TO MEET ME each had a couple throwaway tracks..