"Green Blah" documents Green Bay's punk scene
Chris Pretti and Jim Baker grew up within a block of each other in the Astor Park neighborhood of Green Bay. In 1984, they started a punk rock band called A Buncha Morons and became heavily involved in the small city's burgeoning punk scene.
"Jim was in several Green Bay bands over the years, plus set up and promoted some of the largest punk shows during the '80s and '90s like the Descendents, ALL, 7 Seconds, Social Distortion, Fugazi and Danzig," says Pretti.
Pretti and Baker – along with Cole Quamma, Dan Boville and Max Hay – are now in the process of completing a documentary about the Green Bay punk scene entitled "Green Blah: the History of Green Bay Punk Rock."
"Green Blah" is a documentary covering the first 10 years of the punk scene in Green Bay and surrounding areas. They have collected 80 interviews with more than 25 bands, hours and hours of concert footage, 750 photos, 300 flyers and more.
To achieve the next level of production, the team has started a Kickstarter campaign for editing, animation, graphics, mastering, DVD production, film fest entry fees and more.
OnMilwaukee.com recently chatted with Pretti about the film, the Green Bay punk scene and the connections it has to the Packers.
OnMilwaukee.com: How are you involved in the project?
Chris Pretti: My role in the film is really a jack of all trades: producer, director, cameraman – you name it. Jim and I just decided to buy a camera and some rudimentary equipment and begin interviewing our friends for posterity. This obviously snowballed into a larger project but we do it all ourselves. By default, we've actually become the historians and archivists of the Green Bay punk scene.
OMC: How far along is it?
CP: We are in the initial stages of editing the film. Nearly every interview is complete with perhaps one or two that we're still trying to squeeze in. We're still on the hunt for old photos and related memorabilia because we can always use more. We're shooting to have the film complete by next June, in time to enter some film fests.
OMC: When and how were you involved in the GB Punk Scene?
CP: I went to my first hardcore punk show in June 1983 and played my first show with A Buncha Morons in January 1984. I played in a few more bands in Green Bay, all with short lifespans, before moving to Milwaukee for good in 1990. I've continued going back to Green Bay for music since I left for shows at Kutska's Hall, Concert Café and miscellaneous other venues. The bands that I've played with in Milwaukee always eventually make the trek up to Green Bay for gigs. In many ways, I've never left that scene.
OMC: What was cool or unique about the Green Bay punk scene?
CP: I think it shares a kinship with the Green Bay Packers. We weren't a giant metropolis like Milwaukee or Chicago or Minneapolis but somehow we managed to keep pace and even compete with the larger cities for getting bands to play our small town.
Green Bay really doesn't take itself too seriously. We like to have fun at shows. Our bands tend to have a notable degree of sarcasm, wit and self-deprecation. In many cases, fans would come to shows early and challenge the touring bands to Nerf football or shooting hoops. It was a fun scene made up largely of kids with nothing more to do than go to all-ages punk shows.
OMC: Are you still into the punk scene? How does Milwaukee's compare?
CP: I'm still in the punk scene 32 years later. Both the Milwaukee and Green Bay scenes have changed drastically since then. Shows are smaller, some are in basements in Riverwest, or an Eagle's Club in Green Bay, but that doesn't deter me from going. The Milwaukee scene has some great bands playing these days. If you see any of these bands listed on a bill, check them out: Holy Shit!, Ramma Lamma, Indonesian Junk, Tenement and many more. You won't be disappointed.
OMC: Is the film by punk fans for punk fans or is there a wider appeal?
CP: Regardless if you are into punk music, I think you'll find an interest in our film. It's as "do it yourself" as you'll ever find. It has a great cast of characters that you'll need to see to believe. And I think it'll be a fun look at a slice of Wisconsin music history that took place in the shadows of Lambeau Field. You will even be surprised to find out that one of the significant early Green Bay punk bands has a direct tie to a five-time NFL champion and coach.
OMC: How's the Kickstarter campaign doing?
CP: The Kickstarter is going well. Our goal is to raise $16,000 for editing, graphics, animation, color correction and sound editing. At last glance we're getting close to that goal but we're completely aware that there are hidden costs on the horizon that will appear at any moment, so surpassing the goal is probably necessary and we'll keep plugging away. When the campaign ends we can turn our full attention to editing and push to complete the film by next summer.
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