May

29

Matt Brown, Kinksman, signed poster

I barely knew Matt Brown and I’d certainly recommend reading this piece to get a better sense of the man as musician and this story to understand him as a family man. I particularly like how he dealt with being booted out of John Howie’s band, a decision Howie realized was a mistake. But I do remember a moment that probably defines Matt just a little bit and there’s no better time to relate it than now, after his way-too-early death.

Note: There’s a memorial concert for him this weekend. You should go, if possible.

You can also make a paypal donation to Matt’s wife and two girls: medrumgoodnc@gmail.com

And stay tuned, until the end of this blog post, for an especially cool option for a donation.

Back in 2010, during our wonderful Full Frame experience screening DIA, Matt was obviously part of The Kinksmen. That’s Jeff Hart’s Kinks tribute band which, for that night only, was beefed up by the superstar Triangle trio of Peter Holsapple, Chris Stamey and Mitch Easter. Backstage, I met the band and I admit I was a little starstruck. I mean, the dB’s! So I had a version of the DO IT AGAIN poster and a Sharpie and thought, I gotta get this thing signed. Matt was in the room. I remember, because he was kind of a noticeable figure. I big, quiet guy who played drums.

“Me?”

He seemed genuinely surprised I’d ask him to sign the poster.

“Aren’t you the drummer,” I said. “We need you.”

So he signed both of my posters.

The strange thing is, the other day I was going through all the tubes in the attic. I wanted to get the DIA poster signed by Sting and Zooey framed. And I stumbled upon the Full Frame posters. I didn’t think of Matt then – I had no idea what had happened – but it did make me think of that magical night, when my film played in the best documentary festival in the country and the Kinksmen took the stage and kept everybody in Fletcher dancing.

Now I’ve got two Do It Again posters signed by Matt, the Kinksmen, Stamey, Holsapple and Easter. I’m going to offer one of them in exchange for a donation to Matt’s family. And there’s more. You’ll also get a special, DO IT AGAIN button – easy to score the night of our Full Frame screening but impossible now – and a genuine 45 record featuring Figgs leader Mike Gent’s wonderful covers of Big Sky and Victoria.

To score the poster, you need to send a note to bid on a silent auction being held June 3 at Mmedrumgoodnc@gmail.com

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May

3

How To Get a DVD?

Lots of people keep asking me how you can get DO IT AGAIN on DVD. Easy. Write Ray Davies and ask him to allow us to pay for the licensing of his music for our film. I know I’ve said this a lot. But I figure the question keeps coming so why not ask again.

I think Konk would be the place to write. Here’s a link with a mailing address.

Frankly, I’m okay if DO IT AGAIN doesn’t come out on DVD. I loved making this film, the festival experience and showing it on PBS. Since we finished, I’ve had a new baby, embarked on a new project and continued writing for The Boston Globe, a paper I continue to appreciate. So it’s fine if DO IT AGAIN stays in my private collection.

But if you want a copy – and I’m not looking to make money off it, just sell it to offset production costs – tell Ray!

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Dec

15

Philadelphia

Tonight, we’ve got an important broadcast on Philadelphia’s WHYY. Watch it, tell your friends to watch it and then write into the network and tell them how much you loved the film. (Those of you who don’t love DO IT AGAIN, send me that note… I’ll make sure it gets to, ahem, the proper authorities.)

Thanks to the good folks at the Philadelphia Inquirer, today’s broadcast comes with quite a nice preview. Oregon PBS plays us Jan. 1 and we’re still waiting for word on our broadcast date for Hawaii, though it seems likely for mid-January.

