In yet more good news for the growing legion of ’90s nostalgists, this fall will see the release of a 20th-anniversary DVD of 1991: The Year Punk Broke, Dave Markey’s accidental snapshot of the burgeoning grunge and “alternative music” scene. Long out of print on VHS—and delayed from coming to DVD by tons of music licensing issues, no doubt—this anniversary edition will reportedly feature tons of extras, including the 42-minute bonus film (This Is Known As) The Blues Scale with extra performances from both Sonic Youth and Nirvana (see preview clips here), plus a feature-length commentary from Markey and Moore, and video of a 2003 panel discussion at the Arclight in Hollywood that involved Markey, Moore, Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley, and J. Mascis
Intended to be merely a playful backstage documentary of Sonic Youth’s two-week European tour, Punk took on a life of its own when opening act Nirvana blew up a mere month after filming ended and the Alternative Nation was officially established, bringing unexpected attention to many of the other bands who make appearances like Babes In Toyland, Dinosaur Jr., Mudhoney, and Gumball. (Though maybe not so much Gumball.) In addition to featuring some great performances, the film is also notable for capturing these groups at their most innocent, before label concerns and media scrutiny got in the way—although a brief, interview-crashing cameo from Courtney Love (who was still dating Billy Corgan at the time) confirms she was pretty much always like that. But otherwise, it’s wall-to-wall goofiness (even the title is a joke, a sarcastic assessment of Mötley Crüe's cover of "Anarchy In The U.K." that year), including off-stage antics that range from Thurston Moore’s ridiculous white-boy raps to Kurt Cobain and Kim Gordon acting out a scene from Madonna’s Truth Or Dare. In other words, it’s really… neat.
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