The mysteries surrounding "I'm Still Here," the documentary film
directed by Casey Affleck that tracks Joaquin Phoenix's supposed
breakdown, appear to have been solved. In an interview with the New York Times,
Affleck admitted that the entire project was not actually a legitimate
documentary (which followed Phoenix's attempts to start a rap career,
do a bunch of drugs and generally fall apart) but rather a massive
piece of performance art conceived by Phoenix. Even Phoenix's legendary
interview on "The Late Show with David Letterman" was part of the act.
Knowing that it's mostly for show certainly makes "I'm Still Here"
better and lets everybody stop worrying about Phoenix and his mental
Hoaxes in the music world are a dime a dozen, but this particular project recalls the strange tale of the Network,
the mysterious New Wave band that started to make noise in 2003 in the
run-up to their debut album Money Money 2020. Their brand of twitchy
New Wave didn't take the world by storm, though they did get an awful
lot of ink because they started a feud with Green Day
(frontman Billie Joe Armstrong put out their album on his label) while
also fending off rumors that they were made up of the members of Green
"I just wanted to talk about the rumors and the bulls--- that has
been going on lately," Armstrong wrote in a statement in the summer of
2003. "All I gotta say is f-- the Network. These guys are totally
spreading rumors. I try to do those guys a favor by bringing them to
this country and putting out their record and this is how I get repaid,
by talking s--- about my band. Unfortunately there is a contract and I
have to put out their record. The only thing I can say is f--- you,
Network. Bring it on."
The identities of the members of the Network remained closely
guarded. They always wore masks and were never photographed very
cleanly, and they went by odd pseudonyms like Fink and the Snoo.
Meanwhile, Green Day band seemed really intent on selling the idea that
they were not in fact the Network, though eventually there was too
much evidence against it (namely that their names showed up in the
writing credits for the songs on Money Money 2020). But that didn't
stop Green Day from really trying to sell the drama, even going as far
as having their publicist issue statements about how badly the Network
were ruining the group's lives. They never stretched it as far as
Phoenix did, but they still managed to keep people talking for a while.