Dave Markey is a filmmaker, photographer, editor, writer and
name is synonymous
with southern California punk culture. In
the two previous decades, he has made films or videos with the likes of
Mudhoney, Sonic Youth and Thurston Moore, The Ramones, The
Muffs, Painted Willie, Fudge Tunnel, fIREHOSE,
Ciccone Youth, Black Flag, the Meat Puppets, Shonen Knife,
The Posies, Abby Travis,
Redd Cross, Eyes Adrift, Gumball, Dinosaur Jr, Babes in Toyland, and
films have been exhibited around the world and FIlm Festivals and
screenings for many,
many years. He started filmmaking when he was just eleven.
PUNK GLOBE: Can you tell me
whether these are all of the bands you were in are still playing and
My very first band I helped form at the age of 17, Sin 34, reformed
year and has done a few shows in the LA area. It's pretty rare
for punk rock (or any music really) to reform with all of your original
members 24 years later, totally out of the blue. It felt great
the hell out of a drum kit again. After Sin 34 broke up in
Painted Willie happened with Phil Newman (also X-of Sin
34). He had a
recording studio in North Hollywood called Spinhead. A lot of
recordings (and parties) came out of there. I did a series of
not-so-serious bands after that like Anarchy 6, Tusk, Chop, Society’s
Ill’s, and a few others.
You stated making films when you were rather young. Reportedly, one
time at age eleven, you used your dad's Brownie film camera after your
parents refused to let you see "The Exorcist, ;so you made "The Devil's
your own version using kids in the
motivated from a very early age. I published a neighborhood
I did a punk zine. I was drawn to
filmmaking as a kid before punk rock.
I was fascinated by the
process, and still am. And yes, I have my father to thank for
He was always shooting films and pictures, and I
started to do the same around ten or eleven.
grew up in Santa Monica. How
were you introduced to punk? MARKEY: I
heard about punk long before I actually heard punk. Back
then, AC/DC was considered punk, you know. But I was more
attracted to bands like Devo and the B-52's. I liked Brian Eno as much
as The Ramones. From there, I got into the more hardcore stuff
that was happening in Southern California at the time like Red Cross,
Minutemen, Saccharine Trust, and Black Flag.
a true independent filmmaker for over thirty years now. Do you feel
you may have greater access to your public now
with distribution over the Internet?
early Super-8 films have been out on DVD for a few years now and
have done quite well considering that they have not been marketed in
any fashion. I suppose the Internet could be responsible as
wasn’t really any publicity outside of the web. "Desperate
Lovedolls" has always been the big seller, just like how it was with
VHS years ago. A film that initially cost $250.00. “The Slog
also has some hardcore fans out there.
While we are talking about the net; I had a million and a half
video views on You Tube before they inexplicably deleted my account
last week. All I had posted there was my own work. Much of it
music videos I shot for Sonic Youth, Firehose, Shonen Knife, Mudhoney,
Meat Puppets, and the like. I am very happy that I got to produce
clips for bands that I actually like, but it sucks that it was probably
one of these band’s record labels (or whoever owns them now) that had
me yanked. I maintain my own site, which streams all of this
absolutely free, with no ads (www.wegotpowerfilms.com).
on working with Greg
Ginn and artist
Pettibon (Greg Ginn's brother) ...
would be Raymond Pettibon. I did a series of video project
him shot on really crappy home VHS in the late 1980’s. One was
Manson, one was on Patty Hearst, another one was on the Weather
Underground, and the best of the bunch was about a fictitious punk rock
band called "Sir Drone." These videos were to mainly facilitate his
dialog, as there was not much else to grasp on to. Just people
room reading from hand written pages of Ray's dialog, line after
line. It's quite apparent when you watch them. I have yet to
meet anyone who
has been able to sit through them, although they are now in museums the
world over. Raymond is a brilliant writer in addition to his graphic
illustration, I have always wondered what could be done with his
scripts if the proper production was available. His brother
signed my second band,
Painted Willie, to SST in the mid-80's, just
before that. It was a mind-blow to be a part of their
too bad everything went south
with SST a few years down the line.
Have you worked in Canada? You have many fans there.
been there (Toronto), but I've never worked there.
started Sin 34
with Phil Newman,Julie Lanfeld, and Mike "Geek" Glass, too; and the We
fanzine with Jordan Schwartz.
Here's a quote -- I think it
was Wikipedia -- about your work:
films remained in his neighborhood until he
discovered the burgeoning LA Punk Scene through bands like X, Black
Flag, & Red Cross in
1980. Inspired by the music,
his own band, Sin 34, in 1981. He also started
We Got Power fanzine that year along with Jordan Schwartz. Thus
Markey’s cinematic Super-8 cult punk scene documents. These films were
distributed underground and critically well received, putting
the Cinematic Punk
map before he was of legal age.His recent DVD, "Cut Shorts,"
is a collection of short films and music videos he has
30 years from
1974 to 2004."
movie, "The Reinactors"
a documentary about the
Walk of Fame of Hollywood and the street celebrity
impersonators and their lives has been wowing audiences across the
globe. I just loved it!
Dave Markey on the set of "The
Reinactors" with some of the characters in the film
PUNK GLOBE: Can you tell me a little
bit about the name of the film. It is unusual.
Reinactors" is an intentional mis-spelling of "Reenactors." These
people reenact Hollywood Superstars and Motion Picture Icons. This is
what they do for a living, one dollar at a time
PUNK GLOBE:Tell me how
for "The Reinactors" (2008) came about. How can people
film came out of me happening to catch a sensationalized media
report on the
arrest of a Holywood Blvd. street character who portrayed
Freddy Kruger, for the alleged stabbing of a tourist. That's
what first flagged me to the scene down in front of Grauman's Chinese
Theater and Hollywood and Highland, in which about a hundred or so
dressed as film characters hustle tourists for cash. What I found there
was a story of the underbelly of
Hollywood that I couldn't quite believe, as familiar as it
was. I got in deep with a few of the characters, and grafted a
of that. Might not sound that much, but trust me,
you really have to see it to believe it. You couldn't write
The DVD is comingout in June.
told me she met you in 1979, when Sin 34 and you
stayed at her place in SF.
true, except it was probably more like 1982. Ginger
us up at her place, and I've never forgotten how nice she was. I
remember she was singing the theme song to "Fame" repeatedly that
night. She was hanging out with Bambi, ask her whatever
happened to Bambi. I think she went on tour with the
Stranglers as a dancer.
again when you were working with Thurston Moore and you brought
him to one of the
White Trash Debutantes' shows.
have happened, but I don't remember it.
you know that Ginger lives about ten blocks from you in Hollywood?
I see her occasionally on her moped. I also saw her in the deleted
scenes from "American Hardcore"
and wondered why she wasn't in the film. She stole the show.
What about DC-Jam and Painted Willie?
am finishing up the DVD for "The Reinactors", I am very
about the project. The extras are very solid. It's
going to kick ass! DC-Jam is re-releasing Painted Willie's
first album,"Mind Bowling," this spring. Also very stoked about
that. Glad that I can keep producing work and playing music,
there isn't much else for me to do here.