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The Independent Critic

Tony Adolescent, Art Alexakis, Rob Chaos, Jim Lindberg, Flea, Mark Hoppus, Tim McIlrath
Andrea Blaugrund Nevins
98 Mins.
Oscilloscope Laboratories

 "The Other F Word" Review 
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True story.

As I began my journey in arts criticism, one of my earliest interviews was with members of the band Toxic Reasons. Toxic Reasons was a hardcore punk band formed in 1979 in Dayton, Ohio and quite popular in my hometown of Indianapolis. The key figure in my interview was David "Tufty" Clough, the band's bassist and a longtime figure in Indy's punk scene in a variety of capacities. I completed the interview after a local concert and, after heading home following the interview, found myself incredibly intrigued by an unexpected angle.

Tufty, this hardcore punk rocker with enough attitude that I found myself hoping that none of my questions would be deemed idiotic, was also a dad ... a very proud dad.

When the article finally came out, I anxiously awaited feedback from Tufty and was pleased to discover he and the band had been quite happy with the rather unusual approach to the interview.

Flash forward to 2011 and documentarian Andrea Blaugrund Nevins has created The Other F Word, a hilarious and moving documentary that follows a group of veteran punk rockers as they learn to embrace the other "F" word ... fatherhood.

Having already covered such a story to a certain degree, it's not particularly surprising that Nevins discovers that these dads, despite their onstage personas and lifelong devotions to anarchy, outrageous behavior, tattoos and a wide variety of obscenities are, much of the time, quite devoted to fatherhood and, in many ways, doing everything in their power to give their own children the level of nurturing and acceptance that they themselves lacked.

As a longtime fan of the band Everclear, a personal favorite in the film is Art Alexakis, the band's lead singer. Anyone familiar with Everclear's music knows that Alexakis was abandoned early on in his life by an already abusive father and he, in turn, committed himself to becoming a better father. Alexakis endured a bitter divorce, something he'd always hoped to avoid, and the months and years that followed negatively impacted his own band's popularity and his personal/financial situation. Yet to see Alexakis in this film is to realize that through it all he never lost his focus on being a better father and, while his adult life may have not taken the desired route, he remains steadfast in his commitment to being a present, loving and attentive father for his daughter.

Truthfully, that same level of commitment is evident time and again here as we meet numerous musicians talking about everything about the challenge of disciplining a child for language that they use onstage to dealing with the possibility that the forehead tattoo they got as a young man may not have been the greatest idea.

Jim Lindberg, the frontman for the band Pennywise, gets the most attention in The Other F Word and is actually the other of a book on this very subject called "Punk Rock Dad." Lindberg is a perfect interview subject for the film, unrelentingly honest and yet insightful enough to catch the ironies of his life.

The Other F Word doesn't exactly dig deep with its subject matter and girlfriends/spouses are virtually ignored here, but in framing the film around the dads director Andrea Blaugrund Nevins has created a film that should have its own special place among rock n' roll documentaries in showing a side of music, life on the road and even aging that audiences seldom get to see. The film has been picked up for distribution by Oscilloscope Laboratories. While Oscilloscope had been pushing for an Oscar nomination, when the short list was announced earlier this week the film, along with a few other quality flicks, was not listed. That said, music fans and ole' punk rockers will want to make catching this film a priority.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic