Music documentaries are great, aren’t they? They’re a chance to really see how your favorite bands do their thing. When done right, they offer a candid look at people we all admire. However, some docs either don’t even see the light of day or actually make their way out into the world, but fall out of the consciousness of the music community. Here we’ve collected a bunch of those that were never to be seen and those that deserve an audience.
This ill-fated documentary regarding Blink-182’s reunion back in late 2009 never saw the light of day. While no official reasoning has been given for it not being released, many fans have speculated a number of reasons, from not enough actual band-in-the-studio footage to too much footage. Whatever the reason, maybe someday it’ll see the light of day so we can see what those sacred days were like.
A somewhat fabled documentary from the Rolling Stones, it was never officially released; but if you try hard enough, you can find bootleg copies online. In it, you’ll find footage of the Stones back in 1972 on tour supporting their classic album Exile On Main Street in full hedonistic nature. The Stones argued against its release after deciding that it may not show them in the best light, what with all the drug use, nudity and debauchery.
MC5: A True Testimonial
An example of when band members collide with filmmakers, this documentary on MC5—highlighting the power of their protests and kinetic live shows—took about seven years to make, yet only saw a handful of screenings. In 2004, MC5 frontman Wayne Kramer sued filmmakers as he believed he was originally promised a production credit. Eventually, a court ruled in the filmmaker's favor, but the film was never released when the filmmakers failed to secure rights to the legendary proto-punks music.
Kevin Smith’s Prince documentary
Back in 2002, Kevin Smith found himself voluntarily making a documentary about Prince after a failed phone call trying to secure the rights to a Prince jam for Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back, shown in a segment of his live concert film, An Evening With Kevin Smith. After spending a week with the iconoclast, the footage ended up in those mysterious Prince vaults, never to be seen again.
One of the music industry's most vocal protestors, M.I.A., has had a documentary in the works for a fair few years now. Unfortunately, there's no word as to when it’ll see the light of day, if ever, but charting the success of such a major character who fights for the rights of those with no platform is certainly going to be an important piece of work. There's even a trailer which was released back in 2013 that you can check out.
Riding In Vans With Boys
Punk band Kut U Up, known for their chaotic live shows, were thrown into the deep end: a pop-punk giants tour featuring Blink-182, Green Day and Jimmy Eat World. This documentary chronicles the madness that ensued.
Heart Like A Hand Grenade
[GIF by: Green Day/YouTube]
While this one has been released, it's a prime example of good things coming to those who wait. Documenting the recording of what is undoubtedly one of Green Day's biggest albums, 2004's American Idiot, it was granted a wider release in 2015—six years after its first, and only, initial screening in 2009. Watch the trailer here.
Believe In What You Want
Sometimes, hidden away on that DVD or deluxe edition of an album, you’ll find some treasure. Take, for example, this tidy little gift on Jimmy Eat World's concert film, Believe In What You Want. Tucked away in the special features, you can find a documentary chronicling the making of their monster album, Bleed American, including footage of the band recording.
Color Me Obsessed
If you haven’t heard of the Replacements, then let some of the band’s biggest fans—including members of Hüsker Dü and the Gaslight Anthem—tell you about why they should be your new favorite band. It’s a unique take on a band that is a keystone to the punk we know and love today.
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me
One of the most influential, yet unrecognized, bands in popular music, Big Star, and their infamous leading man, Alex Chilton, are at the center of this warts-and-all documentary. This documentary needs to have a much wider audience because it shows the effect of being so-close-yet-so-far to success can have on bands.
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