The music documentaries from the 80s by Penelope Spheeris might finally make it to DVD.
If you’re an older music geek like me, you are familiar with Penelope Spheeris‘ two documentaries of music scenes in Los Angeles. The first, The Decline of Western Civilization, was filmed in 1980 and featured the LA punk rock scene, which at the time was hardcore, nihilistic, and agressive. Bands in that movie were Fear, The Circle Jerks, X, The Germs, and the pre-Henry Rollins Black Flag.
The second movie was The Decline of Western Civilization II – The Metal Years, filmed in the late 80s around the Sunset Strip. It featured great interviews from a lot of metal’s leading lights of the time, and featured performances by Megadeth, Faster Pussycat, and other bands that soon died quiet, ignominious deaths.
[Editor’s Note: Metalheads will remember the scene by the pool with a very drunken Chris Holmes, W.A.S.P. guitarist, being interview with his mother.]
However, due to rights issues, the movies have been unavailable on DVD. You can catch The Metal Years on cable from time to time, but aside from very old videotapes, those movies aren’t available for home purchase.
I did find a Web site, www.declinemovies.com, that says “Coming Soon To DVD and Video.” I emailed and received a response from “Penelope” which said:
Thank you for your interest in The Decline series. Currently we’re hard at work compiling and restoring all of the materials for the DVDs. We thank you for your patience. Meanwhile, if you are interested in a free VHS copy of Decline III, please visit declinemovies.com for details on how to get one as they are still available.
Hopefully, this means the rights issues are worked out and the movies will be on DVD soon, with plenty of extras (oh, please!)