You should’ve seen how high my eleven year old daughter’s eyebrows shot up when I mentioned I was blogging on The Other F Word. “There’s another one? Tellmetellmetellme!”
The Other F Word is not just a word, it’s a film. And its subjects are versed in every profanity on the planet…as evidenced in their live performances. And now they’ve been schooled on the aforementioned Other F Word as well:
What happens when punk rockers become parents? When they go from fighting the system to becoming the system? The film follows more than twenty dad-guys from such notorious and notable bands as Black Flag, Rancid, Red Hot Chili Peppers, NOFX, Rise Against, Everclear, Pennywise, Bad Religion, Blink 182 and others. Skater Tony Hawk and BMX Rider/rocker Rick Thorne are also featured.
We learn about them growing up in the midst of the late 70s/early 80s L.A. punk scene, as products of broken homes and damaged families…and we see them emerge as the heroes, wanting to be the better fathers, the better men. Flea vows he will never be the kind of dad who lectures ‘I brought you into this world’, because it’s his kids who gave him life.
We see them tattooed and pierced while they speak eloquently about hoping to teach their children to respect people on their merit, not on what they look like. (Lars Fredrikson, Rancid)
We hear them singing “The Wheels on the Bus” in the car (Art Alexakis, Everclear) and their own songs (“Ready to Fall” Tim McIlrath, Rise Against) with their kids accompanying them. And then we hear them in front of their fans on the stage (totally NSFW!). They joke about having to buy clean versions of their own albums so they can play them in the family van (Mark Hoppus, Blink 182).
We witness them in their elements: from taking the stage…to taking their toddlers to the playground and their tweens to the Father-Daughter Dance. And we follow the progression as the children get older…and as making a living in the music business gets harder.
As photos of record stores going out of business flash across the screen, one shot really hits home: a huge gleaming new Mac store, directly across the street from a Virgin Megastore draped with a giant ‘CLOSING’ sign. Selling records has become a fantasy, while non-stop touring becomes the only viable, financial reality.
The film has both its humorous and heartbreaking moments. Jim Lindberg, the lead singer from Pennywise, admits he’s living on “Ambien and hair dye” these days. His suburban home sets the opening scene for the movie, as he is packing his bags for tour and explaining to his young daughters why he can’t take twenty Barbi dolls with him on the road. Maybe one, he tells them. (And she might get into trouble on the tour bus.) Then we follow him as he spends
81, 103, 187, 199, 208, 217 236 days away from his family. They Skype on the first day of school, the children make and mail his birthday cards to him.
Married to a 22-year veteran of the music business myself, and having worked for the last 10 years with a band that’s consistently on the road more than 100 days a year, I could totally relate. Laughing and nodding my head as Lindberg describes the tour bus’s aroma of “ass, farts and feet, with a hint of balls”, and choking up as one of the singers admits he has missed every one of his daughter’s Halloweens.
These guys started bands thinking they could change the world with their songs. Yet the message by the end of the film is clear: they have a better chance at changing the world by being better parents, by raising the future generation right. And that’s more punk than anything, after all.
Check out The Other F Word trailer here.