POINTS OF INTEREST: How Drugs, Rock and Roll and No Sex Made a Movie

By Jon Salimes, posted 2 August 2011

Lets start with the end of the story first. It was the tenth day; the final day. Actually, it was technically the eleventh day. We had been driving for almost 18 hours straight, a bee-line from Easthampton, Massachusetts back to our home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The moment happened somewhere near the Illinois/Wisconsin border. All of a sudden the streets became familiar again. There were three of us in the car, our entire crew. We all felt that moment at the same time, that the journey was over and the inevitability of returning to our normal lives, something akin to the first day of school when you have no friends, was no longer something we tried to keep buried in the backs of our minds but instead a terrifying reality. Like the most meaningful psychedelic drugs, we had forgotten ourselves in these ten days and had surrendered completely to the experience. Now it was over. We were sobering up.

We silently but collectively thought back to the beginning of the trip. All the way back to the first day. Setting off on a tour of the East Coast with a couple friends' bands. They invited us to come along. No mention was made of making a film, we just kinda assumed it. We needed to do it in fact.

We had spent two months raising funds via the requisite online campaign (a paltry $1500 that turned out to be almost exactly all we needed) and collecting equipment. We bought DSLR's (Canon 7D's) earlier in the year. They turned out to be the perfect camera choice. We would be able to take these cameras anywhere due to their light weight and portability (the totality of our gear took up only three backpacks) as well as bypass the bullshit anti-art concept known as asking permission. Don't mind us, we're just taking vacation photos.

We had equipment, a crew and a budget. It was a real movie. The only problem was that we didn't know what movie we were making. We had made a pact shortly before we left that there would be no substance indulgence of any kind between us; such a beautifully naive yet admirable idea. We would keep our mind's sharp and our body's fresh. After all, this was the bands' tour, it was their moment, we were simply there to document whatever they did.

After a 10-hour drive or so, we arrived at the first tour stop; Goshen, Indiana. One cameraman had been in the bands' van the whole time while the other two crew members followed in the rental car; a rental car, by the way, that in the end had been though terrifying rain storms, melting heat, near accidents, the most dangerous parts of the scariest neighborhoods, all night battery-drainage sessions to charge our equipment and most notably was stained with a smell of human so intense that only the chain smoked remnants of unfiltered cigarettes could be detected alongside it.

Shortly after arrival in this very small and very midwest town, we realized something was wrong. Not even half a day into this thing and we were lost. What do we shoot? Nothing interesting was happening. We had driven straight to the bar the band was going to perform at. They were setting up their equipment. Some were eating dinner. So we did the only thing that made sense, we drank. A lot. As our bodies sopped up the alcohol, we kept up the charade. We walked around with our cameras, we shot the performances. We grabbed b roll and exteriors, knowing all the while that none of this would turn out to be the least bit interesting.

We went out side for a smoke. Some kids were hanging out near the bar, clearly not old enough to actually get in yet intoxicated just the same. They invited us to a party across the street at an older friend's apartment. The band was busy drinking at the bar and showed no signs of stopping anytime soon so we followed these teenagers to their party. The mood was strange when we arrived; it was clearly evident that this was a party on the downslope. It was a mess of bottles, people passed out on floors, bad smells and end of the line style living. We drank warm beers and let the coke-addled kids tell us childhood stories about their town. We had our gear with us but never once thought to take it out. And that was it. The conscious decision to NOT film something. We knew that no audio or video evidence of this night, of this moment, could ever convey how it felt and what it meant to us.

I have no memory of the following nine days. Memories can't do the experience justice. It has simply melted into a feeling. Our log-line for the film contains the following: "This film is the result of what happened. As best they remember it." As cute as that is, there really is no better way to sum up the film. Some of the most memorable moments of the trip were experienced sans camera; forever allowing them to exist only in our minds and retain their glorious abstractness. This film in no way represents a factual, realistic account of the tour; in fact the film completely obscures and at times, outright lies, about many things. It was that night in Goshen, Indiana however that made it clear to us that this would be the only right way to make the film.

So as we entered the city limits of Milwaukee and started to remember the faces of those we loved and names of the places we called home, and as the feeling of freedom that had been so strong started to fade, we knew that we had to lock away a piece of this experience that would not be shared with anybody. In a world of information overload, where the most mundane details of one's life are gleefully shared, we needed to retain the purity of what had happened. So, while this film in no way represents a factual account of the tour, and much has been left out, it is our hope that it enables every one who views it to find that same intense feeling of freedom in their own lives and not share it with anybody.

See the trailer at Vimeo

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