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The Holy Modal Rounders: Bound to Lose
The Holy Modal Rounders Bound to Lose
Actors: Peter Stampfel, Steve Weber, Sam Shepard, Dennis Hopper, John Sebastian
Directors: Paul Lovelace, Sam Wainwright Douglas
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Documentary
NR     2008     1hr 27min

From their origins in New York's Greenwich Village folk scene and their involvement in the 'Easy Rider' soundtrack, to the lost years of constant drugging, endless touring and a final shot at redemption, The Holy Modal Rou...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Peter Stampfel, Steve Weber, Sam Shepard, Dennis Hopper, John Sebastian
Directors: Paul Lovelace, Sam Wainwright Douglas
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Documentary
Studio: Cav Entertainment
Format: DVD
DVD Release Date: 10/28/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 27min
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

Movie Reviews

I Can't Believe This Movie Ever Got Made!
Sussex Pond Pudding | Somewhere in the desert, CA | 07/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I would have given five stars to anyone just for the very fact that they had made a documentary of the Holy Modal Rounders, one of the best unknown bands to come out of the 1960's NYC folk scene. However this film deserves this high rating anyway, fortunately.

A critic for the Village Voice says in an interview for this movie that the Holy Modal Rounders were second only to Bob Dylan in importance. As far as I am concerned they blow Dylan out of the water. Their honesty, passion, complete absence of pretension and appreciation for tradition while still being strikingly original make Bob Dylan sound like a Greenwich Village Bono, so full of himself that he thinks that he is more god and less musician. There is no danger of that with the Holy Modal Rounders. They epitomize "humble musician". They are anti-stars; just real, regular guys having a great time playing the music that they want to play, with absolutely zero thought of commercial success.

As far as the actual documentary, it is for the most part very well-done. I would have liked to see more biographical information, more early footage (that may not even be possible I suppose), and a bit more information on the actual experiences of life in the band in the 1960s NYC and their early post-NYC years in Portland. To put it simply, the film should have delved a bit more into the past. Other than that it was a pure joy to watch and contains great extra features, including interviews and performances. Any fan of the band truly must see this."
Great, joyful and sad...
George T. Parsons | Nevada City, CA | 04/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This gives you a good glimpse into the creative core of this wildly stoned folk band. It's got some wonderful musical moments, the West Coast years are just grazed, and Michael Hurley is barely mentioned, but it tells you all you need to understand why it worked and didn't work out between Peter Stampfel and Steve Weber. I laughed out loud when former drummer Sam Shepard said incredulously "We were on Laugh-In?""
The Rise and Fall And Rise Of ...
Alfred Johnson | boston, ma | 09/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Okay, let's go through the geography of this seemingly endless review of folk revival of the 1960's tour that I have been conducting over the past year or so. I have gone down the byways and back alleys of Bleeker Street. I have tipped my hat to McDougall Street and its "mayor" (the late Dave Van Ronk an interviewee in this work). I have been positively 4th Street more times that I can shake a stick at (Bob Dylan's old haunts). So now, once again, I am looking at a group, the Holy Modal Rounders, whose core musicians Peter Stampfel and Steve Weber, roamed those same few square blocks of lower Manhattan and made some off-hand (and off-the-wall) musical history in the early 1960's. In this case, however, the DVD review of this film documentary poses a question, in the negative, mainly, about those who aspired to make their own niche in that world.

The name Holy Modal Rounder, exotic sounding as it was in my youthful novice days of late Sunday night listening to a local folk music show on the radio, was very familiar to me as an exemplar of what I would call "novelty" folk. Taking the standard Harry Smith (or John and Alan Lomax) American folk music songbook and placing their own twist on it, sometimes to fill out a missing aspect of a more traditional work, sometimes just working off their own humor or hubris. Later they would add a psychedelic rock-oriented embellishment to that basic musical approach. These adaptations has a long and honorable history in those genres, although I must admit that my own tastes did not run to that irreverent place, as far as folk music went. Thus, while I had heard of them and had a few laughs at some of their lyrics I was not particularly a fan. Thus, their subsequent fates, that form the substance of this documentary, were not known to me.

One of the things that I have tried to do in reviewing many of the more or less well known figures of the 1960s folk revival has been to ask a question about why others never dethroned the "king" and "queen" of the folk scene, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. In some cases it was purely a question of being lesser talents. Everyone with a guitar and knew three chords, had some cash or friends with cash (it disn't take much) and some wanderlust tried to get to New York in those days. In others it some personal quirk or idiosyncrasy. A fear of failure or success, some psychological problems, family responsibilities and the like. Or, as in many cases in the rock 'n' roll milieu, took the downward spiral into drugs and alcohol dependence. All creative endeavors are, unfortunately, littered with such cases. A weird combination of those factors drove Stampfel and Weber down.

The best part of this film, however, describe that demise but also their reemergence as grey eminences as the part of the revival of the folk revival in more recent times out on the lesser known 'cult' musical venues. Some of this material presented here is gripping concerning the destructiveness of the drug problems, the `recovery' and the aftermath. But also about the commitment to the music. So if you were part of the 1960s folk/rock scene, or want to know about that Greenwich Village part of it, or if you are just interested in a cautionary tale about the pitfalls, personal and otherwise, in the way of musical success this is a good view.
Thank heavens for The Holy Modal Rounders
Shannon Weil | Cool, CA USA | 01/31/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Loved this film but it sure confirms that if you don't take care of yourself, you come apart at the seems. Have been a fan of the Rounders since the 1960's and have their music on my iPod today. Do you know what it's like to have "Moving Day" played especially for you? It felt great!!!

The film was very good and yes, I would have liked to have seen more early footage but...maybe it just doesn't exist! Nevertheless, great job on documenting this exquisitely out-there bunch of musicians. Thumbs UP!