Anyone seen it yet? Went last night and enjoyed it. Some takeaways:
Forgotten how cool Karen O was/still is
It did seem that everything was great, then immediately went shit quite quickly.
For someone who is presented as meticulous and obsessed by the music, Julian Casablancas image seemed to be someone who really didn’t care all that much if they were successful or not.
Never, ever, hang about with Ryan Adams if you want your band to thrive. Presented as such a malign influence.
I need to revisit TV on the Radio’s stuff in more detail.
Where was ‘All my Friends’ at the end?
Yes, saw it a few months back. Was enjoyable (and also all felt like a long, looong time ago now!)
Without wishing to be THAT guy, it wasn’t a patch on the book which is excellent. I’m a real sucker for oral history books in general though, so think that’s why it really grabbed me - not just because I was at Uni around the time of all of these bands launching their careers.
The documentary based upon Lizzie Goodman’s book largely takes the same approach: interviews with the protagonists of the early 00s New York music scenes, thankfully devoid of the usual talking head commentators or journalists. The early part of the film is definitely the strongest and most interesting - showing how these young groups came together and played/worked/partied together, but the level of interest soon drops off once the likes of the Strokes are appearing on MTV and such. The amount of archival footage is very impressive and evocative, from early gigs by the Moldy Peaches and The Strokes, to clips of festivals where the crowd are all armed with disposable cameras. The film will be of particular interest to British music fans as a lot of the bands took early trips to the UK, when picking up coverage from the NME was a quicker way to break themselves in the US. This means that there are lots of gig and festival clips shown that will be familiar to viewers on this side of the Atlantic. The filmmakers (who previously made Shut Up And Play The Hits) clearly have a very affectionate relationship with James Murphy, as he is the one person who has the piss ripped out of him the most, via old photographs, interviews with David Holmes, Tim Goldsworthy and the man himself. It never gets too nasty, just cheeky, although maybe it should have pushed towards the former, given some of the fall out from DFA. The arguments between Julian Casablancas and Ryan Adams over Albert Hammond’s drug addition are featured but not really probed, although if they were, that might have given Adams more prominence than he deserves. There are wider faults though: the use of just interviews with those in the bands does mean that there is no wider attempt to place the whole scene and the bands in context (eg. why did these scenes erupt? Why did these bands in particular make it?). I know that this wasn’t the purpose of the documentary, but something did seem to be missing on that part. Also, Interpol just aren’t really interesting enough to feature so heavily. Whether you like their music or not, they’re definitely the weakest strand of the film. TV On The Radio aren’t in it enough, and the film would have also benefitted from hearing from the likes of Liars, Oneida, Les Savy Fav etc, rather than just offhand mentions.
I got the book for Christmas the year it came out and read it within a couple of days. I’m also a sucker for the oral history format (Louder Than Hell is also a fun read and I inhaled a bunch of Studs Turkel during university).
Part of the fun is I was too young to go to gigs/understand the lyrics at the time but that era is how I got into music so I get the mix of cosy nostalgia and even cosier removed-embarrassment. I was a big Interpol mark as a teenager so all the reviews about them being weird in the movie makes me even more intrigued.
Might pick up and re-read the book next time I’m home too.
I don’t think that they’re weird in the movie - they just seem completely separate to the music scenes that the film covers, and they’re not really interesting enough to justify the amount of time devoted to them in it.
Don’t think The Strokes are anymore 'interesting 'as people than Interpol, it was a pretty standard story of success, drugs etc. I say that as someone who likes The Strokes. As a massive Interpol fan I loved seeing the archive footage ,and the funny story of them being booked for a nu-metal festival got a big laugh in our screening. Also the footage of Paul Banks looking dazed in the dusty street after 9/11 was pretty affecting.
Could easily make a whole film about Karen O, there were lots of issues skimmed over due to it being just a single film. I remember as a female fan how creepy the photographers could be if there was a woman in the band.
So it was a brief snapshot of a moment in time, with some fantastic archive footage that reminded me of my early twenties.
Yeah its quite fleeting and his story isn’t presented in a particularly flattering way. Still fuck him, obviously.
Film worked as a nice bit of nostalgia for a time when i would see those bands live but didn’t strike me as anyone involved being particularly interesting or worth analysing that deeply (except Karen maybe). Liked the brief clip of YYYs and TVOTR hanging out at the Camber ATP that YYYs curated.
Agree that it feels like another life time now, though.
Caveat here that I’ve only read the book and not seen the film but the impression I get is that every member of The Strokes would have wound up being rich and successful whatever they chose to do because they were from the right kinds of school/families. Perhaps it’s unfair but I’ve always thought part of his aloof DGAF attitude came from actually not having to GAF