Music isn’t just a mathematical process on a stave. The medium of music can be used as a social commentary, and as a road map to our very culture. When it’s combined with film, it becomes entirely ingeminate of this idea. Being in a band is a way to harness music and its power, after all – a way to to tame the beast of organised sound. The modern media portrays being in a band as something like freedom incorporated, with an emphasis on sex and drugs. I’m not talking about One Direction and their life of Twitter feeds and sausage rolls, of course. I’m talking about rock.
The truth, however, is rather different. Being in a band is hard work: playing to tiny crowds, travelling up and down the country, trying to tame your gag reflex thanks to good ol’ Jack Daniels, which – although kind of cool-looking when it’s fixed atop a Marshall amp stack – actually tastes like horse p*ss when you drink too much of it. The sex, for most bands, usually involves a drunk, well-proportioned lady offering to share her Scampi fries with you, or your mate James accidentally licking your neck whilst he’s asleep in the car on the way home. The drugs? Can of Red Bull and a Nurofen at the end of the night – you know, to block out those “huge roars.”
It is not the huge success that ensnares the true spirit of being in a band, then: if anything, true success ruins it. It’s the all about the adventures you share with your bandmates in the beginning, absent-mindedly stroking your own ego and committing your soul to every string bend, even though the only person around is the sound guy, and what does he care about your musical talent, anyway? Still, being in a band remains one of the best things you can possibly do. If you can’t manage that, of course, film has opened many a window in this world for all to see.
Below, then, are 5 movies which I believe perfectly capture the comedy, the tragedy and the spirit of getting together and making some noise. To do so, I have stuck primarily to fictional stories (biopics are a different beast all together). Are you ready to rock? Let’s take a look…
This article was first posted on November 8, 2013