Heavy Load follows a year in the life of a British punk band, some of whose members have learning disabilities. Aside from that, they’re subject to the same inflammatory mix of ego, fantasy, and desire that fuels any emerging band. But their unique situation finds them negotiating the perilous space between two different worlds: On the one hand they must abide the institutional timetable of day centers, work placements, and social workers; on the other hand, there’s the chaotic slacker life of rehearsals, studios, and gigs. Home life and band life; from invisibility to stardom of a sort, and back again.
But this is not a film about a young band on the road to making it. Specializing in thrash covers of late ’70s punk – or punk versions of recent pop, Heavy Load are unlikely to have a top 10 hit. “We like to take a classic song,” says guitarist Mick, “and crucify it.” Their cacophonic reinterpretation of Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” possesses a frenzied anarchy that bears no resemblance to the disco original. Their howled version of the Troggs “Wild Thing” adds a psychotic menace that makes you forget that this was once a love song. On stage, the band fizzes with an energy that belies the expectations the world has of the people derisively dismissed as the "spaz" or the "moron" or the "idiot." They survive through a combination of raucous energy, attitude, and sheer volume.
Shot over two years, during which Heavy Load record their first album The Queen Mother’s Dead, the film is a comedy of conflicting ambitions, capturing the excitement, sweat, and romance of playing in a band through the eyes of a set of unique characters as they graduate from playing disability club nights and take center stage at a mainstream music festival.
- Jerry RothwellProducer/Director
- Al MorrowProducer
- Jonny PerseyProducer