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Reel Life Podcast with Dan Napoli – S1 E02 : Scott Crawford

Dan visits with Scott Crawford, the director of two incredible music documentaries – Salad Days: 1980-1990: A Decade of Punk In Washington, D.C & Creem: America’s Only Rock N’ Roll Magazine.

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Speaker 1 (00:04):

What makes a real-life movement or story interesting enough to become a documentary film? More importantly, how does someone even do that? Let’s find out.

Speaker 1 (00:13):

Dan Napoli is an award-winning documentary director and also the head of creative and postproduction for Hurrdat Films. He sits down with other film directors and discusses the ins and outs of how their latest project went from real world events to the film real in this limited series monthly podcast. It’s Reel Life with Dan Napoli.

Speaker 1 (00:31):

Imagine making a documentary featuring one of the most influential music scenes of the late 20th century. Now, imagine doing it twice. That’s been life for Washington, DC based filmmaker, Scott Crawford. Scott landed on everyone’s radar back in 2014, with the seminal film Salad Days: The Story of DC Punk, a documentary on the Washington DC punk music scene of the 1980s and 90s that birth bands like Minor Threat, Fugazi and the Straight Edge Movement.

Speaker 1 (00:59):

Scott’s back at it again with his newest film, Creem: America’s Only Rock Magazine. The film was released digitally in the fall of 2020. Scott visits with Dan on the heels of being discussed amongst potential 2021 Oscar nominees.

Dan (01:13):

Very excited about our guest this week, documentary filmmaker from the East Coast, Scott Crawford. How are you doing, man?

Scott (01:21):

I’m doing good, doing good. It’s been a hell of a week here right outside of DC. But all things considered, doing well.

Dan (01:31):

Yeah, man, I can only, only imagine. Scott’s latest piece out is a really cool music documentary about Creem. A really seminal magazine in the 70s and 80s. I first came across him and his stuff just as a fan with the Salad Days doc about the DC hardcore scene. So, yeah, man, I just want to wrap about both of those. And then, I know you got some exciting stuff going on currently, so we’ll touch on that too.

Scott (02:03):

Sounds great. Yeah, absolutely.

Dan (02:07):

Let’s talk a little about your background, if you will. Dd you always know that … I guess at the very beginning, right? Did you always know that you wanted to make film?

Scott (02:25):

No. No, I didn’t. What I did know is that I wanted to, as a kid, and you saw it in Salad Days, as a kid I wanted to document what I was seeing. That meant writing it down, that meant taking pictures and eventually putting out a fanzine which I did as a teenager just like a lot of other teenagers did in the 80s and I’m sure still are.

Scott (03:00):

I’ve always been into documenting music. And so, once I went to school … Well, I didn’t finish school, but I went to college and then came out and said, “What do I want to do with my life?” Well, I want to work in magazines.

Scott (03:29):

So, I started working in magazines. I was an art director for several different magazines. But having the writing background, I really wanted to be involved in both the editorial and the art. And so, eventually, I was able to put away enough money just working on all these different magazines in a freelance capacity to launch my own magazine, which was called Harp. I positioned it somewhere between, I don’t know if you remember Magnet Magazine-

Dan (04:15):

Sure.

Scott (04:16):

… which was like a Spin junior, and then another magazine called No Depression which was a lot about country stuff. My music tastes are all over the place. But when you do a magazine and you wanted to succeed; you’ve got to feel some kind of niche. So, that was my goal.

Scott (04:35):

And so, I went right down the middle musically and I served as art director and editor for that. Within a year, another publishing company bought it, and then I worked there for the next eight years serving as both editor and as art director. So, that was really what I wanted to do with my life, and I was doing it and loving it.

Scott (05:02):

And then 2008 came, which was, in the magazine biz was the year that magazines died. Vibe disappeared. So many magazines disappeared at that time, not just music. I just remember Vibe because it was right around the same time. So, I came in to work and the publishing company said, “Yeah, we’re not doing your magazine anymore. We just decided we’re not doing it,” which was a complete shock.

Scott (05:34):

After that, I moved on to working, again, freelance for other magazines. I started to think about a kid. Like, what lead me to where I’m at, and it was the DC Punk Scene. I thought, “Well, I’m going to write a book about this. I can do that.”

