Talkin' 'Bout Their Generation

PBS documentary revisits second wave of Akron punks.

Aura Global Cuisine 9300 Broadview Road, Broadview Heights 440-546-9940. Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Dinner: 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
DJ Z-Trip, at House of Blues September 2. - Walter  Novak
DJ Z-Trip, at House of Blues September 2.
Tying in with PBS' My Generation week of rock-and-roll documentaries, Akron's PBS 45 & 49 commissioned filmmaker Phil Hoffman to assemble a sequel to the well-received It's Everything and Then It's Gone, which told the story of Akron's punk-rock scene from its 1974 inception to its 1979 zenith. Set to air on Wednesday, September 28, and Thursday, September 9, the new If You're Not Dead, Play!! will cover the next wave of Akron bands, following Chi Pig, Unit Five, and Hammer Damage into the early '80s.

"The first group of bands all vamoose," says Hoffman, explaining the new film's story. "And suddenly the bars are all empty, there are no bands, and there's this buzz that Akron is the new Liverpool -- which wasn't the case. And we pick up the story with this next group of bands, who started with the expectation that they were going to be rock stars, as opposed to the first groups, who started in basements with 12 people there. And, of course, things didn't work out that way."

The hour-long film will feature live footage from the groups' archives, new interviews with band members, and commentary by writers Chuck Klosterman (now of Spin, formerly of the Akron Beacon-Journal), David Giffels (co-author of Are We Not Men? We Are Devo), and Michael Baker (Trouser Press).

The documentary will premiere at the Akron Public Library (60 S. High Street) on Wednesday, September 21. Chi Pig and Unit 5 will perform. Copies of the film will be available through the station.

"The thing that stands out about the scene and time is that you had a significant number of fans, bands, and clubs in Akron, Cleveland, and Kent that all had the same focus on homegrown, original, creative music," says Chi Pig drummer Richard Roberts. "At the time, clubs wanted people on the dance floor and spending money at the bar, so if you wanted to play in front of people, you played dance music. With the new-wave bands, you were doing something original, and you expected something different."

· Acoustic-based spunky pop group Sputnik is offering a series of new songs available exclusively as downloads at The band has split with drummer Jeff Harmon and replaced him with Ex-Rotary Ten skinsman Chris Solt.

· Akron's The Daiquiri Bar/Fat Tuesdays (1 W. Exchange Street) is accepting submissions from original and cover bands interested in playing Thursday nights. Groups can deliver a press kit to the bar or call Johnny Irvin at 330-573-2778.

· Kate Voegele, the 18-year-old Cleveland singer-songwriter, will play Farm Aid for the second straight year, appearing Sunday, September 18. Voegele's "Only Fooling Myself" was recently featured in the CBS drama Clubhouse.

· Undercurrents, the Cleveland-based music-conference and showcase company, will host its monthly networking sessions on Tuesday, September 13. This month's topic is publishing, selling, and licensing songs. The Cleveland session will be held at Cuyahoga Community College Eastern Campus, room E2-117 (4250 Richmond Road, Beachwood). In Akron, DreamSTATE Studios (722 Grant Street) will host the meeting. Sessions are free. Visit for details.

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