Another State of Mind By Mike White. I must have been just barely into my high school career when I caught this film on the USA network’s Night Flight...

I must have been just barely into my high school career when I caught this film on the USA network’s Night Flight. It’s the story of two bands, Youth Brigade and Social Distortion (yes, the same Social Distortion that’s still around today, albeit with a different line-up) and their idealistic tour of the U.S. (and parts of Canada). As the trip takes its toll on the tour bus, it also effects their friendships, so that by the end, when they’re stranded in Washington D.C. staying at the Dischord house with Ian MacKaye and his straight edge pals, only four guys remain out of the original eleven who left California.

Watching this film again, ten years later, I realized what an impact it made on me. I took most of the people in the film with a grain of salt—from the surfer dude who liked to change his hair color at the drop of a hat ("the mood of this tour has turned to black so that’s what I’m coloring my hair") to the three kids practicing their stage diving at the local swimming hole—but I really found what all of them represented to be rather interesting. I didn’t run out and buy a box of safety pins the next day but Another State of Mind was an effective punk rock primer.

Looking back, it’s kind of fun to laugh at some of the more rabid ideological punks and those just doing it to conform with the nonconformists but, luckily, the majority of kids in the film are just regular folks who just want to do their thing. Not only that, but it’s a well-made documentary, never staying too long on one event while providing enough information to follow the story as well as showcasing interesting and appropriate side stories about the different aspects and attitudes of punk rock culture.

Please allow me to pontificate from my pedantic punk rock pedestal: I wish that Another State of Mind were more widely available because it’s fun to go back and watch what was going on in '82 and compare it to the post-Nirvana "Alternative" scene. If it wasn’t for the degenerated state of punk rock, ASOM would feel as fresh as it did when I was a freshman because good film making never goes out of style.

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