Three Unique Documentaries for Rock Music Lovers

Lisa Tate

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The world of rock music, be it classic rock, punk, metal or alternative rock, is a wild place, filled with inspiration, hopes, dreams, and changes. To catch just a small glimpse of these worlds, here are three documentaries that go beyond the "concert films" and take on face the music, and the music makers, in completely original ways.

It Might Get Loud

Three masters of rock guitar, The Edge, Jack White and Jimmy Page, talk about their own music stylings as well as loves and influences surrounding their instrument of choice: the electric guitar. Includes some great archival footage and some fantastic jamming. True guitarists can't keep their hands off their guitars for very long.

One thing I love about this 2009 film (besides getting to see how incredibly innovative and talented Jack White is) is this particular film is rated PG, so this is a good one to watch with your kids and set them on the road as future rockers and music aficionados.

Need a little temptation? Check out this bit where White shows the others around the opening riff of "Seven Nation Army:"

Anvil: The Story of Anvil

Remember when Rob Reiner made the mockumentary/rockumentary, This Is Spinal Tap? Of course we do. But what if it was a true story?

This 2008 documentary of Canadian metal band Anvil has been called "the real live Spinal Tap," and also includes its own Robb Reiner (Anvil drummer), with longtime friend and bandmate Steve "Lips" Kudlow. Anvil is a band who never quite broke into commercial mainstream success, but man did they influence some folks. Metal influencers such Scot Ian (Anthrax), Lemmy (Motörhead), Lars Ulrich (Metallica), and Slash, are included among those who pay homage to this band. This film looks at Anvil's lives, dreams, and disappointment in the heavy metal world.

The year after this documentary came out, the guys got a little bit of a boost in attention, including appearing on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, opening for a few shows with AC/DC, and doing a cameo in The Green Hornet movie. The documentary is funny in some places, heartbreaking in others, but the important thing to know is Anvil is still at it today, rocking together after 42 years. Their latest album, Pounding the Pavement, was released in 2018.

The Other F Word

This may not be a "family film," but it is a film about family. It shows what happens when punk rockers from the "F*ck Authority" world become fathers themselves. Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tim McIlrath of Rise Against and Mark Hoppus of Blink 182 (and for some reason skateboarder Tony Hawk) are among those featured who give us a glimpse of how their "no rules" attitude has shifted a bit once they have to be the rule makers and authority figures.

This film was made in 2011, and I'm curious to see some follow up, to see how these kids and their dads have fared. I don't know, maybe I'd be impressed, or maybe I'd be disappointed.

Either way, this movie is a very unique slice of life in worlds of both punk rock and parenting.

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