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The Other F Word

By Samantha Chichester, Special to the Chronicle

So they aren't exactly the meet The Cleavers type.


"The Other F Word" opens by playing Pennywise's "F--- Authority." Though one of the most recognizable songs in punk rock, this is the beginning of a movie about fatherhood.


Contradictory? Maybe. The documentary about famous punk rocker musicians becoming fathers opened last week in independent movie theaters. The movie which runs about 99 minutes, asks the main question to viewers, "What happens when a generation's ultimate anti-authoritarians, punk rockers, become society's ultimate authorities- dads?"


Sometimes it is sad. Singer of Pennywise, Jim Lindberg, chronicles life for a year with his wife and three young daughters. He tries to balance being the singer of a respected band with fans and being there for his children. When the music industry and artists are seeing significant revenue loss, going on tour is one of the few practical ways to put food on the table. So missing first days of school, dances, and birthdays are normal when Lindberg spends over 200 days out of the year on tour.


Sometimes it is funny. For the heavily tattooed Rancid guitarist, Lars Frederiksen, he says he's teaching his son being a moral person is more important than how you look. As he says this, the playground clears slowly at the sight of him coming. Comparing appearances to where Frederiksen lives he says, "What's working for me is that I live in San Francisco. So to be noticed you have to be naked or on fire."


Sometimes it is touching. Throughout the course of the movie, many musicians reveal they didn't have spectacular relationships with their fathers. Michael Balzary, better known as Flea, the bassist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, says about his parents, "I don't think they focused on the job they really had." Now Flea is probably the last guy on earth (think Abbey Road EP cover) you think might bring you the waterworks, but as he sits playing piano with his daughter you know he has never seen being a parent as more crucial. He almost cries when he says to his daughter, "I'm going to be there for you even if I'm on the other side of the world. When you talk to me on the phone, I'm going to be present."


After 19 years in Pennywise, wanting to be there for your children becomes too much for Lindberg. He quits the band to watch his daughters grow up.


In a way, the film ends perfectly. Fading out with Against Me!'s "I Was a Teenage Anarchist," the movie poster sums it up best: "Sometimes a little anarchy can be a life changing experience."


TNL hit and miss

Letter to the Editor (Oct. 27)