Last February, we hipped you to an in-progress documentary called Musickland, centered on rocker-turned-hog-farmer Adam Musick, the former frontman of Athens rock band Southern Bitch. Now, Flagpole is thrilled to premiere the finished project, courtesy of student filmmakers Cameron Bargerstock and Jacob Rosdail.
The 34-minute film is an incisive portrait of a very particular internal battle. It captures Adam Musick and his wife and former bandmate Wendy as they live, work and contemplate the series of events that led them from the 40 Watt stage to a farm in rural Virginia. It also documents Adam's slow but steady—and still ongoing—return to music.
Stream Musickland below:
Check out excerpts from Bargerstock and Rosdail's directors' statements:
We wanted to document Adam’s story, because we feel his tale tells a bigger story about the pursuit of a dream, as cliché as it sounds. It’s far too common for people to have unrealized dreams for innumerable reasons: lack of direction, lack of confidence, circumstance, social expectations, time, family responsibilities, money, fear, etc. It’s not so black-and-white, though, and dreams come and go, change and evolve.
Adam’s slow and steady re-entry into music over the course of the film is an authentic portrayal, but weaving in the backstory of his former life with Southern Bitch caused some tension between Adam and us. We chose to include it, because we wanted to visually show how a person’s life changes over time and how dreams disappear and reappear. Jacob and I learned how much power we as filmmakers have in how a story is told.
People have responded to the film very positively and with great emotion. That has been one of the most rewarding things in my career. I've had people approach me after screenings to tell me about how much they relate to Adam, and how frustrated they get that life's obligations have a way of keeping us from finding time for the things we love.
The other thing people always respond to is the music. The biggest question we always get is, "how can I get those songs?" I respond by telling [people] that Adam's nickname for the album has been If and When—as in "If and when I ever get around to finishing it." Those songs have a way of getting embedded in your skull, so I hope the "when" is sooner rather than later.