Capturing the messy upheaval of the ’70s just as rock was re-inventing itself, CREEM: AMERICA’S ONLY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MAGAZINE explores CREEM Magazine’s humble beginnings in post-riot Detroit, follows its upward trajectory from underground paper to national powerhouse, then bears witness to its imminent demise following the tragic and untimely deaths of its visionary publisher, Barry Kramer, and its most famous alum and genius clown prince, Lester Bangs, a year later. Fifty years after publishing its first issue, “America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine” remains a seditious spirit in music and culture.
Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama is the unlikely breeding ground for some of America’s most creative and defiant music. Under the spiritual influence of the “Singing River,” as Native Americans called it, the music of Muscle Shoals has helped create some of the most important and resonant songs of all time. At its heart is Rick Hall who founded FAME Studios. Overcoming crushing poverty and staggering tragedies, Hall brought black and white together in Alabama’s cauldron of racial hostility to create music for the generations. He is responsible for creating the “Muscle Shoals sound” and The Swampers, the house band at FAME that eventually left to start their own successful studio, known as Muscle Shoals Sound. Gregg Allman, Bono, Clarence Carter, Mick Jagger, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge and others bear witness to Muscle Shoals’ magnetism, mystery and why it remains influential today.
DANNY SAYS is a documentary on the life and times of Danny Fields. Since 1966, Danny Fields has played a pivotal role in music and “culture” of the late 20th century: working for The Doors, Cream, Lou Reed, Nico, Judy Collins and managing groundbreaking artists like The Stooges, The MC5 and The Ramones. DANNY SAYS follows Fields from Phi Beta Kappa whiz-kid, to Harvard Law dropout, to the Warhol Silver Factory, to Director of Publicity at Elektra Records, to “punk pioneer” and beyond. Danny’s taste and opinion, once deemed defiant and radical, has turned out to have been prescient. DANNY SAYS is a story of marginal turning mainstream, avant-garde turning prophetic, as Fields looks to the next generation.
Wild Combination is director Matt Wolf’s visually absorbing portrait of the seminal avant-garde composer, singer-songwriter, cellist, and disco producer Arthur Russell. Before his untimely death from AIDS in 1992, Arthur prolifically created music that spanned both pop and the transcendent possibilities of abstract art. Now, over fifteen years since his passing, Arthur’s work is finally finding its audience. Wolf incorporates rare archival footage and commentary from Arthur’s family, friends, and closest collaborators—including Philip Glass and Allen Ginsberg—to tell this poignant and important story.
SCOTT WALKER: 30 CENTURY MAN is a rare glimpse into the creative world of the most enigmatic figure in rock history, and will trace the undeniable impact he has had on popular music through casual interviews with some of his biggest, highest-profile fans.
Filmed in October 2008 on the eve of Obama’s historic election and an unprecedented economic crisis, this lyrical portrait of New York City follows WFMU radio reporter Clay Pigeon as he takes to the streets to talk to fellow New Yorkers about their lives, their dreams, and their relationship with a transforming city. As part of what he calls a “radio experiment,” this transplanted Iowan roams the streets bearing a handheld recorder and a kindly probing nature: “Has he popped the question?” “When is the last time you’ve had a regular roof over your head?” “Do you love America?” These revealing interviews are woven between vivid scenes of New York’s eccentric byways, which together reveal a city—and a nation—at a crossroads.
In ‘80s LA, punks boarded school buses to the Mojave Desert for a guerrilla festival of music, art, and explosions. Before Coachella and Burning Man, there was Desolation Center. Featuring music from Sonic Youth, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, and Einstürzende Neubauten.
The film is now available to stream and we are excited to offer special discount codes when you purchase or rent the film on Vimeo. Best of all, when you use these discount codes a portion of the proceeds will go to benefit WFMU!
Use promo code WFMU20 for 20% off when you purchase the film. Use promo code WFMU10 for 10% off when you rent the film.
What the Funk Brothers did for Motown… The Wrecking Crew did, only bigger, for the West Coast Sound. Six years in a row in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, the Grammy for “Record of the Year” went to Wrecking Crew recordings. And now, THE WRECKING CREW tells the story in pictures and that oh, so glorious sound. The favorite songs of a generation are all here, presented by the people who made them for you. THE WRECKING CREW is a documentary film produced and directed by Denny Tedesco, son of legendary late Wrecking Crew guitarist Tommy Tedesco. The film tells the story of the unsung musicians that provided the backbeat, the bottom and the swinging melody that drove many of the number one hits of the 1960’s. It didn’t matter if it was Nat “King” Cole, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, The Monkees, The Byrds or The Beach Boys, these dedicated musicians brought the flair and musicianship that made the American “west coast sound” a dominant cultural force around the world. The film is a fun and moving tribute from Denny to his father and to the music, the times and to the secret star-making machine known only as “The Wrecking Crew”.
Good Ol’ Freda
Freda Kelly was just a shy Liverpudlian teenager when she was asked to work for a local band hoping to make it big. Though she had no concept of how far they would go, Freda had faith in The Beatles from the beginning, and The Beatles had faith in her.
History notes that The Beatles were together for 10 years, but Freda worked for them for 11. Many people came in and out of the band’s circle as they grew to international stardom, but Freda remained a staple because of her unfaltering loyalty and dedication. As the Beatles’ devoted secretary and friend, Freda was there as history unfolded; she was witness to the evolution – advances and setbacks, breakthroughs and challenges – of the greatest band in history.
In Good Ol’ Freda, Freda tells her stories for the first time in 50 years. One of few documentaries with the support of the living Beatles and featuring original Beatles music, the film offers an insider perspective on the beloved band that changed the world of music.
The life and career of rock ‘n’ roll icon Joan Jett from her early years ripping it up onstage as the founder and backbone of hard-rock legends The Runaways, to her long time collaboration with Kenny Laguna as Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, and her enduring presence in pop culture as a rock pioneer and mentor. With her inimitable singles “I Love Rock N’ Roll,” and “Bad Reputation” Joan Jett inspired a generation of young women to rock.
Once Were Brothers – Robbie Robertson and The Band
ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND is a confessional, cautionary, and occasionally humorous tale of Robertson’s young life and the creation of one of the most enduring groups in the history of popular music, The Band. The film is a moving story of Robertson’s personal journey, overcoming adversity and finding camaraderie alongside the four other men who would become his brothers in music, together making their mark on music history. ONCE WERE BROTHERS blends rare archival footage, photography, iconic songs and interviews with Robertson’s friends and collaborators including Martin Scorsese, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, and more.
NICO, 1988 follows the singer-songwriter, approaching 50, leading a solitary existence in Manchester, far from her 60s glam days as a Warhol superstar and celebrated vocalist for cult band The Velvet Underground. Her life and career on the fringes, Nico’s new manager Richard convinces her to hit the road again and tour Europe to promote her latest album. Struggling with her demons and the consequences of a muddled life, she longs to rebuild a relationship with her son, whose custody she lost long ago. A brave and uncompromising musician, Nico’s story is the story of a rebirth: of an artist, a mother, and the woman behind the icon.