The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Movie Review: Last Days Here (The Story of Pentagram’s Bobby Liebling)

with 2 comments

Bobby Liebling is not a scary dude, but he’s been through some scary stuff.  One look at the scars on his arms and the age in his eyes and you know he’s been down some rough roads, left hand paths even.  Most people who have done meth, heroin and crack for as long as he has don’t survive.  Bobby Liebling is a survivor.

As noted in previous posts (here and here), I’ve been a Pentagram fan for 20+ years.   Finally getting to see them for the first time 2 years ago was a joy and last year’s encounter with them even better.

When I first saw that there was a documentary by 9.14 Pictures about Bobby being made and being world-premiered right here in Austin during the SxSW Festival, I was pretty excited.  Just last year I was fortunate enough to see the premier of the Lemmy movie.

I took off a few hours early for work to be able to attend the movie which was being shown at the Austin Convention Center at 4:30PM.  I go in and there are people everywhere.  The way admission works at these things is that if you have a Film Festival badge or wristband, you get automatic admission into events before those of us who choose not to purchase the credentials.  I never do.  I went to the ticket booth and they said “If there’s available seating it’ll cost $10 to see the movie.”  Sweet.  I think we paid $16 or less last year to see the Lemmy movie.

As I was waiting in the ticket purchase line, I see a long-haired dude in a leather jacket with some credentials hanging around his neck.  He was talking to someone in the next line over and I spot his name on his badge and see that he was one of the directors of the film, Demian Fenton.  He spots me and comes over and asks if I am there to see Last Days Here.  He complemented my Candlemass shirt, we spoke about the film and Pentagram for a few minutes and he left.  A few minutes later he comes back and hands me an 11” x 14” movie poster.  Awesome.

They start letting the badge holders and wristband wielders in then allow the ticket purchasers to buy a ticket and go in.   The theater was huge, bigger than I expected.  There were a few hundred seats on the floor and a few hundred more bleacher style seats.  I headed to top dead center of the bleacher seats.  My guess is that only about 75 people at the most were there.  I saw one guy in a Pentagram shirt and a few other people that I recognized from some shows around town.  Most people there were likely curious movie-goers.  Of course I feel that the turnout was pretty weak. Before the movie starts, the directors and producer were introduced and spoke for a few minutes.

The lights go down and the movie starts. The documentary begins in 2006 and you’re basically hit right off the bat seeing Bobby smoking crack.  It was painful to see.  His arms are bandaged up basically from wrist to should and his hands are swollen looking and black.  The crack and meth make him believe that he has bacteria on him that he has to pick off.  You get a long glimpse of his upper inner-bicep area where he has picked so much that it was just an open sore.  I’m not grossed out very easily but I did turn my head away from the screen for a moment.

You’re introduced to Sean “Pellet” Pelletier who was a huge Pentagram fan that basically became Bobby’s personal assistant, friend and tour manager.  You see his struggle in trying to help the band get things together to do some shows and you see the pain in his eyes from seeing his friend continually get messed up more and more from his drug use.

Bobby’s mom and dad and shown quite a bit as Bobby was living in their basement (The Sub-Basement) for much of his adult life.  His drug use has taken its toll on his parents as well.  His mom was still taking care of him, and really still enabling him.  You get a peek into what may have been a trigger for Bobby’s drug use when his dad speaks about how he wanted bigger and better things for his son (as most parents do).  His dad was apparently a pretty well-known Asst Secretary of State who worked for 3 or 4 presidents starting with Johnson.

It’s a pretty common theme for many drug users it seems.  A lot of pressure from parents to live up to their expectations and out of rebellion and maybe attention seeking, you become self-destructive…by choice.  No one forced those needles into Bobby nor did anyone force him to smoke crack.   I didn’t really get the feeling from the movie that he was being portrayed as a victim and I believe he even states that “I did this to myself.”

Later in the movie J.B. Beverley (“Like” him on Facebook) is shown quite a bit.  J.B.’s band used to play a bar that I worked in back in Virginia and when he was in town, he’d tell me whacked out stories about Bobby.  J.B. was portrayed as a good friend to Bobby in the movie.

