#RARE Billy Joel on 16 Track! The Lost L.A. Tapes – 1972 #raremusic #music
by Karen A. Brown @IndieStardust @StardustBlueCEO
Larry Russell is a dear friend and when I saw what he had found in his archives I had to share it with you!
These five original songs feature Billy Joel, Larry Russell, Rhys Clark, and Al Hertzberg in 1972! The sessions were recorded in Los Angeles at Paramount Recording Studios on Santa Monica Boulevard shortly after performing at the famous Sigma Studio, which was the concert that got Billy noticed by Columbia Records.
Thank you Larry Russell for supplying these rare recordings!
Interview with Larry Russell: Original Bass player for Billy Joel’s band 1972
KAB: How did you meet Billy and what year was it?
LR: It was early 1967 my band THE AGE OF REASON auditioned to be the opening act in a long island club called MY HOUSE owned by Danny Mazur. His son Irwin would later become Billy’s manager during my tenure. And that’s how it all began; my band opened up for THE HASSLES every Friday and Saturday night for a few months and also shared lots of shows with them outside of the club, like PALISADES AMUSEMENT PARK and HS proms.
KAB: How did you come across these lost recordings? Tell us about all these great original tracks!
LR: I had been looking for this tape for about 2 years now and stumbled across it accidentally, while opening some storage bins. I knew I should digitize it because it was on a cassette that was recorded by a good friend of mine, Alan Diaz, who was present during the sessions in Los Angeles. The engineer took a feed from the board and transferred it into Alan’s little Panasonic mono recorder. That tape was transferred onto another tape that he gave to me and I digitized it in my studio and gave that to the administrator of a great Billy Joel fan forum on Facebook run by pretty cool Billy Joel fan, Mike Stutz. The forum name is called Billy Joel: Completely Retold. the sessions took place in Los Angeles in April 1972 at the Paramount Studios on Santa Monica Boulevard. I believe we recorded there 1 or 2 days in one week to record about six songs. The engineer was the same one who worked with James Taylor on Fire and Rain. I remember those sessions as being a very happy time for us as that was a great momentum for us at that point.
KAB: What was the atmosphere like recording with Billy during this session?
LR: My old drummer bandmate, Alan Diaz. who would later go on to play Sergio Mendez, was attending this session and it was his cassette tape that was used to make the digital transfer of these sessions. The atmosphere was never tense. Between Billy, Rhys and I, there were plenty of ‘NY kidding’ around to keep us loose in the studio. And besides, we had a very successful string of dates that solidified Billy’s future success to come.
KAB: What was the equipment did you guys used to record?
LR: I used a 1972 Fender Prescision Bass that Billy bought me, mostly because my Rickenbacker Bass was getting played out. Al Hertzberg used his new Strat, that Billy bought him, as well. Rhys used his custom kit with Ludwig hardware. And Billy used the studio’s Steinway Grand. The engineer that day was Bill Lazarus, who two years prior engineered James Taylor’s Fire and Rain LP. He was awesome. The room provided him a 16 track Studer. I believe these sessions lasted two to three days.
KAB: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers, Larry?
LR: Yes, this band is releasing some live material from our reunion show from last year at The Bitter End on iTunes soon. It is called ‘Long, Long Time’ and look out for us later this year when we mini-tour a few shows down the East Coast.
KAB: Where can folks see you play now?
LR: We are planning an East Coast multi city mini-tour and I will provide info relating to this on Facebook. I am also in the midst of mixing the tracks from our Bitter End Reunion Show from last September 22, 2013 and those tracks will soon be available for sale as a download on iTunes as soon as it is completed.
Thanks for dropping in here with me on Indiestardust Larry! Wonderful hearing these incredible stories!
Find Larry on Twitter @LRussellBass and on Facebook
Lisa Johnson is a photographer to be reckoned with. With her groundbreaking vision she traveled the world to photograph the most exquisite guitars of our favorite rock stars! We sat down with Lisa to get details of her incredible journey with her new book 108 Rock Star Guitars.