Scott (06:01):

And then as I started to write the book, I realized one of the most important parts of the story is the music. We’ve got to hear the music. The story isn’t going to be nearly as good if you can’t hear how damn good this music was.

Scott (06:21):

Anyway, so that led me to coming up with an outline for the documentary. Luckily, I was in touch and still friends with a lot of people that were in the film, and so I pitched it to them and they were like, ” I couldn’t believe it hadn’t been done before,” because the DC punk scene was so important and made such an impact. You know, Minor Threat, the Bad Brains, Fugazi, Government Issue. The list goes on, and no one had touched it. So, I thought it would be an interesting documentary on what happened during that decade of me coming of age and telling it slightly from that perspective.

Scott (07:11):

And so, the film is really, my observations and my experiences, there is plenty. You can make 20 docs about what happened in DC in the 80s in the punk scene, but I just chose to tell the things that I was interested in, the music that I was interested in and some of the story lines that interested me as a kid that I witnessed.

Scott (07:38):

That was really how the whole thing came together. It took about three-and-a-half years.

Dan (07:43):

I have a follow up, but I do want to make my own personal tie just to show how seminal and how much reach, like that, that scene and that world had on everything. You’re talking about magazines and stuff like that, and I was a very itty bitty baby cog. I was the music editor for an action sports like a paintball magazine based out of Chicago called Paint. Everyone there was super inspired by Fugazi. It was Indie published. It was known as the painthouse in Chicago that was an apartment that they published out of. Actually, the guys, it’s just been 20-year anniversary of their first publication, so they’re doing a book.

Dan (08:37):

I mean, very openly like [Chris Haas 00:08:39] and [Chris Stiltz 00:08:39] the real guys behind that were inspired, who are all right about our age, were really inspired by what Dischord and that whole scene was doing.

Dan (08:53):

So, yeah, when you’re talking about the death of magazines, it’s like they died around ’04 or ’05 or something like that as an indie publish, so I was smiling and nodding. I didn’t realize that that was your background the, so that’s pretty cool.

Scott (09:05):

Yeah, yeah. That was really all I ever want to do. You could probably relate to the Creem movie as well, having experience with magazines.

Dan (09:18):

Totally. Totally. Yeah, now informs a little bit. What I wanted to follow about that I though was interesting and I wanted to get your take on is, from Salad Days, obviously, you even referenced it, you kind of end up in it and told it at some point through your lens. Just in a broad sense, and we’re talking documentary world here, do you think it’s important for film makers to come to the subject from their own lens?

Scott (09:57):

Well, I think … That’s a great question. I always look at documentaries just like I would look at writing a feature story where you need to be as objective as possible and try and tell, look for multiple sides to the story, and that’s what I tried to bring to the film. Because I think a lot of people were under the impression …

Scott (10:25):

Well, DC had so many misconceptions, and I wanted to really address those and also show the humor in some of this stuff. Because DC was considered such a … We were always accused of being so serious. We were, but we were also … Ian MacKaye is seriously one of the funniest human beings you’ll ever meet. That may not come across in the music, but he’s a really funny guy.

Scott (10:56):

Anyway, I felt in this case, I wanted to bring it through my lens only because I wanted folks to know that this wasn’t somebody that wasn’t there. It was important for me to let people know … You know, you see so many docs where they look back, like CBGBs. I’m just giving an example. The guy who did it is 25, so he’s telling it through multiple talking heads and he’s not really, you know. Whereas, I’m certainly not an expert on this stuff, but I did know certain narratives and storylines and things like that and came at it from a different way than maybe someone else that that would do a film on that. I think that just came from the things that I saw as a kid.

Scott (11:58):

A lot of these bands, really, took me under their wings and really looked out for me. I mean, I was 12, 13 years old. When I think about some of the situations I was in, those guys really looked out for me. I’d be sitting in the van with them, some of these bands like Marginal Man or Government Issue, or whatever. Hearing these stories about what was really going on in D.C., it was just interesting for me because it wasn’t what was being reported. So, it gave me a different take on it.

