“Are you a punk or a poof?”
“I am a poof with a punk attitude.”
Such is the quality of dialogue in 1991: The Year Punk Broke. Dave Markey’s tour video, which follows Sonic Youth and Nirvana on their European club and festival tour. Thurston More is really the leading character of the film: his shambolic monologues add a symbolic importance to the movie, like you’re witnessing the genesis of something groundbreaking. Which, of course, is true, though probably not in the way Thurston would have imagined, or even liked. Within a few months Nirvana’s second album Nevermind would find them success none of them had ever imagined and within two years Kurt would be dead by his own hand. But here we find Nirvana playing second fiddle to Sonic Youth and finding their feet with their new drummer Dave Grohl. Meanwhile, performances from Dinosaur Jr., Gumball and The Ramones prove that 1991 was a fine year for punk rock.
Bonus video (This Is Known As) The Blues Scale really gives the main feature a run for its money. We hear a lot more of Kim Gordon’s sardonic wit and there’s a lot more of the to and fro between band and crew, which is consistently goofy. Then there’s the disastrous MCA encounter… Touring with these guys must have been a blast.
1991: The Year Punk Broke is available now on DVD.