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The Other F Word: From Punk Rock to F*****hood

Filmmakers Andrea Blaugrund Nevins and Cristan Reilly reveal the softer side of hardcore punk rock.


Fat Mike (NOFX) with his daughter before school


Life…is…funny. One day you’re on stage violently gripping a microphone to your mouth to enrage an audience of thousands with lyrics demanding that all walls of authority be torn down. The next day you’re gently gripping a milk bottle to your baby daughter’s lips while softly warning her older sisters to get ready for bed or there will be consequences. Ah, life.


In director Andrea Blaugrund Nevins’ upcoming documentary debut The Other F Word, punk rock legends including Mark Hoppus of Blink-182, Flea of Rock Hot Chili Peppers, Tim Mcllrath of Rise Against, and Jim Lindberg of Pennywise grapple with reconciling the responsibility of Fatherhood with their public identities as mouthpieces for anarchy, destruction, and not giving a f***. While it’s hilarious to enjoy mohawked and tattooed punk rock stars succumbing to the whims of their adorable children while having no idea how their lifestyles of rebellion ended them up in such picturesque settings of domesticity, the film also reveals a more intimate portraiture of men who desperately want to be the sort of loving fathers they never had.

We got a chance to meet up with director Andrea Blaugrund Nevins and producer Cristan Reilly in the Oscilliscope Picture's office before their film makes its theatrical debut at Film Forum on the first Friday of November.


Lars Frederiksen (Rancid) with his son, Wolfgang

Tribeca: The central narrative of the documentary is Jim Lindberg, the lead singer of Pennywise, struggling with his desire to devote more time to his wife and daughters while embarking on a new tour that forces him to travel all over the world. How did Jim first get involved with the project?
Cristan: We were friends in high school and we had a lot of fun. We had a mutual friend who I kept tabs on him through, and she said about four and half years ago that Jim wrote a book called “Punk Rock Dad." I had not seen him in twenty years, so I said all right, let’s go to the book release party. So I walked up to him after twenty years and I was like “Jim!”  I read the book, brought it to Andrea, and said "tell me know what you think." She called me two days later and went “I’m in. Let’s make a documentary.”
Tribeca: What was it that grabbed you about it?
Andrea: I had taken about ten years off to be a full-time mom. So I had to deal with a whole lot of ego-smashing (laughs) in order to do that. At that point I had had my third kid and I knew I was done, so I was starting to think "What does it mean to re-evaluate your life? What does it mean to be a parent and still be a living, breathing human being?" And Jimmy was dealing with that, only from the most extreme point-of-view. And it’s always a much more fun and interesting entry point to go in from the extreme. For me personally, if I’m a little bit scared of it, that’s a good sign, because that means it’s a challenge and if it’s not a challenge, then you’re gonna get bored more quickly.
Tribeca: Were you familiar with punk rock before shooting the movie?
Andrea: I liked all the bands that sort of circled around punk — Patty Smith and the B-52’s – but it was not my genre. It was not who I was. So it was fun for me to approach it as an anthropologist and as a sub-culture that was unfamiliar to me. I also think it allowed me to look at it filmically in an entirely different way than the other punk rock documentaries that have been done, which were done by fans and die-hard lovers of punk.
Cristan: And I had grown up in Southern California and with Jim, and we used to drive around in his Chevy Impalla with the Cramps, and we’d listen to the Ramones and stuff like that. Just being in Southern California, you were aware of Black Flag — I wasn’t part of that culture — but if you heard that TSOL was playing or these guys had gone to a TSOL show, those were scary guys, those were the hard-core tough guys, so that had loomed over me.
Tribeca: So how did the story take shape?
Andrea: We really initially just liked the oxymoron kernel of an idea of "Can you be punk rock and a dad?" because they just seem so antithetical. So we knew it was going to be funny, and Jimmy’s so funny, and we also knew there was going to be a tension there for our main character, in that he had to be out on the road but his heart really wanted to be at home.



