“Jay Bogart — that was his punk name — was killed by a guy who went by the name of Chris Jarhead and whose actual name was Chris Cruise.”
Eric Rife talks about a scene from the rockumentary Garageland, a feature film that he has been working on for three years. Garageland, he says, chronicles the creative spirit of the San Diego underground rock scene of the 1970s through the 1990s.
“It happened near Adams Avenue and 30th Street. Jay was waiting for a bus. Chris rode by on his bicycle and shot him.”
The film includes rare footage of bands such as the Zeros, Claude Coma and the IVs, and the Penetrators, and if all goes according to plan, it will end 90 minutes later with a newer generation of rockers, including Rocket from the Crypt, fluf, and Uncle Joe’s Big Ol’ Driver.
“A lot of what I have so far is live footage that I’ve shot.” Rife says he’s conducted at least 100 hours of band interviews on video. “But I’ve cultivated a lot of footage from the ’70s and the ’80s, with some from local slam poet Jimmy Jazz.” Rife says Jazz shot hundreds of hours of backstage and audience footage at local shows over the years. “All very valuable for what I’m doing.”
Film highlights? Rife says he has 1970s Super 8 footage of the Exterminators at the Skeleton Club and some very early Eddie Vedder. “I’ve got video of Bad Radio, Vedder’s first band, formed when he lived here in San Diego.”
But Rife says he needs money to finish the film. He is in the process of looking into grants. He says that some area bands have offered to host benefit shows. He’s not sure how much money he needs, but he’s sure that the amount eclipses his initial investment. A city librarian, Rife’s old job at Off the Record came in handy. To date, he has financed his film to the tune of about $20,000, almost all of it earned through the resale of vintage vinyl.
“Would I like to make all of my money back?” he says. “Yeah. But if I don’t make a penny on this, that’s okay.”
Did Chris Jarhead end up in jail? “No. He died. After he shot Jay, he got on his motorcycle and went to a friend’s house in San Francisco, where he OD’d.” But to learn the rest of the Jay Bogart–Chris Jarhead story, Rife says you will have to wait for the release of Garageland in the coming year.