One of the cool things about music is that you can learn about it in so many different ways – formal education, experience or even film. Here are my picks and the things I learned about music from mockumentaries:
Everybody knows the scene where Wayne and Garth sing along to Queens’ Bohemian Rhapsody in the back of the car. But what can you take away from this one? A lot of references to pop culture and puerile humour, but specifically, the impact that music has on its fans. Never underestimate the part your music plays in your fans lives.
This is a clever parody of almost every music doco ever made. From the same actors portraying the characters from age 14 to 70, to the trials they face and the demons that haunt the main character, Dewey Cox. Much like the real artists they are poking fun at, reinvention and adaptation are essential to longevity in the music industry.
My fave quote:
Sam: “And you never once paid for drugs. Not once!”
School Of Rock
While you probably don’t want a hungover washed-up muso living vicariously through your kids, you gotta love Jack Blacks enthusiasm for sharing music with these kids, inspiring a new generation of musicians.
Ok, it’s a stupid movie but I watched this one when I was a teenager, so it probably cemented a few stereotypes about Guitarists, Bassplayers and Drummers. They hijack a radio station to get the DJ to play their demo.
Moral of the story:
Think outside the box to promote your music (but don’t break the law).
Get Him To The Greek
The hero of this film isn’t the rocker, but Aaron Green the guy in charge of getting Aldous Snow to the Greek Theatre in LA.
What I took away from this one:
Any relationship can result in a gig.
Boytown This Aussie film explores the ‘where are they now’ angle on a fictional 80’s boy band that try reform their group but find their fans have gotten older.
Know your target audience.
And, of course:
The mother of all mockumentaries about David St. Hubbins, Derek Smalls and Nigel Tufnel - Spinal Tap. If you haven't seen this one, don't play another chord - go and watch it now. Just the fact that musicians like Eddie Van Halen failed to see the humour in the film as "…everything in that movie had happened to me!" makes it a must see.
The moment that stands out:
Marty DiBergi: Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?
Nigel Tufnel: ...these go to eleven.
Here are some serious music documentaries that I recommend to round out your viewing experience:
Buena Vista Social Club
Standing In The Shadows of Motown
The Last Waltz
Walk The Line