When we saw that Filmage: The Story of Descendents/ALL was screening at Punk Rock Bowling this May, we knew we had to catch it. We had interviewed Justin Wilson (director of photography/co-editor) and Deedle LaCour (co-director, producer) in March of 2013 and were eager to finally see their work—a documentary on two well known and admired names in punk rock.
Sunday, May 25th we headed down to the Backstage Bar on Fremont Street in Las Vegas and discovered that we were not the only crazy people braving the 100° sun and lining up early that day. Luckily we got in (and the bar was somewhat air conditioned).
The film chronicles the formation of the Descendents and ALL from the very first members up to the current line-up over 30+ years. We’re told the personal stories of each member (there were quite a few of them) but if the documentary showed us anything, it was that at the heart of both bands is one man: drummer Bill Stevenson. We were instantly pulled in by the funny anecdotes and heartfelt stories of his unyielding desire to make music, even despite the numerous negative circumstances that life dealt him. In one such instance we are reminded that you never know when the people you inspired will return the favor.
The filmmakers created an intriguing visual timeline complete with photographs and archival show footage interlaced with new interviews with everyone from Mark Hoppus and Dave Grohl to Brett Gurewitz and Mike Watt. It was shot beautifully and really displays the admiration that the creators have, not just for the Descendents and ALL but for punk music and its community in general. It shows us how the hard work of a group of people can really pay off, even if sometimes you reap the most generous rewards years later. It is a wonderful representation of a specific time in history, complete with an open ending for a bright future and continued evolution.
It should also be noted that The Descendents played the festival main stage that night and sounded better than ever.
All photos © Angela Datre and Andy Jimenez/How We Are 2014