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"IF EVERYBODY got a chance to see Rye Coalition play, they'd go again," Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) once gushed. "And if they could find their records, they'd buy millions of them."
In Rye Coalition: The Story of the Hard Luck Five, viewers get an in-depth look a seminal emo band that got its start in the golden age of Jawbreaker and Sunny Day Real Estate. Despite a ferociously loyal fanbase, working with industry legends like Grohl and Steve Albini, and persevering for 20 years, the band never truly broke out of the underground.
Director Jenni Matz, who was involved in the same New Jersey/New York scene as Rye Coalition, met drummer Dave Leto and guitarist Jon Gonnelli in 1998.
“Once I saw them play, they instantly became my favorite band,” Matz shares. “I wanted to know why no one else had heard of them!”
Matz toted a video camera to shows, acquiring years of footage without an end goal.
Once Rye Coalition signed to Dreamworks Records in 2003--a deal that eventually (and messily) fell through in the early 2000s industry collapse--Matz few to L.A. to film Rye Coalition’s sessions at Sound City with Dave Grohl.
“We were all sure they were finally going to ‘make it,’” she says.
That’s when the documentary idea came to fruition.
“The story became about much more,” explains Matz. “About growing up, about touring as a DIY band in the ‘90s with no label, and mostly, about friendship and the bond these five guys still have.”
The film has already taken home awards from New Jersey International Film Festival, Kingston Film Festival, and Golden Door Film Festival of Jersey City.
Ryan Graveface has hosted some film screenings in-shop before, but expect more in the future.
“I’d ideally like the store to become a venue for screenings in general,” the musician and entrepreneur says.
In addition to rock docs (Graveface is a big Rye Coalition fan himself), it wouldn’t be Graveface without some good ol’ horror and gore thrown in.
“My film tastes are oh-so-shocking,” Graveface says wryly. “Horror, documentaries, anything bizarre, and music. So predictable.”