So when I started this documentary project on the Sound Station last summer in 2011 it was really to celebrate something that was pretty unique to my dear old town of Westfield, New Jersey. The hope is that this story turns into a comeback for a little cultural mecca that was just starting to gets it’s legs back. Embraced by the local NJ music scene like The Court Tavern was this was just another unexpected blow. The record store was going through a resurgence finding their audience on facebook and throwing free shows they were able to stick their heads-out from the recession but nothing could prepare them for this. This is a place where there was always a steady diet of discovery of all sorts of genres funk, jazz, soul, hip-hop or whatever your discerning rock taste was into. Chances are Bob would always have a recommendation for you and if he didn’t I was usually was just happy to be able to walk into the place and talk about music — music therapy. Just knowing the place was there gave musicians and music fans like myself comfort.
Ava shopping for records at the Sound Station
Anyway, most of you reading this already know this but for the one’s that have not stepped into a record in years. Maybe it’s time to consider stepping into one because it’s a sort of experience that can’t be replicated. My hope is that this short inspires you in some way and we can do an update as the tale unfolds. Stay tuned!
Just one of many amazing Blues, Soul and Funk records I found at Sound Station
Music to discover or rediscover: Problems MP3 by Lee Fields & The Expressions Greasy Spoon MP3 by Mel Brown from Chicken Fat Radio MP3 by Raphael Saadiq from Stone Rollin’ One More Night MP3 by CAN from Ege Bamyasi Black Snake MP3 by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears from Scandalous
Drive is a sonically sound road trip rock documentary with David Gedge and his band The Wedding Present touring North America way back in 2005 which was Directed & Edited by Steve Stone and his company Third Hand Films whom I’ve known the better part of 20 years! Can’t believe it. Anyway, the story goes that Steve sent Gedger an email when he heard they were planning on coming to America and he asked him if he’d be interested in taping some of the shows. After a bunch of red tape, venues collecting taping fees, many emails and miles of editing here’s the end result; a road show which uses video shot at multiple venues in the states and some by the band themselves.
Some of the interviews takes places at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA but unfortunately the concert footage there could not show any of the cool shit there. Other venues include Maxwells to the Roxy in LA. Steve took a few minutes out of his Sunday and came over to play Wii with my daughter and I to drop off a copy of the film. Here’s a few questions I shot over to him after the home screening. [BUY IT ON MVD]
The Wedding Present - Photo by Terri Nelles
RS: You’ve done a lot of videos over the years since I’ve known you for Pegboy and Buffalo Tom. How’d you come to pick David Gedge as documentary subject matter?
SS: I saw that The Wedding Present were about to tour the U.S. after an 8-year hiatus, so I thought that would be an interesting project. I sent my pitch to David Gedge and he said yes. RS: What’s your best memory shooting this road show and being on the road with the Wedding Present?
SS: my best memory was probably having dinner at Maxwell’s in Hoboken before that gig with Peter Mark Craig (a TWP fan from London who I had met 2 nights before in Boston) and my second camera guy, Matt McNamara. It was a real bonding moment. RS: David Gedge is pretty English and from what you told me he wore the same outfit every night. That must had helped with consistency a little?
SS: actually I think (and hope) that he had a few of the same shirts, but it did help with the mix and match editing from the different shows RS: When was the first time you saw twp? Where? Memories?
SS: I first saw TWP at CBGB’s in 1994. my only memory was that everyone was yelling for them to play “kennedy” and they wouldn’t do it. RS: For the uniniciated can you describe their sound?
SS: their sound is very fast, jangly guitars with what i can only describe as very british vocals.
Photo by Terri Nelles
RS: Was it much different than shooting porn stars? I know one of the projects Women in Porn you’ve had on the back burner is still in process. Has that ever going to come-out? Or is there just a flood of that stuff?
SS: Obviously the content was different, but the biggest difference is that when you’re shooting a live concert, you can’t stop if there’s a problem, so you have to be better prepared technically. I hope to eventually finish the porn project, just have been busy with life.
RS: Was it easy to shoot this on next to nothing of a Dixie cup budget? Ever think of having a kickstarter account to fund something?
SS: Budget-wise, all I needed was tape stock and a couple of tanks of gas. The biggest expense was airfare to Los Angeles and a couple of nights in hotel rooms in Boston, D.C. and LA.
RS: What has the WP fan base response been like so far?
SS: One thing I learned from this project is that TWP fans are quite loyal and the overall response from them has been really positive. The film was premiered in London in June of ’10 and the feedback I got from that was really great. But I think the best compliment I’ve gotten from more than a few people was that they felt compelled to clap after each song in the film. That they felt like they were watching a live show.
RS: Seems like everybody and their mother is making documentaries. For instance the One about City Gardens and Randy Now. Would you do something like this again? What would you do differently?
SS: There are definitely a lot of docs coming out about everything under the sun, but that’s just because it’s so easy to do cost-wise and technology-wise these days. I love music and would welcome the opportunity to work on another band film, but as far as doing it differently, the only change I’d make would be shooting in HD.
RS: Any concert or other documentaries of recent you admire?
SS: I really enjoyed the Curt Flood doc on HBO.
