Keven's Movie Review: NO ROOM FOR ROCKSTARS
Published: March 6, 2012 - 10:57am
The upcoming documentary about the Vans Warped Tour is one of the most eye-opening music films I've seen in years. The film is a no holds barred look at life on the road and how hard it is for new bands to make a name for themselves. It's an unflinching look behind the scenes and a must-see for anyone who wants to know what it takes to truly make it as a band.
No Room for Rockstars documents the annual Vans Warped Tour and follows a few of the less mainstream bands on the bill from a couple years ago. We're treated to the 'rock-star' Mike Posner and how his lifestyle is drastically different from touring partners like Suicide Silence. While Posner is doing Rolling Stone photo shoots and playing a live show on America's Got Talent during off dates from the Warped Tour, other bands struggle to maintain relevancy on the road. It's intriguing however to see how Posner's personality evolves from the start of the documentary in which he at first comes off as arrogant claiming that he's sold more records than 95% of the other bands on the tour. Later on Posner seems to become more humbled, but only as his crowds begin to grow in size while his singles climb the charts.
The documentary features interviews with many bands past and present who made their names on the punk roots driven festival to organizer Kevin Lyman and even the truck drivers and roadies who help make it all happen. It's a chaotic and tiring look at what goes into running such a large touring music festival and it doesn't shy away from the blood, sweat and tears that go into Vans Warped Tour day in and day out. It's very cool to see Lyman grilling steaks and burgers for all the truck drivers and handing out food casually to the workers when he could just as easily be held up in an air-conditioned office.
It's also fascinating to follow unsigned garage band Forever Came Calling as they drive their van from show to show passing out CD's in the lineups, trying to make a name for themselves. No Room For Rockstars leaves no stone unturned and it really delves deeply into all the various aspects of what fuels the Warped Tour and what kind of fans attend this thing every year. Director Parris Patton has crafted a powerful documentary that in the end will change how you look at not only the Warped Tour but touring musicians in general.
For 17 years, the Vans Warped Tour has been a punk rock juggernaut, a misfit circus crisscrossing North America every summer as a wandering minstrel show for youth culture. Embracing a powerful, unifying ethic created by its founder Kevin Lyman, the Vans Warped Tour has grown and prospered as the music industry itself imploded and continues to sift through the rubble in search of a new way forward. Along the way, Warped has provided a launching pad for a dizzying array of talent, from Green Day and Blink 182 to Ice-T, Eminem and No Doubt, along with perennial punk legends such as Pennywise, All, Bouncing Souls and Bad Religion.
With more than 300 hours of film shot during the 2010 tour, NO ROOM FOR ROCKSTARS documents the true stories of modern era rock and roll from every possible angle. From the kids in the van playing parking lots to gain notice, to the veteran stage manager whose life was saved by the tour, to the musician who crosses over to mainstream success while on the road.
No Room For Rockstars made its world premiere at the 2012 Slamdance Film Festival and will play next month at South By Southwest (SXSW). It will be released on iTunes on April 2 and DVD on May 15.