Mark Hoppus (Blink-182) and his son, Jack


Tribeca: There’s a sort of poignancy that sneaks up on the audience while watching this film. It starts off very sweet and light-hearted, and gradually begins to explore the punk musicians’ relationship, or more accurately, lack of relationship, with their fathers, which fuels their desire to be the kind of loving dads they never had. Was this theme obvious from the beginnning or was it something you had to unearth?
Andrea: We took many pathways that were unanticipated.  The most important one being that as we met punk rocker after punk rocker and asked them about their own modeling in parenthood, almost every single one of them said "I didn’t have any modeling. I was bereft as a child, I had no father." And there were various different reasons why — one left before he was even two and another one was an alcoholic and violent — but every single one of them had that commonality. So it ended up informing the film in a really extraordinary and surprising way for us.
Tribeca: These punk musicians' personas on stage are usually incredibly tough and aggressive. How did you convince these guys to open up and share such intimate parts of themselves?
Andrea: I think it behooved me to be an outsider and to be a girl. I think I was able to ask questions as a mom that everyday people wouldn’t actually ask: “What was your childhood like? What was your dad like? Are you like your Dad?" Just very simple questions that brought up a lot of pain and all kinds of strong feelings.
Tribeca: This deeper human element to the film seems less about the conflict of punk rockstars being dads and more about the relationship between parents and children.
Andrea: Everybody’s a child and I think it does speak to what we hope for in our own parents and if you have those kinds of hopes, and I think we all do. When you’re handed a child, you try to give your child everything that you had hoped for in your parent.
Cristan: And it also speaks to the breaking down of the stereotypes. These are guys that people would cross the street to avoid, and my own father even said after he saw it that "By the end of the movie, I didn’t see the tattoos anymore. I didn’t see the hair. They were just dads.”
Andrea: And actually the dads themselves said that after screening it for the first time at South by Southwest. Tony Adolecent said “I just want to say thank you for showing our humanity because generally what people see is an exterior vision, and every one of us is a living, breathing human being.”



Pro Skater Tony Hawk discusses fatherhood while holding his youngest of four children


Tribeca: How did you decide to include skateboarder Tony Hawk and others who weren’t necessarily punk musicians, but definitely part of the punk rock movement, in the film?
Cristan: For a lot of these bands, he was key in getting their music to a younger generation through his games, and his games gave a lot of them a well-needed boost as far as popularity and sales.
Andrea: And he felt like he owed it to them. It spoke to skating because he grew up with the music because skating at that time was very extreme. He felt aligned with the extreme music in Southern California.
Cristan: He’s a big fan.
Tribeca: The tours of these bands can be pretty insane. Did you personally go out on the road with them while shooting?
Cristan: (laughs) If you put us on a bus, it’s going to totally change the dynamic.
Andrea: Our cameraman, who’s a punk rock fan, we embedded him on the tour bus. He went out and really caught the real stuff. And for the European stuff, since we were shooting on such a tight budget, we bought Jimmy a little consumer camera and he shot out on the road.
Tribeca: Arguably the most impressive thing about the film, that most people don’t know, is that it’s totally self-funded. Can you talk about how you were able to accomplish that?
Andrea: We did have interest early on, and Jimmy got scared, he was afraid that the vision would be branded in someway –
Cristan: Compromised somehow –
Andrea: So at a very critical juncture, we said "OK, I think we can keep our budget tight enough that we can do it.”
Cristan: And this is how we can get into this world and tell the story with no outside influence.
Andrea: Because I’m not sure one guy would have recommended the next guy to the next to the next to the next if there was big corporate anything behind it.
Cristan: We feel very lucky that we were able to finish our movie and it’s in theaters.
Tribeca: It’s amazing you were able to include all of that music in the film while keeping your budget so tight.
Cristan: Really for us, it’s all of our music. That to us was over a third of our budget. But there was no choice for us in the matter.
Andrea: You have to use the music. It’s part of the tapestry.
Cristan: It was not easy, but it adds so much and I’m so glad we have it. Which is why we’re so excited for people to see it in theaters. I mean we put our money into music and sound, so when you go into a theater, it’s really all around you.


This interview has been edited and condensed.


The Other F Word opens Wednesday, November 2 in New York (Film Forum) and hits theaters Friday, November 4 in LA (Nuart) and Boston (Landmark Kendall Square).  

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