KAB: Welcome Lisa! Thank you for joining us today. You’ve been touring with 108 Rock Star Guitars. Finally your own tour! How does it feel? Any wild stories from the road to start us off?
LJ: Well this whole past 17 years of creating the book and now launching it has truly been the ride of my life! My first official book launch event was kicked on in NYC on October 8th (10/8) at the infamous “Cutting Room” and I was thrilled to have the current Les Paul Trio perform at the event with Lou Pallo at the helm. We showcased guitarist Porl Thompson, formerly of The Cure, whose guitar is in the book. And it was indeed super wild that my Father got to play two songs with the Trio. It was the thrill of his life and mine too so see him perform so well.
JMC: You once worked for Kodak, but not as a photographer, is that correct?
LJ: Yes, I worked as a Technical Sales Representative for Eastman Kodak. My job was to visit professional photographers and the photo labs that serviced them and make sure they were using Kodak products. Most of us at Kodak were also photography buffs and we had to understand our product so we were always testing the films, paper and chemistry we were selling.
JMC: Where did the idea for 108 guitars come from?
LJ: I am a yogi. I teach, practice and study yoga philosophy and the number 108 is a significant number in yoga philosophy. So significant the number 108 has its own page on Wikipedia if you google it! I had traveled to India in 2009 and was staying with my yoga teacher, whose family astrologer came over to give me a reading. I told him I was trying to figure out what I would call my book. I knew I had to be something like “Rock Star Guitars”. He suggested adding the 108 to it and I knew instantly that was it! While I have photographed over 108 guitarists guitars, I thought that was a perfect stopping point and would lend a cosmic element to the book instead of the regular 100 or 101 greatest.
KAB: The angles, the light, the positions you must have placed your body in in order to get the shot you wanted. Tell us about how much of a contortionist you had to be shooting the guitars.
LJ: Yea, well that question brings me back to yoga! It’s true, I have laid on the ground and shot up, and on my stomach and shot across, have crouched in some pretty tight corners to get the shot and definitely used yoga breath, contracted my abs and entire body to get a lot of these shots! I would not say I’m a contortionist, but it has been very helpful to be limber and flexible to get some of these photos.
JMC: Which was the most difficult to photograph ~ and why?
LJ: Jeff Beck’s guitar shoot was one of the most difficult because of the small space I had to work in. But it was cool because the space was behind a black curtain that flowed perfect with the black background I had laid down. Only problem was that I did not have much room behind me so did not have much leeway to move around at all. I did lay on the floor and shot upwards toward the guitar. It was tough to pull it off quickly and know that I got the shot I wanted that would be creative and interesting, but I ended up being very pleased.
KAB: Which was the most fun to photograph and why?
LJ: I absolutely LOVED photographing Roger Waters iconic 1970’s Fender Precision Bass in one of the coolest locations ever… directly underneath The Wall, just moments after sound check. It was in Athens, Greece in one of the Olympic Hall buildings, in which I had been in before because I had staffed the Olympics in Greece for Kodak. Prior to the shoot I got to sit and watch the sound check, in which Roger was completely in charge of on stage, orchestrating the children’s choir with The Wall animated films projected on the Wall. Absolutely fantastic moment in the creation of this book.
JMC: Do the guitars have personalities, just like their owners? Did any take your breath away to be right there, photographing?
LJ: They definitely do. Which is why I never ask for the photographers to be in the shot. My work is all about showing the wear and tear details of the guitar that personify the artist without them being in the photograph. The guitars tell a story in and of themselves about the artist by what they leave behind. You can tell a lot about how the guitar is handled and played and they do take on a personality of their own that also portrays the soul of the guitar and perhaps its owner. When we opened the case to Jimmy Page’s 1968 Gibson EDS 1275 SG double neck, it was pretty breathtaking and a whole lotta love and soul emerged out of that case!
KAB: Your book is stunning. Is the final result everything you had hoped for?
LJ: Yes, I am so pleased with how it turned out. Even I have to pinch myself when I look through the pages and say wow I took that photograph! But aside from the imagery, my design team at SMOG Design in Los Angeles did a superior job. They have a real talent for listening to their clients and they masterminded exactly what I wanted.
