maybe even better than a Mike Bloomberg speech
August 20, 2020 4:23 PM   Subscribe

One of Youtube's treasures is Defunctland (previously, also previously), which expertly plumbs a century's worth of theme park and Disney arcana with well-researched humor and verve. Tonight, Defunctland released its first feature film, a professionally-directed deep dive into a bizarre Disneyland space-rock band so obscure it doesn't even have a Wikipedia page yet: Live From the Space Stage: A HALYX Story.
posted by theodolite (18 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
This is incredible, thanks for sharing it.
posted by waxpancake at 6:08 PM on August 20, 2020

This has an incredible effort-to-obscurity ratio, right up my alley!

For those able to handle some hagiography, the Disney+ Imagineering documentary was surprisingly comprehensive, and even occasionally critical- I’d recommend it provided you don’t mind needing to read between the lines a bit
posted by q*ben at 6:26 PM on August 20, 2020

I hope Eisner enters into this one in some way.

With the most recent episodes focusing on the prehistory and development of the original Disneyland park, my Defunctland drinking game has not been going well without the series' favorite anti-hero/punching bag.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:30 PM on August 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

This was absolutely compelling and really interesting. I had never heard of any of this. Thank you so much for the post! I could not tear myself away from the doc
posted by Actively Avoiding the Noid at 6:47 PM on August 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

If you'd told me six hours ago that a fan documentary of a pre-fab (ish) early 80s Disneyland summer season live band would suck me in for 90 solid minutes, I wouldn't have believed you.

But it totally happened.
posted by tclark at 6:52 PM on August 20, 2020

Josh Freese of The Vandals (and A Perfect Circle, and like a dozen plus more bands you've definitely heard of) was in one the Tomorrowland bands, right up until he joined The Vandals. In fact, in wondering if somehow he might have been in this band (he started playing there just after), I found out his dad was Director of Bands at Disneyland, and that Josh started playing drums there at 12 years old. Anyway, I'll have to watch the movie to see if either make an appearance, especially since it seems that Stan (the father) is still the main big shot in charge of musical performances at Disneyland.
posted by sideshow at 6:53 PM on August 20, 2020

The issue of Disney dress code comes up in the doc, given the long hair of these rock musicians. I knew somebody who was in one of the generic bands there. He said that the generic bands had to follow the dress code. This meant that the mariachi band members wore fake mustaches since they couldn’t have real ones to begin with as part of their costume. I have to say that this almost feels like an alternate history of Disneyland story. I mean, “Jailbait?”
posted by njohnson23 at 7:03 PM on August 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

God I love defunctland. Will check this out at the weekend.

Did not know about the Vandals link, that's brilliant.
posted by ominous_paws at 11:10 PM on August 20, 2020

I hope Eisner enters into this one in some way.

Someone who seems to be Eisner has been up in the comments for some of Defunctland’s videos.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 4:06 AM on August 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

This was pretty dang incredible
posted by rebent at 4:59 AM on August 21, 2020

The "Jailbait" thing is amazing to me. But this was back before even camcorders were common, and I doubt anyone would bring a tape recorder to a Disney park. Different times.

Good documentary!
posted by SoberHighland at 5:33 AM on August 21, 2020

The thing that surprised me the most about Halyx was they were a "real" band. Yeah they were put together by a producer, but I'd assume this would be like any other band that played the park or the cruise lines or the stage shows. Interchangeable parts. Bring in a new singer, a new drummer, a new guy in the wookie suit, as people move on. But that's not what happened. This was a band.
posted by thecjm at 9:13 AM on August 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'll admit, I got a little misty when I saw that red jacket.
posted by 41swans at 3:37 PM on August 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

The real irony is if they had been less of a "real" band they probably would have existed in perpetuity as a fixture of Disneyland, with band members swapped out routinely as needed. Their realness, the desire to sign them and make them something outside of Disneyland, that's what did them in.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:12 AM on August 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

Finally finished the documentary, which, while it took its sweet ass time getting to the meat of the story, really paid off starting around 45 minutes. Spoiler: it ends kind of sadly.

Today, this never would have happened, i.e. having gotten as far along as they did, with as much talent and production support as the project had going for it, it would have gone on beyond a summer of (now forgotten) performances at the Space Stage in Anaheim.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 6:36 PM on August 22, 2020

(And I have to disagree with Mr.Encyclopedia (above). If Halyx had been a conception of modern Disney it wouldn't have been stifled by record label (in this case Warner). It would have just been a matter of a 'Make it so' moment for an upper level exec.)
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 6:42 PM on August 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

When I started watching this I thought, 'Disney records? Huh, I think we had one of those which I can't remember the name of.

Which turned out to be an important part of the story in its own little way. Dang.
posted by StarkRoads at 8:57 PM on August 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I was struck with how there were chaotic elements that are hard to imagine happening today. Also, I've never been to Disneyland or World, but I get the sense Disney is now just an endlessly recursive, self-referential project of repeating branded properties forever, and that creating something new on a small scale couldn't be possible?

This paired interestingly with Bathtubs Over Broadway, which we watched a few days ago. Especially in the way the fans ironically and then authentically embrace it.
posted by latkes at 9:09 AM on August 23, 2020

« Older shiny chocolate   |   What's The Matter With Kansas Democrats? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments