The Wrecking Crew Review - A Fun, Captivating, Magical Music Trip

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The Wrecking Crew, from Magnolia Pictures and Lunchbox Films, presents a trip back in musical time to the beginning of the California sound, the music which defined a generation and spawned peace, love and groovin’ freedom.

Directed by Donny Tedesco, The Wrecking Crew stars a who’s who of entertainment industry insiders, icons and giants and also the unsung heroes behind the sound including legendary guitarist Tommy Tedesco, Hal Blaine, Studio Drummer; Carol Kaye, bass guitarist and fender bass guitarist and Don Randi, Keyboard.

The film is dedicated to Tommy Todesco, who passed away from cancer at 67 in 1997. His son, Donny, brought four of the best musicians together in the same room, for an encore performance and a celebration of twenty years of music-making twenty years later.

What Motown did for the classic Detroit sound, and Muscle Shoals for rockers, southern rock and soul, a third sound, that took the country and the world by storm, that birthed careers and a weekly music show from Philadelphia, of all places, which became the American Bandstand each Saturday for viewers around the nation were essentially unknown, unsung heroes, very much in demand, well paid and anonymous.

The Beach Boys, Elvis, Sonny & Cher, The Monkees, The Byrds, The Mamas & The Papas, The Righteous Brothers, Nat “King” Cole, Nancy “These Boots Are Made for Walking” Sinatra, Frank Sinatra, Phil Spector and The Association the music industry’s forerunners to the rock and roll era, a new sound that brought girls screaming from their seats and guys dancing in the aisles

The Wrecking Crew were this anonymous group of hard charging studio musicians who at any time were counted to be twenty or thirty hardcore, highly skilled musicians who studied hard, muscled their way into the close knit studio circles and when one door shut they all worked all the more to make sure it opened . . . wide enough for everyone.

Tommy Tedesco, for whom The Wrecking Crew is truly made for as his son directed and dedicates, stated, of his early days when he had a day job in the local factory warehouse, “It was the best job I ever had because I hated it so much that I went home every day and practiced so I could get out.”

These are baby boomer musicians with sensibilities that have been lost, the career was the number one priority behind feeding the family, paying the bills and putting a roof over their heads, which everyone talks about.

The luminaries featured in the film either through interviews or news footage include Al Casey, Al Jardine, Bill Pitman, Bones Howe, Brian Wilson, Carmie Tedesco, Carol Kaye, Cher, Chuck Berghofer, Dave Gold, Dick Clark, Don Randi, Earl Palmer, Gary Lewis, Glen Campbell, Hal Blaine, Herb Alpert, Jimmy Webb, Joe Osborn, Julius Wechter, Larry Levine, Leon Russell, Lou Adler, Lew McCreary, Mickey Dolenz, Nancy Sinatra, Peter Tork, Plas Johnson, Roger McGuinn, Snuff Garrett, Stan Ross, and Tommy Tedesco.

These studio musicians also birthed solo careers. Glen Campbell, a regular musician went one to have a television, film and country & western singing career. His contribution to Country & Western was recently recognized with a Lifetime achievement award from the C&W Awards with songwriter Jimmy Webb also from the early studio days.

The Wrecking Crew tells a select story of a new sound and the people who loved it and loved making it. Of the migration of the music industry from New York City and the Brill Building to sunny southern California.

Movie Studios in the early days of Hollywood, which in the 1960’s were going through as much a transformation as anywhere else in the world, the old, buttoned up tie wearing, elder statesmen of the music industry were slowly being replaced by what was then a hipster crowd of thirty something’s, family men and women, who not only loved the sound but were dedicated musicians.

These musicians were responsible for the Beach Boys sounds and if anyone remembers music, or listening to the new California sound the beach boys music alone could conjure up California dreamin’ and invoke the magical, seductive, belief that life in sunny LA really did include orange trees in every year, a life of sunny filled days and warm enchanting nights of promise.

No Hollywood story is without its ups and downs, The Wrecking Crew, explained the life as a musician, work hard to get the gigs and these guys were doing four to five studio gigs a day, cutting albums daily, and working just to be sure the phone would ring tomorrow because they knew once the phone stopped ringing it would be longer until it rang again.

The idea in any artistic career is work as much as possible when the work comes in, save, be wise and smart, invest well, and when the dry spells come in, well there be some protection.

Not everyone did that as was told, the older guys got married, divorced, married and as being in the business the damage was deeper and the cut more difficult to heal.

Of the four, they all made the Rock and Roll Hall of fame, the deep respect of maybe even the stars on the sidewalk, and still lacked the financial protection.

The stories of the lives of each of these four and even the wider circle of musicians coming of age as a nation did was completed with interviews from music industry heavyweights.

The Wrecking Crew, a festival favorite won the audience award at the Seattle International Film Festival, and at the Tallgrass Film Festival. An official selection at SXSW Film Festival, Docuweek, Mill Valley Film Festival, Nashville International Film Festival and Florida Film Festival.

The Wrecking Crew is a magical mystery tour through the early days of the British explosion, the California sounds and the 1960’s rock and roll. Music that moved, fueled and was meant to be felt and experienced. Sounds that grabbed the soul. Take the trip!

The Wrecking Crew opens in select cities March 13, 2015. Check local listings. 

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