The first thing you have to deal with if you are dumb enough to want to watch a bunch of documentaries about Punk Rock is Legs McNeil.
This fidgety little skeezix was a founder of Punk magazine and hung around the CBGBs scene, being what would be called in the sporting world a "jock sniffer."
And he pops up in every one of these films.
Smoking, swearing, slandering — and making damn sure you know that HE WAS THERE.
Oh, and Jim Jarmusch. You get a lot of him too. HE WAS ALSO THERE, but quieter about it.
House of the Rising Punk (1988), made for German TV, and Punk: Attitude (2005) cover a lot of the same territory and have the same clips. Too bad nobody back then had a sync/sound camera; if punk happened today every twitch would be on YouTube instantly.
Both films try to make a case for some sort of unifying feature of the punk movement, and both fail. Despite the obvious intelligence and sincerity of most of the interviewees, the overwhelming impression is of something that happened fast, and everybody was drunk.
Chrissie Hynde, at least, says in the German film that once heroin invaded the scene that was the end, and she has a few interesting remarks about why the musicians that stuck around inevitably got better.
Oh, and the third talking head you can't avoid: Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, who despite being older than me (I'm 47) insists on floppy hair and frequent uses of the word 'like."