DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Jun 16 2010

Rock-Docs N’Roll

by Jnai W

Now that summer is upon us, what could be better than rocking out and allowing one’s self to be moved by the power of music? I can’ t think of a better way to spend the summer. But, alas, concert tickets can be pricey, your kids don’t like it when you drag them to dingy, smoky rock clubs (You guys really shouldn’t be doing that, though. Don’t they have VRP reading to do?) and your eardrums really can’t take loud speakers and squealing guitars like they used to. But don’t worry. You can still get your rock on—enough to get your rocks off, even—at the Library. Well, actually, we’ll let you take them home first before you rock out (it’s still a library, of course). Here are some of my favorite DVDs to borrow from our Library of Rock:

Anvil The Story of Anvil: I was immediately struck by the cover photo of this DVD: two middle-aged Long Hairs striking extreme rocker poses beneath a curious critic’s blurb, hailing this film as “the greatest movie ever made about rock and roll”. I couldn’t resist so I had to check it out. It just so happens that Anvil is a venerated Canadian heavy metal band with a small but rabid fan base, average-joe day jobs, long-suffering families and, from what I gathered, bad luck all around. Either way, Lips, Robb and the crew continue to rock out and strive for the top of the charts. Their tenacity, their heart and their musical chops are awe-inspiring.

This Is Spinal Tap: My brother, a rock n’ roll Yoda so to speak, introduced me to this, the rockingest and most hilarious faux-documentary about a fictitious metal band touring the world and generally living their rocker lifestyle “to eleven” (check it out if you don’t know what that means).

School of Rock: Okay, this one isn’t a documentary or a rockumentary (or even a mockumentary like the aforementioned Spinal Tap. But if you want to rock out while there are still kids in the room, this flick is still pretty awesome. You can watch as Jack Black introduces adorable prep schoolers to classic rock and introduces himself to Responsible Adulthood…in a roundabout, illegal field trip taking, identity thieving sort of way.

Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man: If you prefer to mellow out a bit with one of my all-time favorite singer-songwriters, here’s a great film tribute to the one and only Leonard Cohen.  Not only does this film celebrate the music and influence of Cohen but it also features incredible performances from the likes of Rufus Wainwright, U2 and, another artist I really love, Antony Hegarty.

Jimi Hendrix: What’s a rock and roll marathon without the late, great Jimi Hendrix? I really enjoyed this documentary featuring interviews with family, friends and admirers plus outstanding performance footage. To me, there’s nothing like gaining insight into the music you love by learning about the person who created it.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Alison W. June 17, 2010 at 12:01 PM

I just can’t help but add two of my fave music documentaries to this list:
The Last Waltz — about The Band, directed by Martin Scorsese and Heartworn Highways about the rebirth of country music in the 1970s. There are awesome scenes of living room jam sessions with guys like Steve Earle, Guy Clark, David Alan Coe and Townes Van Zandt.

Greg H. June 17, 2010 at 2:54 PM

Let us not forget WOODSTOCK! It’s a long film but it’s an amazing snapshot of a singular event.

John S. June 19, 2010 at 10:40 AM

I enjoyed Festival Express. This film documents a train journey across Canada in the early ’70s by the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band, Buddy Guy, and others. They’d stop in a town, play a concert, and then get back on the train. There’s an amazing scene showing Jerry Garcia and Robbie Robertson playing and singing in a late night jam session.

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