Lifestyle: Punk Band Redefines Scene

Long-Island native Jeff Rosenstock understands the importance of accessible music. As the lead singer of the now inactive DIY punk band Bomb the Music Industry! (BTMI!), Rosenstock redefined the punk scene in the style of Fugazi’s frontman Ian MacKaye. In what may have cost him and his band mates money and fame, Rosenstock only played at all-ages venues, charged no more than $10 for shows, and released each of the band’s albums online for free via his donation-based label, Quote Unquote Records.

The do-it-yourself doctrine established by BTMI! translated to their live performances as well. The band often invited fans to bring their instruments along to concerts and join the members of BTMI! onstage during sets. The band also encouraged fans to pack plain shirts to be spray painted with various logos and phrases.

All of this and more appears in Never Get Tired, a new documentary about Bomb the Music Industry! In 2010, filmmaker Sara Crow founded the production company No Future Films, and she set off on a summer tour with Rosenstock and the band. In her travels, she collected footage for what would later be the basis of her documentary, which premiered at NYC’s SVA Theatre on Aug 31, 2015.

Photo courtesy of Sara Crow.

Never Get Tired chronicles the inception of Rosentock’s musical career, which first began when he formed the ska band The Arrogant Sons of Bitches. He and some of its members later began to play under the name Bomb the Music Industry! Their run together lasted until Jan 19, 2014, when Rosenstock and friends took the stage at Brooklyn’s Warsaw venue for their emotional final show.

Crow provides viewers with an exclusive look into Rosenstock’s steadfast enthusiasm for his music and his fans. She also captures the turmoil that arose when Rosenstock was asked to compromise the foundations of his punk principles. Supporters of BTMI! learn that even after offers to tour with well-known bands and sign to large labels, Rosenstock proved unwavering in his beliefs and refused to make his music anything less than attainable.

“We want people to hear our music, we want people to be able to come to our shows, we want everybody to have access to all of these things,” says Rosenstock in the documentary. “How do you do that? You do that by having cheap shows, by recording your music yourself, and giving it away for free.”