Directors Paul Bishow and James Schneider are in the midst of raising funds via Kickstarter to complete their documentary, Punk The Capital: Straight From Washington D.C., a film that speaks to the punk and hardcore music scene that existed in Washington D.C. beginning in the lates ’70s and into the ’80s. According to Kickstarter materials:
Having collected nearly all the necessary pieces, we now need your help to put them all together and complete this film. Your contribution will help us cover the many expenses along the way, including: film lab transfers and preservation, editing, equipment rental and purchase, the final out of town interviews, sound mixing, and DVD production. Our goal amount has been calculated to cover these and other basic costs only.
Nowadays, the music of the period is generically referred to as punk but as this documentary will point out, the various scenes that popped up in U.S. cities throughout the early ’80s featured bands who generally described their sound as “hardcore,” a more frenetic and muscular evolution of the punk style re-exported to the United States by the Sex Pistols in the late ’70s.
Each U.S. city could lay claim to its own particular flavor of hardcore, with Austin, Las Angeles, New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Washington D.C. viewed as cities with the most powerful scenes. Washington D.C. stood out because of the charismatic leadership of Ian MacKaye, front person for Minor Threat, a widely admired hardcore brand viewed as promoting a straight edge (alcohol and drug free) lifestyle. Other well known groups from D.C. included Bad Brains, Government Issue, Marginal Man and Scream.
To this day, the underground music scene of the late ’70s and early ’80s remains fairly unexamined (with perhaps the exception of Seattle’s Nirvana) so as much as this documentary might bring some of that music further into the light, it would makes its production a worthwhile cause.