|The Decline of Western Civilization|
|Directed by||Penelope Spheeris|
|Produced by|| Gordon Brown |
|Written by||Penelope Spheeris|
|Edited by||Charlie Mullin|
|Distributed by||Nu-Image Film (theatrical)|
Media Home Entertainment (home video)
The Decline of Western Civilization is a 1981 American documentary filmed through 1979 and 1980. The movie is about the Los Angeles punk rock scene and was directed by Penelope Spheeris. In 1981, the LAPD Chief of Police Daryl Gates wrote a letter demanding the film not be shown again in the city.
The film's title is possibly a reference to music critic Lester Bangs' 1970 two-part review of the Stooges' album Fun House , for Creem magazine, where Bangs quotes a friend who had said the popularity of the Stooges signaled "the decline of Western civilization". Another possibility is that the title refers to Darby Crash's reading of Oswald Spengler's Der Untergang des Abendlandes ( The Decline of the West ).In We Got the Neutron Bomb , an oral history of the L.A. punk rock scene collected by Marc Spitz, Claude Bessy claims that he came up with the title.
The film is the opening act of a trilogy by Spheeris, depicting music scenes in Los Angeles during the late 20th century. The second film, The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (1988), covers the Los Angeles heavy metal scene of 1986–1988. The third film, The Decline of Western Civilization III (1998), chronicles the gutter punk lifestyle of homeless teenagers in the late 1990s.
In 2016, The Decline of Western Civilization was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Featuring concert footage of Los Angeles punk bands and interviews both with band members, the publishers of Slash fanzine, and with the punks who made up their audience, the film offers a look into a subculture that was largely ignored by the rock music press of the time.
The promotional poster for The Decline (and the record cover of the soundtrack album) featured a close-up frame of Germs singer Darby Crash supine on stage with his eyes closed. Crash died from a heroin-induced suicide shortly before the film was released (the poster was designed before his death).
Bands included are Black Flag, Germs, X, Alice Bag Band, the Circle Jerks, Catholic Discipline, and Fear. The Germs' performance was replicated in the 2007 Darby Crash biopic What We Do Is Secret .
|The Decline of Western Civilization|
| Soundtrack album by |
|Genre||Punk rock, hardcore punk|
|Producer||Gary Hirstius and Alan Kutner|
The soundtrack was released in December 1980 by Slash Records on LP. In the late 1990s it was released on CD as well. Germs singer Darby Crash appears on the soundtrack album cover. He died shortly before the film was released, though the promotional images for the film and album release had been designed before his death.
|1.||"White Minority"||Greg Ginn||Black Flag||2:27|
|5.||"Underground Babylon"||Catholic Discipline||3:41|
|6.||"Beyond and Back"||John Doe, Exene Cervenka||X||2:54|
|7.||"Johnny Hit and Run Paulene"||Doe, Cervenka||X||2:49|
|8.||"We're Desperate"||Doe, Cervenka||X||2:45|
|9.||"Red Tape"||Keith Morris, Greg Hetson||Circle Jerks||1:42|
|10.||"Back Against the Wall"||Morris, Hetson, Roger Rogerson, Lucky Lehrer||Circle Jerks||1:33|
|11.||"I Just Want Some Skank"||Morris, Hetson, Rogerson, Lehrer||Circle Jerks||1:15|
|12.||"Beverly Hills"||Morris, Rogerson||Circle Jerks||1:15|
|13.||"Gluttony"||Alice Bag Band||3:45|
|14.||"I Don't Care About You"||Lee Ving||Fear||3:45|
|15.||"I Love Livin' in the City"||Ving||Fear||2:16|
Germs were an American punk rock band from Los Angeles, California, United States, originally active from 1976 to 1980. The band's main early lineup consisted of singer Darby Crash, guitarist Pat Smear, bassist Lorna Doom, and drummer Don Bolles. They released only one album, 1979's (GI), produced by Joan Jett, and were featured the following year in Penelope Spheeris' documentary film The Decline of Western Civilization, which chronicled the Los Angeles punk movement.
Jealous Again is a 12" EP that was the second release by American hardcore punk band Black Flag and the third-ever release on SST Records.
Penelope Spheeris is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. She has directed both documentary film and scripted films. Her best known works include the trilogy titled The Decline of Western Civilization, each covering an aspect of Los Angeles underground culture, and Wayne's World, her highest-grossing film.
Georg Albert Ruthenberg, better known by the stage name Pat Smear, is an American musician and actor. He is best known as a rhythm guitarist in the rock band Foo Fighters, with whom he has recorded five studio albums.
Darby Crash was an American punk rock vocalist and songwriter who, along with longtime friend Pat Smear, co-founded the punk rock band the Germs. He took his own life by way of an intentional heroin overdose.
