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I spent a couple of hours with the recent HBO ROLLING STONES documentary “Crossfire Hurricane” recently and wanted to relay my findings to you. As you may have heard, the film repurposes a bunch of other Stones documentaries – including ones you’ve seen, like “Gimme Shelter”, and ones you haven’t, like the recently-unearthed “Charlie is My Darling”, and expertly stitches it together to tell the tale of the years the Stones were great, good and halfway decent enough (everything up to “Some Girls” in 1978, and no more, thank god). 

The band themselves give audio interviews and commentary, not video, likely so as not to invite the inevitable ohmygod, theyresoold reactions. The footage is tremendous, especially the 1963-65 stuff with real, honest-to-god riots and complete mania at their shows. The stories they tell of 5-minute sets, over and over across Europe, because the crowd wouldn’t let them get any further without storming the stage, are priceless. The film tackles the Stones-as-devils mythos and how that was built, along with the respective exits and introductions of Brian Jones, Mick Taylor and Ron Wood. (I can’t watch the latter without my skin crawling a bit, but that’s me). 

Dynamite Hemorrhage says see it. It’s good for your general overall rock studies, and hard not to admire one of the great bands of any era while they were at their loftiest peaks.

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I watched the MUDHONEY “I’m Now” documentary last night via online streaming – and you can do the same for $5.99 right here. A DVD’s about to ship as well.

My kudos and proverbial hat off to the guys who made this one. They did an excellent job avoiding a lot of documentary cliches, except for the one that says you have to use “found footage” from the 1950s to cheekily illustrate your points and concepts. They were kind enough to interview me for my commentary on a band I saw play many, many times & whom I know pretty well, and they left the dumbest things I said on the cutting room floor. I was positive they’d use this thing I said (as a complement) comparing Mark Arm to Bryan Ferry as examples of two guys who transcended their limited vocal abilities or something like that, and hack the statement to make it look like a major dis. They did not.

There’s a ton of great footage from 1988 to the present, and a chronological walk through the band’s many eras. The best stuff is definitely the “major label years” and why they jumped to a major in the first place after a particularly gross meeting with a guy from indie label Caroline. There are lots on interviewees, from Thurston & Kim to Keith Morris to the Claw Hammer guys to Soundgarden & Pearl Jam and so on. 

Someone needs to explain to me what happened to Sub Pop founder Jonathan Poneman.  This once-hyperactive sales machine is nearly narcotized during his interviews. Then again, there are loads of veterans of the scene wars in this one, and most have served their cause admirably. Check it out if you’ve got 100 minutes to spare soon.