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Published on December 14th, 2013 | by Denise Borders

DVD Review: “In Heaven There is No Beer: The Kiss or Kill Music Scene”


Since living in Los Angeles, I can definitely say that I “get” a lot more of the little references or “LA jokes” made in movies and TV shows. It’s one thing to understand what “living below Sunset” means from a movie quote, but to watch an entire movie dedicated to the LA music scene gives me a whole new view.  I’ve been to these venues, I’ve walked these streets many times, so it makes me have a new appreciation for stuff like this.  Thus begins my review of the DVD brought to you by MVD Visual, In Heaven There is No Beer: The Kill or Kill Music Scene; Saving Los Angeles from itself one Tuesday at a time.

Starting off, this is definitely a punk rock documentary.  There is no expensive camera equipment, no high paid celebrities, but instead it’s a bunch of grainy footage and kids in wrinkled band tees being interviewed about the Los Angeles punk scene.

As someone who is not LA here but currently resides here, I love learning about how the punk scene was before I got here.  Los Angeles is highly known for it’s 80’s metal scene and the infamous Sunset Strip, but hearing it from Joe Shmo or the kids that were in some no-name punk bands themselves, really gives you a different and sometimes more understandable perspective.

This DVD goes on about how the Sunset Strip was impersonal and how the doormen were all total dicks. I guess not much has changed, eh? *shoulder nudge* OH, MAN. I guess you’ve gotta appreciate consistency!

Moving on, this Kiss or Kill thing they keep referring to in the movie is foreign to me. I thought maybe it was a band but it seems like it was a group of bands. It seems like gatherings would happen at places like Mr. T’s Bowling (never heard of it) and it was just the most fun these people have had in a long ass time.  On another note, I don’t believe any of this video footage was post-1995 by the looks of it. Holy shit.

As the movie goes on, I learned more about what “Kiss or Kill” exactly was.  It seems like a mix of a promoter (think Goldenvoice) and like a Metal Skool night mixed. They put on shows and have loyal fans that come to all their events.  It seemed like a very girl-friendly scene that loved to feature girl bands often, but definitely wasn’t exclusively based on that.  Bands like The Dollyrots, The Oaots, The Letter Openers and a bunch of other bands I’ve never really heard of seemed to be the core of Kill or Kill. The organization (I’m not sure what else to call it…) had it’s own MC, a name for their fans (“punters” which was stolen from Sid Vicious I believe) and seemed to be this underground music scene that people lived for.

Overall, the DVD wasn’t anything that left me wanting more or really blew me away, but it was nice to see something that people really cared about that involved good ol’ fashioned punk rock. If you want to learn more, you can check out the film’s official Facebook page.

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About the Author

Denise Borders

33, Los Angeles. Denise founded PWV in 2008 and remains the primary manager and photographer/videographer. She thinks the world would be a better place if there were more John Joseph's walking around.

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