Local music aficionados should be happy to know that among the offerings at this year’s Cleveland Film Festival are six stellar music documentaries about everything from the self-mutilating singer of a famous L.A. punk band to an unknown country singer with a preference for pornographic lyrics. For those with a need to delve deeper into the psyches of great and quirky artists, here’s the line-up:
The Super Noble Brothers:
There’s always that one family on the block where all the kids are super talented and successful, not a black sheep in the bunch. That would be the Noble brothers – Davey, Tommy, and Andy. The Milwaukee siblings all have an amazing talent for music and art, whether they are starting up ska bands, painting abstract art, or DJing rare soul. This fast-paced film follows the Noble brothers on their crazy, incredible, and often intersecting paths. Sunday, March 16, 4:30 p.m.
What We Do Is Secret:
Darby Crash is without a doubt one of the most controversial figures in punk rock. As lead singer of the L.A. band The Germs, Crash took careful notes from his punk predecessors, like The Sex Pistols, and then took their self-destructive, angry antics one step further. Crash became so famous for mutilating himself on stage that The Germs were eventually banned from every club in L.A. and forced to play secret gigs disguised as other groups. First time director Rodger Grossman chronicles’ The Germ’s cultish rise and Crash’s eventual drug-induced fall. Friday, March 7, 9:45 p.m.; Sunday, March 9, 4:15 p.m.
Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’Roll:
It’s almost impossible to verbalize Sam Phillip’s influence in rock music. As the owner, talent scout, and producer for Sun Records, Phillips could be arguably heralded as the inventor of rock. At one time, his roster included everyone from Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins to Johnny Cash and B.B. King, not to mention Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis. This film documents Sam’s beginnings as a meager blues man to the King of Memphis. It’s the quintessential rock-doc for any music nerd. Friday, March 7, 2 p.m.; Saturday, March 8, 9:45 p.m.
There was a time when Larry Pierce played “straight” country music – but that was long before he discovered his amazing talent for writing down filthy songs. After releasing his first album in 1993, Pierce earned a cult-like following of trucker fans. And when he finally retired from his factory job, he discovered a network of other dirty songwriters to help keep him afloat. Through Pierce, Dirty Country, which won the Audience Award at the 2007 South by Southwest Film Festival Friday, delves into the weird world of the naughty ballad, examining not only the characters who write them, but the folks who love them, too. Friday, March 14, midnight; Saturday, March 15, 9:30 p.m.; and Sunday, March 16, 9:30 a.m.
One Man In The Band:
In this film, British director/producer/editor Adam Clitherone shows us the alienation and artistic freedom of being a one-man-band. As Clitherone follows seven different artists, from Dennis Hopper Choppers to Honkeyfinger, we watch as these individual struggle to be everything to everyone, sometimes succeeding, and often failing miserably. In the end the viewer’s left to ask: Is one the loneliest number? Wednesday, March 12, 4:30 p.m.; Thursday, March 13, 10 p.m.; Saturday, March 15, 9:30 a.m.
Welcome To The Terrordome: Long before 50 Cent was bragging about his bling, rappers were actually writing about shit that mattered. Case in point: Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. Considered the godfathers of conscious Hip Hop, Public Enemy brought social critique and crazy beats into the same arena to create some mind-blowing and often controversial music. While they were freaking out white people with their elicit rhymes, black youth found empowerment through their music. Even though the group’s hype man, Flavor Flav, has been reduced to a reality show hack, no one can deny the band’s continuing influence on innovative and socially conscious music makers. “Public Enemy: Welcome To The Terrordome” is a long overdue look at the famous trio, featuring commentary by everyone from The Beastie Boys to Henry Rollins. Thursday, March 13, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 15, 10 p.m.