Still Drinkin’, Still Rockin’ The Unband comes to film Ed. note: This article originally appeared in the first incarnation of Youngstown Pulse sometime between 2003-05. B.J. LISKO Youngstown Pulse Magazine Editor God damnit. I didn’t want to drink tonight. But of course, a night I designate as “recovery,” in a very loose sense, there in the rusty tin box at the end of the driveway is the documentary of The Unband, “We Like To Drink, We Like to Play Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Fuckin’ assholes. Two viewings of this, 12 beers later, and here I am at the computer. I’ve been called “retarded” for a lot of things; often for my opinions whenever I feel the need to vent them almost solely for the purpose of angering people I generally consider idiots; looking at serious moments in life and basically finding them absolutely absurd and entirely, as well as to many people, inappropriately hilarious; numerous times by my ex-wife. But I’ve been called “retarded” more times than I can count for my extreme liking of The Unband. To which I reply, “No, the album is called, ‘Retarder.’” Gringa Productions sent the latest DVD offering from a group that’s cult at best, and probably known at worst. If you have no clue who, or what is The Unband, here’s the summary. It’s three dudes who drink a lot and play rock. The title of the song, and now the film, wasn’t a stretch. They’re unabashed, unashamed rock ‘n’ roll that at one time caught a break from TVT Records and toured with the likes of Motorhead, Dio, Anthrax, Def Leppard and other groups whose fan bases weren’t exactly impressed with short haired dudes in blazers playing three chord rock in front of an exhibitionist drummer. More accurately their sound is punk trying very hard to be AC/DC, but coming off more like Gang Green only much better, or worse, depending on how much you’ve had to drink. This is like the fifth fuckin’ time I’ve written about them, so needless to say, I’ve drank a lot. “We Like To Drink, We Like To Play Rock ‘n Roll,” is sort of the abridged film version of Unband bassist Michael Ruffino’s book, “Gentlemanly Repose, Tales of a Debauched Rock ‘n’ Roller.” It doesn’t exactly put much into context unless you’re already familiar with the band. Then again, The Unband didn’t exactly put anything into context, so it’s not as if the subject matter is something that’s easy to construct an elaborate plotline around. Basically it starts like many rock docs, in that you get a general background, some praise from peers, before it all devolves into liquor, women, fighting, a band breakup, a band reunion, all under the only basic theme you really need to concern yourself with, drinking and rocking. Specifically, there are some hilarious moments – Ruffino standing in front a wall of Dio fans giving them the finger as they all scream at him and give it right back; guitarist/vocalist Matt Pierce politely asking the crowd to throw all their alcohol and cocaine onto the stage; drummer Eugene Ferrari perpetually showing his penis while literally never missing a beat, ever; Pierce with his then-Nancy Spungen like girlfriend laughing rather hysterically to the announcement that Ruffino became engaged “on a cliff in Ireland”; Ruffino then coming back with the quote, “Those two can sit around the rest of their lives and dream about sucking my dick”; and so on. Perhaps Supersuckers frontman Eddie Spaghetti’s recollection sums it up best. “They weren’t very good if I recall.” But behind the noise they in fact, were. They were at least decent in the mass amount of live footage shown. Or, I suppose I should say, nothing live sounded all that different from the “Retarder” album, and the music is played as if every show is the band’s last. And by the latter part of the documentary it certainly seems that every show highlighted could be the band’s last. When it all kind of comes down to it, and the debauchery of how the band came to be, how it came to succeed, then fail, then breakup, it’s really as Pierce says, “Your typical Yoko Ono scenario.” Money and women seem to be the cause of the band’s demise, not unlike a million others. Pierce’s ex-girlfriend, Kate, is particularly frightening albeit immensely entertaining considering she’s loaded all the time. She refers to her and Pierce’s relationship as co-dependency, but also “paradise on earth.” Ruffino’s fiancée, Caroline, seems entirely too regular to be involved with the Unband beast at all. They’re together at film’s end, but judging by the “congratulations” I got from him when I told him I was divorced earlier in the year, that may not still be the case. At its heart, “We Like to Drink, We Like To Play Rock ‘n’ Roll” is immensely entertaining. It’s not going to reveal a whole lot if you’re not already familiar with the band, but again, the band doesn’t tend to do that much on its own anyways. In fact, neither do many rock docs, most of which can’t even inspire a stiff drink – which reminds me of the unopened bottle of whiskey in the freezer. To wrap this up, even if you have zero clue who The Unband is, and even though this review carries with it loads of drunken sarcasm (that’s the point), the film is very worth picking up. This will entertain any fan of just about any kind of music. There are holes in the story, and blah blah blah, but who cares? If you want a fuckin’ Oscar winner go rent the latest Hollywood schlock. If you want rock and to be thoroughly entertained (also the point), watch this. It’s The Unband. Besides, there are way too many penises in this movie for an Oscar nod anyways. And judging by the band’s consumption, I don’t think they would make it through the pre-show festivities. For more info or to buy visit www.gringaproductions.com.