Record Store Day was last Saturday and as part of the celebrations I attended a screening of Records Collecting Dust a documentary written and directed by San Diego based musician and filmmaker Jason Blackmore.
Records Collecting Dust documents the vinyl record collections, origins, and holy grails of alternative music stars such as Jello Biafra, Chuck Dukowski, Keith Morris, John Reis, and other underground music comrades.
The best documentary makers are able to make you care about subjects that the viewer wouldn’t normally engage with or have knowledge of. A great example of this is Senna, I (having no F1 knowledge) was able to engage with a documentary with which I knew little of the sport it revolves around or the characters involved. Sadly Records Collecting Dust fails in this regard.
While the topic of vinyl and the influence that a record may hold over a musician would interest me greatly the films execution of this is poor. The stars interviewed are all from the underground music scene. This is not a scene I am familiar with at all however no back story to these stars is given leaving me as the viewer feeling disconnected from those on screen.
The stories told are fine but they are quick and not given any real-time for depth or development. The music they refer to as influential is not played at any point which leaves viewers, who it cannot be assumed know all the refences, clueless as to what they are talking about. They refer to Zeppelin, Hendrix, The Beatles and assume that all of the audience, young or old, immediately know the music to which they refer. While their knowledge of the genre is admirable without the connection to the audience you are essentially watching a panel of interviews without any real content or depth. This sadly makes the film for largely uninteresting aside from one segement regarding ‘black power’ music as told by Matt Johnson who seems to have great knowledge but sadly does not receive enough time to fully impart this.
Records Collecting Dust is an attempt to get at what would be a really interesting topic if approached in the right way. Sadly this is a failed and flawed attempt and not a documentary I would recommend.