Director - Video Rahim (Mastodon: Asleep in the Deep)
Starring - Christopher Scum, Bernard, and Steven Crime
Release Date - 2015
Genre - Documentary
Tagline - "The true, twisted story of a southern punk band"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)
Rating (out of 5):
When I was young, roughly around 6 or so, my older brother would come in to West Virginia and visit me and my sister every weekend. My brother was an adult at this time where he was born 12 years before I and had already lived almost an entire life before I was even born. During his weekly trips I would learn more and more about him. It was during one of these trips that I heard a Poison album for the first time. Not long after that I was introduced to Black Sabbath's Paranoid. Holy shit was my world changed. From that moment on I was a metal head. Listening to Sabbath, Ratt, Metallica, Judas Priest, Megadeth. Point of this being, I am a metal head. I've tried listening to punk with bands like The Ramones, The Clash, Sex Pistols, and so on. The only one I dig is The Misfits which is required listening for horror fans. A few weeks back my friends over at Wild Eye sent me the southern punk documentary Rebel Scum. Growing up in the poorest county in the United States nestled in the mountains of West Virginia, I know a few things about being different in the bible belt. This film really intrigued me so I tossed it in as soon as I could.
The film follows the Tennessee punk band The Dirty Works who is fronted by Chris Scum. Scum is a complicated man. Scum has been addicted to something most of his life making every day a struggle to stay sober. Music is a passion of his which is why he put together the 4 piece punk band and fronted it. Scum is a character on stage that channels his inner G.G. Allin and Iggy Pop where he just beats the shit out of himself before screaming his lyrics. His antics off stage has put tension on his band which is already a powder keg. His guitarist is a selfish drunk who has no loyalty to anyone but a cold one. The band's drummer has a passion for music that overshadows that of Scum's which is why the two often butt heads when trying to better the band. The band's bassist ends up leaving the band for another one only to be removed from it as well. The bands hits a rough spot when Scum falls off the wagon into the depths of his inner demons. The band is able to overcome this and move on performing in the name of punk and blood.
Documentaries are a phenomenon all their own. People could turn anything into a a documentary and people would watch it regardless if they had interest in the topic or not. If you don't believe me, just go to Netflix and watch Winnebago Man and Shut Up, Little Man. Both are outstanding docs about shit no one really cares about. With that being said, Rebel Scum was one doc I was very interested in checking out. Not from the punk stand point but from the living in the south stand point. The film has some very interesting interviews with the band an people close to the band but that is about as far as it goes. These interviews were very relevant to the documentary but I would have loved to see someone interviewed outside of their circle that could give us more of an inside look on Scum and his mental state along with more bands than what we got from the area. These interviews would have showed how relevant The Dirty Works is musically in the areas they play along with some insight on Scum and if he has any undiagnosed mental illnesses. The documentary does move very well and goes through several moments in the band's career over the course of several years. The documentary goes very in depth into these events regardless how difficult it was for the band and it's members. Finally, the documentary is put together very well. The film is edited very well which makes each interview and footage flow together very well. I have seen documentaries that are lot more polished than this one but that is what makes this one so fucking rock n' roll. Overall, Rebel Scum is a drug and alcohol fueled descent into a counter culture movement in a region where Christianity rules all. The documentary shows the underside of punk and how easy it is for troubled youths to get their hands on mind altering substances. This documentary is well worth a watch so check it out.