Jason Blackmore (back to camera) interviews Tommy Victor from Danzig.
"Records Collecting Dust is a documentary centered in San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles,” says Jason Blackmore. “Those were the three cities I focused on the first time around, on the underground punk-rock scene there.” Blackmore, 45, says his original vision was to make a documentary about music and records. Released in 2015, Records Collecting Dust featured living-room interviews with John Reis, Jello Biafra, and Mike Watt. It showed in over 50 theaters in the U.S. and a couple of international film festivals in Ireland and Berlin. It came out on iTunes. But, did the film make any money?
Records Collecting Dust
“Yeah. This is a newer shirt,” he grins, smoothing over the wrinkles of his faded black T-shirt. “Ever since I was a teen, I wanted to own a record store. When I realized that wasn’t going to happen, I made a film.” Records Collecting Dust is a bittersweet lament about the digital-age shift away from the vinyl lifestyle, at times funny and at times dark. But it is not, as co-producer Brian Jenkins told the Reader then, “a film about collecting records.”
Now comes Records Collecting Dust II, says Blackmore, who lives in O.B. and performed with the band Molly McGuire in the ’90s. This time around, he says, the focus has shifted to New York, Boston, and Washington DC. “RCD II,” he says, “is exclusively East Coast.” Blackmore has eight interviews in the can, so to speak, all of former East Coast punks who have since cashed in the sleet and the snow for Southern California.
That list thus far includes Page Hamilton (Helmet), Craig Wedren (Shudder to Think), Tommy Victor (Prong/Danzig), Walter Schreifels (Quicksand, Gorilla Biscuits, Rival Schools), Jason Farrell (Bluetip/Swiz), Curtis Casella (Taang Records), and Mike Gitter (xXx Zine).
“I have close to 20 more people lined up who want to be interviewed,” Blackmore says. Among them is Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye. “I sent him a DVD of the first film with a handwritten note that explained the new project. No, I don’t know him. This was about six months ago. And I didn’t include my phone number or my email. Using the return address from the envelope, he sent me a post card.” The response was positive. “Ian is onboard.”
This time around, the production crew includes hometown vinyl-vendor-turned-filmmaker Eric Howarth. “Eric didn’t work on the first RCD,” says Blackmore, “but he’s onboard as the cinematographer and cowriter for RCD II.”
Howarth once owned M-Theory Records and now runs a vinyl swap meet called Vinyl Junkies. He says, “I’ve known Jason for a long time. He knows a lot of the guys we’re talking to for the film. He’s a musician, and he’s able to have conversations with these people that go beyond what a nonmusician would ask.”
Blackmore: “Eric knows me from me coming in to M-Theory. I used to live in South Park.”
Howarth: “You were an employee for one day.”
Blackmore: “I was a horrible employee. I set the alarm off.”
Howarth: “But that’s not why you didn’t last for more than a day.” He goes on to explain that it was a chance meeting that led to the current partnership.
“We ran into each other at the Casbah and we talked about Jason’s plan to make RCD II. I said, ‘I own camera gear, lighting gear, and all that. How about I come on as cinematographer?’”
Howarth has prior production experience, having worked with Grant Reinero on a Four Points/48 Hour film project. The Records Collecting Dust II crew includes Brian Desjean from the local band No Knife as film editor and Brian Jenkins, owner of Riot House Records (his label released the first Records Collecting Dust on Riot House Films) as graphic artist. Howarth says, “We’re hoping to take this film to even greater heights this time around.”
But to make Records Collecting Dust II a reality, the two need to schedule some East Coast interview time with the artists who still live on that side of the country. And to that end, Blackmore estimates they will need to raise $6000 in travel expenses. For now, they are looking to Kickstarter to get the project underwritten. At the time of writing, the two had raised just over $1000 with two weeks remaining on their campaign.
“No, we don’t have a funding plan B,” says Howarth. “But it’s looking likely that we’ll have a larger donor coming through who will do a pledge match during the last week of the campaign.” If all goes according to plan, look for Records Collecting Dust II to be released sometime next year.