Dan (12:39):

How did you find your way to the scene at that age? Because I don’t think, I apologize if it did, I don’t recall the film getting super deep into that. How did you find your way into the scene? Okay.

Scott (12:51):

Yeah, exactly. Pretty simple story, really. My good friend, this would have been sixth grade. Elementary. Yeah, sixth grade, so still in elementary school. So, sixth grade, I was over to Sal’s, we were listening to new wave stuff like Heaven 17. I was reading Trouser Press, which was like the new wave equivalent of Creem. It would have Adam Ant and the B-52’s and Big Country, bands like that on the cover.

Scott (13:29):

I was starting to discover that stuff. I’m not sure why. I don’t know what led me to want to discover stuff that wasn’t necessarily being played on the radio, but for whatever reason, maybe it’s the way they looked, I don’t know. Anyway, so we’re listening to some portable new wave band and my friend’s older sister said, “Look, this stuff’s shit. Let me play you the good stuff.” She takes us both into her room and she puts on Minor Threat Out of Step, Dead Kennedys God, whatever. Is it God We Trust? Is it the name of the album? The one with the Jesus on the cover with the … It’s been so long. Anyway, Dead Kennedys album and Scream, Still Screaming. Those three albums … Oh, and Government Issue, Make An Effort. She played all four of those records, and for whatever reason it just, it was like that.

Scott (14:31):

I was just one of those kids that once I discovered something, I was all in. So, I needed to find out everything. And so, I started to go to all the … She told me, “Oh, you got to go to this record store and this record store because most record stores don’t carry this stuff.” This was all new information. I didn’t know how any of this work.

Scott (14:51):

And then, I finally started going to these record stores, buying these albums. The guys behind the counter would say, “You know …” I think I was buying a Void album, and the guy at the counter, I’ll never forget, he goes, “You know they’re playing this weekend, right?” I go, “What do you mean?” He hands me the flyer for Void. They’re playing at this place called The [Noon 00:15:16] Theater. It was one of my first shows I went to with Void. He said, “Yeah, they’re great live. You should check them out.”

Scott (15:24):

I just, again, couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that you could go see a band and be right up against the stage and have that communal …Yeah. And so, I went. My mother’s boyfriend drove me down there. I went and saw Void, and they played with JFA.

Dan (15:47):

Oh, wow.

Scott (15:49):

I was completely blown away and terrified at the same time. From then on, I went to every single show I could, which at that point was fairly regularly. It was almost at least once or twice a month if not more. And then I just started to … And because I was so young, a lot of people would come up to me and go, “Hey, who are you? What’s your deal?” Because it was still pretty small at that point. That’s when I started to develop friendships with some of the people in the bands.

Dan (16:23):

I want to go back and ask about something. Because it’s cool, something I learned in the film, do you think an outside director would have picked up on, oh, gosh, I’m absolutely blanking on the names, but on the funk movement that was coming through? Because in just knowing about it from afar, I had no idea that that was part of DC, that that was part of the scene. I thought that it was super cool. Is that something … You had given that example that I get when you, somebody who hasn’t lived in some part through the subculture that they’re covering. Can you talk about that a little?

Scott (17:05):

Yeah, that’s another great question. I think that was an important part, and I knew from the very beginning that that was going to be in the film because that was what I grew up with.

Scott (17:14):

There were multiple shows, punk rock shows with go-go bands, but beyond that, the fact that it was indigenous to DC was important to me because to me … So was Minor Threat, so was that brand of punk, that brand of hard core very specific to DC and here we are mixing these two genres that are so DC specific and they coexisted.

Scott (17:53):

If you ask Ian or Henry Rollins of any of those guys, they learned, “Oh.” They would see go-go flyers on telephone poles before they were even advanced, and they go, “Oh, okay.” They learned to put fliers on telephone poles from the go-go bands. They love go-go like Trouble Funk and EU and Chuck Brown and all those guys. Again, just that it was so DC specific, it was important to put that in the film, and I think that other folks might have overlooked that.

Dan (18:35):

I think it adds a great rich layer because you’re documenting, and especially at those times, and that’s kind of some of that thing. I love that when you’re using about indigenous because there was that … You know, now it would be so cool.

