Title: The Other “F” Word
Director: Andrea Blaugrund Nevins
Dealing with your public life and private can be a tremendous balance, especially if you are in the public eye and also considered punk rock royalty. But taking that delicate balance and adding a family, kids and a home life can make for an interesting dynamic to boot. In the new documentary, “The Other F Word” explores notions of being a responsible, authoritative parent and being in the lime light as a punk rock icon, who tells their loyal fans to “Fuck authority”. This juxtaposition is the centerpiece of this wonderful documentary, which also serves as an accurate depiction of an aging band on tour coming to grips with being middle aged with the punk rock band, Pennywise.
Largely, this film is about the lead singer of Pennywise, Jim Lindberg, and his struggles to be a good father and the vision of teenage rebellion. It gives a concise history of punk rock from the people who actually started the movement in Southern California with interviews from Ron Reyes of Black Flag and Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion. Starting this movement, not to make a career out of it and make money, it was far more shortsighted than that, until the point when it became a global phenomenon and viable career choice. After all, punk rock means a completely different thing when you’re 15 years-old boy as it does to a 45 year-old man. Part of the “graduation” to manhood comes from accepting the responsibility of having and taking care of your offspring. This is when the party is over, or at the very least, when it becomes an increasingly harder job to balance the two personas.
This film is full of interviews from various punk rock icons like Fat Mike from NOFX, Lars Frederiksen from Rancid and Flea from The Red Hot Chili Peppers, all giving their accounts of when they started to become fathers and how hard it was to be in a punk rock band afterwards. Some balance it well, some do not, which makes this documentary more compelling than your average music documentary, adding the heart needed to drive the centerpiece of the film, Jim Lindberg.
Being on tour for a staggered 200+ days is a daunting task alone, but add the stress of supporting a family, it becomes intolerable. “The Other F Word” explores what it means to be on the road as, how Lindberg puts it, “a working class band”. Pennywise, as a band, does well enough to keep going but not well enough to actually have more help on the road. They seem like they have a small road crew traveling with them around the world over the course of a year. They don’t have the luxuries of bigger, more well-known and more established bands like The Rolling Stones or Pearl Jam, to have the nights at five star hotels and gourmet meals, it seems like there’s a lot of Holiday Inn Express and McDonald’s for Pennywise on the road. This adds the textures and how exactly mundane the road gets as an interesting look at a middle-aged man losing passion for music, performance and the fans.
To say the very least, “The Other F Word” is thorough with almost every aspect of fatherhood and being in a band than most music documentaries aspire to be. Viewers will get a great sense of the love between a father and their children, despite the childhood of most of the man in this film. And in this way, “The Other F Word” is a valuable and an insightful documentary of what it means to be in a band when you have a family to support and when rock n’ roll becomes more of a job than a passion. It’s real! It’s full of the pleasures and pitfalls of real life, real music and real fun.
“The Other F Word” opens in a limited release of Nov. 2nd.