JMC: What guitar took the longest to get the approval to photograph?
LJ: Jeff Beck and Rick Nielsen! Both held out on me for a long long time. But both shoots were very much worth the wait! I got Jeff’s Fender Stratocaster that has a 1993 Neck affixed to a 1995 Body, and it has a nice bit of tender wear on it. I got a Fender Tele guitar of Rick Nielsen’s I hadn’t seen before at all called the “Rick of Diamonds”, with uber cool crystal work on it, alongside a vintage Les Paul and a couple of his infamous Hamer guitars.
KAB: Did any of the guitar owners play an impromptu private show?
LJ: Yes… Robby Krieger came over to my house for the photo session, which was wonderful because I have a great studio here in a controlled environment. As I photographed each guitar, he would play one of the other ones for me. Noteably he started playing Spanish Caravan on his 1963 Jose Ramirez Flamenco Guitar. Michael Wilton of Queensryche also plugged into a little amp after I photographed his skull crushing 2009 ESP MW Custom Signature Model-“Skull Guitar”. Such cool moments in the life of this project!
JMC: Is there a guitar you didn’t get to photograph that was on your wish list?
LJ: Many! Angus Young, Mark Knopfler, Pete Townshend, The Edge, Jackson Browne, John Fogherty, and many more were all requested but have not manifested yet.
KAB: How much traveling did you have to do?
LJ: I’ve been all over the USA including NYC, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Seattle, Louisiana, Nashville, Dallas, Austin, England, Greece and more. It’s been a fun journey. (see attached fact sheet)
JMC: What was your favorite ~ and why?
LJ: One of my favorite shoots was working with Nils Lofgren. He has a beautiful collection of guitars that are all very well worn yet well taken care of and they all have stories behind them. I got to go to Nils home and we spent several hours together photographing his guitars in a huge studio he has made on his property. There is just so much love energy in his presence. His lovely wife, and many dogs and just Nils is a beautiful human being who not only plays for the Boss in the E Street Band, his also has a very impressive catalog of his own solo material. I love the way his guitar images grace the pages of the book, including one acoustic Martin guitar that Neil Young gave to him when he was 17 or 18 years old. Nils has had a wonderful career and I adore him and his music. From what I understand you will see several of the images I took of his guitars on his forthcoming box set that is soon to be released.
JMC: Les Paul wrote the foreword — tell us about your friendship with Les.
LJ: When Eastman Kodak transferred me from Memphis, TN to NYC I had already been studying the photographing of guitars for about 6 months or so. When I arrived in NY I knew that I wanted to continue photographing guitars and decided that it may as well be famous ones. I noticed that Les Paul was playing every Monday night at The Iridium Room so I trekked down there by myself with an envelope of prints in my hand to show what I was doing. At the time it was Black and White images that I would hand tint with oils. I sat at the bar at the back of the room and eventually Paul Nowinski, the fiddle bass player in the Les Paul Trio at the time, came over to get a drink. I introduced myself to him and asked if he thought Les would let me photograph his guitar. Paul made it happen and the next thing I knew, I was on the stage photographing Les’s guitar that he had left on the stool he sat on for the shows. The next time I came in, I brought B&W hand tinted prints for Les and I got to personally deliver them to him. The next time he saw me he said “Hey there’s that girl who does that guitar art!” That made me so happy. I would go to Iridium as often as I could while I lived in NY and then after I moved to Las Vegas, I would always make a point to go and see Les when I would return to visit NY. Lou Pallo and Paul Nowinski would always help me out and make sure I got back to see Les. It was always exciting for me to sit and talk with him, and show him my prints of the latest guitars I got. He would encourage me. He told me one time that my images would inspire young people to buy a guitar because of the way my images illustrated how the guitarists would personalize them. He loved to have young people come up on stage and play a song with him. I wish he could see the book now that it is done. I think he would be proud of me. A percentage of the book proceeds will benefit the Les Paul Foundation to help fund music education and the hearing impaired. I had to do that in his honor and especially for being so kind as to write the foreword for the book.
