About this project
Please visit the website http://www.mekonsmovie.com and check out the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Revenge-of-the-Mekons/158606240816590...
ABOUT THIS PROJECT:
Revenge of the Mekons is a documentary about the legendary, rabble-rousing punk band that, four decades into an unlikely career, continue to make unpredictable, critically acclaimed music. The film charts the band’s mid-’80s reincarnation as the unlikely progeny of Hank Williams (a development that inspired journalists to coin the term alt country) and captures the restless imagination that has led the Mekons to create—collectively, individually and in collaboration with others—paintings, sculptures, theater pieces, even a group novel. The film also reveals its subjects as passionate advocates for social justice, whose work, as journalist Greg Kot tells us, “functions almost without exception as a critique of power and the abuse of power.” A rich and illuminating account of a fascinating, criminally under-recognized band, Revenge of the Mekons will be a lively, inspiring, and entertaining film—with killer music, to boot!
HOW FAR ALONG ARE WE?
Production started in February 2008. Since then, we’ve shot in 20 cities in six countries on three continents. Principal photography, for the most part, is finished, though we still need to shoot a few more scenes, which will be picked up during the edit.
The $20,000 we hope to raise through Kickstarter will enable us to start editing the film, which we’d like to begin in January 2011. We will also apply these funds to archival research and “festival rights” for footage, photos and music. The goal is to premiere at a major international film festival in 2011.
WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU?
Your support is invaluable to help us finish and bring Revenge of the Mekons to film festivals. Your contribution will not only make you part of the team, but you can also get some cool prizes in return. Thanks to the generosity of the Mekons and many of the individuals who have participated in the film, we’ve assembled some incredible, rare and one-of-a-kind limited-edition “rewards” (listed at right; for more information on them, scroll down). Please help out by donating and spreading the word about this project.
Although we are seeking $20,000 via Kickstarter, we actually need much more to cover online- and sound editing, film transfers, dubs, promotional materials and the myriad incremental costs that add up when making an independent film. If you would like to make additional, tax-deductible donations, you can do so through our fiscal sponsor, IFP: http://fiscalsponsorship.ifp.org/donate_now.html.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
I’ll be sending periodic updates to let you know how we’re doing. In the meantime, please check in periodically on my Kickstarter update page (see above). Over the duration of this fundraiser I’ll be adding video clips, outtakes and other sneak peaks from the film, in addition to more outstanding rewards.
PLEASE HELP TO SPREAD THE WORD!
INFO ON THE REWARDS:
DINNER WITH THE MEKONS!
Have you long fancied currying favor with Sally Timms by saying, “Fancy more curry, Sally?” Or wondered what Rico Bell eats to retain his youthful physique? Well, your prayers are answered! The Mekons invite you and a friend for a pre-concert dinner with the band—plus two tickets to that evening’s show—during their 2011 tour. Four dinner/show packages are available: London (Spring 2011, TBD); San Francisco, Chicago, New York (Autumn 2011, TBD); all dates subject to change.
MEKONS BUTTONS (THAT’S “BADGES” TO OUR U.K. FRIENDS)
REVENGE OF THE MEKONS 40-PAGE SOUVENIR BOOK
Cover and spread from souvenir book, designed by Richard Baker
MEKONS UNITED BOOK & CD
Catalog + CD that accompanied Mekons 1996 exhibition, Mekons United, at the Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, FL. Book contains full-color plate reproductions of paintings, essays (by Greil Marcus, Lester Bangs), poetry, letters, plus Living in Sin the Mekons work-in-progress novel. (1996, Quarterstick Records; 200-page paperback + 23-track CD.)
HELLO CRUEL WORLD, MEKONS LYRIC BOOK
From Amazon.com: Hello Cruel World contains the lyrics to 125 Mekons songs, many of them illustrated by the band in stunning fashion.… The Mekons’ expressive lyrics and art offer rich insights into the band’s collective creative alchemy, fierce humor, and caustic world view. (2002, Verse Chorus Press; 240 pages.)
JON LANGFORD NASHVILLE RADIO BOOK AND CD
From publisher’s notes: Langford’s “song-paintings” fuse publicity-shot portraiture with imagery derived from folk art, Dutch still life, classic Western wear, and the cold, cold war—all instilled with sharp, sardonic wit and a Constructivist sense of the power of language. (2006, Verse Chorus Press; 144-page paperback + 18-song CD.)
LIMITED-EDITION MEKONS LYRICS PRINTS
Varnished, distressed and mounted on wood; 12" x 9"
LIMITED-EDITION MEKONS LYRICS PRINTS
Signed and numbered limited-edition Mekons lyrics prints on colored card stock, 15"x11", reproduced in the book Hello Cruel World. The four songs are “Shanty,” “Fletcher Christian,” “St. Valentine’s Day” and “Ugly Band.”
