DIY or Die: Burn This DVD (MVD/ MRA)

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It’s a strange thing to say in the title, ‘burn this dvd,’ but it does plug in to the anti establishment ethos at play throughout this 55 minute doco. So fuck the establishment, don’t wait to be discovered, just get your art out there however you can and if they don’t like it, well fuck them too because someone somewhere surely will. With minimum production values filmmaker Michael W Dean armed with a video camera and a bunch of questions seeks out some of his favourite independent American artists to ponder some of the difficulties in creating art outside of the mainstream. Hooking up with counter culture heroes like Lydia Lunch, bassist Mike Watt (Pornos For Pyros/ Minutemen), Ian MacKaye (Fugazi), producer and musician Steve Albini (Shellac), nudie art photographer Richard Kern, Ron Ashton (Stooges) and even Jim Rose (Of Jim Rose Circus Sideshow), Dean not only discusses their motivations for staying outside the mainstream, but some of the nuts and bolts that drive their financial (in) security. As a self help motivational tool for budding artists this film really serves as reality check as many of the artists presented here are working incredibly hard just to keep their heads above water. The message seems to be that if you want cocaine and blowjobs sign to a major label. Just understand that you’ll be made to pick up the soap on repeated occasions, your art will be diluted and you’ll wind up hating yourself in the morning. The artists presented here are incredibly driven though they believe their toils are more than compensated by the fact that they can focus on creating their art and not have to in the most part bother with crappy 9-5 jobs to make ends meet.

Extra Features:
Steve Albini however adds the cautionary counterpoint in a very interesting 15 min interview. “In a way it s a hubristic assumption that you can be a musician and the rest of the world will pay you for the privilege of hearing your music,” he begins. He should know, having produced the likes of Nirvana and Low. There’s a bunch of other people interviewed, a making of doco which is basically off topic comments and a tour diary which includes a trip to Sundance, interviews with cable and everything else they can slap together in a raw gritty DIY way.

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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.

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