Capone embraces the documentary DO IT AGAIN, about a man who REALLY wants The Kinks to reunite!!!
Published at: March 30, 2010, 7:46 p.m. CST by Capone
Hey, everyone. Capone in Chicago here.
About two years ago, I was sent a copy of a beautiful documentary called SONG SUNG BLUE, about a Neil Diamond impersonator and his wife, who performed in and around the Milwaukee area as Lightning and Thunder. The premise may sound amusing, but the film was one of the most moving works I'd seen in quite some time, and the it continues to get recognition today--Roger Ebert recently announced it would be part of his annual Ebertfest event in Champaign, Illinois, in April, and I wouldn't miss that screening for the world.
A few weeks ago a reporter from the Boston Globe named Geoff Edgers contacted me about about an as-yet-unreleased doc called DO IT AGAIN, starring and produced by him (and directed by Robert Patton-Sprull) that chronicles what might be one of the greatest and most entertaining midlife crises ever captured on film. And while the film has very little in common with SONG SUNG BLUE, there's a similar vibe of examining what the differences are between being an admirer of a particular singer or band and what it means to be a fanatic.
With age 40 hurtling toward him like a semi with its brakes cut, Edgers decided that it was time to do something with his life that would be remembered. Being a gargantuan music lover and, in particular, a massive fan of The Kinks, Geoff sets off using what limited financial resources and connections to the long-defunct band to reunite The Kinks. Edgers understands from the beginning that his task means getting two brothers, Ray and Dave Davies, to put aside decades of apparent hatred to come together and play.
What becomes apparent early on in DO IT AGAIN is that Edgers isn't exact without any means of at least taking the steps toward making this reunion happen. He's a trained journalist, and his access is fairly substantial, which becomes apparent when you start to see the parade of famous faces that come before the cameras to not only talk about The Kinks as an influence, but to play Kinks' music with Edgers, a solid guitarist and singer in his own right. Some people tell him to fuck off (like Paul Weller, formerly of The Jam) when the singing idea is brought up, but most are obliging (even if they act a bit stunned at the suggestion).
As a result, the film is loaded with wonderful, singular moments of Kinks covers from the likes of Robyn Hitchcock, Zooey Deschanel (perhaps the most knowledgeable Kinks fan of anyone interviewed here), Sting, and Peter Buck, along with his R.E.M. touring partner and fellow Minus 5 member Scott McCaughey. Edgers also spends time with record mogul Clive Davis and one of The Kinks seminal producers, Shel Talmy (who produced "You Really Got Me"). And those are just the folks he talks to in person.
But his dream interview continues to evade him, as he submits proposal after proposal and treatment after treatment to the offices of Ray Davies, who is portrayed by those who know him (or knew him) as an angry man, who may have been that angry since the age of three, when his younger brother Dave arrived on the family scene. One of the more interesting people that Edgers talks to is former Del Fuegos member Warren Zane, who went on to work for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Warren was in a band with his brother as well, and they too had a falling out as a result. Perhaps more than any other interview subject, he has some worthy insight into being in a band with a sibling, especially when that sibling singles himself out as the leader of the band and the driving creative force.
One of the most interesting and timely elements to DO IT AGAIN, and the thing that separates it and makes it a truly gripping tale beyond Edgers' mission is that our hero is in extreme danger of losing his job because the newspaper industry is dying around him with both the New York Times and the Boston Globe appearing to be on the brink of collapse. This causes tension in Geoff's marriage (we are shown an argument between his wife and him as they attempt to pull together a budget). But even threat of financial ruin isn't enough to discourage Geoff from his quest, and eventually he does what any die-hard Kinks fan must do--go to London during an annual celebration of all things Kinks, which includes a concert by the Kast Off Kinks, a band made up entirely of dismissed members of the group. And there's a strong rumor that Ray Davies will show up at this year's event (as he did the previous year).
Will Geoff come face to face with his hero? Will Goeff come face to face with his hero's brother, or any other former band member? Will Geoff's insistence that The Kinks play a song with him wreck any chance of a reunion happening? By all rights it should, but I'll let you ponder these questions. Since I'm guessing you didn't hear anything in the last couple of years about a Kinks reunion, I don't think I'm spoiling anything with this review. Still, that doesn't mean there aren't some genuine surprises in the film's final act. I'll save those for you to discover (I hope).
For the brief 90 minutes watching DO IT AGAIN, you will be transported to a world where everyone has an scarily encyclopedic knowledge of The Kinks music. There's no getting around the fact that this movie is a little weird, in the best possible way. Sting's interview takes place backstage during his reunion tour with The Police, a fact that gives his words on the subject of reunions so much more resonance. And Edgers' post-interview reaction to getting that particular interview is priceless.
In so many ways, this film is the definitive statement about the reasons bands reunite when money isn't enough of a reason. But of equal volume in this movie is Edgers' desperate need to have this journey end well. As the world around his is going to shit, he looks to this endeavor to be his beacon of hope. The irony of DO IT AGAIN is that the reason the film works so well might be the exact reason his quest doesn't turn out exactly how he wanted it to--because he puts so much, sometimes too much, of himself in the project. He's a great subject, and the film benefits from having him in front of the camera. But the personalized nature of the work may be exactly what turned off Davies to cooperating.
And if I haven't said it yet, let me make it very clear. DO IT AGAIN is hugely entertaining, funny, loaded with anticipatory tension, and has a superb soundtrack of Kinks' originals and covers from some solid musicians. As I said when I reviewed SONG SUNG BLUE, I live to discover films like this, and I hope people are able to find it somewhere in their lives in the coming months and years. The movie is just beginning its festival run, so hopefully it will eventually drift somewhere in your general sphere of existence soon. It premiered at the Cleveland Film Festival last weekend, and moves on to the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, N.C., where it will screen on Friday, April 9 at 8pm. You've got time to plan a road trip, so start doing so. Now. You are going to embrace this film and never let go.
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