Motion City Soundtrack debuts 'I Am the Movie' doc

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER | Updated 5/7/2014

Doc explores the early era of local pop-punk princes Motion City Soundtrack.

Motion City Soundtrack
Mercenary Publicity

While describing the new pseudo-documentary on his band’s early years, Motion City Soundtrack frontman Justin Pierre offered a pretty good clue as to how old the footage really is.

“I stole my parents’ video camera when we started touring, and for a while there I filmed everything,” he recalled. “We had about 70 videocassette tapes to pull from.”

Motion City fans too young to remember videotapes also would have missed the 2002-03 incubatory period of the Twin Cities-reared pop-punk quintet — when it issued its debut album, “I Am the Movie,” on its way to an Epitaph Records deal and a decade’s worth of large club gigs and Warped Tour dates.

That era is revisited in “I Am the Movie: The Movie.” The homemade film — “homemade” in the sense that the band lived in their van in those days — will be released as a DVD and for online viewing Tuesday, when Motion City will also play the first of two acoustic shows at McNally Smith College of Music’s auditorium. The unplugged concerts will be webcast live for a $5 fee via StageIt.com.

The “Movie” movie was put together by a local MCS friend/fan with videomaking experience, Melissa Kraemer, whose only direction was to pull out the footage “that fans would be most interested in seeing.” That includes behind-the-scene clips from gigs and video shoots and lots of random zaniness.

“There’s a scene where we’re all completely out of our minds because we couldn’t afford a hotel and drove straight through the night to the next gig,” Pierre said. “I’m glad those days are over, but I’m able to look back fondly on it now because the struggles we went through paid off.”

Among the hard parts, Pierre remembered, was the making of “I Am the Movie” with Get Up Kids producer Ed Rose, who apparently liked to call the singer “Princess” and once told guitarist Josh Cain, “You play like you have oven mitts on.” Said Pierre, “At the time, I was really upset by it, but I know now it spurred us on to make a better record.”

MCS planned to more formally revisit “I Am the Movie” last year to mark the 10th anniversary but couldn’t fit it in until now. And they barely fit it in now. They’re off to play a short U.K. tour in two weeks and then will spend most of June recording their next album (details of which are under wraps).

“Our records tend to bounce from one extreme to another,” Pierre offered, “so since the last one was a little softer and milder, I think this one is going to rock a lot harder.”

Motion City Soundtrack

When: 7 p.m. Tue. (sold out) & Wed.

Where: McNally-Smith Auditorium, 19 E. Exchange St., St. Paul.

Tickets: $25.