Forthcoming film examines Norfolk's punk rock underbelly

by Sam McDonald (Daily Press, Jan. 2011)

When it comes to rock 'n' roll, Hampton Roads does have a sound, and it's more brutal than beautiful.

Certainly there's variety in the region, but the original rock bands that survive here tend to have a few elements in common. They're often tough, raw-knuckled guitar acts that incinerate pretension in favor of aggression and energy.


In that sense, punk rock still rages here.

Debra Persons, Paul Unger and Andrea Rizzo -- partners who run the website Hardcore Norfolk -- are making a documentary film about the Norfolk punk scene. They hope to release it this summer.

"We’ve been working hard to gather important interviews over the past month," Persons wrote on the website. "We will continue to work throughout the winter and spring to gather more interviews and exciting footage."

As you can see in the trailer below, the film includes interviews with or live shots of bands including Candy SnatchersUnabombersAnt Man Bee, The M-80sBig Bobby and The Nightcaps and Waxing Poetics.

Being created by August Media Works Inc., the film is directed by Unger and Rizzo. It's produced by Persons.

"Our goal is to show it at the Naro this summer," Persons said. "But we have no plans to make any money with it whatsoever. Now, we're making it purely for the love of it, just for the love of the local scene."

She said there's much more filming and editing to be done. So far, no theme has emerged other than the remarkably durable nature of live rock music in the area.

"We have no agenda," Persons said. "We just want to present it and give props to everyone who has played here with little recognition."

Paul Unger