Blokes You Can Trust documents the chaotic career of one if Australia’s finest cultural exports, The Cosmic Psychos. Punk icons, godfathers of grunge, farmers, these are expressions that don’t always go together but in the Cosmis Psychos’ case they do and it’s this bizarre combination of qualities that makes the Psychos such a phenomenon.
The film, directed by Matt Weston who plays in the magnificently brutal Australian band The Nation Blue, follows The Cosmic Psychos from their beer-drenched beginnings in the mid 80’s through a tumultuous 30 years to their current beer-drenched incarnation.
It’s a wild, often comical journey with main interviewee, bassist and songwriter Ross Knight gleefully describing the band’s juvenile and drunken antics. Backed by a thunderous collection of classic Psychos tunes, the film captures the sweaty chaos of the late 80’s alternative scene and the craziness of the 90’s as grunge took off. There’s a treasure trove of rare footage featuring the Psychos blasting through some of the legendary gigs that made them underground legends across the globe.
There’s plenty of alt-rock royalty on hand including Eddie Vedder, Mark Arm from Mudhoney and many more, to pay tribute to the Psychos revered status and importance to underground music scene.
The film doesn’t ignore the more serious side of the band including the conflicts, line-up changes and personal tragedies that have befallen them. Some of these issues, such as the split between Ross and former drummer Bill Walsh could have been explored in more detail as could Ross’s marital problems and the circumstances surrounding the potential loss of his beloved farm. It is refreshing, though, to see that through all this tumult the band members have maintained a typically laconic Aussie attitude.
Despite his down to earth, footy and beer loving persona, Ross Knight is revealed as a complex character with a bizarre range of interests running from tractor driving to power lifting to, at one point S & M. The film’s description of rugged Aussie Ross’s unlikely relationship with a New York City bondage mistress actually recalls Crocodile Dundee. The film also shows a touching sensitive side to the man in his role as a father.
This isn’t a perfect documentary – a comprehensive document of the Psycho’s career would probably require more than one film – but it’s funny and it barrels along with a ferocious energy that suits the bands magnificent power-chorded music and irrepressible personalities.
Nick’s rating: Three and a half stars.
Classification: MA 15+.
Director(s): Matt Weston.
Release date: 8th Aug 2013. Also screened at MIFF on 26th July 2013.
Running time: 91 mins.
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