JON LANGFORD ARTWORK
Limited-edition print mounted on wood, Johnny Cash in London 1966, 16.5" x 10.5". For more info on Jon Langford's art, visit Yard Dog Gallery, http://www.yarddog.com.
RICO BELL ARTWORK
Limited edition (of 10) framed, hand-finished prints on canvas, as featured in Mekons United exhibition and catalog. The Writing of Where Were You?, 13" x 13"; This Sporting Life, 13" x 15". For more info on Rico Bell’s art, visit http://www.ericbellis.com.
VINYL TEST-PRESSINGS: THE MEKONS HONKY TONKIN’ & MEKONS/KATHY ACKER, PUSSY, KING OF THE PIRATES
HANK WILLIAMS ALONE WITH HIS GUITAR ALBUM FLATS
THE DREAM AND LIE OF 10-INCH VINYL EP
MEKONS 30TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR POSTERS
Letterpress posters by Hatch Show Print, Nashville, TN
JONATHAN FRANZEN’S FREEDOM
Renowned author Jonathan Franzen has stated that the Mekons were his primary soundtrack when writing his National Book Award–winning novel The Corrections. According to Franzen, the No. 1 bestseller Freedom “contains pages about a very Mekons-like band.” Here, he reveals why the Mekons are so inspiring to him.
“Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, Freedom, like his previous one, The Corrections, is a masterpiece of American fiction.”—New York Times Sunday Book Review
VITO ACCONCI'S PERFORMANCE NOTES
In 1995, pioneering performance- and video artist Vito Acconci debuted Theater Project for a Rock Band, a work created specifically for the Mekons, commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Here, Acconci describes the experience of collaborating with the Mekons.
GREIL MARCUS BOOKS
Music journalist and cultural critic Greil Marcus has written extensively on the Mekons in Artforum, The Village Voice, Rolling Stone and other publications, in addition to Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century. Listen to Greil discussing the Mekons' punk-rock ethos here.
New York Times Book Review on Lipstick Traces: A coruscatingly original piece of work, vibrant with the energy of the bizarre happenings it maps out. (1990, Harvard University Press; 512 pages)
Rolling Stone on Mystery Train: “Probably the best book ever written about rock.”
Library Journal on Ranters and Crowd Pleasers: A revelatory compendium of bands, records, and performances, this work…significantly contributes to the evolving documentation and elucidation of punk rock. (1994, Anchor; 438 pages)
Library Journalon Invisible Republic: Marcus draws on a dizzying breadth of references that link Dylan's music with such disparate sources as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Jefferson, and Moby Dick. (1998, Holt; 304 pages)
San Francisco Chronicle on When that Rough God Goes Riding: Marcus doesn't attempt to tidily summarize Morrison's life and career, but he does provide plenty of thought-provoking insights into this enigmatic performer. (2010, PublicAffairs; 208 pages)
LUC SANTE BOOKS
Writer and cultural critic Luc Sante’s most widely known book is Low Life, a history of the underbelly of NYC’s Lower East Side. Sante has written about the Mekons for The Village Voice, articles which are included in the compilation Kill All Your Darlings. Here, Luc talks about the Mekons’ distinct take on country music.
Amazon.com on Low Life: There are very few classics in the field of pop culture.… This book by Luc Sante is the exception. (1992, Vintage; paperback. 480 pages)
Publishers Weekly on Kill All Your Darlings: The book and music reviews that make up the bulk of [this] material are…insightful and occasionally contain striking imagery: he describes, for example, how the punk-country band the Mekons built an imaginary America out of pocket lint. (2007, Verse Chorus Press; paperback. 304 pages)
Chicago’s excellent roots-inflected indie record label is home to Mekons Rico Bell, Sally Timms and Jon Langford, in addition to Langford’s myriad side bands: the Waco Brothers, Skull Orchard, Pine Valley Cosmonauts and (with Timms) Wee Hairy Beasties. Check out their catalog at www.bloodshotrecords.com.
Waco Brothers, Freedom and Weep CD (2005)
“An outstanding blend of attitude and execution, Freedom and Weep reflects the Waco Brothers at their very best.”—Amplifier
Jon Langford, All the Fame of Lofty Deeds CD (2004)
“These mini-country-rock masterpieces, which masquerade as minimalist sketches, attack cutthroat capitalism's notion of achievement.”—Blender
Rico Bell, The Return of Rico Bell CD (1996)
“It’s like Mick Jones (of the Clash) fronting Son Volt.”—Option
Neal Pollack & the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature CD (2002)
“Lambasting a myriad of journalistic and literary practices while observing his own inhumane condition, Pollack’s role as pundit, prophet, punk and poet goes uncontested. And it's very funny too.”—iTunes
THE EXECUTIONER'S LAST SONGS (Vol. 1, Vols. 2 & 3; 2002 & 2003)
Jon Langford and friends (including Neko Case, Sally Timms, Dave Alvin, Califone) join forces for a pair of CDs (one a double set) to benefit the Illinois Death Penalty Moratorium Project.
