Documentary ‘Jesus Saves’ provides look into punk scene of Boone

Ryan Morris

The band Slopes preforms Wednesday night at Epresso News. The performance was in connection with the showing of the documentary 'Jesus Saves' which highlighted notable people and bands that drove the 1990s punk scene in Boone. Paul Heckert | The Appalachian The documentary ‘Jesus Saves,’ created by former Appalachian student Matt Wellborn, catalogues notable characters and bands that inhabited the punk scene of 1990’s Boone.

The film, which borrows its name from a concert venue featured in the movie, was shown to receptive crowds Monday night at 641 RPM, a record store located in downtown Boone.

‘Jesus Saves’ provides a slice of life of the fleeting punk scene in Boone in the 1990’s, which many people today may not even know existed.

Featuring low-key, casual interviews with bands, audience members and general members of the punk scene alongside grainy footage of loud, rowdy and sometimes bloody college students violently dancing to music that is mostly just noise, the film provides a time-capsule look into the past.


Kevin Freeman, who currently works at Boone Saloon, was a member of a punk band at the time of the film and says that it is relatively true to life.

“Obviously it means more to me since I was there,” Freeman said. “As far as the meaning behind it other than documenting a time and a place and what’s going on, it’s just whatever people get out of it.”

The film focuses mainly on the importance of DIY music spaces to the continuation and development of a music genre.

Randy Kelly, advisor for the Appalachian Popular Programming Society and booking agent for stage shows at the time of the film’s production, attributes part of this underground success to the University policy that APPS cannot book shows for bands that are known to elicit violent dancing, stage diving, or ‘moshing,’ due to the threat of lawsuits following injury.

However, Kelly sees this as a good thing for the bands themselves.

“Every university town has small venues because you have to have an incubation place where an unknown band can learn what I call ‘microphone etiquette’ – these things every band has to learn about the basics of being in a band,” Kelly said. “Nobody’s really good in a garage band. They might have talent, but they need a place to start.”

“I had one guy come up to me after the show saying thanks for showing it and that he would maybe try to do something, start a band or whatever,” Freeman said. “That’s what we’re really all about, starting bands when you don’t really have to know how to play or anything.”

“A lot of the kids that were there were probably like four years old when we made it,” Freeman said.

In an attempt to link the past footage to today, a short music video from local band Slopes was shown before the film. The music video, which was shot during an impromptu performance in a laundromat, is intended to make the connection between DIY show spaces and today’s music scene.

“I think a lot of what they had to say on the whole experience of a punk rock show then is still true today, with a lot of the more emo shows I’ve been to,” said sophomore international business major Rachel Long.

Slopes also performed Wednesday night at Espresso News, in connection with both the film ‘Jesus Saves’ and their newly premiered music video.

Story: LOVEY COOPER, A&E Reporter
Photo: PAUL HECKERT, Senior Photographer