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1991: The Year Punk Broke (1992)

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David Markey's documentary of life on the road with Sonic Youth and Nirvana during their tour of Europe in late 1991. Also featuring live performances by Dinosaur Jr, Babes In Toyland, The ... See full summary »

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Title: 1991: The Year Punk Broke (1992)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sonic Youth ...
Themselves
...
Herself - Sonic Youth
Lee Ranaldo ...
Himself - Sonic Youth
Steve Shelley ...
Himself - Sonic Youth
Thurston Moore ...
Himself - Sonic Youth
...
Themselves
...
Himself - Nirvana
...
Himself - Nirvana (as Dave Grohl)
...
Himself - Nirvana (as Chris Novoselic)
Dinosaur Jr. ...
Themselves
Mike Johnson ...
Himself - Dinosaur Jr.
...
Himself - Dinosaur Jr.
Murph ...
Himself - Dinosaur Jr.
Babes In Toyland ...
Themselves
Lori Barbero ...
Herself - Babes in Toyland
Edit

Storyline

David Markey's documentary of life on the road with Sonic Youth and Nirvana during their tour of Europe in late 1991. Also featuring live performances by Dinosaur Jr, Babes In Toyland, The Ramones and Gumball. Written by Alexander Lum <aj_lum@postoffice.utas.edu.au>

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Release Date:

20 November 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tooth or Hair  »

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User Reviews

Some Great Performances
9 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This was an often watched video tape for my friends and I back in the very early nineties. I'd already seen Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. and Nirvana when this came out and found it an enjoyable way to relive those memories as well as catch a glimpse of songs I hadn't seen performed yet.

The film starts with Thurston's occasionally amusing psychobabble while members of SY, Nirvana, and Don Fleming dance and twirl on the edge of what looks to be a set of train tracks. Then it breaks into an awesome version of Sonic Youth's "Schizophrenia." Note perfect and even more expansive than the album version, I would have to say this is my favorite version of this song ever!

While there is no need for me to go on a song by song breakdown of this film (mostly cause I don't think I could do it from memory anyway), I'll mention some highlights for my own amusement.

First off, this was SY right after their first major label record and before they had their arsenal of beat to s**t guitars stolen. There was something beautiful about their old, broken Fender Jaguars and Jazzmasters that seemed fitting for the band. They were like something out of "The Road Warrior," survivors of the apocalypse who found a bomb blasted old guitar store and pieced together the best of what survived into the most futuristic weapons they could possibly wield and use them to decimate armies of Eric Claptons and any other ridiculous, bloated "Best Guitarists in the World" with their crisp, clean, ten-thousand dollar vintage guitars.

It's especially nice, if retrospect, to see Kurt Cobain in moments of sublime happiness as he tours with (SY) what was no doubt one of his favorite bands. Although his on-stage theatrics were edgy and masochistic, when he was present backstage, he seemed loose and happy. One particularly funny segment had one very drunken Kurt being dragged across the floor by any number of people as Christ Noveselic quips, "My man's a high roller. High roller!"

Another particularly touching moment is during a Dinosaur Jr. performance of "Freak Scene." J. Mascis is pedal hopping and firing off wild liquid mercury geysers of single note leads when he gets to the final chorus of the song. Instead of singing it, he drops the line completely and lets the enormous crowd of English Dinosaur fans finish the lyric in a community chant the word "cool" was invented to describe.

Occasionally Thurston's constant stream of conscious narration can be a little much, but it does provide some clue into the minds of all these rockers (and many, many others): these guys are dorks, music dorks, guitar dorks, record collecting dorks, and it's not about the d*mn autographs, or star obsession and idol worship, it was and is about music, and that's what punk's about.


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