Dan (18:49):

I didn’t really, really get super into punk rock until college. I’m 18, 19, so it’s the ’94, ’95 boom, but delving into that, it’s like well this is what’s happening at Lookout up in Gilman. It sort of sounds like this. And then, like this has been the lineage of DC and it kind of sounds like this, and these little, and then finding things. I mean, like it’s a storyteller. I always find that’s exciting when you can come across those sorts of things and bring some of those out to an audience.

Scott (19:25):

Yeah, exactly. I thought that it again just sort of hit home, the fact that DC was its own thing. It wasn’t New York, it wasn’t LA. You had to create your own scene. And go-go never really broke … Why? I don’t know, but go-go never really broke out beyond DC. They even tried to make a movie about it in the 80s and it was horrible. I can’t dance to save my life, but if I go to a go-go show, I’m going to dance as badly as I can because you just can’t help yourself.

Scott (20:12):

And so, to see those two cultures come together at a punk rock show … Now, I’m not saying that … I mean, I remember going to shows where there was a go-go band and a punk band. When the go-go band was over, literally 50% of the crowd would leave. But a lot of the punks, the punks actually liked a lot of the go-go. I can’t say that was necessarily the case with a lot of the go-go bands. I mean, I don’t blame them. I mean, I wouldn’t know what to think if I heard that stuff.

Dan (20:56):

Isn’t it Henry, in the movie, somebody commented or gestured that was like, “Do you know where you are?” It’s like, “Yeah, we’re here on purpose. It’s cool.”

Scott (21:07):

Yes, exactly. Yeah. And they were accepting, you know. I mean, there weren’t fights. There weren’t any of that. There was plenty of fights at punk rock shows, but I don’t remember any at go-go shows.

Scott (21:24):

I remember a lot, which is punk rock shit. A lot of people like scratching their heads and stuff, but it was all good. It wasn’t, you know. I’m just fascinated by how those two worlds sort of …

Dan (21:41):

Yeah, like I said it was really surprising and it’s one of the more compelling pieces in the film.

Scott (21:48):

Thank you.

Dan (21:49):

Two more Salad Days things, and then I want to transition and talk about the Creem film.

Scott (21:56):

Sure.

Dan (21:58):

I think I was even texting you when I watched it again because it’s been the first time in three or four years. I cannot get over how tight, just no [inaudible 00:22:08], just how tight the first three, four, five, six minutes were. And interestingly, as we were talking earlier or we’ve been talking up to this point, you’re part of that scene. And again, I just even know from my experience in some of the subculture films I make, it’s really easy to get down rabbit holes that are so inside baseball that somebody else watching that either has no idea or only a partial idea, they’re like, “What? Where are you taking me?”

Dan (22:44):

So, I’m kind of curious, how did you avoid that trope, if you will, of having other people look at it? Did you just have such a sense? But it jumped out at me immediately.

Scott (22:57):

Yeah. No, I knew from the very beginning that that was a road that you could easily go down. Having been part of it, there were plenty of things that I could have talked about and wanted to talk about.

Scott (23:14):

I remember Jim Saah, the editor, and I just said this has got to be bigger than just, we have to make the issues larger than … They need to be broader; they need to be more … People that don’t know anything about this scene hopefully need to take something away from it. If you go down too many of these rabbit holes, they’re just going to be like, “What?”

Scott (23:41):

As I watch the film now, I think I probably did do a little bit too much of that still, but I was … I remember, there is this constant internal conflict of wanting to … Because I knew that the film … I thought the film would have a fairly good chance of getting a wider audience, but I kept thinking, I was obsessing over the people that were there when I was there and had experienced it. And so, I wanted to get all the details right and let them know that that I knew what … So, there was that internal thing of like, well, who am I making this for? It was really midway through where I just went, “You know what, that stuff doesn’t matter.”

Scott (24:33):

I remember when the film premiered in DC, Ian MacKaye came up to me after the movie. Well, he had seen the film before, but he came up to me and complemented me and said how much he enjoyed the film. But the most important thing he said is everything in the film was factually correct; you nailed it. That meant a lot because, again, when you experienced something and you’re telling the story, 20 different people are going to tell it 20 different ways. I knew I wasn’t going to make everyone happy, but at the very least I wanted to get it factually correct because I knew that you can’t argue with the facts.

