Clockwork Orange County tells the story of L.A. venue the Cuckoo’s Nest, the hardcore punk club where bands like Black Flag, T.S.O.L. and the Circle Jerks once played ferocious sets. Professional skater Steve Olsen calls the venue “probably the most important thing to happen to Orange County” in the film’s trailer. Mixing footage from Paul Young’s 1981 Urban Struggle: The Battle of the Cuckoo’s Nest with a handful of recent interviews, the documentary attempts to chronicle not just the life of the club but the frenzied punk scene that formed around it.
The film is out today, and we’re premiering a clip of Black Flag performing “Six Pack” in the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1980: A young, sweaty and shirtless Henry Rollins stalks the stage, screaming into his microphone while fans slam dance and stage dive around him. After the performance ends, the clip cuts to an archival interview with the band’s bassist, Chuck Dukowski, who is being asked provide a few details about what those fans are doing.
“The majority people think that punk rockers roll around in glass and cut themselves up and are into pain and suffering,” says the interviewer before asking Dukowski what he sees from the stage.
“When I play, I don’t really look,” he responds. “No one goes out to get hurt. I mean, I don’t.”
Adolescents and D.I. drummer Casey Royer also attempts to sum up that mosh-pit experience: “You don’t break break bones or anything. You get bruises and swollen on parts of your body, but it’s nothing really that big. It’s like a chaotic, really drunk high school dance.”