Diary of an Ass Monkey (assmonkeydiary) wrote,
Diary of an Ass Monkey

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains

I had vague memories of seeing Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains on USA's Night Flight back in the early 80s, but it was a lot more interesting than I knew at the time. Directed by music tycoon Lou Adler, the story is about a teenage, all-girl punk rock band called the Stains. A fifteen-year-old Diane Lane plays the angry, lead singing main character with a thirteen-year-old Laura Dern on bass. But the real surprise was the the British punk band they're on tour with, the Looters, featuring Steve Jones and Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols, Paul Simonon from the Clash, and Ray Winstone (who'd just been in Quadrophenia). Jones and Cook also wrote the songs, which are quite good, but repeated a bit too often.

It's a great look at the music scene of the period, punk, new wave, even a little reggae and while it's definitely low-budget, it's got a lot of that great 70s pseudo-realism that was about to disappear completely in the 80s. It was written by Nancy Dowd (Slapshot) and Jonathan Demme. Oh yeah, and Christine Lahti gives a great two-scene performance as Dern's mother.

I don't want to give the story away, but it's easy to see how this 1981 film was an influence on the riot grrl phenomenon and a whole generation of female rockers. And the White Stripes almost certainly got their name from a line about Diane Lane's hairstyle.

Tags: barefoot, film, music

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