Rotting Corpse – Circus Of Fools DVD (2006) – A film by SPLarsen
(click on the picture for a close look at the Chapter list)
(Region 1, NTSC, Total Running Time including bonus features = 97 minutes)
Back in the ’80s, I used to be a big tape trader. You remember tape trading don’t you? You’d buy a Metal magazine and there would be tons of metalheads listed in the back that wanted to trade music. What a great scene it was, you could get Metal from all over the world! I started trading to get a lot of NWOBHM in the early ’80s but I included Hard Rock, Thrash, and Death Metal on my lists and I had a decent collection going. One of the bands I remember from back in the tape trading days was Texas Thrash band Rotting Corpse.
Back in the day, Rotting Corpse were thrash legends that gained their popularity through live shows on the Texas circuit and their demos getting sent all over the world. For some strange reason, the band never got signed by a label. It was the underground ideal of not selling out that kept the band from signing but it also could have been the band’s name. Back in ’85, Rotting Corpse was a shocking and controversial name, one that even some of it’s own members didn’t want! It seems funny today with names like Cannibal Corpse, Vomitory, and Rotting Christ out there but something as simple as the right band name was a huge selling point for the corporate world. Getting signed wasn’t the priority for Rotting Corpse…..going out and giving the music (and lifestyle) 150% was all that mattered. These guys did it for the love of Metal, not for money or success. Well, at least some of the band wanted to be signed.
The DVD is an excellent documentary of the band from it’s beginning in 1985 right up until filming in 2005. Interviews with current and former band members trace the band’s history and give us an inside look about what it was like being a part of the underground scene that so many people still care about today. Additional interviews with Jason McMaster (Watchtower/Broken Teeth), Wes Weaver (Metal DJ), and Scott Fulwiler (Texas Metal Underground) help tell the story of Rotting Corpse’s place in Metal history. The interviews are central to the film but there is also home video footage of the band behind the scenes and on stage from all eras right up to a 2005 performance. Production and sound is solid and the archive footage is key to bring the interviews to life.
There are so many interesting and funny stories on this DVD that I couldn’t possibly mention them all. One of my favorite parts is when founding guitarist Walt Trachsler is talking about his leopard guitar that he used to destroy onstage. Walt is going through the story of how the guys in Pantera pooled their money and bought him the guitar and how they got pissed when he would smash it against the stage at the end of the show. Walt goes on to tell how he would re-build the guitar and do it all over again. Next clip is in Walt’s shed where he has bits and pieces of the guitar! Another funny story is about a show where singer Jim “Moe” Mulqueen lost his high-top sneaker in a mosh pit. He gets back to the stage and announces to the crowd that he needs his sneaker. The fans decide to play “keep away” with the high-top so Moe decides he’s not performing until he gets it back! Priceless!
I love watching documentaries on bands, especially ones that were central to the underground Metal scene but never made it to the stadium and platinum level. This DVD encapsulates the do-it-yourself attitude of the underground, the hijinx behind the scenes, and the raw power of the performances that Rotting Corpse provides to this day. This is a really good time capsule on the band that anyone into the ’80s Metal underground should check out.
(This DVD can be bought through the Texas Metal Undergound website, see the link above.)