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How bad dads created punk rock

One thing becomes Absolut clear after viewing The Other F Word: If there hadn’t been the open-hand slapping, moustache-trimming, short sleeve dress shirt-wearing, Barcalounger-lounging fathers of the Father Knows Best era, there would have been no Sex Pistols, no Pennywise, no NOFX, no Clash, no Red Hot Chili Peppers, no Blink 182. No punk rock.

Available on DVD January 31, The Other F Word is a terrific, affecting documentary about the face-inking, middle finger-flipping, instrument-smashing punk rockers of the 80s and 90s who’ve gone from mosh pits to ball pits. From nihilism to Ni Hao Kai-Lan. The film answers the question: What happens when the guys who said “I don’t give a f%$!" have kids, and start giving a f$#%? As you’ll see in this flick, they give a f$#%. Like, a sincere, concerted f$#@.  

Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fat Mike of NOFX, Mark Hoppus of Blink 182, Jim Lindberg of Pennywise, Lars Frederiksen of Rancid: Viewers get a window into all of their family lives. Taking breakfast orders from squeaky daughters. Attending father-daughter dances. Going to the playground while donning leopard print hair and arms tattooed from rotator cuff to cuticle. (Check out some movie clips here.)

While the film focuses largely on the here and now, the seed of the storyline goes back to their childhoods. Fathers who berated their kids for dressing different. Fathers who made their kids salute them when they came home from work. And worst of all, fathers who evaporated into thin air, the only thing left behind was a dent in the pillow. 

The legacy of those fathers is in the DNA of punk rock: The rooftop howl of Pennywise's "Bro-Hymn;" the melodic rage of Everclear's "Father of Mine." Years of pent-up aggression and resentment was channeled into live shows and pressed onto vinyl.

And now they're daddies. And damn good ones too. The musicians in The Other F Word are as invested, engaged and earnest as any Teva-wearing dad at Sea World or the Cheesecake Factory. Actually, it seemed like the more fringe and extreme the musician onscreen looked, the sweeter and kinder he was. 

I guess we should be happy that these guys’ fathers were as crappy as they were. If they had nurtured their children, we’d be listening to more Jason Mraz and Hoobastank. And who needs that.