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Arts & Culture

Inaugural Point Music Film Festival Debuts Saturday

Fish Wife, pictured above, is one of the San Diego underground bands highlighted in the new documentary, "It's Gonna Blow."
Bill Perrine
Fish Wife, pictured above, is one of the San Diego underground bands highlighted in the new documentary, "It's Gonna Blow."

San Diego's First Music Only Film Festival

Point Music Film Festival Highlight
KPBS film critic Beth Accomando previews the first annual Point Music Film Festival and one of the documentaries that focuses on San Diego's underground music scene.

ANCHOR INTRO: This Saturday marks the debut of the Point Music Film Festival, which prides itself as being San Diego’s “first music only” film festival. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando says one documentary focuses on San Diego’s underground music scene that emerged in the mid–eighties. If you think of San Diego as sunshine and family friendly tourist attractions musician Mitch Wilson says think again. Mitch Wilson: San Diego is very different for me I think of all these punk rock kids, and all these dark weird bands.(music plays) Tom DeLonge: Down here in SD people would say this is going to be the next Seattle and I really believed that because I thought what was happening down here was infinitely cooler. CLIP Song “It’s gonna blow…” Tom DeLonge of Blink 182 is one of dozens of musicians highlighted in the documentary “It’s Gonna Blow.” The film looks to San Diego’s music underground from 1986 to 96, and suggests that San Diego did not become the next Seattle because it wasn’t cool to want to be a bigger band or become a rock star says filmmaker Bill Perrine. Bill Perrine: so people definitely looked askance at any attempt to be commercial or be big. And the music was just weird, and that was another emphasis in San Diego, you made difficult, complicated music a lot of the time. But for many that’s what made it great, and Perrine lovingly collects rare video footage of these bands and seeks out interviews with many of the musicians who are self-effacing about their impact. It’s a fascinating portrait of rebellion in a conservative town and what better way to kick off the new Point Music Festival than with a little bit of anarchy. Beth Accomando, KPBS News.

Companion Viewing

"Rock and Roll High School" (1979)

"The Decline of Western Civilization" (1981)

"The Filth and the Fury" (2000)

"Punk's Not Dead" (2007)

Poster art for the new documentary "It's Gonna Blow" made by San Diego filmmaker Bill Perrine.
Bill Perrine
Poster art for the new documentary "It's Gonna Blow" made by San Diego filmmaker Bill Perrine.

This Saturday marks the debut of the Point Music Film Festival, which prides itself as being San Diego’s “first music only” film festival.

If you think of San Diego as sunshine and family friendly tourist attractions musician Mitch Wilson of the band No Knife said think again: "San Diego is very different for me. I think of all these punk rock kids, and all these dark, weird bands"

Tom DeLonge adds: "Down here in SD people would say this is going to be the next Seattle and I really believed that because I thought what was happening down here was infinitely cooler. Tanner, Fish Wife, Vegetable and all these bands."

DeLonge, of Blink 182, is one of dozens of musicians highlighted in the documentary “It’s Gonna Blow.” The film looks to San Diego’s underground music from 1986 to 1996. It was a moment in time when people thought San Diego would be the next Seattle. But filmmaker Bill Perrine said that didn't happen because "it was not cool to want to be a bigger band in San Diego, and to me that comes out of the culture. It comes out of a kind of almost anarchist, communistic even, culture. A lot of people didn’t believe in copyrights. It was all just very share and share alike because all we got is each other and so people definitely looked askance at any attempt to be commercial or be big. And the music was just weird, and that was another emphasis in San Diego, you made difficult, complicated music a lot of the time."

But that’s what made it great, and Perrine lovingly collects rare video footage of these bands. And footage was hard to find. This was back in the day before everyone had a cell phone and everything was recorded and posted to YouTube. So Perrine had to track down home video footage.

"There’s a lot of this stuff in people’s closets," Perrine said. "So it’s a matter of just finding who’s got the biggest closet and who’s motivated to go in there and start digging around. And there's still a lot out there. People would send me pictures of a box of videos but I never got the actual videos."

Perrine also seeks out interviews with many of the musicians who are still self-effacing about their impact. More than sixty musicians, promoters and artists were interviewed including John Reis (Rocket from the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu), Justin Pearson (The Locust, Swing Kids), Rob Crow (Pinback, Heavy Vegetable), Luke Jenner (The Rapture), Pall Jenkins (Three Mile Pilot, Black Heart Procession), Tom Delonge (Blink-182), and Mario Rubalcaba (Clikatat Ikatowi, Off!). Perrine also highlights places like The Casbah and CHE Cafe (which is currently in danger of closing) where this music flourished.

It’s a fascinating portrait of rebellion in a conservative town and what better way to kick off the new Point Music Film Festival than with a little bit of anarchy.

The Point Music Film Festival debuts on Nov. 8, and was created by Rick Bowman to celebrate the world of music and documentary films. The festival will premiere 11 films with live music at the Tenth Avenue Arts Center in downtown San Diego. There will be two screening rooms showing the films: "Rubber Soul," "Gustavo Romero: Portrait in Piano," "The Pioneers of Bluegrass," "There is Nothing Out Here," "The Tao of Bluegrass," "This is Gary McFarland," "Hershel Sizemore: Mandolin in B," "It’s Gonna Blow: San Diego’s Music Underground 86-96," "Ok Buckaroos," and "Steve White: Painting the World with Music." There will also be a special screening of the film "Heartworn Highways" from 1976.