|The Decline of Western Civilization|
|Directed by||Penelope Spheeris|
|Written by||Penelope Spheeris|
|Produced by|| Gordon Brown |
|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 aka: Kickboy, 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 1987–1988. 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 |
|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|
The Germs were an American punk rock band from Los Angeles, California, originally active from 1976 to 1980. The band's "classic" 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 in Penelope Spheeris' seminal documentary film The Decline of Western Civilization, which chronicled the Los Angeles punk movement. The Germs disbanded following Crash's suicide in 1980. Their music was influential to many later rock acts, and Smear went on to achieve greater fame performing with Nirvana and Foo Fighters.
Penelope Spheeris is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. She has directed both documentary 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, or better known by his stage name Pat Smear, is an American musician. He is best known for being the lead guitarist and co-founder of Los Angeles-based punk band The Germs and for being a rhythm guitarist for the rock bands Nirvana, where he played live band appearances, and Foo Fighters, with whom he has recorded six studio albums. After Nirvana disbanded following the suicide of its frontman Kurt Cobain, drummer Dave Grohl went on to become the frontman of rock band Foo Fighters, with Pat soon joining on guitar. He left Foo Fighters in 1997, before rejoining as a touring guitarist in 2005, and has been a full-time member since 2010.
Jan Paul Beahm was an American punk rock vocalist who, along with longtime friend Pat Smear, co-founded the punk rock band the Germs. He died by suicide by overdosing on heroin.
Fear, stylized as FEAR, is an American punk rock band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 1977. The band is credited for helping to shape the sound and style of Californian hardcore punk. The group gained national prominence after an infamous 1981 performance on Saturday Night Live.
Lee James Jude Capallero, known professionally as Lee Ving, is an American guitarist, singer 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 hardcore punk rock scene during 1979–1980. The third film, The Decline of Western Civilization III (1998), would later chronicle the gutter punk lifestyle of homeless teenagers in the late 1990s.
GI, stylized as (GI), is the only studio album by American punk rock band the Germs. Often considered the first full-length 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. On December 7, 1980, a year after the release of (GI), vocalist Darby Crash killed himself.
Lexicon Devil is a three-song EP and the second release by American punk rock band the Germs. It was also the debut output of Slash Records, and of Geza X both as a producer and as a recording engineer. The record was named after its leadoff song.
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. It was directed by Rodger Grossman, who 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. The film follows the formation and career of the Germs, focusing on Crash's mysterious "five-year plan", his homosexual relationship with Rob Henley, and his experimentation with heroin, culminating in his December 1980 suicide. It is titled after the first track on the Germs' 1979 album (GI).
Catholic Discipline was an American punk rock band, formed in 1979 in San Francisco, California, by Slash Fanzine editor Claude Bessy. 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.
The Mau-Mau's [sic] is a band started by Rick Wilder. Following the breakup of the glam rock / proto - punk band the Berlin Brats in 1976, two years of inactivity followed before Rick Wilder updated his image and sound to more align in the wake of the Los Angeles original punk scene and formed the Mau-Mau’s in 1978.
Since the mid-1970s, California has had thriving regional punk rock movements. 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 Scottish 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.
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.