The Seven Best New Music Documentaries of the YearFrom a doc on the Foo Fighters with rare footage of them performing with Eddie Vedder to the controversial Tribe Called Quest movie, here are the films you need to see
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Set to premiere Tuesday at the South by Southwest festival in Austin before opening theatrically in April, this two-hour history of Dave Grohl’s band follows the Foo Fighters from its earliest days to the recording of its forthcoming Wasting Light with producer Butch Vig. The big find: footage of the Foos’ first tour, a 1995 series of shows with Eddie Vedder’s Hovercraft side project and Mike Watt. “There were hardly any pictures from that show and we didn’t think anyone even shot it,” says Academy Award-winning director James Moll. “But it turned out [former Foos guitarist] Pat Smear’s ex-wife shot it on a videocamera and had it in storage.” Foo Fighters also benefits from candid interviews with everyone from Grohl to past members like Smear. Moll found Grohl particularly forthcoming, especially when talking about the end of Nirvana and the birth of the Foos: "For a long time, Dave didn't want to talk about Nirvana because he wanted to establish himself. That time is long passed.”
He might be biased, but Moll says it's a great time for music docs. “They’ve traditionally been about deep social issues, but now they're also more about pop culture, and they're commercially viable. I've heard people say, ‘I just saw a documentary that was better than any scripted movie I've seen in years.’”
Here are six more of the best music-based documentaries that have recently been released or are coming soon.
By David Browne