Written, photographed, produced, edited, and directed by 26-year-old visual artist S A Crary, Kill Your Idols enjoyably documents the so-called No Wave scene. A collection of Manhattan bands in the late 70s and early 80s, the No Wave groups such as Suicide, Teenage Jesus And The Jerks, and DNA gleefully ripped up the rock'n'roll rulebook. And now 20 years later, a new generation of New York musicians such as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are seeking to pay homage to that earlier era.
"We weren't trying to make music. We were just trying to be monsters", explains Suicide's Martin Rev, and through a mixture of interviews and archival black and white footage, Crary convincingly conveys the fiercely confrontational spirit of the No Wave movement. It wasn't about securing lucrative record deals, playing to adoring crowds and achieving celebrity status, but in the words of the outspoken Lydia Lunch from Teenage Jesus And The Jerks, "using music as a kind of weapon... making music that referenced nothing else".
"CRARY BRINGS OUT THE IRONY"
Despite working on a miniscule budget Crary brings out the irony that whilst the No Wave practitioners prided themselves on creating a type of music which denied any influences, they themselves have helped inspire a batch of contemporary rock musicians. The problem with Kill Your Idols is that the members of today's crop of young pretenders aren't nearly as interesting or articulate as their predecessors, and seem to lack the burning compulsion that propelled the original No Wavers.