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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Last call for Gun Club doc

posted by on January 11 at 15:46 PM

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Tonight at 9 PM is your last chance to catch Ghost on the Highway: A Portrait of Jeffrey Lee Pierce and the Gun Club at NWFF. When I interviewed former Gun Club member Kid Congo Powers a few weeks ago, he had mixed feelings about the film. He was okay with the somewhat negative slant on how Pierce was portrayed (“People with strong visions are usually seen as brats or monsters or ‘difficult’”), but was disappointed that licensing problems prohibited the inclusion of a lot of seminal music. I haven’t seen this documentary yet (I’m going tonight), so I can’t vouch for the quality, but if you’re a fan of Pierce’s pioneering, primal punk-blues (or disciples like White Stripes and Black Keys), what have you got to lose?

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I love the Northwest Film Forum and I love the Gun Club, but this is one disappointing doc. (While I'm at it, I love Allison Anders, too, and director Kurt Voss is her longtime co-writer.) That said, I'm glad the NWFF is screening it, and I'm glad I went. Why? For the interviews. Especially: Ward Dotson, Terry Graham, John Doe, and KCP. The lack of *any* GC music, however, is unforgivable. At the very least, Voss could've included some period punk from the Bush Tetras or Screaming Sirens, since both Dee Pop and Pleasant Gehman feature in the film. But no, just a little noodly instrumental stuff from time to time. A wasted opportunity--but better than no opportunity at all.

Posted by Kathy Fennessy | January 11, 2007 6:02 PM

Given how many cool people were involved, I was discouraged when I heard about the paucity of representative music, too. But I'm too much of a Gun Club fan to miss it, even if I wind up disappointed.

Posted by Kurt B. Reighley | January 11, 2007 6:53 PM

Yep, quite a bummer. I went last night and some fool fell asleep behind me and did their best Darth Vader impersonation to keep me awake, while providing their own unwanted soundtrack for me and others. If you were there, you know what I am talking about!

It seems to me if you do a doc on a band, music is essential. Otherwise, what is the point? You'd HAVE to be familiar with the the Gun Club's music to even get it. As is, it is probably a total bore to people who could have become fans of this great band.

Some of the still shots used were ok, but often repeated throughout the film. The live footage was terrible. You'd have to think better footage is out there with the extensive touring the Gun Club did in Europe.

And the interview comments were mostly boring too.

No matter how much I love the Gun Club, this film is about a 3 on a scale of 1-10. VERY DISAPPOINTING...unlike the Long Gone John movie over the weekend at NW Film.

Posted by Tim Thousand | January 12, 2007 1:54 PM

I'm with you, Tim. "The Treasures of Long Gone John" is great! Incidentally, in the film he says he's moving to Seattle. I have it on good authority that LGJ is actually planning a move to Olympia in March. This same source tells me that he has a *lot* more cats than what you see on screen--he estimates as many as 30. And yes, he says the "museum" has a bit of an...odor.

Posted by Kathy Fennessy | January 12, 2007 6:51 PM

Kathy, I thought I heard he is moving to Olympia. Hope he downsizes the cat urine!

Posted by Tim Thousand | January 17, 2007 12:19 PM

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