The Sounds of the Underground

Synopsis: A documentary about the lives and experiences of four groups of subway performers revealing how these artists are perceived by society.
Genre: Documentary
61 min

(Mellow music)


Transfers available

to the four, five, six

and Q, R and W trains.

(Train sounds)


I don't understand that word.

The land of the free.

You're free to think. Go out there

and try to do some of the shit

you think of. It will put you

away so fast,

and so quick, and you will

stay away.

From being free.

(Train noises)

(Soft string music)

(Fast string music)

(Train sounds)

(Slow string music)

(Train sounds) The quality of

the music and performance,

varies a lot. So a lot of it is quite

annoying and just a nuisance, but

when they're good, they

brighten the place up,

add a little bit of atmosphere,

cheer your day up.

It's always pretty dreary and


So, it's nice to

have a bit of fun along the way.

(Train sounds)

I'm just sitting here

playing a guitar. That's

hard enough.

-Your name? -My name is

Alex. -That's it?

-That's it. It's Alex. That's all.

-Where are you from? -Me? Earth.

I'm a down to earth guy, man.

Anywhere I hang my hat

is home.

(Guitar music) (Train sounds)

This is called the hole, man.

That's right.

You ain't down in the train.

You ain't down in the station.

You're down

in the hole.

I'm gonna leave New York

after the summer. I'm just

tired of New York.

I've been

here too many years

and it's too expensive living in New York.

(Upbeat music)

Female voice:
Thank you!

(Drum music)

(Female celebratory yell)

(Female yell)

(Traffic noises)

There's some real talent on the

streets and subways of New York City.

I mean, New York draws artists.

I mean, that is part of the

energy. What gives vitality to

the city. Um... (cough)

And it's a shame that the city

is becoming so expensive now

that artists can't afford to

live here. It's lost a lot of that

artistic quality, yet at the same time,

it's just like the song says:

if you can make it in New York,

you can make it anywhere.

You got a bartender that takes

5, 10s and 20s.

You got a guy at the door

taking money after 10 o'clock.

You want me to go there

and do something for nothing?

You're a millionaire!

You know, you got a fucking

million dollars, man.

You want me for free and everything you got?

You don't give out no free music

when you got new musicians there.

I don't go over to the CD player

and push the button in the back

where it doesn't need to take money.

I don't see open the pool

tables up. You know,

they don't give out spit, but then

they want you and I refuse to do that.

I will not go to work for free for nobody.

(Spanish music)

Look at her all pretty,

got no place to go. Got some

toe tapping.

Wanna shake and shake and


Mama come your way.


(Train sounds)

(Mellow music)

My music is like a fusion of

all the styles that I grew up

hearing and they definitely

involve rock. I mean I love

every bit of Steven Tyler and

Aerosmith as I do,

you know, James Taylor.

-I was inspired by a lot of people.

People that I didn't even know then.

(Clapping sounds)

A lot of where mainstream pop culture

gets its influences and ideas

is from the street. Whether that's

voguing or rap music or hip hop,

hopping and mocking and


(Techno music)

Truthfully, I ain't ever worked.

Work is for people that don't play

guitar. That's what I told them.

I agree with them

wholeheartedly. Exactly right.

I am lazy, shiftless,

man... Don't even show me no

kind of tool. I don't even want to go

near Sears.

I get hives when I get

near Sears, man.

I'm a musican,

I make a living at being a musician.

(Honking horns) And I

mean it's no different than

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    "The Sounds of the Underground" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 19 Oct. 2020. <>.

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