KAB: Is there anyone you were particularly starstruck to meet during the journey?
LJ: Well I didn’t get to meet all the artists in the book, but I did meet a lot of them. I’m not really that star struck kind of person. I was so happy to get to meet Nancy and Ann Wilson and got to present a book to them. They are the coolest women in Rock and their music means so much to me. It was a true honor to meet these women who have inspired me so much.
JMC: Do you play guitar?
I can play a few chords! But am really just learning. I have a great teacher in LA who comes out to my house. I can’t wait to shred one day!
KAB: Did you play any of the guitars you photographed?
LJ: No, I never ask to play them, I have so much respect and reverence for the guitar and the opportunity to have access to photograph them that I would never want to overstep my bounds or timeframe I said I could get the session done in. Maybe when I get good enough I will ask!
JMC: Do you choose subjects according to your own taste as a fan?
LJ: For the most part I do. Sometimes I may not be a regular listener of some of the artists, but I have tremendous respect for the work they do. A couple of the guitars in the book were suggested to me by people that said I just had to get this one or that one, but for the most part I have requested artists that I grew up listening to or are listening to now.
KAB: Were the artists there when you photographed their guitars?
LJ: Some were there and those were some cool shoots. Robby Krieger, Nils Lofgren, Steve Earle, Steve Lukather, Mark Farner, Wayne Kramer, Hutch Hutchinson, Kim Thayil, K. K. Downing, Michael Schenker, Porl Thompson and many more guys where there hanging with me during the shoots. So fun!
JMC: Tell us the Lou Reed story!
LJ: I love the images of Lou’s guitars in the book. I only met him once, after the photo session was done. I got access to his guitars because we had a couple of mutual friends who both went to him and told him what I was doing. So he agreed via communication through them. I went to his house in Manhatten, no one was home, it was just me and his assistant who gave me carte blanche to his guitar room. It was quiet and beautiful with a real art vibe. His was one of the first guitars I ever photographed and I used a very special Color Infrared film that Kodak had made especially for NASA to shoot vegetation from space. It was quite appropriate to use this film on Lou’s guitars. I’m so pleased he got to see the prints before he passed and he posted my favorite image from the set onto his Facebook page just a few days before he passed. Lou’s music and soul was a true gift to the world.
The rich saturation of color in Lisa Johnson’s ground-breaking photographic vision documents not only some of culture’s most important rock star guitars, but also recounts how the instrument itself has become the essential symbol of rock. Her bold use of unusually low depth-of-field photography visually caresses the instrument in the way a skillful musician might – zeroing in on subtle gradations in a guitar’s patina or hugging the curves of another’s silhouette. Johnson accompanies her images with text cultivated from interviews with the proud guitar owners, revealing the personality of the musician who plays the instrument while her images revere the instrument itself. Johnson provides up-close inspection of guitars, including those of Eric Clapton, Les Paul, Jimmy Page, Billy Gibbons, Rick Nielsen, Brian Setzer, Chrissie Hynde, Ace Frehley, Carlos Santana, Jack White and many others. Here, the guitar is made exotic, sensuous, and evocative – it transforms from an instrument into an artwork. Includes padded-leatherette hardcover book, 16-page booklet describing inspiration behind project, and black guitar pick printed with one of three holographic foil designs. More at http://108rockstarguitars.com
Bravo to actress/producer Olivia Wilde for telling it like it is.
“The men who joined us to sit on stage started squirming rather uncomfortably and got really bored because they weren’t used to being the supporting cast,” Wilde said.
“It was fascinating to feel their discomfort [and] to discuss it with them afterwards, when they said, ‘It’s boring to play the girl role!’ And I said, ‘Yeah. Yeah. You think?! Welcome to our world!”- Olivia Wilde
Laura Flanders’ show streams at http://www.GRITtv.org. Here, actress Olivia Wilde joins the State of Female Justice panel to discuss the responsibilities of celebrities towards advancing social justice and the portrayals of women in the media.
Artists/Musicians/Writers are not getting paid for airplayin The USA and it’s just simply wrong.