Dan (25:28):

Well, and also of any, obviously it’s connected to the genre as a whole, but I think in that landscape, DC especially, if you had to think about like buzzwords for the scene in particular, it’s integrity. That’s what comes to my mind when you think about … You know, we talked earlier, maybe that’s some seriousness.

Dan (25:48):

So, yeah, having a film and having Ian say that, which is a cool segue to my next question because I was just going to ask, how do you manage working with Ian in the film in the way, only because he is who he is and he’s such a revered person. Obviously, you know each other from the scene a little bit, has probably been taken out of context a million times. So, I’m curious of its … Also, too, was that intimidating as a film maker? Was that exciting?

Scott (26:28):

Well, I came to him very early on and told him what I wanted to do. I said earlier, I couldn’t figure out why this hadn’t been done before. No one’s told me this, but my sense is that the reason it hadn’t been done is because ultimately if you’re going to get a film made about the DC punk scene, you’re going to have to involve Ian MacKaye.

Scott (26:56):

I think there has to be a trust between filmmaker, whoever the filmmaker is, and Ian MacKaye and a lot of the other folks that we’re involved. I think if you’re a stranger or someone that wasn’t from here and you’re coming to him, again he’s never said this to me but this is just my sense, you’re coming to him and you say, “Hey, I want to do this film about the DC punk scene in the 80s,” there might be something like, “Whoa, whoa. Who are you?”

Scott (27:31):

It’s not like Ian and I played racquetball together when I was a kid, but he knew who I was. I was in a band, we played with Fugazi, I did a fanzine, I interviewed Ian so he remembered me. And I kept in touch with him even when I was doing the magazine through the years. I think that helped.

Scott (27:57):

But certainly, yeah, getting his trust, I had to really outline everything that I was doing. I will say, Jim and I, Jim Saah, who’s the photographer and the editor, we sat down with him and we sent him the first edit of the film. I got a phone call shortly after I sent it to him, maybe a couple hours later, and he said, “Yeah, we need to get together.” I went, “Oh, boy.”

Scott (28:39):

And so, we sat at Jim’s house across the table for about six-and-a-half hours going over every minute of the film. There were cuts that he suggested and there were cuts that he would have preferred not been in the film. I listened, and we made a better film because of it.

Dan (29:07):

Dude, I think that’s great. Sorry, I [inaudible 00:29:10] get into Creem, but I think notes or input like that, sometimes the concept of it is intimidating to a filmmaker or defenses go up immediately.

Scott (29:24):

Yeah.

Dan (29:24):

But if you can sit on the other side of it and … The flip side of that is that, I mean, how do you not trust Ian MacKaye on a film about DC, right? Is that trust going both ways a bit? And, like you said, ending with what you feel ultimately was a better film, right?

Scott (29:40):

I give him a lot of credit for that and, again, to his credit. One of his biggest complaints in the film was that there was too much of him, and he was right.

Scott (29:56):

I think he’s very sensitive about that subject because so many people over the years have always said, “Oh, Ian gets all the attention.” Everyone says that Ian is DC hardcore. I’m sure he’s sensitive about that. And again, to his credit, he said, “There’s too much of me in here. This is not my story.”

Scott (30:24):

But he’s so quotable and he’s so good on camera that I couldn’t help. I think I got a little lazy towards the end of the film because he was so easy to go to, to cut to because he always had the right thing to say. But he was right. I said, “Okay, I’m going to do this and hopefully you’re going to love it.”

Scott (30:55):

I went back to the drawing board, I dug deeper, I got better quotes. We re-took probably 50% of the film and then we sent it back to him. He gave us his blessing and said he really thoroughly enjoyed it.

Dan (31:16):

That’s an awesome segue, actually, to the most current project that’s out, which I think came out in October, November that we watched then and loved. The Creem documentary, for those in the audience, if you don’t know. First, watch the film, it’s awesome. Second, Creem was a really important music magazine in the 70s and 80s.