“Without a weak track in sight, The Executioner’s Last Songs is killer.”—Austin Chronicle
“Like Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads with a politi-punk agenda.”—CMJ New Music Weekly
BLOODIED BUT UNBOWED: BLOODSHOT RECORDS’ LIFE IN THE TRENCHES DVD (2006)
31 videos and live performances from Bloodshot’s stellar lineup of artists, including Ryan Adams, the Waco Brothers, Alejandro Escovedo, Graham Parker, Sally Timms, Jon Langford and many more)
“The DVD exudes such infectious energy and depicts such a welcome diversity of style and personality that you will not only keep watching—you might begin to pogo with joy.”—PopMatters
SALLY TIMMS CD
Sally Timms, Cowboy Sally’s Twilight Laments for Lost Buckaroos (Australian release CD with bonus tracks). Each CD signed by Sally Timms with a personalized thank-you letter.
“[Timms’] voice never sounded better. It’s dreamy, angelic, and totally guileless.”—Pitchfork
SALLY TIMMS POSTER
Sally Timms’ To the Land of Milk & Honey screenprint promotional poster, designed by Jon Langford (signed by Sally Timms, 22.25" x 11.5")
FRANCES PELZMAN LISCIO PHOTOGRAPHS
When punk broke in NYC in the late ’70s, photographer Fran Liscio was there to document it. Signed, limited-edition 8" x 10" photographs of legendary rock critic Lester Bangs, captured writing the liner notes for The Mekons Story and Bangs in his apartment with Mekon Jon Langford. For more info on Fran Liscio’s work, visit http://www.punksandroses.com.
ORIGINAL LYRICS SHEETS FROM MARK “CHALKIE” WHITE
When Mekons’ cofounder and original singer Mark “Chalkie” White learned of this Kickstarter campaign he volunteered to comb through his vaults for any Mekons memorabilia. He unearthed some rare treasures, namely, as Chalkie puts it, a “random collection of old and tatty Mekons lyrics sheets from (at a guess) late 1970s–early 1980s, possibly earlier.” Offered in two groups; signed to pledger by White.
Group 1: In White's words: “Typed (badly with spelling mistakes): Where Were You, Lonely and Wet, Not a Bitterman. Also a photocopy of a collection of typed lyrics for CNT, dated 1982, from the second album (I think) and a torn page from an A5 notebook containing a handwritten birthday card from John [sic] to me on my 23rd birthday in a van going to London, which dates it to 25th March 1979.”
Group 2: “Handwritten list of songs, presumably a set list, inc Last Dance, c. 82-83; handwritten lyrics for Corporal Chalkie, both A4 and the original notes for the lyrics from a much smaller note book. Stapled together: Never Been in a Riot; Thirty-Two Weeks (typed); Heart and Soul. Chord sequences for: Dan Dare; Lonely and Wet; WWY; Riot and…someone called Fiona’s phone number.”
BURIED TREASURE RECORDS
Buried Treasure is an online record label specializing in “musical rarities and specialties, each individually selected, designed and produced by Capt. Jon Langford of the good ship HMS Mekon.” For more information, visit www.buriedtreasurerecords.com.
Five-CD package of Buried Treasure’s catalog: The Mekons Story (originally released in 1982, with liner notes by Lester Bangs); Richard Buckner & Jon Langford, Sir Dark Invader vs. The Fanglord (2002); Kevin Coyne with Jon Langford & the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, One Day in Chicago (2002); The Three Johns, Live in Chicago (originally released in 1986); Uncle Dave & the Waco Brothers, Nine Slices of My Midlife Crisis (2004.)
Original Buried Treasure press release, from limited edition of 100, drawn by Jon Langford and hand-burned by Sally Timms.
JON LANGFORD’S HAND-EMBROIDERED HANK WILLIAMS SHIRT
This true one-of-a-kind shirt was worn on stage by Jon Langford himself! The collar is personalized and autographed by Jon. Size L.
JON LANGFORD & SKULL ORCHARD POSTER
Poster for Skull Orchard's new album, Old Devils. Autographed by Jon Langford.
JON LANGFORD TRIBUTE CD
Various artists: Levitation: A South Wales Tribute To Jon Langford: Cover versions of Langford’s solo songs, in addition to his work outside the Mekons with the Waco Brothers and the Three Johns. Autographed by Jon Langford.