The time has come! Please sign the petition at http://www.irespectmusic.org and send your photos to us @IndieStardust on Twitter or on Facebook www.facebook.com/IndieStardust We will keep building this collage until it is impossible to build. Cheer us on and watch the process! Sign at http://www.irespectmusic.org
Blake Morgan has stepped into the arena with Washington with 8411 signatures on the http://www.irespectmusic.org petition, as of this writing, Congress will have to listen. Twitter is ablaze with hundreds of photos with musicians, celebrities holding a sign saying #irespectmusic.
New York, NY – February 11th, 2014: The Washington beltway turned a deaf ear to artists’ rights until one guy, one activist, wrote the words “I Respect Music” on an index card and showed it to the world.
Now, thousands upon thousands of music makers and music lovers are standing together and making history by adding their names to a petition that is not only shaking up the music world, it’s shaking up Congress.
The petition, written and launched from the laptop of artist and musician Blake Morgan, has gone viral at an unprecedented pace. Everyday working musicians, music fans, music organizations, and luminaries like David Byrne, Patrick Stewart, Gavin DeGraw, Jean Michele Jarre, Marc Ribot, Roseanne Cash, Mike Mills, John McCrea, Civil Twilight, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and countless others have voiced their support by both signing the petition and posting or tweeting a “selfie” with the hashtag: #IRespectMusic.
“The idea for ‘I Respect Music’ was born in an Op-ed I wrote for the Huffington Post in mid-December,” says Morgan (article here: http://huff.to/1gItlZW) . “Once the article went viral and passed 40,000 ‘likes,’ it was clear that idea––and those three words––had resonated far more deeply than anyone could have expected.”
Blake Morgan is no stranger to how democracy works in the modern age, or to winning a David vs. Goliath struggle for artists’ rights. The I Respect Music campaign follows his whistle-blowing victory over Internet radio giant Pandora, which led to the multi-billion dollar company abandoning its own signature legislation in Washington which would have reduced artists’ pay by up to 85% (article here: http://huff.to/1iMROLL).
“Many are surprised to learn that the United States is the only democratic country in the world where artists don’t get paid for radio airplay. And, that the short list of countries that share the United States’ position on this issue includes Iran, North Korea, China, Vietnam, and Rwanda.” Morgan adds, “What’s more, as a result of not paying their artists for radio airplay here in the United States, other democratic countries aren’t paying American artists in their countries.”
“Art is one of the United States’ top five exports. It’s one of the few things the United States still makes that the world still wants,” says Morgan. “So it’s not just rock stars who aren’t getting paid, we’re talking about millions of working class artists and musicians, as well as millions more who are––or used to be––employed through music: electricians, carpenters, bus drivers. This isn’t just about music, it’s about American jobs, and American exceptionalism.”
“We artists and musicians have the right to expect from our profession what others expect from their professions. That through hard work and determination, perspiration and inspiration, we’ll have the same fair shot to realize our dreams, answer our callings, support our families. I respect my profession. I respect artists. I respect music.”
Blake writes: “At the heart of everyone’s concerns lies a common understanding that the royalty payments from radio, whether terrestrial (AM/FM), satellite, or Internet, are uneven and unfair. Everyone involved in the argument feels they’re unfair, whether they feel they’re paying too much, or getting too little. That’s because terrestrial, satellite, and Internet radio each pay different rates. Mostly this is due to the near-century between the establishment of terrestrial radio and its satellite and Internet counterparts, and the birth of the entire music industry during that time.”
(Left to right) Billy Amendola/ModernDrummer; Magazine Ray Gomez/Guitarist; PatrickStewart and Sunny (Below) Bluesman Steve Hester
Indiestardust wishes Blake huge success with The #iRespectMusic Campaign!
A brilliant comic, writer, actor, Rick Overton has been making us laugh from in front of the camera, behind the camera and standing in front of the brick wall for years. He won an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing for a Variety or Music Program for: “Dennis Miller Live” (1994). He also dressed up as… hmmm..well…. you decide, with Kevin Pollack for Ron Howard’s film, “Willow(1988) and even plays the harmonica.. and fabulously! I caught up with Rick while on tour in Atlanta. Rick is is known as a legendary comic/Jedi Prophet… Yes to both, I say!
