The Vans Warped Tour emerged during the 90's amidst several other musical festivals including Lollapalooza, the OzzFest, and Lillith Fair. Founded by Kevin Lyman in 1994, the Warped Tour incorporated skateboarding attractions with punk and ska bands. Renowned artists like Bad Religion, Bouncing Souls, the Vandals and blink-182 have been Warped Tour veterans while acts like No Doubt and Sublime saw their careers launched by it. Over time, musicians from other genres, such as metal, alternative and hip-hop, have performed for the concert series. Eminem, the Black Eyed Peas, Ice-T, and M.I.A. have all played Warped Tour at one time or another.
"No Room for Rockstars" is a documentary on the Warped Tour from director Parris Patton and producer Stacy Peralta, who directed "Dogtown and Z-Boys," a documentary on the surf and skate culture during the 1970's. "No Room for Rockstars" focuses on the tour of 2010, specifically a diverse group of four artists at varying points in their lives and careers. Mitch Lucker, the lead singer of Suicide Silence, looks exactly like the prototypical Warped Tour act. He has jet black hair and a body covered in tattoos though his deep, guttural vocals are more in line with death metal than skate punk. Despite outward appearances, Lucker is a soft-spoken individual with strong family ties. He misses his wife, child, and even his dog while constantly being on the road. His mom and kid sister visit for a spell and are amused by how his stage persona is so radically different from the Mitch they know.
Christofer Drew isn't the type of performer you'd expect to see on the tour. The frontman for Never Shout Never, Drew looks and sounds an awful lot like Justin Bieber, if the teen idol decided to go as a punk rocker for Halloween. He's got plug earrings and "Love is my weapon" tattooed across his chest. Purists will scoff at the young man, but Drew has legions of screaming girls that hang on his every lyric. Some are literally brought to tears when they get the chance to meet him. Mike Posner is another musician atypical of the usual Warped Tour acts. Heralded as the next Justin Timberlake, Posner's music has a hip-hop and electronic flavor. At the time, he is flying in and out of the tour to promote his debut album, "31 Minutes to Takeoff," which is climbing the charts. He's doing photo shoots for Rolling Stone and making appearances on "Regis and Kelly" and "America's Got Talent." His rising fame stands in stark contrast to the final subject, Joe Candeleria of Forever Came Calling.
The band isn't a part of the Warped Tour nor are they signed to any label. The rock trio quit their jobs as pizza delivery boys to follow the tour in their beat-up band in order to get noticed. They sell CDs outside for five bucks a pop and attempt get signatures on a petition to allow them to perform on the festival. They sleep in the van and sneak coffee and donuts from the AM/PM because they can't afford to pay for it. Any money they make covers the cost of gas.
"No Room for Rockstars" isn't concerned about the famous acts though there are snippets from bands like Bouncing Souls and Pennywise, whose guitarist Fletcher Dragge is interviewed. Lyman is always on the hunt for new talent and sees the tour as a way to cultivate it. Throughout it all, the documentary takes a look at how the never-ending grind and rising notoriety take their toll on the lives of these young prospects. The segments about Forever Came Calling are the most interesting, showing how these kids try to survive while trying to fulfill a crazy dream.
The documentary also shows all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes in mounting the tour. Of those interviewed, one is a long-time stage manager, an ex-con drug dealer whose fortunes turned around after being hired by Lyman. We see the hardships the crew endures from unbearable heat to torrential storms. The latter is doubly problematic as the musicians are not only unable to perform, but unable to sell CDs and merchandise. That's money they cannot afford to lose.
The video is presented in anamorphic widescreen with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The film was shot on digital and this results in sharp and clean picture quality.
The audio is presented in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. The sound isn't overwhelming, but strong and does a good job servicing the live performances.
The DVD includes just under an hour and a half of additional footage. The other acts seen are Alesana, Andrew WK, The Bouncing Souls, Bring Me the Horizon, The Casualties, Dillinger Escape Plan, Pennywise, Mike Posner, and Suicide Silence.
You'll also get the film's theatrical trailer, a booklet and a bonus CD, "Vans Warped Tour: Greatest Hits" with tracks by bands like Suicidal Tendencies, Sublime, The Descendents, No Doubt, and Sick of It All.
"No Room for Rockstars" is more of a surface level documentary than an in-depth exposé. There are some interesting moments, even if you have completely different tastes in music.