BY SEAN Oâ€™CONNELL
The Kinks, to me, were a second-tier rock outfit. Thatâ€™s not a slight against the band. Several of their hits, from â€śLola,â€ť â€śAll Day and All of the Nightâ€ť and â€śTired of Waiting for Youâ€ť to â€śYou Really Got Me,â€ť became part of pop cultureâ€™s conscience. They just never attained the same level of popularity and mainstream success as legendary first-tier rockers The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones or The Who.
Geoff Edgers would disagree. The Boston Globe reporter views The Kinks as one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time. And with his 40th birthday fast approaching â€” the milestone of the mid-life crisis â€” Edgers sets a personal and professional goal. Heâ€™s going to reunite the four original members of the band, including feuding brothers Ray and Dave Davies, who havenâ€™t spoken in years.
Robert Patton-Spruillâ€™s documentary â€śDo It Again,â€ť which trails Edgers on his impossible quest, screened to a raucous crowd last night at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, N.C. And while official awards wonâ€™t be handed out until Sunday, the lively and personable â€śDo It Againâ€ť earns a special achievement award as the best film Iâ€™ve seen so far at the fest.
â€śAgainâ€ť dives into the volatile history of the British rock outfit, who admit to sabotaging their career every time fame came knocking. Most of the battles are attributed to lead singer and chief songwriter Ray Daviesâ€™ pride and ego, which struck sour notes with brother Dave.
But the film, as all good docs do, draws us into Edgersâ€™ personal mission, and we suffer as this journalist deals with salary cuts at his unstable job and wince as Ray (and his publicity associates) plays hard-to-get with Edgersâ€™ dream.
Others play along, however. Edgersâ€™ status as a journalist buys him face time with rockers who happen to be big fans of The Kinks and want to see the brothers reunited. Sting, R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, actress/musician Zooey Deschanel, Robyn Hitchcock, Paul Weller, and, eventually, Dave Davies, open up for Patton-Spruillâ€™s cameras, recollecting their favorite Kinks songs and contemplating on the emotional forces that eventually drive bands apart. In an entertaining Q-and-A following the screening, Edgers revealed that $15,000 of his filmâ€™s $125,000 went to former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, a member of rock royalty, who eventually blocked his involvement in the project.
â€śDo It Againâ€ť doesnâ€™t suffer from McCartneyâ€™s absence. Itâ€™s a rollicking trip through music history, and a worthy personal journey too many of us will be able to relate to. And Edgers capped everyoneâ€™s evening off with a live performance by The Kinksmen â€” a famous Kinks cover band â€” in the famed Carolina Theater. It was an ideal tribute to an energetic evening, and a highlight of the ongoing fest.