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Dec

3

Waiting for Ray, finding your friends

I wasn’t going to see Ray Davies when he came to town this time. I know that sounds nuts. But it’s been a long slog, more than three years since we turned on the cameras to start filming DO IT AGAIN and frankly, with the baby and the house and the regular job, I’ve been swamped. The PBS run has been wonderful. It has also required endless hours of extra work. Sorry, I’m whining. But I’m trying to explain why, after literally begging Ray to watch the film for more than a year and then meet with me – all for the purpose of creating a DVD I can share with you – I’ve sometimes found it hard to just sit in the crowd and cheer. Then, a few weeks ago, word came from London that Ray might be willing to meet and chat about potentially approving DO IT AGAIN for DVD release. (For those of you unfamiliar with the arcane world of music licensing, I need his thumbs-up.) As instructed, I over-nighted a DVD to him in New York. Then I slapped down $77 for a seat in the balcony of the Wilbur and waited. And waited. There were moments I almost felt encouraged. A fellow journalist told me that he asked Ray about the movie during an interview and was told that he had the DVD. But whether Ray watched it or not, we’ll never know.
Because gig night came and still no word from London on a meeting. It was frankly kind of depressing leaving the family at home on Thanksgiving Eve and heading into Boston on my own. I decided to bring a bag of DO IT AGAIN buttons and let folks know I’d be at Jacob Wirth’s before the show. Once there, I found a surprising number of people who had seen DO IT AGAIN and wanted to say hello. Then Frank Lima (aka Dan the Fan) texted me telling me he was over at the Rock Bottom. I headed over there and encountered some of the superfans, many of them on their fourth or fifth or eights gig of the short tour. I also ran into complete strangers who, again, had seen DO IT AGAIN and wanted to say nice things. I realized that this was probably the only night in which I might be a pseudo-celebrity. By now, my London contact had told me to try to hook on with Frank. Why not? Frank’s got Ray’s cell number on his phone. He had tickets for the front table. He’s also been kind about DO IT AGAIN, trying to get Ray’s attention about the film. We left it open how we might proceed post-concert.
The show? I was impressed. Ray played a wonderful version of “Waterloo Sunset” and “Nothin’ in the World Can Stop Me Worryin’ ‘Bout That Girl.” He seemed in wonderful spirits. The set with the choir surprised me. At times, Ray’s voice was overwhelmed by the many singers. But at other times – I think of “Shangri-La” – the choir added a depth and richness. I do wish Ray would have thrown at least a couple of “Workingman’s Café” songs into the mix, but you can’t play everything…
Then, the wait. Frank called as soon as the lights went down and told me to sit tight. Then, he disappeared. I hung with the superfans, first out front until it got too cold, then at the Rock Bottom. Frank wrote, told me he wasn’t in yet. I talked to TA. and Frank Reda and Michelle Pedretti (from Italy!). We each got a drink. Frank wrote again. This time, he had been able to get in but Ray was already taking off. He had to get the bus to Toronto.
It was all sort of depressing, though I’m not sure why. We made a movie which we’re proud of. It appears lots of folks have seen it. The film is going to continue to be on PBS stations – the Philadelphia Inquirer just called to arrange an interview in advance of our mid-December screenings. And I got to see Ray playing a killer set list and seemingly healthy and in good spirits. Sure, it’s disappointing that I can’t get the film out on DVD so you folks – the fans – can see it more easily. But the DVD/download issue is one of access, not revenue. I’ll never make money off DO IT AGAIN. I just want to share.
Which gets me to what happened two days later.
It was my birthday last week. I turned 41. So just after getting blown off my Ray, I get a package in the mail from western Massachusetts. The Muswell Hillbillies bought a 45 of “Do It Again” and each member of the band signed the sleeve. They also included a ticket to their Dec. 23 “farewell” show. (I honestly hope it isn’t farewell, which is why I put quote marks around the word.) I immediately went online and purchased a second ticket for Carlene. She should be there, too.
I don’t know what it was about that package. It was theoretically just a record. But if felt like more. It reminded me of when I was having trouble with Paul McCartney’s manager and Lila and I were walking to the beach on a summer morning and she said, “who cares about Paul McCartney. He’s in every movie.” At that moment, I could suddenly let Paul’s footage go.
Not that Ray’s off the hook. I still intend to nag and plead and work out something so I can get you all DVDs of DO IT AGAIN. But I care a lot more about a bunch of people I do know – my extended Kinks family – sending me a thoughtful gift on my birthday than a brilliant, eccentric, artistic stranger (and rock hero) blowing me off on a Wednesday night.

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Jun

28

Philly and Chicago… You want your DO IT AGAIN? Help us.

So wouldn’t you know… we need your help again! DO IT AGAIN – I’ve taken to caps locking it because that’s what industry folks seem to do – is now being offered for syndication by American Public Television. Eight markets have picked us up. But a couple of other big ones – Philadelphia and Chicago – want to but say they can’t afford to pay for the broadcast fee. If you care about getting programs on the air that don’t involve Regis or obese people forced to weep as they step on scales or Travis Tritt, we are calling on you. Philly, for example, would show DO IT AGAIN if we can get 20 folks to sign on as patrons of WHYY for $100 each. I’m sure Chicago would do the same. And what can I do to make the idea more enticing? We’ll offer you DIA merch for signing up with the stations. I’ll also offer to call you, at your convenience, and talk to you about the Kinks, the making of this film, the Red Sox rotation, anything and everything. Because as you might guess, it means a lot to me to get this film seen widely. Want to help? Write me at gedgers@mac.com and we can start chatting.

