5 Band Documentaries That Show The Ups And Down Of Stardom
1. “Pearl Jam: Twenty”
Twenty years time comes with a lot of ups and downs for Pearl Jam. From successful albums that run the gamut from meteoric numbers to slow-burning crawls, the ups are clearly shown for the band in “Pearl Jam: Twenty”. This isn’t to say that the valleys are left out, as the band copes with the death of fans at the Danish Roskilde festival, their struggle and failure to win against Ticketmaster, and their own personal doubts in themselves and the band. Watching Pearl Jam at the senate hearing scene is infuriating as the politicians treat them not as adults but overly willful children who don’t comprehend reality. This is a band documentary that uses the intimacy of interviews to capture both the flaws and strengths of the band without wallowing in sappy nostalgia.
2. “Anvil: The Story of Anvil”.
Whether at the end of “Anvil: The Story of Anvil” you come away thinking the movie was a story of willpower and love for music, or a story of never comprehending when it’s time to quit, this band documentary is worth it. With high points that are more mental than tangible, Anvil shows that despite walking hand in hand with obscurity they still believe that they can rise above their situation. As they tour through Europe, the plague of transportation errors, low turn outs and hits to the morale help make the band members come alive as more than guys with invulnerable egos. The small bar fight with a non-paying owner sets a scene that is equal parts pathetic and righteous. Sad or inspiring, Anvil’s fight is truly a spectacle to behold.
3. “The Doors: When You’re Strange”
A bit overly in love with transition effects, “When You’re Strange” is a documentary that a refreshingly straight-forward look at The Doors. From the band’s number one songs and albums to Morrison’s addictions and Densmore’s stress, the highs and lows are there for audience consumption. The coverage of Morrison’s indecency trial is a compilation of scenes that illustrates the cracks in the ego of Jim Morrison as someone no longer above the regular people. With its scenes of a Morrison living past his reported death, this is a band documentary that embraces the truth as well as the mystique of The Doors.
4. “Queen: Making of a Night at the Opera”
Putting Freddie Mercury’s anger at Queen’s ex-manager on center stage, “Queen: Making of a Night at the Opera” is a stunning look at a band regrouping after financial disaster. Tackling the album, song by song, you gain a deep perspective on the background and development of each track as well as the driving personalities behind them. Remembrances with a band whose members are still wildly fond of each other make for a rare gem of a documentary worth encountering. The discussion scenes on Mary Austin, Mercury’s ex and best friend are poignant and beautiful to bear witness to.
5. “Pink Floyd: The Making of 'Dark Side of the Moon'”.
Whether patchouli oil makes you fly into a violent rage from memories of deadbeat roommates, or ensconces you in a warm happy place because of your loving hippie parents, “Pink Floyd: The Making of 'Dark Side of the Moon'” will captivate you with the tales of what went into the making of a tremendous album. The back story scene to the song “Time” and the manufacturing of the chimes brings out the beauty of a world before Pro Tools got involved.