Rock on Film

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains

If you like dark, quirky movies about the seamy underbelly of rock and roll, they don’t get much better than Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains(1982). Starring Diane Lane and Laura Dern, and featuring wonderful performances by The Tubes’ Fee Waybill and Vince Welnick as washed up, burned out members of a has-been band called the Metal Corpses (shades of Spinal Tap), Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains chronicles the rise, fall, and ultimate (sort-of) redemption of a group of girl rockers who, with more anger and attitude than musical talent, suddenly become rock and roll sensations. It’s a tale rife with all the betrayal, egos run amok, and commercial selling-out that have unfortunately plagued the rock and roll scene from the beginning. While it’s not a happy movie, it’s smart, entertaining, and full of colorful, believable characters.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains also features members of the Sex Pistols and The Clash in roles as British punk rockers, as well as a brief appearance by Brent Spiner before he found fame as Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The main problem with it is that it’s almost impossible to find at the big commercial DVD/video rental chains and is almost never shown on TV.
For a detailed review and some interesting background info, check out this piece at the Bright Lights Film Journal.