Punk Pioneer Alice Bag Stars in ‘Women in Punk’ Documentary

All images by Amanda Silberling

Who says women can’t rock as hard as men? Look no further than music journalist Amanda Silberling’s recently released documentary We’re Here, We’re Present: Women in Punk, which premiered on Noisey!

Last summer, Silberling joined 70s punk pioneer Alice Bag and up-and-comers Leggy on a tour which culminated at PhilaMOCA’s Treat Y’rself Fest. The resulting fifteen-minute film chronicles the one-week tour through footage, interviews, and performances to explore how the social climate in punk has evolved from Alice’s early days as the front person of The Bags to now. The documentary includes interviews with Alice Bag and members of her band, Leggy, Positive No, Philly’s own The Pretty Greens, and more. Silberling shared with Rock On Philly her experience making the film.

Alice Bag

Rock On Philly: How did you convince Alice to participate in this documentary, and for you to join the tour?

Amanda Silberling: Ever since I was a teenager going to my first shows, I was always wanted to know what it would be like to go on tour  – and now, as a music writer and photographer, I figured that going on tour could be an opportunity to create something about the experience! I love Leggy, and I had stayed in touch with them after writing a piece about them in January 2016, so when I saw they were going on a week-long tour in the summer, I asked them if I could come along, and they said yes. Leggy are all awesome, caring people, so I felt totally comfortable going on this trip with them even though we had only met once.

Then, it turned out that the tour would be supporting Alice Bag – at first we were all intimidated because, well, she’s really, really cool, but she’s such a sweet person. She was completely fine with me filming and always wanted to make sure that I had all the interviews I needed and what not. On stage, Alice will sing songs like “We Will Bury You,” and then off stage, she’s a lovely person who cares deeply about the people around her. I’ve worked on a few projects with Alice since the tour (she was part of a zine I made about musicians at the Women’s March on Washington, and I hosted her at the Kelly Writers House for my annual event (Shifting the Gaze: Women in Music) – she’s brilliant, and working with her is always a thrill.


ROP: What’s one major thing you learned during this experience? 

AS: This documentary was my first foray into filmmaking, so I definitely learned a lot about all of the small details that go into creating a film. The tour ended in August 2016, and I naively thought that I could finish the documentary before I went back to school in September, but clearly that was not the case. The documentary that I released is probably my fifth draft or so.

I learned that the best thing anyone on tour can do is just try to go with the flow as much as possible – and of course, that’s difficult as a super anxious person, but I think learning to be in the moment on tour is something that can also be useful to remember in ordinary life.

Check out We’re Here, We’re Present: Women in Punk below!

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