Slim Dunlap benefit at Parkway Theatre in MPLS on All Replacements Eve

Two weeks from tonight, on the eve of the national holiday to celebrate The Replacements (and their St. Paul gig)…we’re throwing a benefit for Slim Dunlap at the Parkway Theatre in Minneapolis, featuring a Scott D. Hudson podcast, two sets of Slim and Mats tunes from a bevy of amazing musicians moderated by Jon Clifford, and a completely different version of Color Me Obsessed, edited just for this night.  (I’m calling it “The Editing Room Floor Edition,” and it doesn’t so much tell the story of the Mats but instead is a collection of many smile-inducing tales, many of which never made it into the film.”)

Plus we will be raffling away tons of cool items all night, including a signed copy of Amanda Petrusich amazing new book on record collecting, a gorgeous Erica Bruce Mats still photo, signed CDs from Lydia LovelessMatthew Ryan, and others, a signed copy of Jim Walsh‘s photographic history, a few dozen DVD’s from my distributor MVD, and so so so so much more…(yes, even some of my crap.)

And all profits are going to help cover Slim’s medical expenses. If you’re in the Twin Cities area…well, you know what you have to do! There will be many great surprises. This is the Mats party everyone will be talking about.

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/719166908137828/

Tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/841675

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Filed under paul westerberg, replacements, the replacements, Uncategorized

Every Everything coming to DVD

Just making sure everyone knows that EVERY EVERYTHING: THE MUSIC, LIFE & TIMES OF GRANT HART will be released on DVD on August 12th. The DVD comes with a boatload of extra interviews with Grant Hart on the following 20 topics:

1. 2541
2. analog vs. digital recording
3. bare ass beach
4. funkytown
5. grant on songwriting, part one
6. grant on songwriting, part two
7. hipsters
8. influences
9. joan rivers
10. mpls vs. saint paul
11. music vs. art
12. rose garden
13. the baby song
14. the collage in real time
15. the hüsker dü logo
16. the loss of the record shop
17. the marx brothers
18. uncut tour of his house
19. what was saved from the fire
20. zen arcade

And yes, his hipster rant is as great as you think it might be!

Order your copy HERE

Every Everything POSTER-final-small

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Filed under documentaries, dvd extras, filmmaking, Grant Hart, Husker Du, rockumentary

Lydia, oh, Lydia, oh, have you heard Lydia…

Everyone who reads this blog has to realize I’m a huge music fan. It’s one of the driving forces in my life. I’ve often said, I don’t believe in god, but I believe in The Replacements. Well, the same can be said of Archers of Loaf, or Patti Smith, or Wilco, or Lucinda Williams, or the Clash, Ida Maria, Neko Case, or even early Rod Stewart, and early Elvis Costello. The music released by these artists are my personal bibles, holy passages that somehow make me understand, and help me survive, and make it all worthwhile. I find solice, I find energy, I find life in these songs.

But why these bands? Sure, there’s something about the song writing. The play on words, the chord progressions, the blessed distortion on the guitars, the wrong notes at the right times. But the one thing all of the above have in common, the singer has a voice unlike any other.

I always compare every voice to Billie Holiday’s. And I think of hers as a fine piece of china. A cup, wise and fragile, with hairline cracks blanketing the surface, making you wonder if the glass will shatter if you touch it the wrong way. But its stronger than anyone can imagine, wise beyond its years. Its survived personal wars and heartbreak, 18-year-old Scotch and the cheapest ripple, piss and vinegar. It might not be the prettiest piece of glass on the shelf, but it’s the one you turn to time and again because its drenched with emotion, and every sip from it makes you feel.

That’s Paul Westerberg’s to me. Or Eric Bachman’s. Patti’s. Lucinda’s. Joe Strummer’s. Jeff Tweedy’s. They are all beautifully damaged pieces of china on my musical shelf. But while one can growl, and one can go blissfully out of tune, and another can go from a whisper to a scream, and another can fill a room with a note so perfectly balanced that Philippe Petit listens in awe, I’m not sure any combine all of the attributes like the young woman I am adding to my list.