KAB: Firstly, thank you for doing this interview, I know how busy you are! How long have you been on stage making people laugh, Rick?
RO: Are you sitting down? (Just say “Yes”, I have no way of knowing. ) 40 years. Back when the mic was made of wood and you had to just shout.
KAB: Ha!! And yes I was sitting… As a comic in the club scene what has changed as far as the way it was 35 years ago vs. now?
RO: Like anything at saturation point, there are always a few Mozart’s and a whole bunch of Salieri’s. Just like rock music. But the brilliant ones shine through in every era.
KAB: Your gags can be a bit racy and political at times. How do you use comedy to bring awareness to issues?
RO: Go to a startling place and while their attention is peaked, speak your mind.
KAB: Really great advice for anyone with the floor.. Can you share with us a bit about what you think happened after your HBO Special in 1991? You were waaay ahead of your time, very much like, George Carlin.
RO: Thanks Karen. It did well and played a lot, but the same industry that forced Bill Hicks go to the U.K. to explode his career viewed my special the same way. But because of my acting career at the time, I didn’t move out when Bill did. I wonder how things would look if I had. But here I remain, working it out.
(See Rick’s HBO Special below!)
KAB: We know you were buddy’s with the brilliant comedic genius Jonathan Winters, truly sorry for your loss, I know it is a rough one for you, for all of us.. Would you share with us a bit about Jonathan as a man?
RO: He clearly demonstrated the value of retaining the best parts of what an adult ought to bring from the innocent days of childhood, while his adult mind could in clarity, suss person or situation like a bar code reader. His genius was in application everywhere from his act to his acting to his books to his artwork to his opinions. All of it feels as if I were hanging with Einstein at Princeton. You can see on the GREEN ROOM with Paul Provenza, the episode with Jonathan, Robert Klein and me, I barely say a word. I just wanted to hear what they’d say next.
(See below for the Green Room Episode!)
KAB: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
RO: Listen to Jonathan’s stories and insights on my Podcast called Overview at RickOverton.net or on iTunes. (Below) He at 87 was still as clear and sharp as he’s ever been. I miss him already.
KAB: And where are you performing now? Where can people see you do your thing?
RO: This weekend I’m at the Laughing Skull in Atlanta. Brilliant lineup of acts on the show. All of them Conan worthy. M Bar in Hollywood 4/19 8:00 on the Logan Heftel Show. 4/23 I’m doing Set List (All improvised standup) at 8:00 at Meltdown comics on Sunset in Hollywood.
KAB: Thank you Rick you are truly special guy…I’m honored to know you.
RO: The honor is mine Karen. Thank you. xoxo
Rick posted on Facebook after hearing about Jonathan’s passing..
“I can look back and see now that as a child, Jonathan Winters was the father of my imagination, and his legacy to this day is exponential. To have heard or seen him was to have been changed by it, automatically. Everyone has a flipping coin, childlike – childish – childlike – childish – childlike – childish. He steadfastly chose heads as the side with which to define his life, having been dealt the negatives in his youth that he had. He started me on the path I am still on today. My dad played me The Wonderful World Of Jonathan Winters as a kid and I was in the game from that point on. Almost as if my Dad knew it would be this way. I’m so grateful for that series of events. I’m so grateful for Jonathan Winters. Thank you Jonathan, thank you.”
The Green Room with Paul Provenza with Jonathan Winters, Robert Klein, Rick Overton and more!
