You don't do anything alone. Two years ago this memorial day weekend me and my wife Jenni were arriving in Las Vegas for Punk Rock Bowling 2013. In tow was a Cannon 5d, a bunch of lenses, an audio recorder, and a documentary idea. I had transformed our "vacation" into a project. Jenni would tell you that that is kind of my modus operandi; I tend to sucker anyone who hangs out with me into working on some type of half-brained idea. I like to make rad stuff and tell cool stories with my friends.
Earlier that year I had mentioned to my good friend Joel Herrera that I was thinking about how cool it would be to make a Fat Wreck Chords documentary. It seemed like there were lot of new rock documentaries coming out but none seemed to touch on the things that my friends and I were into. I had seen The Other "F" Word and was stoked that for the first time many of my musical heroes were the subject of a doc. It was super rad but kinda sidestepped the music and the history that had brought many of the participants to be successful punk rock dads, still making a living playing punk rock popularized more than 20 years earlier.
Fat Wreck Chords had been a major part of that 90s punk resurgence and had seemed to have a universal appeal that spanned continents. They were able to become a cultural phenomenon without utilizing the traditional means of MTV and radio. Why was no one interested in telling that story? Well, I was! As I began to test the waters to see if there were others that were interested in seeing this story told, the answer was a resounding YES, but how would I do it?
I had attended Punk Rock Bowling in 2012. I was running (still am, sorta) a small punk rock record label and a few of the bands I had worked with were there to play some official and non-official shows. The main reason I had gone (besides the amazing list of punk rock bands to see) was to meet some of the people I had been working with over the previous year while putting out records. It was a chance to meet people I had only known from Facebook and email. We finally got to meet face to face and have a drink and share an experience. I loved it! The next year I promised I would bring Jenni. She is a huge punk rock fan and I knew she would love it too.
In January of 2013, like so many prudent punkers, we purchased our hotel rooms, (at the Golden Nugget of course) for punk Rock Bowling We were super stoked and Jenni was really excited about finally going to Punk Rock Bowling for a relaxing vacation. Soon she would be disappointed (but not really haha) because shortly before we were to leave for PBR2013, I had an epiphany. Almost anyone who loves Fat Wreck Chords is going to be at PRB! I should take filming gear and try to talk to other Fat Wreck fans about why they love Fat Wreck Chords. I figured I could talk to some of my buds that ran punk rock blogs or magazines like Dave Buck from Dying Scene or Lisa Root from New Noise. I also figured there might be a good chance of running into Joey Cape from Lagwagon of whom I had recorded with in our recording studio in Dallas a few years prior (Listen Here, Yes, that is a MySpace and yes I feel bad about it). Jenni had been conscripted as a Production Assistant (read: she helped carry camera gear) and I had began the project that would end up changing my life, starting me down a new career path, and eventually leading to me being able to hang out with almost every one of my teenage musical heroes.
If you ever want the chance to hang out with your heroes, make a documentary about them...seriously, go make one! It's hard, but it's an amazing and fulfilling experience.
Two years ago I thought I would end up making a small documentary short. A low key thing that would have my friends talking about why we love Fat Wreck Chords so much. I had no idea at the time that I would end up at Fat Mike's condo in San Francisco doing a two-hour long interview. The idea that we would be invited to interview a freakin' Foo Fighter (Chris Shitflett) at his home in Los Angeles was not even in the realm of possibility. The only thing I knew was that I want to make something and I wanted to tell story of why so many of us still find ourselves connected with a record label more that 20 years since most of us were introduced to that opening track on Fat Music for Fat People, Anit-Manifesto.
In the past year since the end of the first Indiegogo we have done so much