Tag Archives: Rock and roll

The Best Rock ‘n’ Roll Movies


I like movies, and I like rock ‘n’ roll.  You probably already knew (or assumed) that.  These are some of my favorite music-related films.  What are yours?

AirheadsAirheads – Such a great goofy film.  I feel that this one is underrated… maybe it has a “cult” sort of following.  The plot is ridiculous and it’s filled with all kinds of great actors.  It’s got some of the best quotes ever, and is why I will someday demand a football helmet filled with cottage cheese and naked pictures of Bea Arthur if ever given the chance to make crazy demands.  I could probably watch this movie over & over as much as I could watch the Star Wars films over & over.

The cover for Shark Sandwich, one of the band'...This is Spinal Tap – This is a no-brainer.  It goes to 11.  It’s the standard to which all other rock ‘n’ roll films are measured.  It has sustain.  Just let the DVD or Blu-ray or VHS tape or Laser Disc sit on the shelf and listen to it.

Music from the Motion Picture Josie and the Pu...Josie and the Pussycats - Laugh all you want, but this movie is super fun.  If you can’t enjoy this one, you have no soul.  I had no attachment to the cartoon in case there are purists out there that didn’t like it because fans of original things rarely like those things rehashed.  Orange is the new pink.  “3 Small Words” is a great pop song.

Empire RecordsEmpire Records – It’s not really about  band or musicians… but the chaos all over the store is all about rock ‘n’ roll, and it’s filled with great tracks from GWAR, AC/DC, Sponge, not quite Body Count’s “Hey Joe“, Coyote Shivers, and Rex Manning.  Ha ha.

Lemmy (film)Lemmy: 49% Motherf**ker, 51% Son Of A Bitch - If you haven’t seen this & you’re even a casual fan of metal, punk, rock docs in general, or even just heard “Ace of Spades” once, you need to see this.  That was a really long grammatically terrible sentence.  Lemmy would kick my ass for pointing that out.  Maybe not.  He seems like a really likeable dude to hang out with if you can get past the stink of cigarettes.

It Might Get LoudIt Might Get Loud – Not a huge fan of any of these dudes… except Jimmy Page is… well, Jimmy Page.  Led Zeppelin is amazing, I’m just not one of those dudes that has all the albums or knows all the riffs.  U2 actually kind or irks me, but the Edge seems like a cool dude & an effect wiz.  Jack White surprised me, but he’s kind of creepy.  Beyond all that, I still enjoyed this movie.  Guys talking about their love of music, the guitar, & playing… it’s incredible.

Walk the Line (soundtrack)Walk the Line – Probably one of the best biopics ever, if not the best.  Johnny Cash was a great man, and an asshole.  It’s all out there.  It’s a compelling story spanning many decades, and really a love story with Jone & Johnny.  The man in black went through a lot in life.

Ray (film)Ray – Ray & Johnny Cash had eerie similar back stories.  Jamie Foxx is a genius in this film.  It’s one hell of a great story.  Ray did it all, from R&B to pop to country.

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (soundtrack)Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story – This is hilarious. Watch Walk the Line & Ray first though.  Then laugh hard. (♫ Haaaaard! ♫)

Wayne's World (soundtrack)Wayne’s World – You’re hearing Queen in your head right now, aren’t you?  Well, either that or the theme song.  Excellent!

Detroit Rock City (film)Detroit Rock City – I’m not the biggest KISS fan, but this road-trip gone awry is all kinds of fun.  I have had many less interesting adventures on the way to gigs… just attending or playing.  And, KISS does have some catchy songs… and a great stage show.

Role ModelsRole Models – OK, not a rock movie… but the KISS theme throughout is just hilarious.

CrossroadsCrossroads – The Karate Kid does a guitar duel with Steve Vai.  It’s sort of like  “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” as a movie from the 80s.  Instead of Arnold from Happy Days, you have a Blues player, and instead of Karate you have the blues.

8 Mile8 Mile – The concept is weird… a biopic that isn’t quite.  It’s a great move though.  The struggle to make it as a musician/rapper is very compelling, and Eminem’s a pretty damn good actor… playing himself…  sort of.

