If you were a teenager in the early ’90s making your way through the punk and indie music of the decade, there was a good chance you had a copy of “1991: The Year Punk Broke” on your shelf. Directed by Dave Markey, the project was simply a documentary of Sonic Youth‘s European tour but the whole film gained a lot more attention when a little band from Seattle called Nirvana, who were opening for the elder statesmen, blew up huge. Instead, the film became a document of the burgeoning grunge scene and a behind-the-scenes look at Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr., Babes In Toyland and Gumball.
Well, two long decades have since passed and the film never made it to DVD, probably due to complicated and expensive music licensing reasons. But with 20th anniversary being marked this year, it looks like the wait is over as “1991: The Year Punk Broke” is now slated for a fall release. Markey’s We Got Power Films (via Pitchfork) have revealed with forthcoming set will come stacked with extras including a 42-minute bonus movie “(This Is Known As) The Blues Scale” with additional performance from Sonic Youth and Nirvana (you can watch clips here), a feature length commentary by Thurston Moore and Markey, a 2003 panel discussion (on the film) at the Arclight in Hollywood with Moore, Markey, Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley and J. Mascis and more.
It might seem odd to finally be releasing this considering that the brief moment when the underground took the mainstream by surprise is long over, but all those fans from back then love spending money on nostalgia. Just look at the sold out Pavement and Pixies reunion tours or those All Tomorrow’s Parties concerts featuring bands playing their seminal (usually 1990s) albums in their entirety. If there is anything hip dads love these days, it’s remembering those long ago years when they wore plaid. But that aside, we’re just glad this thing is finally getting out there; it’s been far too long. No word on an exact release date yet, but it will hit shelves this fall. Take a time trip with the clips below. Man, how did we ever go from Kurt Loder to Pauly D?