Saturday, December 31, 2005

From L.A. to N.Y., from N.Y. to L.A.

The current issue of L.A. Weekly features an excellent cover story on East Side '50s & '60s Chicano rock & roll. Obviously it's an L.A.-centric article, but it also contains a few NYC-related anecdotes; the surviving members of Cannibal & the Headhunters offer memories on shows they played at the Brooklyn Fox, Small's Paradise in Harlem, and at Shea as openers for the Beatles.

Speaking of L.A.-NYC connections...the new Bob Gruen New York Dolls DVD, All Dolled Up (to which I was initially hipped by an informative streetsyoucrossed reader), includes a healthy dose of L.A. action. There's live footage from the Whisky, both from soundchecks ("Johnny Rivers didn't sound like this," a dissatisfied David Jo quips at one point) and actual shows, plus a lip-synch session for The Real Don Steele Show. Lotsa cool downtime footage as well--backstage scenes (with the fabled Sable Starr and Lori Maddox among others), a relaxed interview on a grassy knoll near the NBC studios (the guys were taking a break from a Midnight Special taping), hanging at the Hyatt, cruising down Hollywood Boulevard and the Strip, purchasing nipple slippers at some sex/novelty shop, and dancing at Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco. Don't worry, plenty of NYC footage made the cut, including clips from Kenny's Castaways, Max's, Club 82, Little Hippodrome, and the "St. Valentine's Day Mascara" film shown before the big Academy of Music gig--not to mention clueless local newscasts and a hilarious scene at JFK Airport. As one reviewer pointed out, though, if Gruen has forty hours worth of this stuff, releasing only about 95 minutes of it is tantamount to a tease. I'm left grateful, but greedy for mo'.


clr said...

I have faded memories of Gruen showing hours of this stuff at the old Rockages record fairs. He was always prescribed from releasing this stuff due to the whole Leber-Krebs mess w/the Dolls so showing it in public I think was a way of getting around that.

That said, I have two ideas as to why we only got 95 minutes:
1) Music DVDs *do not sell*. Honestly, they don't. It's not big money unless you're Coldplay and even then I'm not sure it's big money.
2) See above. Maybe legally he could get away with releasing a certain amount. Or negotiated to release a certain amount.

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