A few years back, The Story of Anvil struck a chord with not only hard rock & heavy metal fans, but also those who perhaps had not much of an interest in the music of Anvil but who liked a good story about rooting for the perennial underdog. With Lost Days Here we get another similar type documentary of an old metal band who never made it big but continue to trudge on despite all the adversity. And there's a lot of adversity, as most of Last Days Here is about Pentagram vocalist Bobby Liebling and his decades long addiction to meth, crack, and heroin, as well as mental illness, which has left the band in a constant state of disarray dating back to the early '70s.
Directed by Don Argott and Demian Fenton, the film centers around Liebling and manager Sean Pelletier, a rabid fan of the band for many years who got into their inner circle and became one of Liebling's closest friends. While the movie does gives some background on the beginnings of the band (which go back to the very early '70s) and their near signing to a major label shortly thereafter, much of the documentary focuses on Bobby's descent into drug addiction and madness. Plenty of interviews with former and current band members (and there have been a lot of them over the years), record producers, Liebling's parents, fans, and friends tell the tale of a talented individual and his band who were destined for greatness but just never quite got there.
Bobby himself in the first half of the film is a wreck, openly smoking crack on camera, eyes bugging out of his skull, open sores all over his body (he claims he has parasites living under his skin),and living in a filthy room in his parents' house. About mid-way through the film (and it seems most of this takes place around the year 2005 or so and leads up to 2010), the singer meets Hallie Miller, a woman probably close to 30 years his junior, and the two fall in love, which leads Bobby to finally move out of his parents house to be with her in Philadelphia and clean up his act. Though it's a rocky beginning for them, they go through some ups and downs, reuniting in time for Pentagram's big comeback shows in New York City, which apparently lead the way for Liebling to finally start getting his life together. The couple eventually marry and have a son together, and the future of the band, now signed to Metal Blade and with a new CD out, looks bright indeed.
There are plenty of live clips of the band sprinkled throughout, and the older material is especially a hoot, as you can see what a unique frontman Liebling is. You'll also feel for the singer, even though it's clearly obvious how destructive he is, and just hope that he continues to keep his life on the right track. Fans of the band certainly will want that, as their recent CD is proof that they still have what it takes, Leibling included. Mention needs to be made of Bobby's elderly parents, who are two of the heroes here, despite their enabling nature at times clearly have done their best to keep their aging underground rock star alive, and manager Pelletier, who risks it all to help his friend and idol stay focused so his favorite band of all time can hopefully attain a fraction of the success he feels they deserve.
If you've ever been a fan of Pentagram, this close look at their troubled lead singer is a harrowing experience, but will make you enjoy their brand of doomy hard rock even more. Folks new to this influential act will find a story that is a train wreck from the start, another tale of rock and roll excess gone bad, but the second half will surprise you and hopefully inspire you.