This will no doubt be an illegal movie forever. After seeing it at the UC Theater in the summer of '82, I recently found a copy on a bootleg VHS for $1 at a Friends of the Library sale, still burned with the Sundance Channel bug. In today's cinema, much is made of the nostalgia value of the 1980s soundtrack: a famous example being Tears for Fears' "Head Over Heels" during Donnie Darko's opening. You can have your MTV, though, since URGH! A Music War was the soundtrack to my 1980s. Hey, what a surprise, no Duran Duran, no INXS, no Soft Cell covering a Gloria Jones soul classic and convincing a history-impaired generation that they wrote it. And yet it's clear why this film failed.
As a business scheme URGH seems, in 2008 hindsight, a uniquely quick way to burn a fortune. The film documents second-wave punk and New Wave bands playing from LA to London, editing them together without any particular zeitgeisty event like a music festival. So: play it a little under a real kiss-of-death title, and then wait to be deafened by the wails of bands, managers and lawyers zooming in to fight over the non-existant money. The Police were the headliners, opening and closing the film. They wrap up the film, too; you can see drummer Miles Copeland wearing an URGH! T-shirt. Is this perhaps all he was paid for this film? There are mostly cinematic performances here, and we see how much was lost by the fact that the Industry couldn't figure out a way to use their talents in the movies. Here's a key to the best of the show, omitting slurs of forgotten bands who perished long years ago.