Category Archives: Color Me Obsessed

I hate Big Star, and it’s okay.

BigStar-NO

As a lifelong fan of The Replacements (their life as a band, not mine as a human), I am seemingly required to love the band Big Star, the Alex Chilton-fronted band which put out three albums in the early 70s about which most indie rock fans genuflect and drool.

I’ve tried. Truly I have. Giving the albums many a long-drive-in-the-car listen back in the mid-80s, in the 90’s, at least once a decade. Most recently on a two hour drive, my wife (also a lifelong Mats fan) and I gave it the old college (though we’re both drop out) try.

And not that long ago a friend who’s music opinion I truly value gave me a song-by-song intro to the band. What to listen to first, second, third.

But still I felt nothing.

I watched the Big Star documentary thinking maybe their story would make me care. Nope.

The story was irrelevant. It was the music that didn’t click for me.

Why? (Hold on to that for me.)

In a nutshell, Chilton’s voice is grating and unemotional. Flat like a can of soda left open over night. The production is the worst of everything early-70s wrapped into one, back when I thought rock and roll was over, before punk resuscitated it.   It all sounds like a bad version of what was popular on the radio at the time, which was already bordering on the unlistenable. When listening to Big Star I hear everything that almost made me give up on rock and roll back when I was a teen.

Though I will readily admit the songwriting is good. You certainly can’t tell when Chilton is singing, but hand the song “Thirteen” over to Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, or listen to what This Mortal Coil could do with “Kangaroo” or “Holacaust” and you think songwriting genius. The Bangles cover of “September Gurls” is a pure pop treat that would make Nick Lowe grin. Many amazing songs–I’ll be the first to admit it–when performed by someone else. But those same songs performed by Big Star. They leave me cold.

And please don’t bring up historical significance. Because someone like Robert Johnson has ten thousand times the influence but it would take a gun-to-the-head to make most rock fan give a Johnson tune a spin.

This dislike of Big Star was a secret I held close for years. How could such a huge fan of The Replacements loathe the songwriter who was supposedly one of Paul Westerberg’s biggest influences? How could the director of The Replacements documentary utter such blasphemy?

But the answer finally came to me. Easy. It’s okay. Not every band can speak to every person. And there should be no shame in hating a band you’re supposed to like. Music is subjective. Not every song, not every band, can speak to the same person in the same way. It’s art. Not fast food. There is absolutely nothing wrong with me disliking Big Star, just as there is nothing wrong with you loving them.

I’ll say it now. There are lots of bands I’m supposed to like that bore me to tears. The New York Dolls. Iggy and the Stooges. Hell, I’ve never been able to tolerate an entire Ramones concert because after a few songs they all begin to sound the same. Or the Johnny-come-lately Mats rip-off band Beach Slang–I freakin’ detest Beach Slang while so many other Replacements fans I know are ready for groupie-like devotion. Does this make me a bad person? Does this make me less of a music fanatic? Does this make me an musical idiot? No, no, no. It makes me honest about how music affects me, and it does, in ways even I can’t begin to understand. Music is my religion. But because I get more enjoyment out of Miley Cyrus than I do the New York Dolls is okay. It’s all okay. What you like. What I like. It’s personal. Like toppings on a pizza, the team we root for, our favorite junk TV, our brand of beer.

So what exactly am I saying here? Simply this: “I, Gorman Bechard, love The Replacements, but I hate Big Star. ”

And if you shame me because I’m missing the Big Star gene, that’s on you. You’re the one who should be ashamed.

 

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Filed under Alex Chilton, Big Star, Color Me Obsessed, paul westerberg, replacements, replacements reunion, the replacements, Uncategorized

An open letter to my Color Me Obsessed fans

Hello,

I think I can probably qualify as a pretty big Replacements fan. I’ve loved them since about 1983. Have gone to every tour since, including every solo tour. So having watched and listened to Paul and company for that long I find myself not bothered one microscopic bit by this co-called break-up announcement. Why? you might ask. Because it’s the fucking Replacements. They live to fuck with us. That’s part of why we love them. Is there a more sarcastic genius on the planet than Paul? NO, there isn’t. So, my advice: everyone unruffle your panties, sit back, and wait. In the mean time, enjoy the music as you always have, enjoy the onslaught of live videos posted on YouTube, and be patient. What makes for great rock and roll is that you never know what’s going to happen next. And here we are…

Gorman Bechard
director, Color Me Obsessed

CMO-POSTER-FINAL-small

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Filed under Color Me Obsessed, paul westerberg, replacements, replacements reunion

DVD release dates!

Sorry it’s been a while…

First, spent a lot of August in Minneapolis filming EVERY EVERYTHING, THE MUSIC, LIFE & TIMES OF GRANT HART.

Second, really started hard editing of BROKEN SIDE OF TIME, part two of my Alone Trilogy.