Anvil! The Story of AnvilAnvil: The Story of Anvil – This movie makes me want to laugh & cry.  I feel the pain that these cats are going through.  It makes you want to punch Metallica for Some Kind of Monster.  After it all it’s all about friendship & the love of music.  Who can’t get behind that?

OnceOnce – Not really a rock movie, but a cool story intertwined with music, performing, songwriting, and even a love/friendship thing.

The Pick of DestinyThe Pick of Destiny – You can maybe skip this one.  Get the Complete Masterworks instead.  It’s slightly funnier.  These dudes are awesome rock ‘n’ rollers who capture the essence of the spirit of rock!  And they battle demons…

Purple Rain (album)Purple Rain – Musicians, watch this and learn how to own the stage from Morris Day.  Oh yeah, Prince is pretty badass too.  This is a weird 80s film, but it’s one you need to see.

Honeysuckle RoseHoneysuckle Rose – Willie Nelson is awesome.  This movie is about a traveling band that looks a lot like Willie’s… with the lead singer who looks a lot like Willie Nelson robbing his ex guitar player’s cradle to the chagrin of his wife. This soundtrack is excellent if you’re a Willie Nelson fan… highlight being a cover of Leon Russell’s “A Song For You”.

Bill & Ted's Excellent AdventureBill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure & Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey – Well, the first one was cool.  I can’t wait for #3 if it ever happens!  Be excellent to each other.

Other cool movies where the music is integral… Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, The Rocker, The Last Dragon, SLC Punk, Some Kind of Monster, Bubba Ho-Tep, High Fidelity, Blues Brothers, Rock Star, The Runaways, and many more I’m sure.

Psst… It’s a bar, not a stadium.


Sound Mixing deskI’m always amused when I’m out at a bar gig (whether playing or just attending) and I hear bands spitting directions to the person at the soundboard.  Let the sound guy do his or her job.  (Is there a feminine or neutral  form of “Sound Guy” that doesn’t sound dumb?)

Sure you can ask for a level adjustment if something’s drastically off, but don’t demand.  It makes you look like a pompous ass.  Then again it’s rock and roll, and it’s a bar.  There are monitors at all?  What a luxury!  If you can’t plow your way through a set on instinct with your band mates & sound somewhat in-synch, it’s time to find a new band.  So shut up, grab a beer, and play… Rock Star.

Onlywatchthebandwithaguy(orgirl)thatIknowinit-itis


This ties in with an earlier blog post.  I’m just trying to figure out how to reach people.  When people who have never heard of us catch us play, we generally have people coming up to say they dig it. It’s a good feeling.  I’d like it to happen more often because I think the band is doing a fun thing, and I’d like more people to share in the fun.

Getting people to come out in the first place is one struggle.  Getting yourself in front of an audience that’s already there is another struggle.  Getting people to watch you once they’re there seems to be an entirely different struggle.

We'd like to thank Bobby for coming out tonight!

Has this ever happened to you? Yes, it has.

Lately I’ve seen a trend of bands telling people saying “hey we’re 1st, come early” or “hey we’re last, come late” then their fans show up for just them & don’t bother to check anyone else out.   I generally tell people to come for the whole show & check out the other bands.  We try to book shows with bands we dig, just for this reason.

Spider-\m/an

Spider-Man :: This has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that I found it hilarious.

I hate to come of as a whiner, and I know I will to some readers.  I’m just trying to express my frustrations, and this blog is a forum for just that.  In fact, it’s my forum for just that.  I’m trying to work it out for myself & to possibly get some insight from other local (and some not so local) musicians.

In fact, I think I have ranted about this very topic online before, maybe just a similar one… but I can’t seem to find it anywhere.

I also don’t want to dismiss the people that come see us at just about every show.  Your presence is incredibly important to us, and we value it.  We just want some more people there to watch with you, and we don’t want things to get stale where you’re seeing the same show over & over.  Even if you’ve only caught us once, or if you’ve bought a T-shirt, or told us you liked a video online… you are awesome and we truly appreciate your support & attendance.

