“The Other F Word” – a new documentary from writer/director Andrea Blaugrund Nevins – offers a rare glimpse into the values, lifestyle and grit of the punk patriarchy from the tour bus to ballet practice.
Coming of age in the loud, fast, fuck-everything fringe, Nevins captures largely middle-aged punks today – graying and feeling their oats – getting real about life on the road while playing their biggest gig to date: fatherhood. “It’s tough to be a punk rock hero and still be an authority figure to my kids,” laments Pennywise frontman Jimmy Lindberg, who the film follows during an excruciatingly long world tour and sporadic, albeit moving, moments at home with his girls.
Honest, humorous and poignant, Lindberg – alongside peers Fat Mike (NOFX), Lars Frederiksen (Rancid), Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Tim McIlrath (Rise Against), Duane Peters (U.S. Bombs) and others – discusses not only the irony of being an authoritarian on the home front and punk prophet on stage, but the challenge to put food on the table as a career musician in a business that’s turning on its head. “I don’t think anyone of us, when we started punk rock, looked at [it] as a career decision with a long-term career path and pension plan,” admits Brett Gurewitz (Epitaph Records, Bad Religion).
Although the film addresses challenges any working-class parent can related to, it also reveals the painfully hilarious trappings exclusive to punk parenthood: Frederiksen questions his choice, pre-fatherhood, to get a forehead tattoo; Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus pokes fun of himself for buying clean versions of his albums for his kids; and Fat Mike, with his loud ensemble, draws attention from passersby while walking his daughter to school.
Righting their parents’ wrongs is a common thread among the dads – more than punk, even. Flea, who grew up in a violent, alcoholic home, gets choked up more than once discussing his outlook on parenthood – how it snapped him out of his party-hard lifestyle. We meet his good-natured teen daughter who clearly adores him. “My kids gave me life … they gave me a reason,” he says, verging on tears.
Everclear’s Art Alexakis croons “The Wheels on the Bus” on a car trip with his baby daughter. Also hailing from a poor, broken home, Alexakis, soft-spoken and sober, says he’s driven to embody the type of dad to his children that he longed for growing up.
Suit and tie or studded belt, you’d be challenged to find more committed parents than the dads of “The Other F Word.”
Watch the trailer: