The Holy Modal Rounders

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The Holy Modal Rounders

“Holy Modal Rounders Destroy Country Music in Bizarre Five Hour Concert!”

screams one mostly accurate headline that ?ashes across the screen in Bound to Lose, which is also the story of how the Rounders destroyed one another. “If they could leave each other alone, they could do great things,” muses playwright and one-time Rounders drummer Sam Shepherd about co-founders Peter Stampfel and Steve Weber. Born from the post-Beat/pre-hippie East Village scene, these proto-freak-folkers surfaced brie?y in the mainstream when “If You Want to be a Bird” appeared on the Easy Rider soundtrack in 1969. Though the documentary produces vintage footage, it’s mostly about Stampfel and Weber’s love/hate partnership. The ?lm resounds with Crumb-like intimacy, as the vivaciously damaged Stampfel and unrepentant alcoholic drifter Weber attempt to rekindle the Rounders, creating some tender cinema in the process.

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