Punk The Capital: The Rise of Punk in Washington D.C. 1976-1983
A documentary tracing the birth of punk-rock in Washington D.C. (1976-1983)
– Featuring Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Void, Rites of Spring and more, with interviews from Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye, H.R., Jello Biafra, Joe Keithley and many others
– Includes 50+ minutes of bonus shorts with Scream, Void, The Cramps and The Slickee Boys
When punk rock erupted in Washington D.C., it was a mighty convergence of powerful music, friendships and clear minds. This film is the first to explore the incredible challenges that this subculture faced when it took root in the Nation’s Capital in the late 1970s.
Punk The Capital situates D.C. punk within the larger narratives of rock ‘n’ roll, working as a powerful multi-layered story for both fans and non-fans of punk rock. Featuring musicians such as Bad Brains, Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye and Jello Biafra, this film dives deep into the ideas and sounds from this transformative music scene which continues to be influential culturally and politically around the world.
Created by James June Schneider (co-director, editor), Paul Bishow (co-director) and Sam Lavine (associate producer, co-editor), Punk The Capital was theatrically released in the US in May 2021 and garnered rave reviews from the press and fans alike. Many of the screenings became special events, with Q&As with the directors and Pete Stahl of Scream, Chris Stover of Void, Nicky Thomas of Fire Party, curator/publisher Roger Gastman and Hudley Flipside of Flipside fanzine, just to name a few.
Schneider states: “The final version of our film that we’re releasing now is just the intense tip of the iceberg – our first cut was 7 hours long. In the end, we wound up focusing on the untold and improbable story of punk rock’s beginnings in Washington D.C., that happened concurrently with cities across the western world. We took a lot of our extra material that otherwise might never have been seen and edited it together to make short films that will be in the bonus section on the DVD. One of the shorts focuses on the band Scream and their family connections to D.C.’s legendary 1960s garage band scene.
As we roll the film out, we’ve been blown away by the positive response not just from fans of punk and D.C. punk who see and hear a lot of unseen material. We’ve also heard from a lot of people even up to 90 years old who didn’t really like punk but nonetheless love the film. We’re glad to see that Punk The Capital works on a lot of levels and are hoping that it will reach a broad audience since the DIY ideas highlighted in the film about the D.C. punk scene go well beyond the music.”
Punk The Capital will be released on DVD in the US for Record Store Day on June 12 via Passion River and in the UK for Record Store Day on July 26 via Wienerworld. A portion of all DVDs sold through Dischord Records will go to the D.C. charity We Are Family.
As an added bonus, the discs contain 50+ minutes of short films from the archives of Punk The Capital:
- Scream Meets The Hangmen: Featuring all of Scream including Dave Grohl
- Void and Friends: A portrait of the cult hardcore band from the D.C. suburbs
- The Seminal WGTB Concert: The legendary first punk concert for so many D.C. kids, The Cramps and total chaos
- The Slickee Boys: Extra material on the band who got D.C. punk off the ground circa ’76