RS: What’s in store for Third Hand Films? I know part of the big plan is to move out to LA. Sounds terrorizing to me but how can people reach you?
SS: I don’t know what is in store for Thirdhand Films. If things go according to plan, yes, a move to the west coast in possible. As for reaching me, only if someone has money to throw at me, firstname.lastname@example.org
RS: What are your top 10 songs as of recent? Any new bands? I know you’ve also DJ’d any other career you’d choose?
SS: This is the toughest question. I’m so out of the loop with new bands. I really love the alternate version of “Loving Cup” on the Exile on Main Street outtakes. Cant’ say there’s too much that rattling my brain right now. As for another career, I wanna be a dog whisperer. RS: You once dj’d on prb and where else I can’t remember exactly? What are some of the songs you would put in a playlist with twp? Does not have to be current tunes.
SS: i did shows at wrsu, wtsr and wprb, all at different times between ’92 and ’98. songs that I would play with TWP? not so much particular songs but some bands would be new order, my dad is dead, the cure. RS: Anything else you’d like to add? Words of wisdom for people in film school,etc.
SS: Nothing else to add and my only advise to film school students is have a back-up plan because everyone and his brother is making “films” now.
Roadshow play list: Kennedy MP3 By The Wedding Present from Bizarro (1989) Ceremony MP3 by New Order from Substance French Film Blurred MP3 by Wire from Chairs Missing Seven years MP3 by My Dad Is Dead from The Taller You Are The Shorter You Get (1989) A Night Like This MP3 by The Cure from Head on the Door (1985)
ALBUM REVIEW: Something between the electronic gadgetry of grandaddy, Rufus Wainwright’s vocal flair and Mike Peters’s acoustic Alarm marches is Joshua Flowers’s SOMASEKLondon Recordings. Floating in spacey vibrations plush with wall to wall carpeting set for that modern music you may imagine in A Clockwork Orange’s record store scene. Where they cater to a debonair and young Malcolm Mcdowell’s taste as he flips through records and picks up some play things for a quick roll in the hay. Other times there are some wicked guitar tones in particular on the track “Time Bomb” which scrambles in-between 1-2 drum machine beats but Joshua’s fancy sleeves certainly are most pronounced in the elevated break-up hit “Hologram”. I don’t know maybe this is truly sexy 70’s milko-bar-music but with less of a perverted Eno thing. You definitely may need a compass to navigate these dreamy pop songs but the fantasy will be safe as each of these tunes floats like their own secret magical ruin. Check it out!
Greek Song MP3 By Rufus Wainwright from his record Poses to see what we mean.
Q&A:: Joshua Flowers answers the dreaded questions which albums would you take with you to a deserted island and goes into the making of London Recordings on a laptop and corresponding via email with the mixer/producer “…felt old-fashioned… It was like working through morse code or something.” — Read more »
Unremarkable People Confirmation Bias EP via Ourselves Collective
Album Review:Unremarkable People are my New favorite band on so many levels if life were a video game. The group is the brainchild of one known as B. Mandelbaum. Not a very rockstarish name but then again neither is singer/songwriter Burt Bacharach.
The evidence is in the words and melodies that are apologetically so and prolifically free. How else are kids supposed to work? Mandelbaum and his collective of friends (Dan, Adam, Tom, Steve, Christian, Jeremy, Bill, Matt, Rowen, Mike, Joe..) remind us sincerely musically of the one man show known as Los Halos lead by Samezvous aka Eli Wenger or East River Pipe.
One way to come up with huge discography is to never stop recording and to release as much material as you can as if your life depended on it. This is what Unremarkable People have done in the tradition of cooperatives. A don’t stop. Don’t look back Clash philosophy where you are dared to quit. Maybe they edit out the shit (or maybe not) and move on. Not sure if it applies here since there is one beating heart creating the material and lots of friends are involved. To make them just show up to the scene is probably a job in itself.
The evidence is the debut a 16 track epic that was recorded in different places in and around Brooklyn, Queens and Shirley NY called A Rare Condition, in This Day and Age(2009) but this is not what I’m here to talk about today. The second release is compromised of 5 EPs! Not singles or 7 inches. The latest of five final installments in series is called Confirmation Bias EP. This is manicmusic the sort that blasts out of confetti cannons for good reason at all other than to celebrate imbibing air. Pop music with a infectious melodic sting not unlike a needle prick but in the 2 1/2 minute variety that is sure to bring out your best most awkward dancy dance.
Fri 12/10 Union Pool w/ Roadside Graves
Sat 12/18 Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt Christmas Spectacular @ SILENT BARN
Sun 12/19 Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt Christmas Spectacular @ THE OASIS
Fri 1/14/11 Brooklyn Fireproof East
Influences and stuff I hear in Unremarkable People but decide for yourself:
Lioness (mp3) by Los Halos From Leaving VA and here’s an outtake called Loveless(mp3) that did not make it onto the album and was only available if you got the box set of cds mailed to you. This cd was called a new kind of joy. In the liner notes he goes on about that there was a girl that inspired LVA, then they broke-up and the friend thing was ruined when he played her the song and she laughed. Ouch. [Buy]