August 23rd, 2012 by MRR
This movie review by Carolyn Keddy appears in the latest issue of MRR. If you don’t already subscribe to our lovely zine, click here and get six months or a year’s worth of black inky fingers free with purchase!
With the exception of the people I can see clearly in the light, this is a very attractive audience.
Freaks In Love is a documentary about the band ALICE DONUT. The band started in 1986 from the remains of Sea Beats, a band comprised of Columbia University students. After graduating some of the band members left New York. The remaining three went on to become Alice Donut. The band got their first show at CBGB and needed to come up with a new name. After utilizing the usual new band methods to secure a name, they settled on Alice Donut Liver Henry Moore. When they called Hilly Kristal at CBGB to tell him he told him it was too long. He shortened it to Alice Donut.
I am sure I won’t have to mention how much it bummed me out to see radio station KUSF‘s former studios in Freaks In Love. Alice Donut came in for an interview in 2009 when they were in San Francisco to play Alternative Tentacles’ 30th Anniversary party. The band members relayed that KUSF’s DJ Germ was the first person to ever play Alice Donut on the radio. Germ hosted a demo tape show on which he played the song “Waka Waka Baby.” The Dead Kennedys’ bassist Klaus Fluoride recorded the song off the radio. Later he played it for Jello Biafra who immediately liked it. Biafra went to New York to see the band. As a result they signed on with Alternative Tentacles. Biafra calls Alice Donut “the missing link between REM and the Butthole Surfers.” Take that however you want.
Freaks In Love is an atypical music documentary. As a band Alice Donut never succumbs to any of rock’s stereotypes. When band members leave it is amicably or at least without public accusations. There are no deaths of band members. There are no drug or drinking problems. There are no problems with a major label. The band never signed with one. They never signed any bad recording contracts. There are no fights over the legacy. There is very little drama at all. In fact, the whole story is so ordinary that is surprising that the documentary is interesting at all. But it is. This is the story of a bunch of friends playing music together for the right reasons with a good amount of success. There aren’t many bands that can claim that.