Thursday, April 21, 2016

Rodney Redbottom

josh roushRodney Redbottom is the first in a series of short movies I'm writing/directing titled the Benefits of a Small Town series. Believe it or not, this first chapter is based off of a very true story: Back in the day my good friend Brando inherited his Grandpa's car when he passed away. One day while driving said car he had a flat tire and as you do, he went into the trunk to pull out the spare. What he instead discovered wasn't a wheel, but tons of BDSM paraphernalia addressed to what turned out to be his Grandpa's pseudonym, Rodney Redbottom. After he begrudgingly confronted his Grandmother about the subject of Rodney, she enlightened him as to his Grandpa's more *ahem* interesting side.

It was Brando's constant drunken regaling of this story to me that struck a chord. What a wholly original and weird tale it is to discover such a thing about a patriarchal figure. Sometimes truth is indeed stranger than fiction. So with his permission I wrote up a treatment of the project and we both sat down and wrote the script. After a few months of planning I enlisted my wife Olivia Roush to produce it, my buddy J.C. Reifenberg to shoot it, and we got to work on preproduction. We shot the movie in May 2014 over the course of a few weeks on a Canon 5Dm3 DSLR shooting RAW. My uncle William S. Abramson financed the project with the majority of the money buying me the laptop that I've used to make all of my content for the past three years.

Dylan and I at the Premiere
To star in the project we recruited a friend of mine who was collaborating with John Roecker on their debut album (which just got released) to play the young version of Charlie Thomas*. We grabbed Joe Karam to play the older version of Charlie, the ever-amazing Elaine Rinehart to play Grandma, and William Gary Penn to play Grandpa. To fill out the cast of the "play parties" we recruited all of my friends to dress in bondage and smack each other around for an afternoon. I am truly lucky to have such stupidly loyal friends. My personal favorite cast decision though is my buddy Brandon playing the younger version of his own Grandpa.

*Charlie Thomas will be the name of my first son (if I have one) due to me promising a man on his death bed I would name my first son after him at thirteen years old.

Never one to shy away from researching the actual topic that we
were committing to screen, we talked to several individuals in the BDSM community and my wife and I even visited a "play party" in an industrial section of Los Angeles. Eventually we found an amazing lady named Trea Wallis-Taylor who amazingly came out and helped us add an air of realism to the portrayal of bondage in the film. During the timelapse section of said BDSM scene we even had a buddy of mine who works at NASA come out and design a motor to move the camera in a way in which we could create a seamless shot over four decades. Yes, you read that correctly, we had a NASA engineer design a bondage shot in our short movie.

I love and am proud of this weird, strange little flick we made and I look forward to continuing this universe in other shorts, the next of which you'll see is The Mission which we're currently screening in festivals. At the end of this year we'll also be shooting the third chapter of the Benefits of a Small Town series titled Dick Burrito followed by several more in 2017.

Thank you to all my friends that helped make this happen.
Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 Archives Vol 13: Joe Strummer- The Permanent Record Outtakes

This is the thirteenth edition of the " Archives", a collection of rare bootleg-albums I'm releasing through this blog. Click here to view all past Archive Albums. If you'd like to hear more about this album, we cover it in the Slippin' Through The Tracks segment on Episode 12 of my podcast, The Soapbox Office.

Joe Strummer was many things: Rockstar. Punk Rock Warlord. Composer. Of the few films he wrote the music for, the one that has fallen through the cracks is to a movie titled Permanent Record. The reason for this is although he wrote thirteen tracks for the album, the powers that be largely hated his work and only released five of them on the official soundtrack.

Latino rockabilly riotWhen Paramount approached Joe to write the music to the movie, they screened the film privately for him at their lot. During the middle of the screening he reportedly broke down crying and immediately agreed to do it on the spot. They booked him time at The Baby O Recorders Studio and he went to work right away. Early on in the process, the studio expressed their displeasure with Strummer's work and started looking for other tracks to fill out the album. Strummer, though knocked back, continued on with the process and finished the whole of the thirteen songs intended for the movie (the film's star Keanu Reeves even guests as the rhythm guitarist for the theme song).

This being his first undertaking with a group of musicians since he left The Clash, he assembled a band to help him execute the undertaking and named them The Latino Rockabilly War. This group consisted of Zander Schloss, Joey Artuda, Willie MacNeil, and Jack Irons. This lineup changed slightly through the few years it existed, but these are the same musicians responsible for bringing about Joe's first solo album, Earthquake Weather.

latino rockabilly riot back coverThe album is raw and feels as if most tracks were captured live in the studio during one solid take. Though the album as a whole does lull at times, one has to keep in mind that much of it was designed to be an accompanying score to a film. The one track that is the absolute stand-out from the rest of this undeniably has to be the super-catchy Trash City. The lyrical style of this song was a foreshadowing of what to come with his future band The Mescaleros while the backbeat of the song is reminiscent of his past work in The Clash.

If you dig this album, buy the soundtrack as it is a much higher audio quality than these outtakes. If you are looking for more rare Joe Strummer that is actually purchasable, I would suggest looking into his first Pub-Rock band The 101'ers as it's one of the biggest unheralded masterpieces of his career.

Download Zip File Here

The tracklist is:
1:  Trash City
2:  Louisiana Turnpike
3:  Search Party
4:  Baby The Trans
5:  Plymouth Roadrunner
6:  Nefertiti Rock
7:  Outta Space
8:  Theme From 'Permanent Record'
9:  Nothin' 'bout Nothin'
10: Detour
11: Japanese Cars
12: Nameless
13: Cholo Vest