I came to Lydia Loveless a little late in the game. I missed her first two albums, the EP, and even purchased her latest, the transcendent “Somewhere Else” a few months after its release on the suggestion of my friend Agatha Donkar. (On the day of its release I was flying to Missoula, Montana for a film festival. New Release Tuesday was not on my radar that week.)

I was immediately addicted. No, I want to go even farther than that. I became a crack whore for anything and everything Lydia Loveless. I bought every album, ordered the two blissful Record Store Day singles on ebay, then repurchased both the new album, and her previous “Indestructible Machine” on vinyl. And as my wonderfully patient wife Kristine will attest, I have played no other music since. No other new releases have even piqued my interest. In fact, all other new music seems to annoy me because, well, it’s not Lydia.

Now normally I get bored very quickly with music. It takes a lot for me to continue playing a new record for more than a week or so. Those albums that get long-term play are few and far between. Something on the record has to sink its claws into me. I want to hear something new every time I listen to a song. Decades later, ten thousand plays later, I still want to hear something new. That is the mark of great art. That is the mark of a masterpiece. And that is everything that Lydia Loveless sings.

Hers is a voice that can soar, that can break, that can swagger and scream, that can whisper and seduce, that can smirk and laugh out loud. She is the china cup from which Billie Holiday would want to drink.

The only thing left was for me to see her perform live.

Last night, in a small venue in Fairfield, Connecticut, Lydia opened for someone whom we did not even stay to see. She was accompanied only by her husband Ben Lamb on a standup bass. It was a seven song set. Thirty minutes. Pretty much what I expected, as she was the warm up. And honestly, I would have been there even if she were playing only one song.

Her voice has such confidence on record, I wondered how it would translate live. But from the first strum of her guitar, it was like we were in the hands of a southern punk rock preacher, who would cure us of the disease which has so sickened rock and roll. And once she opened her mouth, the demons were exorcised, and like a smirking pied piper she would sing to us everything we needed to hear, all the while taking us to the promised land we envisioned the first time we ever heard Westerberg and company.

Each of her songs took on new life, as if perhaps on this night she were singing for the friend she mentioned at the end of the set who had recently passed. Singing every line as if it were for the first time, as if she too were always finding new meaning in her words. New wonder. And when she pulled way back from the mic during “Verlaine Shot Rimbaud” and sang “I just wanna be the one you love,” I doubt anyone in that room would have denied her that request.

The highlight for me, if I could pick one, would have been “Crazy,” which I not only rank as one of the best five or so songs of this half-over decade, but as a song that rivals Patsy Cline’s classic of the same name. It kills me. And I’m not even sure I can put into words why. Perhaps it’s just that feeling when something touches us so completely and we can’t explain why, and the inability to explain makes us feel crazy. Sort of the way I feel about Lydia’s voice, I guess.

And to even call it a highlight sells short the unreleased song she closed the show with, a song dedicated to her friend who’d passed, and called “High Life.” She sang it alone. It was sad, it was beautiful, it made me smile. And I couldn’t help but think that wherever her friend is now, he quickly became the envy of those around him. Perhaps even god, listening for those few minutes thinking that damn when he got it right, he really got it right.

And no, nothing’s changed in that respect. I still don’t believe in god. But after last night I certainly, wholehearted, believe in Lydia Loveless.

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a music video for the theme song for BROKEN SIDE OF TIME

And you can buy the DVD with over 90 minutes of extras (including a featurette on how we made the film for $15K…it’s like a master class in no budget filmmaking) but clicking HERE.

Also, you can now pre-order my third rock documentary EVERY EVERYTHING: THE MUSIC, LIFE & TIMES OF GRANT HART by clicking HERE.

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Filed under broken side of time, filmmaking, matthew ryan

Love them DVD extras!

Those who know my viewing habits know I love DVD extras. If the movie speaks to me, I will devour those deleted scenes, commentaries, etc. Call me a movie geek. It’s a title I’ll wear proudly. (It’s why so many of the movies one my 100 films to watch list a few months back were Criterion releases. Criterion knows extras!)

Because of that, I like to make sure my own releases are loaded with extras. The Broken Side Of Time coming out on May 20th has 90 minutes of extras, including:

But even some extras fell to the cutting room floor. Here’s a little NSFW extra extra that did not make it onto the upcoming DVD release of BROKEN SIDE OF TIME…it’s goofy, and more safe for work than not.

And please order the DVD by clicking HERE.

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Filed under broken side of time, director's commentary, dvd extras, filmmaking

The film that freed my soul…

Ten years ago Frank Loftus and I started a small independent film company. We named it What Were We Thinking Films because we thought that’s what we’d be thinking five years down the road.

My reason was simply that after the debacle that was “The Kiss” in Hollywood, I needed to know that I could either do a film, my way, and actually make it work, or to simply get this whole filmmaking thing out of my system and go back to writing books.

Not to speak for Frank, but I think he believed in me, and the ultimate goal was to eventually raise a few million and to finally turn my first novel “The Second Greatest Story Ever Told” into a film.

But first, we would “experiment,” work out the kinks if you will, with a smaller budget film. That film would become “You Are Alone.”

You Are Alone poster

I love this film. It gave me faith in my abilities. And I truly believe it contains one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen from a young actress via what Jessica Bohl does with the character of Daphne.

It’s always been available on DVD. And finally now I can say it’s also available for both rental and purchase on Vimeo’s On Demand site.

If you like that you’ve seen from me over the past ten years, and have never seen “You Are Alone,” then please watch the film that set me free, and really helped turn me into the story-teller I hope I am today. I think you’ll love it. And you will never see the ending coming.

Watch it HERE

You Are Alone

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Common Sense Crowd Sourcing for Filmmakers…or…a KickStarter campaign that Actually Works! – Part 2

MAKE A GREAT PITCH VIDEO

If you’re a filmmaker your pitch video had better damn well knock my socks off.  If it looks like crap, guess what, I’ll assume your film will as well.  If the sound is bad, I can only assume the sound on your feature will suck.  If it’s badly edited…well, you get the idea.

Show us why we should back your project.  Show us some brilliance.  Show us something that makes us laugh or breaks our heart.  If you’re uncomfortable in front of the camera, give us a trailer, or be self-deprecating and make fun of your nervousness.   Entertain us.

And show us your passion.  Why does this film need to be made?  Why are you the person to make it?  In a good pitch video you’re selling yourself as much as you are selling the idea.  They go hand-in-hand.  Your personality, your passion, your talent, your film.

If this is your second go at crowdsourcing, after a failed first campaign, perhaps make fun of your horrible first pitch video.  Laughs go a long way and the writing of your pitch video should represent the writing in your film.

Likewise the way its shot.  All you need is a window, sunlight, and a DSLR to get a gorgeous image.  I’ve done it countless times.  If you can’t, you shouldn’t be making a film.  Again, show us why you should be.  Show us an image that takes our breath away.

If you decide to go with a trailer, don’t give us a collection of title cards.  Tease us, again with brilliance.  You’re asking us to support your film, so you need to prove to us why we should.  There are hundreds of other films right now on KickStarter, why should yours get my hard earned support dollars?

And to my musician friends, I don’t want to watch your pitch video, hear you talk for four minutes, and then…nothing.  You’re a musician, stop talking, start playing.  I want to hear the music I’ll be backing.  Sure tell me why you need to make this record, but then give me a taste.

Search out the most funded campaigns and examine their videos.  See the passion and the talent on display.  Then look at film campaigns that raised little or even no backing (yes, there are some out there with not one backer), see everything wrong.  DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

This should all be a no brainer, but you’d be shocked at how many horrible pitch videos there are our there.

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Filed under crowd sourcing, crowdfunding, filmmaking, indiegogo, kickstarter