Electric Purgatory is a documentary that examines the struggles of black rock musicians and the industry's ambivalence towards them. Director Raymond Gayle spent the better part of a year traveling around the United States interviewing many of Black Rock's elite including Fishbone, Vernon Reid, Adam Falcon, Jimi Hazel and Cody Chesnutt. Distinguished journalists such as Flip Barnes, Darrell McNeil, Charlie Braxton, and Greg Tate, share their opinions and insight on the dilemma facing these artists. The film will explore the origins of the Black Rock Coalition and its relevance in the music industry. The project will also take a look at the stigma Black Rock musicians face in the Black community and more importantly how to bring the Black audiences back into the fold.Written by
The best true music documentary in recent years...hands down.
Electric Purgatory may be one of the more pivotal music documentaries in recent years. It documents the displaced existence of black rock musicians in America. Much like black jazz musicians of the '50's and '60's who were not accepted by white establishments and suffered social neglect by black Americans more interested in Motown music, Electric Purgatory depicts the existence of black rock musicians "caught in the middle" of a pop culture war in America over what is an acceptable image for black music artists. "I feel that this was the decade of being black and we weren't invited." - a quote from the documentary that is representative of the angst and displacement in the music industry that black rock musicians deal with on an everyday basis. The film wonderfully uses the famed black rock group, Fishbone, as the "vehicle" to personalize this struggle for the audience. I was even more impressed with how much empirical information was in the film. I think it would be a great film for any music professor to use in teaching his or her college students. The film also includes interviews with Vernon Reid, Spacey-T, Fishbone singer Angelo, Doug Pinnick of King's X and a formidable grouping of other black rock musicians and music critics who illustrate with great accuracy the state of black rock musicians in rock music and the state of rock music to some extent. The director did a solid job on this film. You can tell he put his heart into this film. Thumbs up for me.
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