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Apr

13

Getting “Do It Again” on PBS

For those of you eager to see “Do It Again” now that our film festival run is over, there is good news. American Public Television, which distributes programming to PBS station across the country, has agreed to take us on. That’s why we’ve been so busy. Rob and assistant editor Missy turned our 85-minute festival into a (cuss-free) hour-long version. We did this in anticipation of our big day. That day has arrived.

Later today, APT hosts its closed-circuit “offer” broadcast for the roughly 175 public stations in the world. Some programmers will watch this teleconference live. Others will tape and watch it later.

What hangs in the balance? For “Do It Again,” it’s the very chance to be seen on TV. We’re no lock. We have to get a number of PBS stations to sign on for the terms of our APT deal to kick in. How many? It’s hard to tell. Bigger stations are weighed more, money-wise, than smaller ones. But everybody counts.

Our hero, as of now, is a man named Eric Luskin. He’s the vice president of syndication and premium service for APT and the guy making our pitch. Eric has decades of experience in public television, several Emmys to his name and knows how to make a sale. For our purposes, we’re pleased to know he plays bass and saw the Kinks in Philadelphia in the ‘90s.

So what can you do to help? We’re told that a respectful note to your local public television station can make a difference. Tell them you heard that “Do It Again” is available and, as a fan of that era of music, the Kinks, and the film if you’ve seen it, you would love to see it shown locally. Most of these stations have a viewer services department that can be called or e-mailed. Sending a personal letter, not an e-mail, to a programmer might also be a cool idea. So few people take the time to actually send letters these days.

We should know by early May whether we’ve been successful. And “Do It Again” could be shown on TV as early as July. Sitting here tonight, a good part of me has no idea whether we’ll be successful and reach the right folks at PBS. But I also can’t help but think of just how lucky we’ve been so far, how resourceful and passionate our fans have been, and how impossible it is to imagine this train grounding to a halt when we’re so close to being seen by a wider audience.

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Feb

13

Warning Wichita: Incoming Superfan

Bruce (right) with brother Doug (left) and Kast-Off Kinks singer Dave Clarke at the 2008 Kinks Konvention.


Even if he hadn’t come to a single screening, Bruce MacQueen would deserve a special thanks from the home office of “Do It Again.” Bruce shot some key footage when yours truly either respected his hero or wussed out. No worries. Bruce was there, with his camera. Which isn’t surprising, because Bruce is almost everywhere. In fact, he has now informed me that he’s heading to Wichita this week for our special screening and karaoke party. Very cool. Or disturbing. Or both. No, really, we love Bruce. He lives in Arlington, Virginia, and will have now traveled to Cleveland, London, New York and Kansas to check out “Do It Again.” That’s pretty special. And it’s a perfect time for me to slap on my journalist hat and find out a bit more about superman Bruce.

Bruce MacQueen is 56 and works as a property manager just outside Washington, D.C.

Q: When did you first get into the Kinks?
A: I knew of the Kinks hits on AM radio growing up in Wilmington, Delaware but didn’t really listen to them until graduating high school in 1972. I borrowed my friend’s brother’s “Kinks Kronikles” and was hooked. The first proper album I bought was “Preservation Act I” and “The Great Lost Kinks Album.” (I still need to return “Kinks Kronikles.”)
Q: How many times have you seen them play and what was your most memorable memory from a show?
A: Not as many times as others I’m sure. But I’d guess I saw them at least once every tour since 1973. I followed Ray around for multiple shows in the past few years. Most memorable? My wife would say that it was when I handed her my watch, wedding ring and wallet at Cobo Arena and told her, “Hold these! I’ll probably meet you outside!” and jumped on-stage and bear-hugged Ray!
Q: How many times have you traveled to see the Kast-Off Kinks?
A: These guys are a lot of fun! Including four Konvention appearances, I’ve flown to the UK for 15 of their shows in the past four years.
Q: How do you explain yourself to your wife?
A: She is a Stones / Rod Stewart fan but is very understanding and knew of my preference for the Kinks before we were married.
Q: Why are you crazy enough to go see Do It Again a fourth time?
A: Besides the free tickets and beer, it’s a great movie and lots of fun to see the crowd reaction, whether or not they are fans.
Q: What are your most prized Kinks possessions?
A: That’s a toss up between a guitar & T-shirt I have had signed by almost everyone in the band. But Dave and Ray are not together on either!
Q: Will they or won’t they… do you hold out any hope Ray and Dave will play together again? If you were in charge, how would set up a reunion. Would it be a concert? Recordings? Tell us your master plan.
A: I think Ray is hopeful it could happen and realizes his age and mortality. That’s what I credit his creative spurt and fairly relentless touring of late to. I also think he talks about it to stir up media attention and to wind up Dave. I believe that Dave thinks and sees the world differently and doesn’t feel the need to get together for any reason.
If it were to plan a reunion, I’d do a limited number of dates and bring the whole range of band members from over the life of the band and cover the entire scope of their discography. I loved them all! Give the people what they want!!