I recently saw the worst case ever of this crazy only-watch-the-band-with-a-guy-I-know-in-it thing going on.  We played a show where people watched the band they came to see, then just absolutely bailed.  Not even the bands stuck around to check out the other acts, one of which was a touring act & the reason we were all playing the show.  It’s disrespectful.  I get that stuff comes up, & sometimes you need to go.  It happens.  Sometimes there’s burnout.  Sometimes there’s arrogance.  Sometimes there are good reasons.  Sometimes you’re just being ignorant.

I know personally that a bunch of people from my wife’s family came out to a show at a bar once where my wife & I absolutely love the wings.  We had told everyone how cool the place was, they all decided to come to the ‘Burgh to eat some legendary wings & watch my band play… killing 2 birds with one stone.  They sat through one band that everyone liked, then through a 2nd band that was just absolutely awful… one member was so drunk and/or high that he would strum the guitar and look down at it dazed for a minute or so while apparently hearing stuff that none of the rest of us could.  This was all endured just to see us play.  The place was packed all night, the bands & their fans watched each other, and everyone had a good time.

Not to judge a book by its cover, but I all kinds of judged books by their covers the other night and I hit the nail on the proverbial head.  A quick scan of the room revealed some crazy demographics.  More specifically a bunch of old people trying to look cool and standing on tippy-toes watching their kid play with no general comprehension of what was going on up on the stage or around them.  If I’m calling them old, you know they were old.  We knew these were parents, aunts, uncles, and neighbors… and they were going to split as soon as their kid’s bands was done.  Boy, did they ever.  If it was a cartoon, there would have been a cloud of dust & a cartoon noise.  Whoop!

It must be happening everywhere because the touring band had it written into their contract that they weren’t to be slated to play last on any of their shows.  You can’t blame them.  You tour to build support for your album, and if no one sees you play, no one’s going to buy your album or you merch or come see you the next time you roll through town.  We took the cleanup/closer spot because none of the other bands would.

Do you know what it's like to be on the bill and to play for fifteen minutes and the only people there to see you are the other bands and their girlfriends? Don't talk to ME about Rock n' Roll!  I'm out there in the clubs and on the streets and I'm living it!  I AM ROCK N' ROLL!

Do you know what it's like to be on the bill and to play for fifteen minutes and the only people there to see you are the other bands and their girlfriends? Don't talk to me about Rock n' Roll! I'm out there in the clubs and on the streets and I'm living it! I AM ROCK N' ROLL!

We didn’t help their cause because we apparently weren’t a draw either.  We watched the touring band, & they watched us.  The handful of people that came to see us were there for all of the sets that night… and the show started an hour or so later than it was supposed to.  It was awesome that the touring band actually stuck around to see us play.  I’m sure on the road they’ve seen crappy band upon crappy band night after night… but it was an unparalleled show of respect for us, and assured us that the sound guy & doorman had to stick around until we were done.  Ha ha.

My boyfriend's lame-ass band... live at the Radisson

Playing their new hit, ''Girl Girl Girl''!

Well, there were more people there to watch us… since it was a rare all-ages gig for us, we had an under-ager and her mom eager to see us… we were told we’d be rocking about 8:00pm.  We eventually went on much much later, way past the under-ager’s bed time.  So, two people who bought tickets & came out expressly to see us had to leave early and were unable to see us because of all the ridiculousness and shuffling.  Then the dozens of people who came out to see the other bands watched them then left.  Immediately.

The Sitter

Try as he might, Jeremy could just not meditate in front of a stereo. Live music is the only way to go.

It would be nice to say that whoever sold the most tickets had to go last… but then again, they did sell a lot of tickets, so that has a certain amount of pull as far as when you want to go on.

I didn’t hear any of the opening bands even mention the touring band… the headlining band that (again) we were supposed to be there in support of.

Before you say that my band sucks (you’re certainly entitled to your opinion), I’ll say that no one who left early would know, because they didn’t even give us a chance.  I’d rather clear the room myself than have it cleared for me.  How do you expose people to your live show, if the people in the place don’t even stick around for one song?