3 Amazing Local Movies Featuring the AZ Music Scene

By Shane Matsumoto

Anyone who knows me knows that the moment I moved to Tempe, in the late summer of 2001, I did my best to plug into the local music scene – even before joining the Funk Junkeez to run a Highland Recording Studio and moving on to the recording, rehearsal, and multimedia facility I now own at SER Soundworks.

Along the way I have worked with, or made music for, some great people making independent films as well. From Dominic Ross and Amanda Mahan of Big Brain Pictures (the same that teamed up with me to make the television show Indie Music Phoenix), to Brian Skiba and Laurie Love of Victory Angel Films. To Bryan Matuskey and many others – too numerous to list.

Here are a few links to watch pieces that combine the two creative mediums of local music and film. I decided to post some local films featuring local, independent bands from here in Arizona. Each are amazing in their own way. Those of you that know of some other great ones can post some more examples in the comments of other local films that focus on the local music community let’s move beyond my 3 and make the list grow!

Mill Ave Inc (2008)

Mill Ave Inc (2008)
This film was directed by Nicolas Holthaus with additional footage and editing by Chris Valentine. Mill Ave Inc features interviews from tons of great bands from the 90s including members of The Refreshments, Dead Hot Workshop, Heather Ray and the Moonshine Boys, and as well a great soundtrack with songs from the Gin Blossoms, Gloritone, and Flathead – to name a few.

The Fire Crotch Movie (2018)

This one was a guilty pleasure for me that hits some of the same notes for low-budget entertainment as the Story of Riki Oh or something – without the kung-fu, of course. Despite the name, it isn’t pornographic or anything like that. It’s just some fun, campy, dumb stoner-punk stuff.

Filled with catch phrases galore, (“This is how I go like when I go like this!”), the fire crotch is a nuclear weapon device triggered by an electric guitar getting passed around by filthy-mouthed local punk bands… or something like that. The plot line isn’t really that important. It features exclusive performances by current punk bands Dumpster Hump (of whom the lead singer/guitarist was recently banned from the Yucca Tap for Happy Gilmor-ing horse manure off their stage), Ass Wipe Junkies, Birth of Monsters, and Some Jaywalkers. I hope I don’t give away too much to tell you to watch it, if anything, for the special appearance of George Michael.

The Avenue – Official Trailer

Much in the save vein as Mill Ave Inc, the first movie on this list, this one was directed and written by Tucson filmmaker Alan Williams. In fact, it very much felt like a sequel, of sorts, and had a familiar list of producers. The interviews featured Thomas Nicholas, Marianne Dissard, Al Perry, Rich Hopkins, Venice Maki and Tucson mayor Bob Walkup. It documented the changes to sacred musical spaces such as The Night Train and other locally owned businesses that are not necessarily music-related.

Again, post more local films featuring Arizona music in the comments below, I know I’m dying to see more!

-Shane Matsumoto

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