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Jan

28

Thinking of Wichita

This is just one moment from our October visit, thanks to David Lee Quick. Will the return trip recapture the glory? I have a hunch it will.

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Dec

17

Help bring “Do It Again” to TV

Good news. We’ve been offered a chance to create a 57-minute version of the film for a nationally syndicated series of broadcasts. But there is a downside. This is for public television, which doesn’t pay very much. (But does offer us a chance to show the film to lots and lot of folks.)

Cutting an 85 minute documentary to 57 minutes will take some work. We anticipate two, very intense weeks of 20 hour days in the editing chamber. To broadcast, we also have to get something called error and omissions insurance and pay to lay our new cut onto an HDCam tape.

I estimate the whole thing will cost between $7,000 and $10,000.

I’m not going to create a Kickstarter campaign for this sum because I want to reserve that idea for a larger need. What’s that? Our major hope is to get approval from the record companies to license “Do It Again” for DVD/download and wider broadcast. We’re waiting on our request.

In the meantime, we want to create this shorter cut.

Can you help? If so, I’m going to accept paypal contributions at gedgers@mac.com or checks at my home address. (Write me at gedgers@mac.com for that.)

What can you gain? We’re going to offer a few of our collectibles and, much in the spirit of Kickstarter, an awards system.

$50 gets you a signed, 12-by-18 “Do It Again” poster OR a limited edition, signed 45 record (it plays!) of “Victoria/Big Sky” recorded by Figgs leader Mike Gent. The record also includes original art by our poster man Dave Plunkert.

$50 also gets you a signed DVD if “Do It Again” is released on DVD. I don’t want to mislead anybody. There is a chance it’ll come out on DVD. There’s a chance it won’t. If you contribute to this, you’ll have to accept there’s a chance we don’t get released. (And you can always turn your reward in for another gift.)

For $75, you get a signed copy of my Beatles or Elvis children’s books for kids, ages 8 to 12.

For $90, one of our remaining “Do It Again” t-shirts. I only have about three medium and two large left.

For $200, I’ll add your name to the credits for “Do It Again.” Just beware… we may not get long credits for our TV cut. If that’s the case, I’ll add you to our IMDB listing.

For $300, you get one of our 10 remaining, full-size “Do It Again” posters. I’ll sign it or I won’t. You decide.

For $1,000 – and airfare, lodging – I will bring “Do It Again” and outtakes from the film to your home for a private screening. We did this in Los Angeles earlier this year and it was great fun. I’ll even put you in touch with Steve, who hosted us, to give a full accounting of the experience.

For $1,000, you can get a one-of-a-kind, full size “Do It Again” poster signed by Sting and Zooey Deschanel.

For $1,500, you get the acoustic guitar that Dave Davies plays in “Do It Again.”

For whatever you can give – $1, $10, $100 – we remain eternally grateful.

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Dec

7

See us at the Brattle

This weekend, “Do It Again” plays six times at the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square. But if you have a choice, come to the Friday night, 7 p.m. show. Director Rob and I will be there to introduce the movie, conduct a post-screening Q & A and then I’ll be hanging around for what the Brattle is calling a Kinks party. It’s really a two-hour disc of super-hot Kinks clips as curated by St. Louis master collector Jim Napoli. The performances take us from the Cavern Club in the early ’60s to the video for “Do It Again,” one of my MTV-favorites.

I can’t say we’re going to sell out, but you never know. So go here to purchase tickets ahead of time.

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