Tommy White Trash Film Tour
Los Angeles to Austin
This past spring I got a call from Allison Anders who is a film producer and organizer of the "Don't Knock The Rock" Film Festival (www.dontknocktherock.com) in Los Angeles. She told me she loved my movie, "You'll Pay For This" and had added it to the festival schedule. So I made plans to bring the whole family out to enjoy the festival and see the sights.
The festival was held in the RedCat theatre in the majestic Walt Disney Hall designed by Frank Gehry, a truly amazing place! As soon as I got there I made a bee-line to the bathroom and when I came out my daughter told me they had just played the Axe song "Three Chord Rock" on the RedCat lounge sound system.
We were brought to the green room to get ready for the screening where we met Dietmar Post, Lucia Palacios, Dave Day and his wife Irene, some of the principles from an amazing film called "The Monks : Transatlantic Feedback". I found out about a band from the 60's called "The Monks" from the book "Unknown Legends of Rock and Roll" by Richie Unterberger.
The Monks were a group of American G.I.'s stationed in Germany who, in the off hours, played rock and roll in the area clubs. A couple of German ad men saw an opportunity to make something new with these guys and changed their image and sound into something never seen nor heard before. I can only call it extreme image branding similar to the facades that Kraftwork or Devo utilized in a later decade. Needless to say you have to see this film and learn all about the Monks!
Finally it was showtime in a very modern and well equipped theatre. The place
was crowded with well - wishers and transplanted Bostonians including Johnny
Angel, ex-Outlet Rob Johnson and Lee
Harrington's sisters - Nancy and Amy Harrington, who were on the festival
After the film I was called to the stage and treated to an "Actors Studio"
style one - on - one grilling by Michael Des Barres,actor
and singer, who was the host and emcee. His credits include roles on Macgyver,
the film To Sir with Love and even Seinfeld. His rock & roll experience
includes stints with Power Station, Chequered
Past with Steve Jones and the 70's glam
When I get back to Boston some negotiations ensue to get the Axe film on the
Alamo schedule. In a follow-up email, Kier-La asks me to describe my ZOOM documentary
- which is really part stand-up routine and part clip show. She offers to fly
me out to do the Axe screening on a Monday and the ZOOM
Lost and Found show the next night.
After a great flight I am met by Kier-La Jannise
and Henry Azzat. They drop me off at the house
I'm staying at described as "a creepy old house you'll be staying in alone".
We go to lunch at ARTZ barbeque and catch up on the old and new. Then we tool around town a little. It's like a funky bit of Allston and Somerville and we visit his friends at their art galleries, work spaces and vintage shops.
The Alamo Drafthouse Theater Downtown is located in what was once the
low-rent district and is now surrounded by trendy bars and restaurants. Inside
it's huge and smells like beer! We check in with Shawn the projectionist to
ensure the media works then take off to the "Mean-Eyed
I'm having such a great time swapping ZOOM war stories with Ann that I forget
what I was there for 'til Kier-La grabs the mike to start the show. The tape
begins and we're off! After the film I take Q+A from the audience and a young
lady introduces herself as "Crass's daughter"! I say "Lady
we gotta talk- I think you were in the movie".
The next day I'm up bright and early for radio appearance on Austin's #1 morning show. I put on my red and blue striped "ZOOM" style shirt, unwashed since an appearance with Captain Kangaroo in 1997. The cab comes by and we're off to KLBJ??!!. Having grown up in the 60's and 70's I can't think of a squarer name for a rock station but duty calls and we're off to Lady Bird's communication investment.
We're greeted by the program director, Angela Davis,
and are brought in to the studio. As soon as morning guy Dale sees me in my
striped shirt he says he remembers me from TV. We're off to a good start and
we stay that way. We talk up tonight's show and when the conversation veers
into my punk roots with Unnatural Axe, Dale
pulls up the Axe song "Media Blitz" from Jan
Crocker's site and plays it right there on KLBJ! Good thing there's
no cussing on that one.
I grab four bottles of water and rush in. After the previews I race to the
podium! This is the first time I've done this show and I hope this works. Like
the Axe film this one covers many decades and I'm happy and mentally exhausted
when I make it to the end.
Kudos to Dr. Ann Messer M.D. who joins me for the Q+A panel. There's
safety in numbers and she fields questions like the pro she is.
Afterwards I go to a coffee shop with Marc and Kier-La. She tells us there's two kinds of shows that generally run at the Alamo. There's the kind where 30 people show up who are "really into it" and then there's the film "sing-a-longs which sell out. I vow to myself to make a "sing-a-long" version of "You'll Pay For This". Then we're off to the Continental to check out Mike Barfield "The Tyrant of Texas Funk".
Next day Marc drops me off at the airport for my trip back to Boston. I've got lots of time to kill and when the woman at the Verizon stand asks me about filmmaking, we talk at length about the business and what a supportive place Austin is for film fanatics. I stop at the lounge/coffee shop and some of the patrons have talked the bartender into taking down the decorative "Miller-Lite" emblazoned guitars above the bar to play a few songs which they do with aplomb.
Hey - it's 9:30 AM at Austin airport, I'm having fun and I don't want to leave.
More about "YOU'LL PAY FOR THIS!" on the BGN site.
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