By Vernon Nickerson
Chelsea Christer’s reality drama-documentary “Bleeding Audio” will be a hot ticket for fans of fan favorite punk rockers “The Matches” as soon as tickets are available. If, like most feature length films in the COVID era, it is streamed, that platform had best be prepared to be shredded. Officially, “Bleeding Audio” is the deep, wide and multilayered story of an Oakland California alternative punk band called The Matches. The stories of its featured players, a creative juggernaut born in a mangy garage (of course!), a.k.a. Shawn Harris, Jon Devoto, Matt Whalen, and Justin San Souci are skillfully curated over 90 minutes of highs, lows and everything in-between.
Replete with its own evil-genius anti-villain (think Silent Bob as the anti-villain in a non-speaking role), Director-Producer Christer let’s her players tell their stories. In hindsight, each individual story is woven together in the narrative into an enjoyable and detailed look into the long hours and no-to-low-pay endemic to the majority of young musicians with dreams of fame and fortune. The stunning and creative original artwork, part of The Matches’ branding, adds visual depth to the documentary and moves the plot along at a ‘just right” gallup. In the many performance appetizers that will leave you hungry for more in a very good way, Shawn, Jon, Matt and Justin “channel” the physicality and athleticism of Triple Crown thoroughbred horses– and the stamina for seemingly endless global tours. Plenty of commentary from several well known master producers and performers ( e.g, Nick Hexum of 311, and Tom Higgenson of Plain White T’s and Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 fame) from their personal experiences working with The Matches is a perfect pairing with the band’s development in the first two tumultuous decades of the 21st Century.
“Art isn’t easy”, wrote Stephen Sondheim back in the late twentieth century, and “Bleeding Audio”’s narrative is made more engaging as you see the discipline, commitment, blood, sweat, and tears that it takes to have a career in music entertainment and production. Faint of heart need not apply and only the strong survive. No punches were pulled in the making of this documentary and that is a very good thing..
What if a group of wildly creative, talented, passionate, slightly nerdy, and detail-oriented musical professionals set out to build an alternative punk band brand? What could you create on the socioemotional and financial wings of your families, fans and music industry peers if you were such a dedicated team of professional musicians? Just for fun, what if you had all the usual suspects, money problems, depression, battle fatigue, health crises, and relationship ( or lack of relationship) issues that most of us mere mortals deal with multiple times over a lifespan? The documentary “Bleeding Audio” engagingly and epically chart’s the one amazing alternative punk band’s birth, life, “death” ( that isn’t really a death) and triumphant resurrection as an older and wiser band of P.M.P.s (punk music professionals). My wish is that the documentary is deemed “Oscar worthy” and that it goes on to become a feature film. See “Bleeding Audio” to find out why The Matches is the answer to each of those questions.
Award winning ““Bleeding Audio”” was accepted as an official selection in Slamdance Film Festival 2021. It had a two-night drive-in presentation in Joshua Tree, CA that was open to the public February 13-14, and closing in Los Angeles February 25, 2021.