Why Nardcore Band Ill Repute Deserve a Documentary
These simple lyrics from the song simply titled "Oxnard" are a familiar battle cry to a niche community in the SoCal hardcore scene. The beginnings of Nardcore--a volatile, pit-swirling blitzkrieg of bands out of Ventura County--hit widespread consciousness in the early '80s. Bands such as Aggression, Dr. Know and False Confession were responsible for spearheading a new scene of West Coast bands that captured the attention of the general punk rock public. Stan Mueller, a local documentary filmmaker and founder of the production company True Underground Network, holds up another band as being among the best: Ill Repute.
The group of rough-and-tumble Navy brats out of Port Hueneme were important emissaries for a sound that Mueller has been obsessed with since the first angry chords of their 45-second opus "Fuck With My Head."
"I just remember listening to Ill Repute when I was in eighth or ninth grade--their 7-inches and cassettes. I was always into it," Mueller says.
About a year ago, he launched "The Punk Rock Chronicles" book-and-documentary series, retracing the development of some of his favorite bands, the first of which is Clean Cut American Kids: The Story of Ill Repute, to be released on March 1. With a background in project management and compiling biographies on local professionals, athletes and entertainers (his wife, Jennifer, is the ghostwriter), the Huntington Beach resident spent five months on the task, interviewing the band members and a dozen other people integral to their story with the aid of videographer Jeff Feurerhaken of Firehook Entertainment. Though they were definitely an important band in the scene, most of the elements befitting a garden-variety band doc--sex, drugs, and rock & roll--are noticeably absent from this band's tale.
"One of the things that kind of worried me was that I've flipped through documentaries and books on other bands, and they've got these fantastic stories, from drug abuse to living on the streets. . . . We really had none of that," guitarist Tony Cortez says. "What I'm hoping is that it'll be an inspiring story about people just like you who did a little bit more."
Even though they've known each other since childhood, the band were able to glean some insight about one another thanks to the in-depth nature of the project. "It was sort of fun to find out things about my bandmates that, even after this long, I never really knew, as far as our personal lives," lead singerJohn Phaneuf says.