by D.X. FerrisWASHINGTON, D.C. - The new hardcore documentary, Destroy Cleveland, has sparked an outcry from the Punk Rock Documentary & Historical Testimony Union.
“All card-carrying punks should boycott this movie,” says Ian MacKaye, president of the union’s influential Washington, D.C. chapter, Local No. 138. “It is not up to the standards we have come to expect from a documentary about this important form of American music. Specifically, it fails to include testimony from several key figures in the history of punk rock.”
Local 138 members include Dischord Records founder MacKaye (ex-Minor Threat, Fugazi) and fellow punk icon Henry Rollins (ex-Black Flag, S.O.A.).
At least one of the duo have appeared in every punk history, including the book and movie versions of American Hardcore, Punk: Attitude, The Art of Punk — Black Flag, We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen, the D.C./Virginia episode of Dave Grohl’s Sonic Highways series, and About.com’s The History of Punk Rock.
But neither MacKaye nor longtime associate Rollins appear in the independently produced documentary.
“I don’t know Cleveland hardcore, and I don’t have anything to say about it,” explained MacKaye in the chapter's plush office, a fat cigar dangling from his mouth. “But if you think you’re gonna make a punk rock documentary without Big Ian Mick-ay, you are sorely mistaken. I don’t care how many of your little buddies from the One Shocks Terror Crew or whatever want to relive their glory days; I have 15 of Dischord’s finest corporate lawyers on my side, plus another little secret weapon you may have heard of.”
“That’s right,” added Rollins, emerging from a shadow in the corner. “I hear it’s a nice documentary the Ohio boys put together. It would be a shame if something were to… happen to it.”
Destroy Cleveland director Matthew Greenfield, an Ohio native who currently lives in Texas, says MacKaye and Rollins simply do not belong in the movie.
“Ian and Henry are accomplished figures in the punk movement, no question,” explained Greenfield via Skype. “But they weren’t on the scene. Though many Cleveland hardcore personalities went on to play in major acts like [platinum alt-rock band] Filter, Sepultura, and CIV, half the point of this film is to document groups whose primary audience and impact were in Cleveland.”
According to MacKaye, the film’s initials, “D.C.,” constitute an actionable copyright infringement against both the phrase “[Washington] D.C.,” which he copyrighted in 1982, and the typographically specific term “harDCore.”
Greenfield said he sent Dischord’s publicity firm a list of questions about Cleveland bands from the 1980s through the modern era, including Integrity, Confront, Outface and Face Value. According to the director, 13 months later, he received an invoice from the union, a postcard from MacKaye that read simply “Never heard of ’em — IxMx” and a list of demands that included 15 minutes of screen time for members of his local.
“Ian wanted me to pay for my own transportation to Washington,” claims Greenfield. “Then I would have had to pay $10,000 cash for him to tell me the story about the first time he saw [the] Bad Brains play in the D.C. ghetto. It has nothing to do with Cleveland. And I’ve heard it before.”
“I’ll tell him what fits in his movie,” retorted MacKaye. “This is about two things: the historical truth, and me getting paid. One, if I don’t have anything to say about it, it never happened. And two, people don’t buy CDs any more, so appearing in documentaries is the primary means of income for our hard-working, law-abiding members. And lemme tell ya: bitches and hamburgers are not cheap.”
“You heard Mister MacKaye,” said Rollins, flexing a massive right bicep. “We have a little saying around these parts: 'The "Ee" don’t talk for free.' ”
“The cigar and the part about the burgers are off the record,” added MacKaye. “I’m a vegan icon.”
Destroy Cleveland premiers Friday, July 24 at Cleveland’s Ohio City Masonic Center. A post-show concert will follow, at the nearby Foundry nightclub, featuring a reunion set by the Gordon Solie Motherfuckers.
“Never heard of them, either,” said MacKaye.
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[Note to Reader: If you're taking any of this seriously, you're an idiot. -Ed.]
D.X. Ferris wrote two books about Slayer. People seem to like them. Learn more at SlayerBio.com. Ferris doodles a webcomic called Suburban Metal Dad. Nobody seems to like it. Learn more at SuburbanMetalDad.com. He used to write the Around Hear column for Cleveland Scene, back when it was still half-decent. He started doing DDP Yoga after throwing his back out while humping your mom.