If we were not still reeling from a social, political and health care crisis, maybe 2020 would be remembered as the year the music documentary was king. InstaBand covered the indie music scene and new struggles with promotion and distribution. You can read my review of InstaBand here. The year started off by giving us Miss Americana, a Netflix documentary that provided a behind the scenes look at the personal and professional life of Pop artist Taylor Swift. And how can we forget Biography: The Nine Lives Of Ozzy Osbourne.
Our latest musical documentary of 2020 is Bleeding Audio. This movie tells the story of the rise and decline of the punk rock band The Matches. The doc not only features interviews from the band members of The Matches, but also Mark Hoppus (Blink 182) and Nick Hexum (311). It is surprising how much this band has gone through, everything from a forced name change, grassroots self promotion, to dealing with managers and record labels.
The Matches started as a garage band in Oakland, California originally called The Locals. They would hand out flyers at High Schools and play acoustic sets outside the venue for their fans after a show. At the heart of this story is how through even the heights of their career, the band stayed true to themselves as they skimmed the bottom of that glass ceiling to rock stardom. One of the many high notes in Bleeding Audio showed how they self-financed a low budget music video which became way more popular than the expensive video financed by the record label. Another moment would be after playing a huge sold out venue they would still head outside to unite people huddled around for an acoustic set.
As an artist, I could relate to all of this and highly admired the determination and conviction which resonated loudly in this doc. For most artist it has to be about more than the surface trappings of money and status, because at first, such things seem illusive. Often the art itself and the acceptance of it is the largest reward.
The documentary comes full circle by the end in a positive and profound way. Bleeding Audio is a music doc sure to hit a few emotional chords. Current and archival footage contrasted well with interview and animated segments to fill out this narrative. This is a great debut feature for Director and Producer Chelsea Christer. Hopefully this is a front runner of a promising career for her.
This is a recommended watch for any artist, music fan or just people who miss the sense of community that comes from a live show. Bleeding Audio is making the rounds of a film festival tour now, including Dances With Films and the San Francisco Documentary Film Festival. I am confidant this movie will get released so it can be seen by the masses someday, inspired art finds a way.