Growing up worshipping films like Wayne’s World, Airheads and Spinal Tap, I developed strong aspirations of making a movie about the mad world of rock ‘n’ roll. When smooth talking Londoner and Bono lookalike Dave Kavanagh started to manage my friends band The Screwtop Detonators, I saw my Meal Ticket.
Kicking off with a 30 day US tour, I embarked upon a ten-year journey of documenting my friends as they bound together to battle the hardships of the music industry. In 2005 after a gig at the famous Stone Pony in New Jersey, I filmed a fan ask one of the Screwtops ‘Are you guys on Myspace?’, To which he replied, ‘I don’t know what that is’. It dawned on me years later in the editing suite that I had commenced this documentary at the cusp of a new era in the music business. This was a period where countless record labels came crashing down as a consequence of illegal downloading, and bands had to adjust to self-promotion on the Internet through social media.
Whilst capturing this evolution of the music industry was one of the perks of following a story over such a long time frame, first and foremost, I had set out to make a film about friendship. The Screwtop Detonators were a band of best friends, possessing that gang-of-four dynamic found in some of my favorite films such as Stand by Me and Basketball Diaries.
Being a rock star is the dream of many but a reality for few, nevertheless I saw my friends as contenders. What I set out to achieve with Meal Tickets was to give people a window into what life would have been like if they threw job security aside to chase the rock ‘n’ roll dream. And for those who did throw their hat into the mad ring of rock ‘n’ roll, I hope this film brings back many memories, the good, the bad and the ugly, because in the words of fellow West Australian Bon Scott, ‘it’s a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll’.
– Mat de Koning (Director)