Murder City Devils — Rock & Roll Won't Wait
Unlike Penelope Spherris' "Decline of Western Civilization", this documentary isn't about a "scene", it follows one band, The Murder City Devils over a year on tour. A punk band formed out of the last gasp of 90s Seattle, The Murder City Devils aren't innovative, they aren't showy, they don't have much of anything to say, and for the most part, they aren't very good, and they certainly weren't successful. Which is what makes this DVD so interesting because it shows how much the music business is based on a constant stream of failure.
A conservative estimate is that 8 out of 10 recording acts loose money, but most people never see that, blinded by the glamorous lights of show-business.
In this one-hour documentary, the highlight of the band's career is an interview with Nardwuar the Human Serviette about the band opening a show for Pearl Jam. Like they say, yep, it doesn't get better than this.
There are some of the usual bits from touring, dealing with equipment, trying to get paid, having the van break down, but there is none of the cleverness or insight which you find in Henry Rollins' "Get In The Van".
The rise of the Seattle scene in the early 90s was better documented in Peter Bagge's "Hate" comic, in particular issues #8 and #9 where Buddy Bradley becomes the manager for a band, "Leonard and the Love Gods". "Rock & Roll Won't Wait" shows that Bagge wasn't far off the mark.
The closest comparison to to this DVD would be Bruce MacDonald's feature film "Hard Core Logo" which was about the reunion tour of a fictional punk band (things don't end well). However "Hard Core Logo" had the benefit of a pool of successful talent to draw on for the music.
The "Rock & Roll Won't Wait" DVD includes a trailer, two music videos, and a choice of stereo and 5.1 sound (though I don't have a surround sound system, so I can't really tell you anything about it). The documentary is split between concert footage and interviews (including the Roadie, Gabe's parents). The DVD is an excellent look at what being in a rock band is really like.