New doc chronicles Bay Ridge hardcore band Indecision

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It wasn’t a tough choice.

A new documentary on influential Brooklyn hardcore band Indecision will screen at Greenpoint heavy metal bar Saint Vitus on Jan. 24 and 25. The documentarian behind the flick, titled “What it Once Meant,” said he was trying to decide on a topic for his next film when an idea hit him over the head.

“I was looking to do a feature-length project, and I was hanging out with the guys from Indecision and started hearing all these stories,” said filmmaker Derek Morse, who grew up listening to the band. “I thought it would be cool to collect them and put them into a piece. I figured I might as well do something I’m passionate about.”

The band formed in Bay Ridge in 1993, playing shows around the city before a slew of U.S. and European tours, said guitarist Rachel Rosen, who booked the group at Manhattan clubs in the early ’90s and filled in as a second guitarist from 1997 to the band’s 2000 dissolution.

To tell the Indecision story, Morse interviewed band members, roadies, members of the media, and related acts — including Roger Miret of pioneering hardcore act Agnostic Front — and spliced in footage from Indecision’s live shows and inside its tour van.

Rosen provided Morse with most of the archival footage, which the pair digitized and trolled through for material, he said.

“I went through over 200 hours of VHS,” said Morse, who is also Rosen’s beau.

Taking a walk down memory lane provoked mixed emotions for the guitarist.

“It made me sad because we’re all a bit older now,” Rosen said. “That was a different time. It was so free back then with touring and not having to work that much — you just worked to tide yourself over to the next tour.”

The band split while on the road in El Paso, Texas in 2000. Members went on to form other bands, but they also found respectable day jobs. Rosen is a pathologists’ assistant, and other members went on to work as a forensic psychiatrist, a Fire Department paramedic, a public school guidance counsellor, and a city council staffer, she said

“The fact that all these people went on to work in public service is kind of amazing,” Morse said. “A lot of people look at hardcore as aggressive music that doesn’t have a message — one thing about Indecision that caught my attention was the message of social responsibi­lity.”

Rosen said trading in the six-string for a lab coat wasn’t as much of a sacrifice as one might think, because at the end of the day, work is work.

“In the beginning, everything was new and fun — everything was a new experience,” Rosen said. “The more we started touring, the less we were videotaping — at that point it was becoming more job-like.”

“What it Once Meant” at Saint Vitus Bar (1120 Manhattan Ave. between Box and Clay streets in Greenpoint, Jan. 24 at 1 pm. $12.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019: The Jan. 25 screening has sold out.
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