Dan (31:38):

The first question I want to ask about making that film, because it’s the opposite of your Salad Days experience, that you just communicated in the way that you and Lester Bangs, because he had passed a long time ago, you could not sit down with, in essence, the equivalent of Ian, so to speak, and that like the most creative or one of the creative driving forces of Creem. So, how did you manage that element of having to make that film?

Scott (32:10):

Yeah, I knew, going in, that was obviously going to be a huge challenge, and so we tried to let a lot of his writing do the talking for him.

Scott (32:26):

For those not familiar, Lester Bangs is possibly the greatest music critic of all time. I’m sure people would argue that, but in my mind he was. He was one of the reasons, as a kid, that I wanted to write. Of course, I never came within a mile of approaching his brilliance. He wrote about music in a way that I had never read before. He was funny and not politically correct at all. But again, we’re talking about a story that took place … He died in 1982, so he was writing for Creem from the early 70s through about ’77.

Scott (33:20):

But Creem was like this … It was just a bunch of misfits that came together. They were brilliant but maybe a little damaged, but not in a bad way. We’re all kind of screwed up, or we wouldn’t be doing this. But they somehow made this magazine that just changed the journalistic landscape without sounding too pretentious. I mean, they really did. They served as an anti-Rolling Stone. They were the blue-collar version of Rolling Stone, and that was important to them.

Scott (34:04):

They were from Detroit. Lucky enough for them, Detroit is one of the greatest music cities. Still is, but certainly was then between Motown and what was happening with protopunk stuff like Iggy and DMC5 and, you name it.

Scott (34:26):

I’m always interested especially, just like with Salad Days, the geography and how that plays a part in the story. In DC it was like, no, we’re going to make our own thing because we got this chip on our shoulder. You know, fuck you, New York and LA. Like, no, we got this. We’re going to create …

Scott (34:43):

In that way, Creem was very similar. It was like, no, we’re not going to follow what Rolling Stone or some of these glossy mags are doing. We’re going to redefine how to write about rock and roll. And they did that. They were a musician’s magazine too. They weren’t just a consumer magazine like Rolling Stone because they had the respect of the musicians even when they were trashing him, which they could do pretty horribly.

Scott (35:24):

Again, it was the next film I wanted to make because that magazine informed my life to some degree just like Salad Days. Without Creem and reading Creem and reading fanzines and obsessing over Lester Bangs’ writing, I never would have been a writer, I never would have started a magazine. And so to me it was like, okay, this makes sense.

Dan (36:01):

So, was it post the success of Salad Days? Meaning, and I always say this to people, if you actually make a documentary or, really, any kind of film and it gets out there, that’s success on certain level. It’s so difficult to just create. But then, obviously, the positive feedback and now you’re in this. Was it then automatically in your mind because it was so influential on you, that you’re like, man, the next thing I want to do is a Creem mag? How did you come around to that?

Scott (36:31):

No, absolutely. In fact, I had started working just on the outline of the Creem doc while Salad Days was still in theaters. The success of Salad Days was beyond anything. I didn’t expect, I really didn’t expect it to resonate in the way that it did, and it played around the world. The critics were just amazing, and the audience response was incredible. I mean, we sold out theaters all around the world. It was insane.

Scott (37:11):

So, I knew that, okay, well, what else … To me, it was just connecting the dots to this other part of my life which was Creem, and about putting out a magazine and all of that. These were all things that I felt like I could again come at with a different angle because I’d been in the trenches, I’d done a magazine, I knew all that. And so, I felt like maybe I could come at it from a different perspective.

Scott (37:45):

JJ Kramer, who’s the son of the publisher of Creem who’s no longer with us, I approached JJ, like I said, towards the end of the Salad Days run. He had been approached by a number of different filmmakers. I think HBO reached out at one point about telling the story. We just hit it off and I just said let’s focus. I kind of told him what my vision of it was, and we just clicked. It was a long slog, it was a four-year process to make that film.

Dan (38:26):

Were there any particular major hiccups that made that process so long?

Scott (38:31):

Well, I guess some of it was that some of the interviewees were hard to get. It took us two years to convince Dave Marsh. Dave Marsh was the original editor of the magazine. It took us several years to convince him to be a part of the film.

Scott (38:54):

And then unfortunately a lot of other, I think there were five or six writers from Creem, that I had scheduled interviews with during the course of the production, passed away. So, there was a lot of, oh, okay, I got to figure out how to tell this part of the story without their voice because they unfortunately had passed away.

Scott (39:19):

That, and then the music licensing part, there was a lot of music licensing issues. And just wanting to get it right. We worked with a great editor, Patrick Wright, who won an Academy Award. He really took the story and he took it to a new level. We really focused on those three main characters, Lester Bangs, Dave Marsh, Barry Kramer almost like a band, like they were a band putting out a magazine, a highly dysfunctional band putting out a magazine. And-

Dan (40:05):

[crosstalk 00:40:05] for that. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to talk over the top of you there, but yeah, wow. Now that you say that, it very clicks. So, there’s almost a making of a band documentary. I can see that that thruway now that you say that.

Scott (40:21):

Yeah, that’s kind of how we … Midway through, we said, “Wait a second, let’s rethink this,” and thus, what we came up with. That’s how the story works.

Scott (40:32):

The magazine was still published up through about ’89, but I really just focused on its beginning in ’69 to when, I don’t want to give away too much of this story, but when some of the main characters or people that worked on Creem passed away in the early 80s and then the magazine just kind of … And so, that’s where the film kind of ends. So, I focused on that one period.

Dan (41:08):

[inaudible 00:41:08] period.

Scott (41:08):

Yeah.

Dan (41:11):

I want to ask you a question and then, because this will segue to what you’re working on now, but for you personally as a filmmaker, do you think that you would ever be a potential drop-in guy, if you will, kind of that we’re referring earlier? For you personally, do you feel like you always have to have some connection to the material you’re working on? Because I want you to talk about what you’re working on next.

Scott (41:38):

I just feel like I work best when I’m invested somehow emotionally or otherwise in whatever … There’ve been offers to do other documentaries and I haven’t taken them because I’m not all that interested in the subject, or it’s not something that I experienced or maybe have a real passion for.

Scott (42:09):

I mean, let’s face it, documentary filmmaking, you’re not going to get rich. If you’re going to spend three or four years of your life on something, it better be something, in my mind, it better be something that means something to you personally. That’s the way that you can justify the hell that you go through during the process.

Dan (42:39):

I think for me too, I have to at least be intellectually curious. I have a journalism degree, so from that, I at least have to have that curiosity. But, yeah, I tell people that all the time because you live with this. Like when we festivaled some of our films, it’s like I’ll go wait in the lobby and maybe I’ll go check to just see, okay, there should be a laugh line.

Scott (43:10):

[inaudible 00:43:10], yeah.

Dan (43:12):

You’ve seen it, you’ve lived with it for so long at that point.

Scott (43:17):

I find it hard to watch with audiences. I’ve done it enough times and I’m always happy when they laugh when they’re supposed to laugh or groan when they’re supposed to groan or whatever. But the worst is when you’re in there and you can hear a pin drop, and not in a good way. I’ve certainly spent my fair share of time in lobbies and bathrooms, and-

Dan (43:48):

You go back in like five minutes. You can hear your parts so like, okay, we’re getting close to credits, we’ll have to come down and do the Q&A, stuff like that.

Scott (43:56):

Exactly. Or the bar next door, yeah. But no, you’re right. At the very least, you should be intellectually curious about what … Even if it’s a [inaudible 00:44:09] or a subject that I know nothing about, if I can find the story in it and make that interesting to me, then yeah, for sure. Yeah.

Dan (44:22):

Well, so on that note, Scott, talk about what you’re working on right now. I know you got something going through Kickstarter and have just gotten, I believe, the trailer ready. Talk to us about that a little.

Scott (44:33):

Yeah, thanks for asking. Yeah, so I’m working on a new doc, which I’m really excited about because it combines the two things that I’m most interested in, which is music and activism and politics and social change and all those things.

Scott (44:54):

Basically it’s, you may or may not be familiar with the band DOA, but they were … It was DOA, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Dead Kennedys. Who am I forgetting? Circle Jerks. Those were the big five in the 80s. DOA are from Canada. They were probably the most political, other than the Dead Kennedys, out of those five, and were huge. I bought their albums, I played them till they wouldn’t play anymore. They were a huge favorite of mine when I was a kid. Still are.

Scott (45:34):

But the singer, Joe … Well, he used to go by the name Joey Shithead, but his name is Joe Keithley, he’s always been an activist, always been outspoken. That’s always been DOA’s MO. But in 2018, he decided to run for mayor in his town of Burnaby, which is essentially Vancouver. It’s a not a small town; it’s about 250,000 population and he won the councilmember seat. His opponent had been in there for years and had a six-figure budget for his campaign. Meanwhile, Joe, coming at it from a punk rock DIY kind of approach, had $7000 to work with in one.

Scott (46:38):

And so, it’s this great underdog story of this guy who’s been singing about social change for 40 years and then finally getting to the point where he can get into a position to make those changes within his own community.

Scott (47:01):

The film is not only about DOA but it’s about Joe’s election, winning, and then we’re going to follow him up through the next election in 2022. Whether he wins or loses, we will follow him. He’s going to knock on doors, he’s going to work the phones and we’re going to capture all of that and see where that takes him and see what kind of political future he has.

Scott (47:33):

So, to me it’s a really inspiring story. It’s kind of a David and Goliath underdog story. We’ve got some great people we’ve already interviewed for the film, everyone from Beto O’Rourke to Duff McKagan from Guns N’ Roses, who’s a huge DOA fan; Jello Biafra; Henry Rollins will be in it; Ian MacKaye will be in it. So, I’m excited.

Scott (48:00):

It’s called Something Better Change, and it’s going to be coming out … The Kickstarter campaign will begin on January 22nd right after our inauguration day.

Dan (48:14):

Is that what people will just search for? This will probably actually come out in February, so that’ll be cool. Your site should be live. Just search the film title in Kickstarter?

Scott (48:24):

Yeah, go to kickstarter.com and do a search for Something Better Change, and then you’ll see the page. We’re giving away … The rewards are insane. Everything from autographed DOA skateboards, to autographed Joe Keithley model guitars, to albums, to patches, the postcards, T shirts, sweatshirts. There’s something for everyone.

Scott (48:57):

I really think it will resonate with people even if they’re not punk rock fans. Again, getting back to that thing of this is a much larger, this is not just a story about a punk rock band whose singer goes onto … No, this is an underdog story about grassroots activism and being active in your community and making real change.

Dan (49:22):

Nice. And where can people find the Creem doc right now? I know I grabbed mine off iTunes, but I’m sure it’s other places now.

Scott (49:28):

That’s right. It’s on iTunes, it’s streaming on Amazon as well as a number of … Gosh, I should know, but I don’t know. It’s off the top of my head. So, check Amazon. It’s definitely streaming there; at iTunes, it’s streaming. Salad Days is streaming on Amazon as well, and DVDs are available of both at amazon.com.

Scott (49:56):

We also are selling merch at this [crosstalk 00:49:59].

Dan (49:59):

[inaudible 00:49:59]. You guys have some really cool Salad Days merch available, right?

Scott (50:03):

Thank you. Yeah, saladdaysdc.com. We’ve got T-shirts, hats, all kinds of stuff. And then if you go to creemmag.com, there’s a ton of merch there as well, and then there’ll be at Something Better Change website as well, but it’s not up yet.

Dan (50:28):

Yeah, offline once we wrap. You got to let me know what blanks the Salad Days shirts are made on so I can order the right size.

Dan (50:36):

Well, Scott, that’s going to do it, man. Thanks so much for taking an hour out of your day to chat with us. I had a super good time.

Scott (50:44):

Thanks [inaudible 00:50:45]. It was a blast, I appreciate it.

Dan (50:47):

Awesome, man. Yeah, everybody, the two films that are out there that you can watch right now, Salad Days, story of the DC punk scene, ’80 to ’90; Creem, documentary about Creem Magazine; and then Scott is working on a new project. Dude, I just blanked on the title again, the DOA doc, what is it again?

Scott (51:06):

Something Better Change.

Dan (51:09):

Something Better Change. I don’t want to get the order wrong. So, check it out. Appreciate your time, man. You have a good one.

Scott (51:14):

Thanks so much. You too. Take care.

Dan (51:15):

Later, everybody.