It’s Not All Rock & Roll (2020)

Before I saw this movie, I had no idea who Swearing At Motorists was.

They’re a two-piece rock and roll band made up of Dave Doughman (vocals and guitar) and drummer Martin Boeters. While the band formed in Dayton, Ohio in 1994, they’ve made the majority of their music overseas, specifically in Hamburg, Germany. And by that, Doughman seems responsible for most of the band’s output.

Directed by Jim Burns, who co-wrote the movie with Angela Slaven*, It’s Not All Rock & Roll is a literal warts and all biography of Doughman, who plays every show like he’s on the biggest stage there is, an escape from the real life of fatherhood, driving a forklift and depression. So whether he’s playing for six people or battling an unruly bar patron who won’t stop playing pool while he’s rocking his heart out, Doughman is devoted to someday being a working musician.

Known as “The World’s Local Band,” I started this film being disinterested in this band and unsure about Doughman, but by the end of the movie, I found myself cheering them on. You get a big window into the world of being a musician, even at the level the band is on. That said, they’ve released six albums and have toured the world, even if they carry their own gear. Take it from someone that’s slowly lifted a giant Marshall stack up a steep staircase in the middle of winter. Angus, Malcolm and Bon weren’t lying when they wrote, “Gettin’ old, gettin’ grey, gettin’ ripped off, underpaid. Gettin’ sold second hand. That’s how it goes, playin’ in a band.”

Whether or not you’ve ever heard of the band or care about their music, I highly recommend this film. Keep an eye out for it, as it doesn’t have American distribution as of yet.

You can learn more about Swearing at Motorists at their site and the movie at the production company’s site.

*They also made Serious Drugs, a documentary about the band BMX Bandits.

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