EXCLUSIVE Interview with Director Kevin Breslin and his New Indie, “Blowtorch” starring William Baldwin, Lois Robbins, Kathy Najimy, Armand Assante, Jared Abrahamson
Let’s shoot a film in the middle of hurricane cleanup: Director Kevin Breslin’s New Indie, “Blowtorch” stars William Baldwin, Lois Robbins, Kathy Najimy, Armand Assante, Jared Abrahamson
by Karen A. Brown @StardustBluCEO
On October 29th when Hurricane Sandy hit the The Northeast, Director Kevin Breslin was in pre-production to begin filming “Blowtorch”. Little did Breslin know, he would first have to watch 100 homes burn to the ground in his neighborhood of Rockaway, NY and lose two cars while being forced to weather the storm on the top floor of his home. He has spent the last two months living in 5 different locations while he’s been filming “Blowtorch” on the streets of Brooklyn. On one night, he had to direct from his car, as the deluge from the sky made it impossible to be out in the street.
With a stellar cast of veteran actors William Baldwin, Lois Robbins, Kathy Najimy, Armand Assante, Paul Ben-Victors and Jared Abrahamson burning up the screen, this drama is sure to be powerful. The story, written by Breslin, is set in Brooklyn. “Blowtorch” tells of a murder of a teen over ‘bathsalts’. (http://www.drugfree.org/drug-guide/bath-salts)
I caught up with Breslin to get the inside scoop on “Blowtorch”, which will be released sometime late this year.
What was it like filming on the streets of Brooklyn?
Breslin: Brooklyn is the greatest place on earth to film. For “Blowtorch” I tried to relive the naked city and on the waterfront. It still has cobblestone. It has the old crumbling factories and the lonely streets. The piers jut out with NYC in the background. The hard edge of the waterfront in Sunset Park allowed me to show the working class world. The rich and the dreams of greatness always twinkled across the river.
You wrote “Blowtorch”, can you share more about the process of creating the script?
Breslin: This is a story out of my mind. I worked in many factories and knew many tough people. I loaded trucks for years at night in Canarsie. I knew about a few different murders in my life and had to get at some fiction. I have made one doc after the next in the past few years and knew it was time for me to start working with fiction. It is in my blood.
Your last film, “#whilewewatch” was a raw fast paced doc on the Occupy Wall St Media team, how different was shooting with seasoned actors?
Breslin: I was excited to meet all the actors. I loved them. Billy Baldwin, Armand Assante, Kathy Najimy, Jared Abrahamson, Paul Ben David and Lois Robbins. They were all great. All the characters are New York. The actors gave brilliant performances. This is about a teenager murdered over bathsalts in Brooklyn. I know reality and doc story telling. I trusted my instincts about story and just giving the actors the freedom to work. I loved when they said to me, ‘Hey, I have an idea. Can I try this or that?’ I loved that. They were invested in their characters. I just wanted them to bring the rhythm of their roles to life. Can’t wait to do it again. Actors are smart people.
Any quirky stories during the shoot that you would like to share?
Breslin: Yeah, I was homeless because of Hurricane Sandy and have been sleeping all over the place till my house is ready. My son Quinn, age 5, thought he was Billy Baldwin’s son. And called himself Jesse. He would run lines with Billy at 3 am. He started asking when was his chance to do a scene. The camera crew put him in makeup and I called action. He stared throwing out some lines. Insanity… (*laughing*)
You are editing now, when will the film be released?
Breslin: This is an indie. It will be out sometime next year. This is an edgy murder story on the waterfront in Brooklyn. A teenager dies over bathsalts. His mother seeks revenge and wants the murderer caught. She becomes inexorable and takes the law into her own hands. Lois Robbins is the mom. Billy Baldwin is a detective who is after the killer and has to use all his skills to keep the mother from ruining a murder case.
Is there anything else you would like to share about the writing and/or filming of Blowtorch?
Breslin: I was blessed to have a great NY crew. The mayor’s office gave us ‘cart blanche’ and we shot all over the Brooklyn streets. For a film with a small budget I think we will give the streets a big-time look. I look forward to getting the film out for everyone to enjoy. I wanted to a film in the vein of the old NY movies from Lumet…even the edgy look from Billy Friedkin. I used old lenses from the 60’s to give the film a unique look…. Thank god for cobblestones. Still Photos: SABRINA LANTOS Find more on Director Kevin Breslin at http://www.breslinfilms.com Follow on Twitter @KevinBreslin #whilewewatch on Snagfilms.com