the fabulous stains

I’ve been hearing about the film Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains for decades now, but hadn’t seen it until last night. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s great, as there are a couple of plot holes big enough to drive a bus through, and lots of bad acting from real-life members of bands like the Sex Pistols and The Clash, but I really enjoyed it. I was particularly fond of then 15 year old Diane Lane’s singing. Here’s a clip via YouTube. This is her first song in the film, before she starts ripping off material from other bands and clawing her way to the top a la Courtney Love. I think we’re supposed to hate it, but I found it quite beautiful…. According to the commentary track by Diane Lane and Laura Dern, the director of the film, Lou Adler, wouldn’t let them practice playing the song at all before shooting this scene. (He wanted it to sound authentic — like they’d only played their instruments a few times in their lives.) After the scene was in the can, though, they were able to practice and have lessons from the likes of Paul Cook and Steve Jones.

[More on the influential film can be found at Wikipedia.]

update: A reader who was an extra in the film, just left the following in the comments section.

I’m in this shitty movie. My friend and me had been hanging out with Fee in LA and he was talking up this movie he was gonna be in to impress us and said if we went up to Vancouver he’d get us in it. I was 16 but smelled bullshit. Plus if your trying to be punk in LA movie people were the enemy, right? Fee wasn’t from LA (we called him Farmer Fee) so we couldn’t convince him movies sucked. Then Fees all “Shit. Do something with your life.” Like I’d been wasting my life up to 16 but my friend and me take it as a challenge and we take her car up to B.C. No surprise we can’t find Fee anywhere and didn’t have anyway to contact him but we were there and they were auditioning for extras so we were like “what the fuck.” The audition was just them asked us if we’d be willing to die our hair and we said sure. That got us into this scene. Thing is it turns out most the girls had on wigs but the director wanted to make the scene bigger so the girls who said they’d die there hair got it died and the ones who said they wouldn’t got wigs. Of course the girls who wouldn’t die there hair were the cutest ones so they got on camera. I still can’t be sure I can find myself in the scene. Other thing was, I wasn’t fat I was 16 for chissakes, but my sweet ass wouldn’t fit in the costume so I almost didn’t get in but they just split my pants right down the back so the whole time they’re filming, which took all day, I’m walking around with my worn out cotton panties showing off my ass and then we’re supposed to pump our arms and shake our heads and I’m thinking over and over “I’m a fucking cheerleader” but I still keep smiling and pumping my arms. I tried to regain some dignity so at one point I start flashing the bird while I pump my arms and the director yells “cut” and I think “oh shit, he saw me” but it was for some other reason. It didn’t help that all the movie people were complete shits to us. I don’t think the movie ever made it to the theaters so I never saw it until it showed up on cable a few years ago and a friend clued me in on it. I didn’t even know the name. I think they were calling it something different then. Don’t cry. The story has a ending. I met some cool people from NY who done basically the same thing as me and I left with them which is how I got to NY for a while. They all had the same skunk hair and so when we were driving back to NY people would ask us if we were in a rock band and we’d be like “Yah, we’re the ass stains.” When people would ask me how I got to NY I’d always say “the hard way.” The whole movie thing was humiliating -I’m over it- enough that I never told people about it until I thought the movie would never come out. I didn’t realize that’s where the White Stripes took their name. I guess if the shoe fits then wear it. Didn’t fit me. I think the guy that made ended up running Disney.

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6 Comments

  1. Steve Swan
    Posted January 22, 2009 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    “The Professionals” is a GREAT song.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEjRg22yFBE

  2. Meta
    Posted January 22, 2009 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    It’s the film that gave the band “The White Stripes” their name.

  3. Christine Moellering
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t thought about this movie in YEARS. Thanks for the reminder. In that clip she reminds me of Helen Slater in The Legend of Billie Jean.

  4. Shevil
    Posted January 24, 2009 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    I’m in this shitty movie. My friend and me had been hanging out with Fee in LA and he was talking up this movie he was gonna be in to impress us and said if we went up to Vancouver he’d get us in it. I was 16 but smelled bullshit. Plus if your trying to be punk in LA movie people were the enemy, right? Fee wasn’t from LA (we called him Farmer Fee) so we couldn’t convince him movies sucked. Then Fees all “Shit. Do something with your life.” Like I’d been wasting my life up to 16 but my friend and me take it as a challenge and we take her car up to B.C. No surprise we can’t find Fee anywhere and didn’t have anyway to contact him but we were there and they were auditioning for extras so we were like “what the fuck.” The audition was just them asked us if we’d be willing to die our hair and we said sure. That got us into this scene. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwYkyz7AFrg Thing is it turns out most the girls had on wigs but the director wanted to make the scene bigger so the girls who said they’d die there hair got it died and the ones who said they wouldn’t got wigs. Of course the girls who wouldn’t die there hair were the cutest ones so they got on camera. I still can’t be sure I can find myself in the scene. Other thing was, I wasn’t fat I was 16 for chissakes, but my sweet ass wouldn’t fit in the costume so I almost didn’t get in but they just split my pants right down the back so the whole time they’re filming, which took all day, I’m walking around with my worn out cotton panties showing off my ass and then we’re supposed to pump our arms and shake our heads and I’m thinking over and over “I’m a fucking cheerleader” but I still keep smiling and pumping my arms. I tried to regain some dignity so at one point I start flashing the bird while I pump my arms and the director yells “cut” and I think “oh shit, he saw me” but it was for some other reason. It didn’t help that all the movie people were complete shits to us. I don’t think the movie ever made it to the theaters so I never saw it until it showed up on cable a few years ago and a friend clued me in on it. I didn’t even know the name. I think they were calling it something different then. Don’t cry. The story has a ending. I met some cool people from NY who done basically the same thing as me and I left with them which is how I got to NY for a while. They all had the same skunk hair and so when we were driving back to NY people would ask us if we were in a rock band and we’d be like “Yah, we’re the ass stains.” When people would ask me how I got to NY I’d always say “the hard way.” The whole movie thing was humiliating -I’m over it- enough that I never told people about it until I thought the movie would never come out. I didn’t realize that’s where the White Stripes took their name. I guess if the shoe fits then wear it. Didn’t fit me. I think the guy that made ended up running Disney.

  5. mark
    Posted January 24, 2009 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for leaving the comment. It’s a cool story… As for the movie, I guess it has some degree of credibility just because it’s not as bad as either of the Quincy and CHIPs “punk” episodes. Still, it’s kind of a mess. One of the things that I disliked about it most is the silly kind of notion that an army of girls would, overnight, start dying their hair and dressing like them. I’m happy to hear that you were somewhere in that mob flipping the bird. It’s good to know a little honest to goodness punk got smuggled in by a 16 year old girl with split pants.

  6. mark
    Posted January 24, 2009 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    I can’t remember exactly, but I think Lane mentioned the original title in the commentary track. I believe she said it was “Washed Up,” or something like that.

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