A brand new movie about the untold story of Reagan-era guerrilla desert happenings now recognized as the inspirations for Burning Man, Lollapalooza, and Coachella including Sonic Youth, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Swans, Einstürzende Neubauten, Redd Kross and more.

what a great captivating movie.  With unique footage taken from the ideas inception this documentary  takes you through a journey of discovery of how the desert festivals came about how they began with their mystery tours taking Californians out into the desert and how they powered up the sound systems and time on time it grew into what we have today with the travelling circus tours of Lollapalooza.

 

Man how hip were these cats? from the get go they had some of the best bands and performers on board and seeing the likes of Perry Farrell photographed at the first one and no doubt went on to inspire the Janes Addiction frontman to front his own festival.  The talking heads of Thurston Moore and Farrell are crucial and interesting but its the stories from the likes of Redd Kross that make me smile with the innocence and spirit of adventure.

Imagine buying a ticket for a show meeting up at a rendezvous point then getting on a school bus to be driven out of southern California for three plus hours into the dessert for to be met with guys blowing up metal drums or explosions and hearing some cool as fuck music from the likes of Minutemen or Sonic Youth.  We take it for granted these days and some even go Glamping at their festival of choice but None hold the energy or excitement of what they captured on these grainy films way back in the early ’80s.

Remember this is pre internet, pre mobile phone, pre satellite link up pre saturation and copy cat events this was the real deal a hidden underclass of art and music that was thriving and I guess the inevitable happened as more became aware and more wanted in the festival moved and changed  its a fascinating insight and a really enjoyable flick through time.

The film makes you smile at the DIY of rock and roll and how anything is possible and art can and will make a difference. If you love the music its a bonus but if you just like a really well shot and captivating subject then its a no brainer.  Get the popcorn in sit back relax and enjoy ‘Desolation Center’

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Author: Dom Daley

Having followed Perry career from the debut Janes Addiction album on XXX that blew my tiny mind through the barren years of pretty average Later Day Janes albums to his return to making half-decent music with Porno For Pyros and Satellite Party to his eclectic solo career.  Farrell is probably better-known for his involvement in Lollapalooza and that hide behind the sofa cringefest reality TV show he and his Mrs did on satellite tv. But some of us remember him as the unique and captivating frontman to one of the finest bands of the late 80s. Fast forward to 2019 and has Mr. Farrell totally lost the plot of has he regained some of the street cred he once owned? Seeing as his last solo album was almost two decades ago has music left him behind or has he left me behind?

Firstly ‘Kind Heaven’ has just your nine songs lasting a shade over half an hour it begins with ‘(Red, White And Blue) Cheerfulness’ which is a mid-tempo romp that has a guitar lick that reminds me of Alice Cooper and Farrells instantly recognisable vocal is as strong as it ever was but the song sort of doesn’t make a statement of intent nor is it utterly bereft of quality its just it sort of enters the room unobtrusively and sits at the back rather than entering the ether with a fanfare maybe the second track which is much more of a classic Janes Addiction groove-driven (with bells and whistles) ‘Pirate Punk Politician’ is decent without being amazing but played at volume the production is as clear as the deep blue sea and at last ‘Kind Heaven ‘ is in the house!

‘Snakes Have Many Hips’ is a jazzy number and mashes up pop with some fancy samples never being afraid to push the envelope Farrell is quite happy to throw everything into his music including the kitchen sink and on ‘Medicine Girl’ he does just that.  With a cool industrial groove, it’s catchy and a decent tune but don’t ask me what he’s on about I don’t even go there.  I guess the thing to do with a Perry Farrell record is to not look too deeply into what’s going on and to just accept it for what it is its none of his previous projects but its all of them he absorb what’s going on like a sponge and spills it all over his own record its a head fuck and I guess that’s part of what he’s trying to do.  Empty the content of his mind on a record is no easy task but to make sense of it might be just as complex.  It’s not all for me but there are songs I really like.

 

‘One’ is like some 80s new romantic disco number and I just can’t get my noggin around that one and whilst there are no end of special guests from Foo Fighters and Cars and Soundgarden band members its Farrells wife who pops up most offering her sugar-sweet vocals to proceedings and she features heavily on this one. ‘Where Have You Been All My Life’ is a melting pot but largely lift music might be tidy if you’re off your tits in a field but at home looking for some music to play its wide of the mark.

To be fair its pretty much like the last few Janes albums and falls short of the real quality we know Farrell possesses maybe he’s still looking for his mojo or he needs to reconnect with his young and hungry self but fans looking to see what hes up to these days might want to stand back and take a deep breath because there is no Caught stealing or 3 days going on here at all maybe Farrell has moved on and now moves in totally different circles which is a shame – Maybe next time? Maybe.

Buy ‘Kind Heaven’ Here

Author: Dom Daley

Matson Films in association with Mu Productions to release the film in 50+ markets including LA

“Hundreds of punks hit the desert… The modern music festival was born. These anarchic desert happenings didn’t last long . . . but now their history is chronicled in a documentary called Desolation Center.” – The New York Times

Desolation Center, the indie music festival documentary which has played numerous film festivals worldwide, is set to begin a national theatrical rollout starting on September 13th in Los Angeles. The film is the untold story of a series of guerrilla music and art performance happenings in the 80s which inspired the birth of contemporary festival culture including Burning Man, Lollapalooza and Coachella. The film combines interviews of punk and post-punk luminaries with rare performance footage of Sonic Youth, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Perry Farrell, Redd Kross, Einstürzende Neubauten, Survival Research Laboratories, Savage Republic and more, giving viewers unprecedented access to a time when pushing the boundaries of music, art, and performance was like an unspoken obligation. Directed by the creator and organizer of the original events, Stuart Swezey, Desolation Center tells the true story of how the risky, and at times even reckless, actions of a few outsiders were able to incite seismic cultural shifts.

The new theatrical cut of Desolation Center includes an interview with Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction and co-founder of Lollapalooza who was a participant in all of the Desolation Center events. The film will be having its New York City premiere as part of the Rooftop Films series with an outdoor screening in the historic Green-Wood Cemetery on Thursday, August 15th followed by a 50+ city run across North America in the following weeks.
The story of the guerrilla music and performance events of the Desolation Center is inextricably linked with the director’s own story as a young adult in the punk and post-punk music scene in the early 1980s. Desolation Center is more than just the story of a series of wild and unorthodox happenings. The film is also true to the spirit of freedom and possibility that punk and it’s clarion call of creative deconstruction embodied.
The timeless power of DIY-do-it-yourself culture is an ongoing theme in the film. Director Stuart Swezey told the New York Times, “D.I.Y. is now a shorthand for a lot of things,” he said. “But the idea that you can have a wacky idea and get a bunch of people to go along with it, and make it happen even with very limited resources – that was life-affirming.”

The film explores an almost lost subcultural story that will also be a catalyst to future generations to question assumptions and carve out new possibilities to express themselves. As Thurston Moore also described to the New York Times, the mood was “one of complete joy and wonder at being together in a place that might as well have been another planet.” He said the most radical attribute of Desolation Center was that “it asked no permission,” and he called the show “one of the great moments” in the history of Sonic Youth.
Support the cause at Desolationcenter.com