Third, was in Key West, one of my favorite places on earth, with Kris, celebrating our 20th anniversary.

But today, the pressing matter is the DVD release date for both COLOR ME OBSESSED and WHAT DID YOU EXPECT?

NOVEMBER 20TH!

MARK IT DOWN!

Now a little on both releases…(click the title to pre-order)

WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? THE ARCHERS OF LOAF LIVE AT CAT’S CRADLE

To me, the Archers of Loaf were the single greatest band of the 90s. They saved my love of music after The Replacement broke up, and I truly felt no band would ever fill those dirty Converse All Stars.

I will always remember the first time I saw the Archers live at a CMJ showcase at Tramps in NYC. Within 30 seconds I knew I had discovered my new favorite band. And that’s never changed. I do honestly believe WEB IN FRONT is the greatest song ever written. Ever. It makes me happy. The band makes me happy.

But of course all good things must come to an end as they did in 1998. A true story: I knew the band, and knew WHITE TRASH HEROES would be their last album. The day it was released I drove some 45 minutes to pick it up, and listened to it blissfully for the first time on the ride home, having to pull over as the last song came on, because knowing it was the last new song I’d ever hear from them I began to cry. I sat in a bank parking lot the tears flowing uncontrollably as the final refrains of that amazing title track played on my car’s speakers.

Jump forward to 2011. My first rock documentary, COLOR ME OBSESSED, A FILM ABOUT THE REPLACEMENTS, was doing quite well on the festival circuit. I knew I wanted to make a second rock doc. And one afternoon my wife informed me that the Archers were reuniting for a tour, and I knew I had my next subject. I won’t go into the details of talking the camera-sky band into the project, but after seeing their two LA performances I knew I had to do everything in my power to forever preserve this energy for future generations. Especially in a time when going to a rock show usually means seeing a wimpy band who looks even more bored than the texting crowd members who are more interested in talking or being seen.

Cat’s Cradle was the obvious venue. So I got together some of my favorite crew members I’d worked with in recent years. Jan Radder and Sarah Hajtol, who were my right and left hands in making COLOR ME. Adrian Correia who did such an amazing job shooting my FRIENDS (WITH BENEFITS) — the original FWB movie. As well as Cory Maffucci and Andrew Ross. We had seven cameras in all, with me on Eric Johnson’s side of the stage, Sarah on Matt Gentling’s, Jan with two cameras behind drummer Mark Price, Adrian roaming the audience, Cory watching over the Red One capturing our wide shot, and Andrew on the catwalk covering the crowd.

I shot the interviews myself a few months later in their hometown of Asheville, then I went home and cut together the truly mind-blowing footage to Brian Paulson’s astounding mix.

I’ve made a number of films, written a bunch of books, but never in 30 years did I have more fun doing anything. This is my proudest moment as a filmmaker, because not only do I feel I have made a great film, I know I have helped preserve an important part of rock history, proof that rock once had balls, and at times, still can.

I love this band, and have never found a replacement for them. I doubt I ever will.

And FYI: the set list from the film can be seen as the background to the poster. The DVD 12 contains 6 additional songs from the two Cradle shows, and 4 extra interviews with the band members.

COLOR ME OBSESSED, A FILM ABOUT THE REPLACEMENTS

Just want you to know how proud we are of this DVD release. On it you’ll find 6 hours of extras including 19 deleted scenes, the complete interviews with Grant Hart of Husker Du, famed rock critic Robert Christgau, and Sound Opinions hosts Greg Kot & Jim DeRogatis, a behind the scenes interview with me, and another with Hansi Oppenheimer who originated the project years ago. Plus there are two commentaries, one from me, and the other from our Minneapolis producer Jan Radder. Throw in 4 trailers, and you have one hell of a DVD!!!

Color Me Obsessed was a blast to make. And for anyone wondering why there’s no band or music, that was the concept from the start. We never even asked to speak with the band, never asked to use the music. Never. From the get-go I wanted to turn the rock doc genre on its ear. And for a band who shot a stereo speaker for 4 minutes for its first music video, I think this approach is appropriate and more than fitting.

A number of critics seem to agree. Rolling Stone called it one of “the seven best new music documentaries of the year.” The Village Voice called it “the rock version of Rashomon.” David Carr, the NY Times columnist tweeted “You can feel The Replacements in every single frame.” And the raves go on and on (even check the IMDb user comments).

For fans, you will be reaching for your Mats albums the moment the end credits roll. (NOTE: the film doesn’t end with the end credits. There’s more!)

And for music lovers not familiar with The Replacements, you will be armed with everything you need to discover them and fall in love with them as we did so many years back.

As CHARTattack said, “the film is a shockingly refreshing and invigorating experience for anyone who ever care about any kind of music at all.”

All for now…

Hope you enjoy the films!

