The Last Pogo Jumps Again begins with images of fans jumping around to bands playing music while in the background we hear The Demics “New York City”. This song, when not taken at surface value reveals a message of independence and creativity within one’s environment. As we see fans jumping or pogoing in erratic fashion we are led into the beginnings of the documentary. Directors Colin Brunton and Kire Paputts show the building of a scene from nothing. The beginnings of the documentary are juxtaposed with the building of Toronto’s CN Tower and the events that led up to the Toronto punk/new wave scene in 1976. The uniqueness of a music scene like this is covered in great detail and depth. There were a lot of factors at play that resulted in the rise and fall of many of the bands that were involved in this scene that was truly DIY and alternative to the mainstream.
From what began at a theatre that used to show B-movies entitled the 99 Cent Roxy in conjunction with the Ramones playing a series of shows at a venue called The New Yorker, a chord was struck with aspiring musicians and artists alike. Both of these venues were run by who are referred to as the two Gary’s (Gary Topp and Gary Cormier), who both supported the scene and booked acts and many of the venues that they would run throughout the early parts of this scene. The Last Pogo Jumps Again leaps into coverage of several of the heavyweights in this early music scene such as The Diodes, who took their power pop influenced punk sounds to CBS Records Canada, becoming the first Canadian punk band signed to a major label and The Viletones. They took punk to new extremes, both literally and musically. In addition to the music factor of the scene, many of the artists also connected through other art related means such as fashion. Marion Lewis who was a local artist at the time describes the early parts of this scene adding further to the images supplied in the opening parts of this documentary:
“There was no culture here. There was just European based culture or American culture. So we were starting from scratch, you know. We had to start with a crumpled Twinkie wrapper on the side of the road, there’s no other place you can start. You got to start there and then you’ve got to use your intellect and your sense of yourself and your sense of your destiny to build .”
The Last Pogo Jumps Again executes the feelings of alienation and the searching for something new at the time with razor-sharp precision. Additionally, it showcases the growing of this music scene, while at the same time covering some of the bands that were perhaps not as well known to the general public back then. For example, The Scenics had their own unique sound, but were criticized by some for it. This including several other bands that had a different aesthetic such as The Government, Drastic Measures and The Curse, among others are contrasted with the conflicts of bands and situations within the scene, which caused a separation of sorts. At the beginning of the documentary the pogoing fans in the audience jump to the beat of a song at a different tempo. Throughout this documentary we see many artists moving to their own beat musically and artistically, even if there is a clash between them.
Brunton and Paputts started this project in 2006 and after six years of work the result is an informative and revealing documentary of epic proportions that clocks in at approximately three hours and twenty minutes. The Last Pogo Jumps Again burns bright with its coverage of a scene that has been grossly overlooked by many. This film searches for meaning in the spirit of the music and the scene as it moves, with every drop of sweat and every sobering grain of film.
The Last Pogo Jumps Again was recently released on DVD with an extensive amount of extras. Get your copy at www.thelastpogo.net.
Check out the interview I did with Colin Brunton:
Saturday Night Play List:
1. Drastic Measures - Flowers (Live 1978)
2. The Ugly - All Because Of You (Live 1978)
3. Brian Eno - Dead Finks Don't Talk
4. Acid Baby Jesus - Row By Row
5. Tyranna - Back Off Baby
6. The Curse - Killer Bees
7. The Viletones - Screaming Fist
COLIN BRUNTON: THE LAST POGO JUMPS AGAIN INTERVIEW
8. The Diodes - Red Rubber Ball
9. The Government - Acute Angle
10. The Scenics - Bubbles
11. Thee Oh Sees - Wait, Let’s Go
12. Bob Dylan & The Band - My Bucket's Got A Hole In It
13. Bob Dylan & The Band - I'm Not There
14. SQÜRL - Funnel Of Love
15. Damaged Bug - Photograph
16. Simply Saucer - Get My Thrills
17. The CADs - Do The Crabwalk
18. Sonny Vincent & Spite - Disinterested
19. Sleater-Kinney - I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone
20. Ramones - We're A Happy Family
21. Marching Girls - First In Line
22. Teenanger - Fly On The Wall
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for December 6. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.