Circle Jerks – My Career As a Jerk
A Film By David Markey
“I was so wasted. I was so wasted. I was wasted. I was a hippie. I was a burnout. I was a dropout. You know I was out of my head. I was a surfer. I had a skateboard. I was so heavy man. I lived on the strand”
Those lyrics, those words, attest the sentiments of a time gone by. They point out our youth, a window into who many of us once were. Some of us weathered those days; some of us watched it happen around us but never experienced it. Some of us are still living it, and some of us are now fighting it through the youth we engendered while we were so wasted back in the day. However you wrap it up, these words speak true to the grander majority of us who dare to declare ourselves Gen Xers.
Any respectable Gen Xer will know the Circle Jerks, the American hardcore punk band, from LA. Their music was a catalyst that has influenced a myriad of top artists today, such as Green Day, Limp Bizkit, The Offspring, etc. etc. Music would not be where it is today without the sound and style forged and pioneered by these Jerks.
Now that I have massaged your brain up to recall who and what the Jerks were in today’s terms, let’s talk about the documentary. What impressed me the most about this documentary was how REAL it felt. The music industry, the business that pushes it, and the fans that support it have changed in the last 20-30 years – to no surprise. It’s a whole new domain, but it’s not unfamiliar. The passion and the music has always been there. It’s the playing field that changed. It’s hard to define in words, but this documentary does it through the Circle Jerk lens. Through their recounting you can see (and almost feel) how the Circle Jerks were a cog in the punk-rock wheel, and how the movement they encompassed progressed over time. It’s not overtly spoken, but the feeling is there nonetheless.
The movie is subtle and not horribly cluttered with superfluous information and mouth-flapping people that happened to be in the neighborhood at the time somebody sang something, and the movie makers felt it necessary to include them. No. This flick is straight and to the point. It is all told by the various members and ex-members, which keep it natural and interesting. You can appreciate where people were and see how their stories align; you understand how each of these were interpreted through the varying perspectives which ultimately led the Jerks down the paths they took.
I could say some negatives, but ultimately, who gives a crap? This documentary is chock full of too many plusses that it dispels any negatives that could be encountered. There was nothing glaringly awful about it, and nothing that nagged at me to make me want to go track down and prove it wrong. The movie is about them, and it was superbly done. It’s not action packed (it’s a documentary – they are never action packed). It’s interesting and nostalgic. I walked away being schooled in the way of the music industry and how it worked back in the day. I learned that Flea was a Jerk prior to being a Pepper (who knew that? I certainly had no clue). I learned that I’m an even bigger fan of the accomplishments of the Circle Jerks and the legacy they left behind than I had ever known.
Sheer irony – RockRevolt™ interviewed Dimitri Coats in our first digital issue. Dimitri Coats was not featured in the documentary. So, we have a nice full picture of where the Circle Jerks came from, and what some of them are up to today. Check out the interview by clicking HERE.
~Alice Roques, Managing Editor and Co-Founder of RockRevolt™ Magazine
The DVD is available for purchase at these fine retailers: