December 7, 2021
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One Nine Nine Four

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1994: Who could forget that year? The Power Rangers were skyrocketting to American popularity, Bill Clinton was president, and independent music was changed forever. The documentary is music-related. However, it only follows one genre and one genre only (besides underground) and that’s Punk. One Nine Nine Four is a film that documents the events before, during, and after the year 1994 when Punk Rock officially became Pop.

Now before I go any further on this. The reason this wound up being free for public use was due to lack of interest from pretty much all film distributors as well as a failed kickstarter campaign (which for the record I did donate a couple of bones to). The director of the documentary, Jai Al-Attas, last posted on their Facebook “alright fuck it, I’m working on a way to make this free for you all.” and officially on November 23rd, 2012, it got it’s long overdue global premier on Youtube. Now before you go check it out, here’s my review.

As a long-time punk rock fan, I’ve pretty much seen all the docs and films about the genre from the never ending debates of “Where did the genre start?” “Was it the UK, New York City, or Detroit?” and “Was it Iggy Pop and The Stooges, The Clash, Sex Pistols, or Ramones who invented the genre?” Well if you’re looking for answers to those questions, this documentary ain’t gonna tell ya muthafucka! But it will explain who was responsible for the resurrection of the genre! In late 1986 when Gilman St Project in Berkley, CA was opened, Kelly Slater surf videotapes helped sell more copies of indie Punk CDs in the US and Australia! Labels such as Lookout, Epitaph, Fat, Nitro, and Kung Fu helped breathe life into the scene starting with Bad Religion‘s “Suffer” LP in 1988 and Operation Ivy‘s “Energy” LP in 1987.

One Nine Nine Four goes right into the explosion of the genre in 1994 with in-depth interviews with members of 5 of the 7 bands that were all caught in the middle of this all new revolution:

  • Tim and Matt of Operation Ivy
  • Tim, Matt, and Lars of Rancid
  • Fletcher of Pennywise
  • Fat Mike of NOFX
  • Brett and Greg-G of Bad Religion
  • Billie Joe of Green Day
  • Dexter of The Offspring

They reveal how tough it was for some of the bands to remain independent with every single label knocking on your door or making threats. These interviews include MTV executives threatening to pull one band’s music video if they didn’t get the “other” band’s video, which led to Fat Mike of NOFX telling that executive to “Go Fuck Yourself!” Lars of Rancid even reveals that Madonna of all people sent the band nude photos of herself in various positions as an attempt to sign them to her now defunct label Maverick Records. Then, there was a small decline in ’97/’98 to a resurgent of pop’s interest in ’99 with Blink 182.

Other things covered in this documentary are the origin of the Van’s Warped Tour, the rise of Extreme Sports, as well as other interviews from legends such as Joe Escalante of The Vandals, Larry Livermore of the defunct Lookout Records label, legendary music managers Andy Somers and Rick Devoe, and legendary surfer Tim Curran. This documentary digs deep into things I didn’t even know went down.

All in all, One Nine Nine Four is a great documentary about this genre. For instance, I didn’t know until this doc that Green Day surpassed The Ramones as the greatest selling punk rock band of all time and that The Offspring‘s Smash LP is still to this day the biggest selling independent album of all time, with over 10.5 million copies sold worldwide. Those are some pretty big facts to be boasting about. What I liked best is they did have an “in memory of” section in the credits for those who have died since the filming of this doc began. For example, producer/mixer Jerry Finn. If there’s a home video release then I’m sure that they’ll mention that No Use For A Name’s Tony Sly (who was also interviewed for this doc) has also passed on.

The downside: The free version of the doc was yet to be graded and sound mixed a final time. But it’s okay. It’s free to watch.. And that’s everybody’s favorite price right?

One Nine Nine Four: The Documentary

[youtube width=”560″ height=”344″]http://youtu.be/mQmb70n5Cp0[/youtube]

Release Date:

  • 10/09/2009

Company:

  • Robot Academy

Director:

  • Jai Al-Attas

Cast:

  • Various Artists

Runtime:

  • 81 Minutes 7 Seconds

Purchase:

Websites:

Reviewer:

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