Lee James Jude Capallero, known professionally as Lee Ving, is an American musician and actor.
The Decline of Western Civilization III is a 1998 documentary film, directed by Penelope Spheeris, that chronicles the gutter punk lifestyle of homeless teenagers. It is the third film of a trilogy by Spheeris depicting life in Los Angeles at various points in time. The first film, The Decline of Western Civilization (1981), dealt with the punk rock scene during 1980–1981. The second film, The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (1988), covers the Los Angeles heavy metal movement of 1986–1988.
Bags were an American punk rock band formed in 1977, one of the first generation of punk rock bands to emerge from Los Angeles, California.
The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years is a 1988 documentary film directed by Penelope Spheeris. Filmed between August 1987 and February 1988, the film chronicles the late 80s Los Angeles heavy metal scene. It is the second film of a trilogy by Spheeris depicting life in Los Angeles at various points in time as seen through the eyes of struggling up-and-coming musicians. The first film, The Decline of Western Civilization (1981), dealt with the punk rock scene during 1979–1980. The third film, The Decline of Western Civilization III (1998), chronicles the gutter punk lifestyle of homeless teenagers in the late 1990s.
(GI) is the debut and only studio album by American punk rock band the Germs. Often considered the first hardcore punk album, it was released in the United States in October 1979 on Slash Records with catalog number SR 103. The album was later released in Italy in 1982 by Expanded Music with the catalog EX 11. The album's title is an acronym for "Germs Incognito", an alternate name the band used to obtain bookings when their early reputation kept them out of Los Angeles-area clubs. After (GI)'s release, the band would only undertake one more recording session, for the soundtrack album to Al Pacino's 1980 film Cruising. A year after the release of (GI), on December 7, 1980, vocalist Darby Crash killed himself.
X-8 is an American painter of visionary art and outsider art. He is also a publisher, and is co-founder of punk fanzine Flipside.
What We Do Is Secret is a 2007 American biographical film about Darby Crash, singer of the late-1970s Los Angeles punk rock band the Germs. Rodger Grossman directed the film and wrote the screenplay, based on a story he had written with Michelle Baer Ghaffari, a friend of Crash's and co-producer of the film. Shane West stars as Crash, while Rick Gonzalez, Bijou Phillips, and Noah Segan respectively portray Germs members Pat Smear, Lorna Doom, and Don Bolles.
Catholic Discipline was an American punk rock band from Los Angeles, California, formed by Slash Fanzine editor Claude Bessy in 1979. The initial line-up of the band featured Bessy on vocals, Phranc on guitar, Rick Brodey on bass guitar, Richard Meade on keyboards and Craig Lee on drums.
Since the late 1970s, California has had a thriving regional punk rock movement. It primarily consists of bands from the Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, San Diego, San Fernando Valley, San Francisco, Fresno, Bakersfield, Alameda County, Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, Oakland and Berkeley areas.
Dudes is a 1987 American independent film directed by Penelope Spheeris, written by Randall Jahnson, and starring Jon Cryer, Catherine Mary Stewart, Daniel Roebuck, and Lee Ving. A Western revenge story in a contemporary setting, its plot concerns three punk rockers from New York City who attempt to make their way to California. When one of them is murdered by a vicious gang leader, the other two, played by Cryer and Roebuck, find themselves fish out of water as they pursue the murderer from Arizona to Montana, assisted by a tow truck driver played by Stewart.
Brendan Mullen was a British-American nightclub owner, music promoter and writer, best known for founding the Los Angeles punk rock club The Masque. Through Mullen's support at various nightclubs in California, the scene gave birth to such bands as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Go-Go's, X, The Weirdos and the Germs.
"Forming" is the debut single by American punk rock band the Germs. Released on What?, an independent start-up label, in July 1977, it is regarded as the first true Los Angeles punk record.
We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of LA Punk is an oral history of the Los Angeles punk scene written by Marc Spitz and Brendan Mullen. It was released in 2001 by Three Rivers Press.
Circle Jerks are an American hardcore punk band, formed in 1979 in Los Angeles, California. The group was founded by former Black Flag vocalist Keith Morris and Redd Kross guitarist Greg Hetson. To date, Circle Jerks have released six studio albums, one compilation, a live album and a live DVD. Their debut album, Group Sex (1980), is considered a landmark of the hardcore genre.
Repo Man is the soundtrack album to the eponymous 1984 film, Repo Man. The soundtrack features songs by various punk rock bands such as the Plugz, Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, Suicidal Tendencies, Iggy Pop and others. The film score was created by Tito Larriva, Steven Hufsteter, Charlie Quintana and Tony Marsico of the Plugz. Iggy Pop volunteered to write the title song after his manager viewed a screening of the film.