Night Flight on IFC: Episode 6!

By on May 25, 2018

“Night Flight” was the most radically fun, nostalgically cranium-bursting cable TV program of all time, originally airing in the ’80s (and syndicated shows aired during the ’90s) during the wee hours on Fridays and Saturdays on the USA Network. Now we’re back on the IFC channel!

Tune in once again each weekend (check your local listings for the right time) to see a mash-ups of clips from rock movies and documentaries, concert films, experimental short films, weirdo kaiju monster flicks, computer art films, campy ’50s sci-fi serials, banned cartoons, and loads of music videos that MTV wouldn’t dare show.

We’ve had an online presence for a few years now with Night Flight Plus, our streaming subscription “channel,” which is where you can find all the above and more, supplemented by full-length streaming titles we’ve added from our content partners, including fellow cultural insurrectionists MVD Video.


Tune in to see why VH1 called us “the single greatest rock omnibus program ever aired” and Brooklyn Vegan named us “the most consistently weird and awesome thing on cable television in the ’80s.”

Read more below about our sixth “Night Flight Highlights” episode (“Hardcore Punk & Australian Invasion”) on IFC — the cable network describes these episodes as “A fever dream of classic clips including iconic rock stars, animation, and heavy metal music, a trip back to the boundary-pushing music and videos of the 1980s” — and be sure to sign up for Night Flight Plus to watch more classic episodes of the original ’80s, available on Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV.

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Buy Finding Joseph I: The HR From Bad Brains Documentary

Now streaming on Night Flight Plus is the 2017 documentary Finding Joseph I: The H.R. from Bad Brains Documentary, which delves deeply into the eccentric life of punk rock reggae lead singer Paul “H.R.” Hudson from Washington D.C.’s Bad Brains.

Finding Joseph I also provides some of the answers that Bad Brains fans have been asking about the band’s legendary lead singer, who quit the band numerous times and eventually changed his name from “H.R.” (which stood for “Human Rights”) to “Joseph I.”

Joseph I/H.R. also started up a new, Rastafarian-influenced reggae outfit, Zion Train, which allowed him to explore his interest in reggae music.

This change in musical output also enabled him to more fully devote himself to the Rastafarian faith, which had been guiding him away from hardcore punk and towards a more spiritual path.

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“I was desperately searching for revolution and truth and freedom. I thought I could find it in punk rock,” says Joseph I/H.R. “It took me about three years to discover that I was just beating my head against a wall.”

The excellent 90-minute award-winning film — lensed by first-time director James Lathos — features never-before-seen archival footage, photography and exclusive interviews with family members, bandmates (past and present), close friends, and those he has influenced and inspired.

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Buy Salad Days: A Decade of Punk In Washington, DC (1980-90)

Salad Days: A Decade Of Punk In Washington, DC (1980-90) — now streaming over on Night Flight Plus — which chronicles the story behind the 80s decade’s D.I.Y. punk scene in the Nation’s Capital.

The documentary film takes a look back at the bands — including Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Government Issue, Scream, Void, Faith, Rites of Spring, Marginal Man, Fugazi, and many more — who released their own records though indie labels and booked their own shows, all before the early ’90s “alternative rock” explosion.

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Henry Rollins, Black Flag (photo by Jim Saah)

Washington D.C.-based filmmaker, music journalist, and graphic designer Scott Crawford founded Metrozine, a fanzine dedicated to the DC hardcore punk scene, when he was a teenager. After college, in 2001, he launched Harp magazine and served as its editor-in-chief for over seven years.

Crawford’s documentary film debut, Salad Days, features exclusive archival photographs, concert footage and interviews with dozens of bands, artists, label owners, fanzine publishers and others who helped mold and nurture DC’s underground community during this inspired decade of music.

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Buy Bad Brains: Live at CBGB 1982

As you can see in this live concert from late 1982Bad Brains: Live at CBGB 1982, released on DVD in 2006, just as CBGB was closing its doors for good — Bad Brains were notably splitting their set list into two halves, playing both dub-reggae and intense and pummeling hardcore punk.

Two cameramen — including the film’s director, Richard Oretsky — capture all the action, including slam-dancing and stage-diving fans, not to mention H.R. and the band in their prime, although based on the position of the cameras, bassist Darryl Jenifer isn’t seen too often as he was forced to stand behind drummer Earl Hudson due to the lack of space onstage.

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Most of the focus is on H.R., shaking hands with fans, moving through the crowd, pulling faces, storming across the tiny stage, dancing in place, and sometimes standing next to his brother Earl, who’s wearing a CBGB t-shirt and bashing away at his kit while they’re pummeling away on the band’s hardcore classics, like “Big Takeover,” “Right Brigade,” “How Low Can A Punk Get,” “Pay to Cum,” and their reggae tunes, “King of Glory,” “The Meek,” and “Rally Round Jah Throne.”

It’s interesting to note that these late ’82 Christmas shows capture the band at what may have been their subsequent movement away from hardcore music and deeper into roots reggae, and even though most of the audience may have been patiently tolerating the reggae songs, treating them as a brief respite in order to catch their breath, the band were really more interested in becoming more of a full-on reggae band but were certainly obliged to play their hardcore punk hits, even though that’s not possibly not where their hearts truly were.

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Lunch welcomes viewers to “Mondo New York, home to outcasts, misfits, rejects, losers, pervert lunatics, skanksters, pranksters and outlaws, yeah, neurotic, psychotic maniacs, braniacs, hippies, yippies, yuppie junkies, flunkies, monkeys, yeah, all trying to claw their way to the top of the trash heap, the top of the garbage pile, all screaming in the American obscene ‘me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, I want my fame, my fortune, my lousy fifteen minutes’…”

Buy Mondo New York (coming from MVD in December 2018)

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Rosie O’Donnell had a considerably different start in the entertainment business, compared with Joy Behar, bitten by the funny bug when she was still in high school, where she was a popular student, elected both prom and homecoming queen, and she was voted the student with the most “school spirit” and elected class president before she graduated.

Mostly, though, she loved to make her classmates laugh, imitating “Saturday Night Live” characters and copying Jerry Seinfeld’s monologues, writing her own jokes and working towards a career in comedy early on.

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After school, she spent the next five years on a stand-up comedy tour, traveling around to 49 U.S. states, returning home to go back to school, studying briefly at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and Boston University before she got the itch to get back out there on the stage again.

In 1984, she made five winning appearances on TV’s popular “Star Search” show, and then moved to Los Angeles, where she landed a part on the last season of NBC’s popular sitcom “Gimme a Break.”

Then, she ended up on VH1 as a VJ, introducing music videos. In due time she convinced the cable network to develop a comedy program, “Stand-Up Spotlight,” and signed on to host the show for the next four years, which introduced a lot of new comedians to the world.

By the time she appeared on “Night Flight”‘s “Comedy Cuts,” she was already well known in the comedy world, and frequently crossed paths with Behar, who in 1987 — the year after appearing on her episode of “Comedy Cuts” — would land her own Lifetime channel variety series, “Way Off Broadway”, which lasted just one season.

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Buy Lene Lovich: Live from New York At Studio 54

On December 4, 1981, New Wave icon Lene Lovich was captured during the dizzying height of her popularity at NYC’s infamous Studio 54, performing an eleven-song set that included the percolating title track — penned by synth-pop pioneer Thomas Dolby, featured here on keyboards — of her then-latest release, the mini-LP New Toy.

Originally intended for broadcast on music television back in the day, you can now watch Lene Lovich: Live from New York, at Studio 54 streaming on Night Flight Plus!

Though Lene Lovich was often noted for her trailblazing theatrical onstage appearance — her big expressive eyes, eccentric and outrageous attire, and pigtailed and plaited hair were frequently mentioned by rock journalists — her quirky looks were only part of the reason she was considered a New Wave icon.

She rarely received enough credit for what she called her “spontaneous self-expression,” though, and for being one of the more experimental female singers of the early ’80s.

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Buy AC/DC: Back in Black – A Classic Album Under Review

AC/DC soon realized they weren’t going to miss a step having Johnson as their new vocalist, and began writing songs together.

By late April of 1980, along with their producer, Robert John “Mutt” Lange, they were flying off to record a new album at Compass Point studios in Nassau, Bahamas.

AC/DC decided to start the track with bellowing chimes from a tolling church bell, and used a mobile recording truck to go to a church in Leicestershire, England, to record it (Tony Platt’s re-telling of the story behind the recording of “Hells Bells” is one of the documentary’s highlights).

It proved to be the perfect track to kick off the new album, Back in Black, released on July 21, 1980, by Atlantic Records, exactly five months and one day after Bon Scott had died.

The album’s monolithic memorial all-black cover was designed as a “sign of mourning” for Bon Scott.

Back in Black then began an incredible 13-month residency in the Top Ten of the Billboard US album charts, transforming formerly washed-up lead howler Brian Johnson from has-been to hero almost overnight.

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The album would go on to sell an estimated fifty million copies worldwide (26.1 million verified), becoming the second-highest-selling album in history (bested only by Michael Jackson’s Thriller, released in 1982).

In November of 1980, Rolling Stone magazine’s review praised Back in Black, calling it “… not only the best of AC/DC’s six albums, it’s the apex of heavy-metal art: the first LP since Led Zeppelin II that captures all the blood, sweat and arrogance of the genre. In other words, Back in Black kicks like a mutha.”

Read more here.

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Buy Gil Scott-Heron, Black Wax

Here’s an excerpt from our post about Robert Mugge’s Gil Scott-Heron: Black Wax (© 2016 Robert Mugge):

Prophets do, in time, receive honor in their own lands, but it doesn’t always come in the form that it should. Had Gil received the honor he deserved while here, perhaps his demons wouldn’t have gotten the better of him; perhaps he’d still be entertaining us, provoking us, and casting a light on every form of human injustice.

Had we listened, decades ago, when he sang of racism, drug and alcohol addiction, the epidemic of guns in our cities, nuclear proliferation, and the agony of illegal immigration, perhaps these wouldn’t be the problems they still are today.

So, let us please not turn turn this vibrant, gifted, and compassionate man, Gil Scott-Heron, into a wax figure. Instead, let’s keep him present in our hearts, and let’s address the issues to which he devoted his life and his art.

Watch Gil Scott-Heron: Black Wax on Night Flight Plus.

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Moby – Hymn
(Director: Paul Sanchez Yates)

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Buy Stevie Ray Vaughan: Rise Of A Texas Bluesman: 1954-1983

Rise of a Texas Bluesman: Stevie Ray Vaughan 1954-1983 chronicles the early part of the Austin, Texas-based guitarist’s incredible career, as well as providing us with a concise overview of Texas blues history. You can find this two-hour film streaming in our collection of music documentaries over on Night Flight Plus.

The documentary delves into Vaughan’s earliest musical influences, his first recordings and his earliest bands, which we see through rare, archival film footage and exclusive interviews — including several archival interviews with Vaughan himself — and those with some of his friends and musical colleagues, who offer up a variety of perspectives.

We’re reminded of their musical influences, including Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and T-Bone Walker, the latter also hailing from Oak Cliff, the blue collar, racially diverse side of Dallas where Jimmy and Stevie Ray Vaughan grew up.

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About Night Flight

Voice of a generation that spoke from 11PM-7AM EST Friday and Saturday on USA Network in the '80s. Back to enlighten and inspire 24/7.