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Filed under archers of loaf, Color Me Obsessed, documentaries, filmmaking, the replacements

Upcoming Screenings

Upcoming screenings of COLOR ME OBSESSED, A FILM ABOUT THE REPLACEMENTS:

June 20th – Star Theatre, Portland, OR

June 23rd – Cafe Cinema, Virginia Beach, VA

July 5th – CBGB Fest, NYC

July 15th/16th – Hollywood Dormont, Pittsburgh, PA

July 23rd thru 29th – Cinefest Film Theatre, Atlanta, GA

July 27th – Cafe Nine, New Haven, CT

July 28th – Indie West Fest, Ventura, CA

Follow the film’s Facebook page for details and additional screenings.

Upcoming screenings of WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? THE ARCHERS OF LOAF LIVE AT CAT’S CRADLE:

June 15th – NXNE Festival, Toronto, Canada (World Premiere)

June 18th – Sled Island Festival, Calgary, Canada

July 5th – CBGB Fest, NYC (US Premiere)

July 7th – Cat’s Cradle, Chapel Hill, NC

Follow the film’s Facebook page for details and additional screenings.

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Filed under archers of loaf, Color Me Obsessed, documentaries, rockumentary, the replacements

The making of COLOR ME OBSESSED – part 26

The mix works like this: big dark room, the film projected on what I’d imagine to be a 12-foot screen. There are a few chairs right down in front of the screen, but I never use them, unless I’m pacing, wandering, restless.

Matt sits one step up, behind the mixing consol. He’s surrounded by levers and knobs, and of course a computer keyboard, and I haven’t much of a clue as to what any of them does. I watch the monitor at times. It looks a little like a Final Cut timeline, but different. Because I trust in Matt, I believe in his abilities, I know it’s nothing I need to know. He’s in control.

I sit behind a large desk of sorts one step up from and behind Matt. I have my laptop open to keep track of and check other film business while Matt does his thing. I’ll read emails, look up film festivals, things like that.

And we begin. I arrive on the 9th floor of DuArt at 9 AM on that Tuesday morning. Hot coffee in hand for me. I give Matt a present. A gift from the last film, Friends (With Benefits). It’s a Willoughby’s “Serious Coffee Drinker” t-shirt like Alex Brown and Rooney Mara wore in the film. When he realizes what it is, he smiles and tells me that since I sent him some Willoughby’s beans after the last mix he’s been addicted to the coffee, and orders it via their mail order site. Not only is the guy a brilliant mixer…he knows his coffee!

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Filed under alternative rock, Color Me Obsessed, directing, editing, filmmaking, mixing, the replacements

The making of COLOR ME OBSESSED – part 21.5

I’ve finally come to the realization that I’ll never be a blogger. And I’m okay with that. I think back to a filmmaking couple that did a very sweet little film that premiered shortly before my You Are Alone did in 2005. I saw theirs at the festival where my premiered. They started blogging about the fest circuit, about making their film, about being broke, pretty much about anything that came to mind. Regular blogs, video blogs, they were even quite popular.

But what I felt at the time was that they had stopped being filmmakers, and had become professional bloggers. Which is fine. If that’s what you want to be, and that you realize it’s what you really are. I’m not sure they ever realized that.

Since then we’ve really seen no other features from this talented couple. I’ve made Friends (With Benefits) and Color Me Obsessed, and I’ve already started work on three others. A weeks or so ago, when I was in Madison for the truly wonderful Wisconsin Film Festival, I had enough down time where I figured I’d get some blogs written. Instead I worked on the script for a film called Broken Side Of Time, which is part three of my planned Alone Trilogy. (Hell, it might end up being part two.) I worked on the script not because I needed to, there was no rush, no deadline, but because I wanted to. It’s what I like to do. It’s what I do. Blogging on the other hand feels like work. And I have no desire to become a professional blogger. I’m a filmmaker. And happy to be one.

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Filed under Color Me Obsessed, directing, documentaries, independent film, madison wi, the replacements, thoughts

The making of COLOR ME OBSESSED – part 21

Just a quickie here, but wanted to post some of the fun graphics created for the film by Sarah Hajtol. One of the most important thing any film can have is eye-catching graphics. But something that is not only eye-catching, but also fits the tone of the film.

Think about it this way, picture a wall of band flyers. Do you want to get lost in the mix, or do you want to stand out? Same goes for film festivals. You want your poster to grab attention whether it be hung on a wall in an indie video store, or on a telephone pole, of just lying on the welcome table when you enter the festival.

My directions to Sarah: “break all the rules.” As always, she rocked it!

And here first is our amazing poster: (Photo of The Replacements by Greg Helgeson)

Our banner:

The front and back of our promo postcard: (Photo courtesy of Twin/Tone records.)

And our bumpersticker:

Feel free to use these for COLOR ME OBSESSED promotional purposes.

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Filed under Color Me Obsessed, documentaries, filmmaking, gorman bechard, graphic design, independent film, movie poster, sarah hajtol, the replacements