Thrill Jockey Records label head Bettina Richards has heard her friends tell countless stories just like mine — the difference being, her friends are actually in cool bands, so you might actually care about what they have to say. So she decided to compile them on film using simple talking head-style interviews with glitchy edits and in most cases accompanied by background music from the artists themselves. Essentially, it’s a far off dream that became a labor of love. The final product features 112 individuals and over five hours of stories about albums, musicians, shows, and a general love of creating.
Who would have imagined that Thurston Moore, Ian Mackaye, and Kurt Wagner (Lambchop) all trace their legacies back to having their minds blown by the Cramps? Who wouldn’t have guessed that the fellas from Trans Am found their groove smoking pot and listening to Kraftwerk and Sonic Youth’s Goo? The list goes on as Steve Albini, Yo La Tengo, Björk, Jon Spencer and more wax nostalgic (often hilariously) on topics as divergent as Sun Ra, taking acid, the Minutemen, skateboarding, the Who, free jazz, Neil Young and much more. Each tale is memorable, each moment unique in one way or another.For anyone who has fallen victim to a lifelong obsession with music, be it as a musician, writer, promoter or simply a fan, there are traceable memories we credit with changing our perceptions. I’ll go first. Fugazi released In On The Killtaker. I heard all about it, picked it up, ripped open the case and threw it on at a friend’s house. I didn’t get it. But I kept going back, and digging a little deeper, and when the time came to see them in NYC, I was ready to understand what it was all about. We convinced our folks to let us go on a school night, squeezed up front, waited through all the openers and then watched as they took the stage. No fancy lights, no barriers between them and the audience, no preplanned set list, no baggage. I was pretty sure they were playing the whole show just for me, and everyone else there seemed to take it just as personally. Eleven years later and I still think about that at least once a week.