Ahoy again, all….
Another welcome respite from all things political/apocalyptic. While further invocations of my Cop Shoot Cop book might also prompt you to roll your eyes, it is a project that is much on my mind, as you can imagine, so herewith an ancillary entry about same.
As a bit of background, the whole idea of the book came about as a reward for interested parties who would pledge their support to a larger project, that project being a sprawling documentary film by one writer/director named Shaun Katz called “Underground Inc.” An ambitious endeavor seeking to shed light on the lesser celebrated aspects of the era, “Underground Inc.” promises to probe deeper into the Alt.Rock phenomenon of the 1990s beyond the usual, predictable and by-now-somewhat hackneyed touchstones (Grunge, Seattle, Cobain, etc.)
With that in mind, Katz launched a Kickstarter page with the promise of the book as a prize for those who pledged a certain sum. That’s where I and the Cop Shoot Cop boys come in. We’ve been in regular contact ever since, exchanging ideas, doing interviews and hashing out plans for the book … which is no easy feat, given that certain members of the band now live in far-flung corners of the globe, some have been on tour and still certain others don’t particularly enjoy the modern convenience of communicating over e-mail.
So, anyway, while we’ve been doing all that, I’ve been slowly piecing the narrative together in a relatively linear way and attempting to coax testimonials from like-minds, peers, supporting players and luminaries of the era. That’s all interesting and fun, but it’s also quite time-consuming, especially when I’m largely doing it during downtime between the demands and responsibilities and my job and my role as a parent.
Meanwhile, the Kickstarter campaign is still short of its goal, and its deadline fast approacheth. With that in mind, Shaun Katz reached back out to myself and the Cop lads to see if we could whip up a short piece to inject a bit of intrigue and enthusiasm for the film. That’s what this somewhat strenuously overwritten piece below is.
I mean, did I need to invoke Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the church door? Probably not, but it was a whim, and I went with it. Read on…
Alternative Rock in the 1990s: A frenetic amalgam of sounds, styles and sensibilities culled from the Punk, New Wave, Hardcore, Indie, Metal, Industrial and Post-Punk eruptions of two decades earlier. While ultimately just a convenient catch-all term, Alternative Rock coalesced its disparate strains in the `90s and unified them under a banner of renunciation. To use an incongruously lofty comparison, like Martin Luther righteously nailing his 95 Theses to the stately doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany centuries earlier, the bands that comprised the ranks of Alternative Rock during years of the Clinton Administration flipped an emphatic bird at the flabby corpulence and syrupy over-production that had rendered mainstream rock redundant, clichéd, flaccid and uninspired. Fed up with a steady, insipid diet of Night Ranger, Michael Jackson, Journey, Taylor Dane and Warrant, a new generation of angry music fans were crying foul and pushing back.
In a sprawling new documentary film project, “Underground Inc.,” writer/director Shaun Katz seeks to exhume the defiant heart of the Alternative Rock era by stripping away the hype and getting to the meat of the matter. Featuring exclusive interviews and footage of bands from all over the Alternative diaspora, “Underground Inc.” forsakes the glitzy teen pop that engulfed the zeitgeist in the wake of the Alternative era and turns back the clock to a time when music was a living, breathing and screaming palpable life force.
But we can’t do it without your input. “Underground Inc.” launched a Kickstarter page to help bring this ambitious film project to high-volume fruition. But, we’re running out of time. If you want to see the definitive story of the Alternative scene resurrected on film, help us make that happen by pledging TODAY.
Fuck the duplicitous politicos of today, LEAVE THE “ALTERNATIVE FACTS” TO US!
As a quick bonus, we chased down Tod [A], former chief officer of New York City’s fabled guerilla noise-rock ensemble, Cop Shoot Cop, currently sequestered in Istanbul. A veteran insurrectionist of NYC’s notorious live music scene, Tod drove Cop Shoot Cop like a furious battering-ram against the yawnsome retro-rock mores of the day, later to crawl from the wreckage of the impact to form the tirelessly amorphous ensemble Firewater. A vocal participant in “Underground Inc.,” we decided to put a few lines of inquiry by him to see if he’d crack under questioning.
There was "classic rock radio". There were major labels staffed by aging hippies with ponytails. Cop Shoot Cop wanted to destroy all that.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about Alternative rock of the 90’s?
The biggest misconception about alternative rock in the 1990's was that bands like Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, and others of their ilk, were anything other than hair metal bands repackaged as something called "grunge."
How did you get involved in “Underground Inc.”?
The members of Cop Shoot Cop were contacted by director Shaun Katz. The film tells a story that hasn't yet been told, and CSC were very happy to do what we could to bring it to light.
What about what you’ve seen of the film resonated with your experience with Cop Shoot Cop?
From the preview I've seen, it seems the film captures much of the reckless energy of the time.
Which bands of that era do you think deserve greater recognition (apart from Cop Shoot Cop and Firewater, obviously)?
Not that they lack for recognition, but I was surprised that Pussy Galore was not included in the documentary. They were pivotal in the NYC scene in the early 1990's. Champing at the heels of Sonic Youth, they probably shook things up more than anyone else – until Cop Shoot Cop came along, of course.
What do you hope viewers take away from “Underground Inc.”?
I hope that everyone helps out, so that the film gets completed. Then you can take away whatever you want!