Movie review: The Wrecking Crew puts names to the notes of some iconic music | Arts
Arts
INDY Week's arts blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on

Friday, May 29, 2015

Movie review: The Wrecking Crew puts names to the notes of some iconic music

Posted by Google on Fri, May 29, 2015 at 11:55 AM

click to enlarge The Wrecking Crew - COURTESY OF MAGNOLIA PICTURES
  • courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
  • The Wrecking Crew
The Wrecking Crew
★★★
Now playing


The story behind the making of The Wrecking Crew is nearly as interesting as the film itself. In 1995, director Denny Tedesco set out to document the life story of his father, legendary guitarist Tommy Tedesco, who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Tommy was one of a group of Los Angeles session musicians in the 1960s known as The Wrecking Crew, who played on thousands of famous albums by such artists as The Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Herb Alpert, Dean Martin, The Mamas & the Papas, The Monkees, John Denver and many more.

By 2008, Denny was screening his final cut on the film festival circuit, including its premiere at South by Southwest. However, it took years for him to raise the additional $200,000 needed to secure the licensing rights for the 110 songs heard in the movie.

Finally finding its way into theaters, The Wrecking Crew follows in the footsteps of Standing in the Shadows of Motown, Muscle Shoals and 20 Feet From Stardom, other documentary salutes to unheralded, behind-the-scenes performers. The Wrecking Crew was the informal moniker assigned to the talented LA-based studio musicians who busied their days and nights with recording sessions, sometimes cutting whole albums in a single day. Although usually uncredited for the music they recorded—with credit frequently going to frontmen who never played a note in the studio—the Wrecking Crew were often well-compensated for their seemingly endless gigs.

Denny spotlights about a dozen of the more notable performers, including drummers Hal Blaine and Earl Palmer, bassists Carol Kaye and Joe Osborn, saxophonist Plas Johnson and guitarists Al Casey and Glen Campbell (yes, the Glen Campbell).

It’s not surprising to learn that The Monkees didn’t play their own studio music. However, Brian Wilson also employed the Wrecking Crew to lay down the tracks for such seminal Beach Boys recordings as “Good Vibrations” and the Pet Sounds album because of the demands of Wilson’s arrangements and the Beach Boys’ lack of available rehearsal time.

The time it took the film to reach distribution has some jarring repercussions. Seven of the featured Wrecking Crew musicians passed away during the intervening years, and it’s startling to see commentary from Dick Clark obviously recorded prior to his December 2004 stroke. The joy of The Wrecking Crew is revisiting a panoply of ‘60s rock standards, with the mostly unknown musicians responsible for the distinctive, intoxicating sound of an era.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Arts



Twitter Activity

Comments

...as did I, Ms. Margolis -- in a very small handful of moments over a two and a half hour …

by Byron Woods, INDY Theater and Dance Critic on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

I certainly heard the accents.

by Elizabeth A Margolis on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

Most Recent Comments

...as did I, Ms. Margolis -- in a very small handful of moments over a two and a half hour …

by Byron Woods, INDY Theater and Dance Critic on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

I certainly heard the accents.

by Elizabeth A Margolis on Theater Review: The South Is Hard to Hear in the Opera Version of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Arts)

Nice write up. Love the twists and turns and I hardily agree with the ultimate statement (and Camus since I …

by Perry on As the Durham Bulls Enter the Playoffs, We Wonder: What Exactly Is the Value of a Minor-League Championship? (Arts)

Just saw this last night. Did Rubin say that being around the Avetts would make life "matter" or just that …

by Drew Rhys on Full Frame: An Avetts Agnostic Finds Some Faith in May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers (Arts)

She made me a peanut butter and banana sandwichwithout bread. Now that's art.

by Geoff Dunkak on ADF Review: Queering Objects and Decoding the Body in Cherdonna's Clock that Mug or Dusted (Arts)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation