Saturday, July 31, 2004

Rave of the Day for July 31: 

The documentary film "Some Kind of Monster", which is in limited release in the US. You do not have to know a thing about Metallica to get something out of this. You also don't have to be the type of person who normally watches documentaries to find this interesting.

I have to admit to being skeptical when the film started out. I mean, the biggest metal band in history in group psychotherapy? I thought this would devolve into a very cheesy 12-step sort of thing with cheap mugging for the camera. But that didn't exactly happen, at least, not the way I expected.

I was enormously relieved to discover this was not a rip-off of reality TV. No secret interviews with bandmates backstabbing one another. They did do individual segments with each of the band members, but they focused on what their lives were like away from the band, which is really what we want to see anyway.

This was actually a pretty honest look at the band, enormously difficult to maintain with cameras rolling during moments of conflict. They do actually have to address the issue of whether being filmed affects their behavior and creativity. I was impressed that they did resist the tempation to ham it up. Most rockers wouldn't be able to resist.

I was surprised how suspenseful this was. Even though I knew it would turn out all right in the end, I was fascinated with how they were going to pull it off following Hetfield's unexpected year-long departure for rehab. And just how they would handle the search for a replacement bass player.

And of course, being the music fan that I am, I wanted to get inside the studio to see how "St. Anger" got made. I was not disappointed. Interesting that while they mix their tracks on a computer, all the lyrics are still scrawled by hand on lined notebook paper. Hearing how their ideas and sounds evolved into the finished product was gratifying.

Were there temper tantrums? Sure. Juvenile moments? Yep. But also surprising moments of genius, honesty, collective energy. And of course the wicked sense of humor we have come to love.

This was not a promo piece or a music video. This was three grown men trying to decide if a 20-year-old band was still viable, what it still held for them individually and as a group. Whether relinquishing control must also mean missing out on the creative process, and how much change is too much.

I will be watching for the DVD release on this one.

For more on the film, and cities where it is showing, go here:

Some Kind of Monster

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?