Rock Docs Podcast: The Decline of Western Civilization, featuring guest Ian Grant

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The Decline of Western Civilization

After taking a week off from documentaries to talk to Steven Hyden about all things Springsteen, Rock Docs gets back to actual rock docs this week with a visit to a classic film from the punk era. Your hosts, Andy Keatts and David Lizerbram, revisit the 1981 film The Decline of Western Civilization, directed by Penelope Spheeris, which surveys the punk landscape of Los Angeles in the early ’80s.

The Decline of Western Civilization features appearances and performances from Black Flag, X, The Germs, Alice Bag Band, Fear, Circle Jerks, and Catholic Discipline. It also apparently inspired Chief of Police Darryl Gates to write a letter demanding it not be shown again in public in 1981. Spheeris directed two follow-up documentaries, Part II: The Metal Years, in 1988, and The Decline of Western Civilization Part III, which focused on gutter punks, in 1998.

This week’s special guest is Ian Grant of the Jokermen podcast and media empire. This is Ian’s second Rock Docs appearance, having previously joined us to discuss Bob Dylan: 1978-1989 – Both Ends of the Rainbow with his fellow Jokerman Evan Laffer.

Hear the full episode below and watch the film’s trailer.

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