I know it’s been a while. With good reason. Not much has happened with DO IT AGAIN. As Ray’s assistant can attest, it’s not that I’ve dropped the ball. I remain a semi-regular e-mail nag, asking if Ray has had a chance to watch the film so he can approve it or reject it or make suggestions or… blah, blah, blah. Inside, though, I long ago accepted the reality.
Ray Davies is simply not going to check out DO IT AGAIN. Or more specifically, he’s not going to check out DO IT AGAIN and tell any of us. Personally, I’d be shocked to think, knowing what I know about Ray, that he hasn’t watched the film. Twice.
But for whatever reason – control, questions about my motives, flat out not liking the film – DO IT AGAIN is going to remain what it is: A project of passion that a few thousand good folks will remember experiencing and a whole slew of others will wonder about.
With that, I’m going to take a bit of space to talk about the next step. For me, it is something called EDGE OF AMERICA. This is a TV show and a tv show that won’t be held up by a complicated, brilliant rock hero. In fact, this show has been approved by a cable network, Travel, and will be shown starting sometime in 2013.
The show won’t feature me playing “David Watts” with Zooey Deschanel, but it will give me another unexpected adventure. In EDGE OF AMERICA, I travel the country looking for cool and unique entertainment you can only find in that place. So instead of hiking and chowing down on lobster rolls in Maine, I race lobster boats. Or become a pirate.
Am I forgetting DO IT AGAIN? Nope. And I’ve got a bag of buttons and a stack of records in the attic to prove it. But despite what you may have believed at one point, my life was actually never about reuniting the Kinks. I mean, I wanted to. But the mission was really about something else. It was about finding something creative within and taking that great big leap. On my best days, I’d like to think that I did the same thing, in my own way, as Ray, Dave, Mick and Pete when they rejected the conventions and business trappings of ’60s pop and created their own swaggering soundtrack. Or perhaps I’m giving myself way too much credit. Still, I know, as I travel the world for this TV show, I’ll never forget what made DO IT AGAIN so special to me and hopefully to you. Those unexpected moments, that universal and communal connection we have as fans, and just the plain fun of seeing real life unfold on the screen.
As Lila, who is 10, gets older, I’m starting to realize how much I’ll miss that little girl. She was six when most of DO IT AGAIN was filmed. And one scene I watch often from DO IT AGAIN didn’t even make the final cut. I’m putting her to sleep and we sing “Harry Rag” together, a ritual for a few months of bedtimes during those months. The moment is such a perfect snapshot of a wonderful, chaotic time of creativity. It also reminds me of how long ago we created DO IT AGAIN. Sometimes, I’d love to have that little girl back. But I’m glad I’m not longer stuck in that moment, begging Ray Davies to give me a few minutes of camera time.
I won’t be updating this blog much in the future, so I suggest you find me on Facebook or Twitter and we keep up this conversation.
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!
When do you stop? It’s a question we ask so many times of bands and athletes and even ourselves as we approach retirement age. Brian Wilson asked it when he was making Smile and let his masterpiece sit for 45 years. Ricky Williams asked it when he appeared perfectly able to go another three seasons. The Rolling Stones, we could argue, should be asking it more. I’m glad Grace Paley and Kurt Vonnegut never seemed to ask it or at least take the idea too seriously.
I ask this, naturally, in relation to Do It Again. Obviously, I decided to stop pushing Ray and Dave to give it another go. But what about the movie?
See, I keep getting flooded with DVD requests. As in… “I live in [insert state/country] and really want to see Do It Again. Is it out on DVD?” Naturally, for each of these folks, I have to say no. Never mind positive reviews, our strong festival run or the PBS deal. We can’t release our film on iTunes or DVD or any other format. Not until Ray Davies, the creator of all songs that inspire and drive our film, grants us permission.
Meanwhile, this exists.
I know. We were warned from the start. Remember the words of Kinks scholar Doug Hinman. “Ray never cooperates with anybody.” [Now cue echo and Geoff, nodding and rubbing chin with pensive look.) As some of you know, I tend to be pretty stubborn so, for more than two years now, I’ve continued chasing. I’ve let Ray I don’t need to make a penny. I offered him an ownership percentage of the film even though he was about as helpful during the process as Madonna.
Still, nothing. Every once in a while there’s a glimmer of hope. Like the episode right before Thanksgiving, during which Ray actually requested a disc and I thought I might be able to meet with him in Boston. Instead, I spent the night handing out buttons, sitting up in the balcony and then nursing a mediocre drink while my family slept and I waited to hear about whether Frank could squeeze me backstage. You know how that story ended.
So where do we go from here? Is it worth even trying? Should I stop trying to be professional and sell bootleg DVDs out of my El Camino?
The reality is, I’m pretty busy. The baby’s approaching two. Lila and I have a fabulous time fake-battling over what songs should go on her iPod. (No LMFO… Nine-year-olds can’t have songs with “sexy” in the title!) She wrote a story the other day that was nothing short of poetry. I’ve got a 20 mile race in 10 days, a book I’m contemplating writing, plenty at the Globe to keep me busy and another top-secret project in the offing. And Carlene and I have big plans for 2012. She’s been helping create a school paper and we’re likely heading to the Middle East again, which is always inspiring.
Then I think of this eccentric, brilliant, tortured artist approaching 70, his multiple families splintered, his heart unsure of what to do next, his resistance to the outside world as strong as ever, and I get back to the question. When do you stop? Perhaps it’s time to let Ray go and pack up my hard-drives and call it a day.
Maybe that Julien Temple film we’ve been promised for years will finally arrive. Maybe Bobcat can pull off “Schoolboys.”
I know one thing about Do It Again. We finished it and it’s been seen by thousands of people. In a few years, when we’re all older and the e-mails have stopped flooding my in-box, I’ll forget about all the business mumbo-jumbo and just enjoy it for what it is. We can pop DIA into a player, gather the family, and watch this nutty movie in which crazy Dad somehow got Sting, Zooey Deschanel and Dave Davies to play a song with him.
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.
The latest Dave interview tells us that there could be a reunion, provided it only requires Ray and Dave to hang out for an hour. In other words, don’t count on it. I know these stories periodically emerge and I try to ignore most of them. But why not float Dave’s quote out there: “I love my brother, I just can’t stand to be with him.”
So we’re getting down to the wire. And if you know the rules of Kickstarter, you know that unless we reach our goal, we lose all of the money pledged so far. That means I need to raise about $1,300 in the next 49 hours. Or else the $1,700 already pledges goes bye-bye.
Can it be done? Of course. But we need your help.
You’ve seen the rewards section. If there’s anything else you’d like that’s not listed there, let me know. Everything is for sale at this point!
Need some motivation? Here’s a sneak look at our ad for tomorrow’s screening.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we can start chatting.
No need to bury the lead here. Weâ€™ve received our first wave of commitments for the one-hour, Public Broadcasting Service version of DO IT AGAIN. Itâ€™s an exciting group of stations in eight markets: Boston, Austin, Atlanta, Connecticut, Wichita, Oregon, Louisiana and Hawaii. I expect it’ll be shown sometime in the fall. Weâ€™d love to add more stations. The challenge, for affiliates, is paying the syndication fee to show DO IT AGAIN. A bunch of programmers let us know theyâ€™d love to buy in, but there simply isnâ€™t money available for syndication. That means you should continue writing, begging, and pleading for DO IT AGAIN. And hereâ€™s an idea: Make a pledge promise contingent on their picking up the program. In some cases, their broadcast fee is as little as $500.
Iâ€™d also suggest that fans of the film let Ray Davies know they would love to be able to buy a DVD or see the longer version of the film on European, commercial cable or in movie theaters. Ray is an immensely busy guy. Heâ€™s programming festivals, overseeing reissue campaigns, executive producing films, teaching and writing his own music. As far as we know, he hasnâ€™t watched DO IT AGAIN yet, as much as I’ve been begging and nagging him to. For us to move forward on anything beyond public television, we need his thumbs up.
But even if we donâ€™t get it, weâ€™re so thrilled to be coming to these PBS markets. Itâ€™s now been just over three years since Rob and I started filming with a couple of college kids, a single camera and not a single person committed to appearing in our doc. So much has happened. And I, for one, could never have imagined we would end up with a nationally broadcast fim.
And as Iâ€™ve said so many times, there is no way we could have made it without your support. Through Kickstarter, through poster and t-shirt donations, through private parties held to raise money, through an unexpected check slipped to me at a party or after a festival screeningâ€¦ That cash made DO IT AGAIN possible. Many of you will realize how much we remember your help when the credits roll sometime this fall and you see your name flash across the tv screen.
Itâ€™s a thrilling time to be a Kinks fan. Fantastic reissues. Meltdown. And a few weeks of a truce â€“ or at least silence â€“ from Ray and Dave, raising at least the specter of two brothers reuniting in one way or another to celebrate the brilliant music they created together.