The Other “F” Word Documentary Review

Fatherhood.

That’s the other  F word in Andrea Blaugrund Nevins’ 2011 documentary that follows punk rockers struggling to balance  their careers with the demands of being a parent.

Focusing  on Jim Lindberg, author of  Punk Rock Dad and lead singer of punk staple  Pennywise, the documentary bounces around covering topics including how to be a role model and a performer, putting food on the table in the age of digital music and how much touring is too much.

Interviewees include blink-182’s Mark Hoppus, Red Hot Chili Peppers’  Flea, Bad Religion/ Epitaph Records’ Brett Gurewitz  and even skateboarder/mogul Tony Hawk.

What most of these fathers have in common is a rocky relationship with their own fathers and a desire to be a better dad to their own children. There are jokes and swear words, but there are also tears and deeply emotional stories of abuse and loss.

Those without a background in the punk scene might be feeling a little lost with the references, but any parent can relate to the dads’ desire to make a better life for their children. What sets these men apart from many parents is the outside pressures they deal with from their bandmates, fans and the punk rock community’s obsession with “not selling out.”

Hearing their children talk about not knowing where their dads are or the times they miss their dads  puts  the argument of selling out into a better perspective than most dialogues about the music industry. There are many ways to humanize a subject, but none more so than seeing someone interact with those that they love dearly.

The documentary ends with Jim Lindberg deciding to quit Pennywise. Although we now know that he would later rejoin the band, the emotional poignancy is no less stunning.  Deciding to leave the band to spend more time with his family is a decision that may cost him friendships and the livelihood of his friends.

But Lindberg ends the documentary with the conclusion that maybe the way to make the world better isn’t necessarily through music.

Maybe the way is to raise better kids.

Released in 2011 and recognized at South by Southwest, this documentary is still worth watching. Just as the punk scene hasn’t gone away, neither will the dilemma of the punk rock dad.

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