There were some cool interviews with former members of the 70s era of the band as well as some good little segments with Joe Hasselvander and Victor Griffin.  There is some great classic footage and some of the modern footage from The Black Cat show where Bobby finally shows up with about 30 seconds left in the last song, gets kicked by the guitarist and the band walks off stage.  You also see the “comeback” footage from the 2009 Webster Hall show in NYC.

In the last few years, Bobby met a girl from Philadelphia who is about 30 years younger than him.  He moved up there from Maryland to live with her, he cleans up, looks good then things fell apart.  She left him, ended up filing a restraining order, he ends up in Jail for a few weeks etc.  Ultimately they get back together, get married and had a child together late in 2010 which is where the movie ends.  When I met Bobby last year, he seemed clean and was in very good spirits.  He seemed like a generally good natured guy who took terrible decisions.  (Review Your Choices, eh?)

Overall I think this was much better than the Lemmy movie as this really told a story.  The Lemmy movie really could’ve been titled “Hanging Out With Lemmy”, but it never really got too deep into the guy.  Last Days Here showed how drug abuse affects the user, the family and the friends.  Much of the sentiments in the movie hit “close to home” for me and there were several moments during the movie where I admittedly got choked up.  It may be a little more comparable to the Anvil movie, except this was about a better band.  They had several good chances for record deals via Colombia Records and even had Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley come down from NYC to check them out at a rehearsal, which eventually bombed.

After the movie there was a quick Q&A session and I caught up with the filmmakers in the hall to give them my thoughts and snap a quick photo with them.  They were all very gracious and I hope the 2 subsequent viewings this week go well, even better than yesterday’s.

As a Pentagram fan, I hope this movie ends up with some decent distribution.  This movie can also serve as a documentary about the damage caused by drug abuse.  I’d love to have this on DVD.  There was a full sized movie poster hanging in the hallway and I asked where I could purchase one.  Unfortunately only 2 were made so I’ll have to wait until they get some distribution before getting something like that.  I’d surely frame it and hang it up.  For now I’ll cherish the poster that they gave me and will hopefully catch one of the 2 shows that Pentagram are playing this week.

Nice work, guys.  Best of luck!

 

Bobby Liebling is not a scary dude, but he’s been through some scary stuff.  One look at the scars on his arms and the age in his eyes and you know he’s been down some rough roads, left hand paths even.  Most people who have done meth, heroin and crack for as long as he has don’t survive.  Bobby Liebling is a survivor.

As noted in previous posts (here and here), I’ve been a Pentagram fan for 20+ years.   Finally getting to see them for the first time 2 years ago was a joy and last year’s encounter with them even better.

When I first saw that there was a documentary about Bobby being made and being world-premiered right here in Austin during the SxSW Festival, I was pretty excited.  Just last year I was fortunate enough to see the premier of the Lemmy movie.

I took off a few hours early for work to be able to attend the movie which was being shown at the Austin Convention Center at 4:30PM.  I go in and there are people everywhere.  The way admission works at these things is that if you have a Film Festival badge or wristband, you get automatic admission into events before those of us who choose not to purchase the credentials.  I never do.  I went to the ticket booth and they said “If there’s available seating it’ll cost $10 to see the movie.”  Sweet.  I think we paid $16 or less last year to see the Lemmy movie.

As I was waiting in the ticket purchase line, I see a long-haired dude in a leather jacket with some credentials hanging around his neck.  He was talking to someone in the next line over and I spot his name on his badge and see that he was one of the directors of the film, Demian Fenton.  He spots me and comes over and asks if I am there to see Last Days Here.  He complemented my Candlemass shirt, we spoke about the film and Pentagram for a few minutes and he left.  A few minutes later he comes back and hands me an 11” x 14” movie poster.  Awesome.

They start letting the badge holders and wristband wielders in then allow the ticket purchasers to buy a ticket and go in.   The theater was huge, bigger than I expected.  There were a few hundred seats on the floor and a few hundred more bleacher style seats.  I headed to top dead center of the bleacher seats.  My guess is that only about 75 people at the most were there.  I saw one guy in a Pentagram shirt and a few other people that I recognized from some shows around town.  Most people there were likely curious movie-goers.  Of course I feel that the turnout was pretty weak. Before the movie starts, the directors and producer were introduced and spoke for a few minutes.

