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The Hottest Rock Films at SXSW

New films offer glimpses inside the private worlds of Paul Simon, Ginger Baker and more
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Bad Brains: Band in DC, sxsw
Rita Lichtwardt

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'Bad Brains: Band in DC'

While working on a film about Manhattan's legendary Lower East Side music venue, CBGBs, Mandy Stein unintentionally discovered her next project; the director uncovered pristine footage of a then-young hardcore punk band, Bad Brains, ripping through one of their infamously riotous live shows. "It all happened very organically," Stein says of Bad Brains: Band in DC, a documentary that examines the ongoing cult following of a DC punk/hardcore band that was never commercially successful yet widely regarded as influential.

Bad Brains were a tough sell: an entirely African-American Rastafarian punk crew that wrote pummeling punk riffs infused with traditional jazz-fusion elements in the 1970s. "The industry didn't know how to market the band," explains co-director Benjamin Logan. "But I always felt like they were one of the greatest bands ever."

Onscreen, notoriously eccentric frontman Human Rights, a/k/a H.R., eats up the spotlight. Says the singer of making the film, “It was a lot of fun. An excellent time.”

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