King Loser’s fractious farewell tour sets the stage for not just the career-spanning documentary the legendary 90s band deserve, but also a poignant and powerful meditation on the toll the rock and roll dream takes.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2023
“We had a bit of an us against the world vibe… but also us against us, too.” King Loser’s first of fifteen drummers summarizes their stunningly explosive (and implosive) qualities midway through this unflinching yet affectionate portrait of the legendary 90s band. Driven by the “C&C Music Factory”— Chris Heazlewood and Celia Mancini—King Loser blended surf, lounge, psych and noise into a singular, swampy sound. A cyclone of chutzpah, cigarettes and impeccable fashion sense, the larger-than-life Mancini epitomised a notorious band that collapsed too soon but left a mark on all who encountered them—either at their transcendent best or catastrophic worst.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of King Loser is its universality. Rich archive poignantly contrasts the youthful rock and roll dream with the middle-age reality of the struggling musician, while present-day interviews acknowledge the cumulative challenges of addiction, physical and mental health issues, poverty and homelessness.
There may be plenty of details to satisfy scenesters (Triangle TV! Snapper!), but newcomers won’t need to know a note for King Loser—and King Loser—to leave its mark. — Doug Dillaman