Saturday, February 02, 2019

"Danny Says", a music film worth watching

This film from 2016 had a limited release, suggesting that it was not a success.  Found on Netflix, it was worth a try.  It was not an especially well put together film, started without much of an introduction and ended abruptly.  There were references to sex acts and preferences, and frequent episodes of drug use, not blatantly explicit but there.  Those aspects may have contributed to its cool reception at theaters.  It's a terrific film, great footage of performances(a Martha and the Vandellas clip rocked) and low key humor throughout.

Danny Fields was an impresario of various offbeat 60's rock bands and 70's punk bands, the more startling the better.  He was part of the downtown Andy Warhol crowd and became a promoter and manager, as well as an almost partner in crime of many musicians.  Music was not his talent but he could recognize it in others, and push it further to the edge and have insight into how best to get attention.  There were Jim Morrison, Iggy Pop, The Stooges, Lou Reed, Nico, Patti Smith, MC5, Alice Cooper, The Ramones, The New York Dolls, and others, but he worked with some that were more mainstream like Judy Collins.  He was a close friend of era's favorite femme fatale Edie Sedgewick and was a longtime friend of Linda McCartney, having worked with her photography when she was Linda Eastman.

Fields is interviewed in a way that makes him the narrator of the film and, while never overtly cracking a joke, his descriptions of what was going on are entertaining, with a lower east side Jewish sense of humor that is hard to describe, is it the acceptance of the inexplicable.  Laughing when no one else is around can seem strange but this did it.

At first, it was not clear that this film was going to work, but patience was rewarded.  Fields is still out there, promoting an East London punk band at last report.  He would now be 79.


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