When I was a kid growing up in New York City, Punk Rockers were the people you crossed the street to avoid. So when Cristan Reilly, the ﬁlm's producer, came to me with a book her old friend, Jimmy, the lead singer of the Southern California skate punk band, Pennywise, had written about being a Punk Rock dad, I was both repelled and intrigued. I saw him belting "Fuck Authority" on YouTube. How attainable is that credo for a dad trying to raise three girls?
I was struggling with my own version of that drill. While I wasn't a rebellious teenager, I had the usual teenage ambitions: Where my parents had caved or sold out, I would be different. I would save the whales and Keep America Beautiful and make the world nuclear free. Amazing what happens, or, more to the point, doesn't happen, when you suddenly ﬁnd yourself with three little kids and a mortgage. It seemed like a real opportunity to see how the most extreme version of our teenage, idealistic, rebellious selves might be struggling when placed in the real world, with real-life demands.
So Cristan and I met with Jim Lindberg, who seemed nice, not so scary (off stage), and started ﬁlming the day his newest album was being released. (One of the amazing things about Punk is that, while the artists might get older, new teenage fans keep ﬁnding them, so Jimmy was heading on tour at 43 to perform for 17 year-olds).
Turns out, Jim was the perfect gateway drug, and down the punk rock rabbit hole we went. We really set out to make a ﬁlm following Jim through a year, as he tried to balance singing lyrics like "Fuck no! We won't listen!" and raising daughters rapidly approaching adolescence. But we ended up following a much more complicated path, ﬁnding that every Punk Rock father we spoke to, (and they kept getting more and more Punk, as each one said, "Well, if you think I'm punk, you should talk to...."), had a similar story: Fatherhood not only challenged their basic punk rock tenets, but more profoundly, opened their eyes more clearly to their own fathers.
What I found was not the story I expected. Nor was it anything I'd seen before in a Punk Rock documentary. It was far more intense than the situational comedy and ironic humor, which we certainly recorded and which you'll see in the movie. The inspiration to rebel was ultimately about abandonment. So the movie became a story about guys, poets in protective spikes, who would bend over backwards to be there for their children, because their own fathers had failed them when they were young.
It was a powerful and touching journey for me and my tiny team. There were several interviews I just prayed my DP could hold focus because I knew we were all getting choked up, when, for example, Tony Adolescent told us, not only about losing his father, but about losing a child, or when Flea explained why he ran away from home at 12.
I ﬁrmly believe this is not a ﬁlm limited to Punk Rock fans or rockumentary aﬁciandos. It is for anyone who has ever struggled with reconciling adolescent dreams with adult realities. And for anyone interested in whether the sins of the fathers might actually be corrected by the sons. And I'm so excited to be able to share the wisdom of these most unlikely philosophers.