The lights go down and the movie starts. The documentary begins in 2006 and you’re basically hit right off the bat seeing Bobby smoking crack.  It was painful to see.  His arms are bandaged up basically from wrist to should and his hands are swollen looking and black.  The crack and meth make him believe that he has bacteria on him that he has to pick off.  You get a long glimpse of his upper inner-bicep area where he has picked so much that it was just an open sore.  I’m not grossed out very easily but I did turn my head away from the screen for a moment.

You’re introduced to Sean “Pellet” Pelletier who was a huge Pentagram fan that basically became Bobby’s personal assistant, friend and tour manager.  You see his struggle in trying to help the band get things together to do some shows and you see the pain in his eyes from seeing his friend continually get messed up more and more from his drug use.

Bobby’s mom and dad and shown quite a bit as Bobby was living in their basement (The Sub-Basement) for much of his adult life.  His drug use has taken its toll on his parents as well.  His mom was still taking care of him, and really still enabling him.  You get a peek into what may have been a trigger for Bobby’s drug use when his dad speaks about how he wanted bigger and better things for his son (as most parents do).  His dad was apparently a pretty well-known Asst Secretary of State who worked for 3 or 4 presidents starting with Johnson.

It’s a pretty common theme for many drug users it seems.  A lot of pressure from parents to live up to their expectations and out of rebellion and maybe attention seeking, you become self-destructive…by choice.  No one forced those needles into Bobby nor did anyone force him to smoke crack.   I didn’t really get the feeling from the movie that he was being portrayed as a victim and I believe he even states that “I did this to myself.”

Later in the movie J.B. Beverley is shown quite a bit.  J.B.’s band used to play a bar that I worked in back in Virginia and when he was in town, he’d tell me whacked out stories about Bobby.  J.B. was portrayed as a good friend to Bobby in the movie.

There were some cool interviews with former members of the 70s era of the band as well as some good little segments with Joe Hasselvander and Victor Griffin.  There is some great classic footage and some of the modern footage from The Black Cat show where Bobby finally shows up with about 30 seconds left in the last song, gets kicked by the guitarist and the band walks off stage.  You also see the “comeback” footage from the 2009 Webster Hall show in NYC.

In the last few years, Bobby met a girl from Philadelphia who is about 30 years younger than him.  He moved up there from Maryland to live with her, he cleans up, looks good then things fell apart.  She left him, ended up filing a restraining order, he ends up in Jail for a few weeks etc.  Ultimately they get back together, get married and had a child together late in 2010 which is where the movie ends.  When I met Bobby last year, he seemed clean and was in very good spirits.  He seemed like a generally good natured guy who took terrible decisions.  (Review Your Choices, eh?)

Overall I think this was much better than the Lemmy movie as this really told a story.  The Lemmy movie really could’ve been titled “Hanging Out With Lemmy”, but it never really got too deep into the guy.  Last Days Here showed how drug abuse affects the user, the family and the friends.  Much of the sentiments in the movie hit “close to home” for me and there were several moments during the movie where I admittedly got choked up.  It may be a little more comparable to the Anvil movie, except this was about a better band.  They had several good chances for record deals via Colombia Records and even had Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley come down from NYC to check them out at a rehearsal, which eventually bombed.

After the movie there was a quick Q&A session and I caught up with the filmmakers in the hall to give them my thoughts and snap a quick photo with them.  They were all very gracious and I hope the 2 subsequent viewings this week go well, even better than yesterday’s.

As a Pentagram fan, I hope this movie ends up with some decent distribution.  I’d love to have this on DVD.  There was a full sized movie poster hanging in the hallway and I asked where I could purchase one.  Unfortunately only 2 were made so I’ll have to wait until they get some distribution before getting something like that.  I’d surely frame it and hang it up.  For now I’ll cherish the poster that they gave me and will hopefully catch one of the 2 shows that Pentagram are playing this week.

Nice work, guys.  Best of luck!

2 Responses

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  1. […] some of the foreigners who attend the festival.  After seeing the Bobby Liebling movie “Last Days Here“, I ran into some guys from Japan who were commenting on the patches on my jacket.  I told […]

  2. […] Days Here during the SxSW 2011 Film and Music Festival.  You can read my review of their movie here.  They are the guys behind the production/direction of the movie and in talking with Demian after […]


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