Film Review: The Glamour & The Squalor
THE GLAMOUR & THE SQUALOR
Emerald Cut Entertainment
It’s hard to believe today, but 30 years ago radio was so much more important to the success of a band. Certain stations had the power to make or break an artist, and Seattle’s 107.7 The End became known as one of those stations. If a song was played on The End, it could be the difference between that band’s album selling 5,000 or 100,000 copies.
But where radio stations today are run by decision makers who are completely disconnected and sit around a big conference table in suits and ties, The End was truly fueled by one man and his passion for music - Marco Collins!
He’s credited for breaking Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Beck, Garbage, Weezer, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Hole, Presidents of the United States of America, Prodigy, Daft Punk, The Crystal Method, and so many more! But his story isn’t only about his triumphs and that’s where this documentary begins.
We see Marco, today, heading into a Seattle pawn shop to try and track down the Nirvana Gold record that he was gifted as a thank you for his contributions to the bands success; one of the many items that he lost along his own self-destructive path.
He takes us to where he grew up in Meadow Vista, CA – a small town that was not too welcoming to people who didn’t fit the mold. He talks about the bullying he faced from other kids, the toxic relationship with his father, etc. But this was also where Collins discovered punk rock and was hooked.
“The thing about punk rock was that it was a place for me to become what I wanted to become!”
Upon graduating from high school, Collins immediately took off for San Diego where he worked his first “real” DJ job at 91X – The same station that would kick him off the radio when he played The Geto Boys “Gangster of Love” during an anti-censorship program; the same type of envelope that he would later push when he leaked Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy and Nirvana’s In Utero live on the air.
From here, though, Collins would achieve radio icon status when he moved to Seattle and took over The End; taking chances on music no one else would play. But he also got caught up in the lifestyle and his demons were always chasing him amid his success – eventually stealing it all from him.
In between showing us his remarkable radio story, this film does a real good job of tackling big issues that affect the world today: He wrestled with being outed as gay, drug addiction took over his life, and he faced depression stemming from loneliness. But as the norm with Marco, he always managed to rise back up.
We see his involvement in the fight to legalize gay marriage in Washington with Referendum 74, overcoming the past to mend the broken relationship with his father, and not resting on who he was, but getting back out there and working with new music to give bands a chance they might not otherwise get.
“If I could help a band get a record deal, an opening slot on a killer tour, or sell some records – it’s those things that put a smile on my face. I do believe there’s always success attached in helping other people!” – Marco Collins.