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Author: Subject: Basically Frightened: The Musical Madness of Colonel Bruce Hampton

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  posted on 3/30/2012 at 11:38 PM
Tonight I went to a special showing of this documentay about Col. Bruce at the historic Plaza Theater as part of the Atlanta Film Festival. What a great night!

One reason I wanted to start this thread is to commend Ron Currens, our own Hophead He appeared several times in the film and was articulate and well-spoken, and much of the footage in the film had to come from Ron. Without him, this movie might not have ever happened. I didn't get to see Ron at the showing, but I'm sure it was a proud night for him.

Some of you may have heard about a Col. Bruce movie of some kind being in the works for years. They finally debuted it to a packed house in Bruce's home turf of Atlanta, with an audience full of old friends and hardcore fans. Everyone from Dave Matthews to Dave Schools, Jimmy Herring to John Popper, was in the movie citing Bruce as an influence, and there was also lots of classic footage of Bruce through the years. Billy Bob Thornton gets a fair amount of time as well.

Allman Brothers members Derek Trucks and Chuck Leavell feature prominently in the film. They both get a fair amount of screen time talking about Bruce and his influence on them and their music. Derek goes so far as to say he might not be playing professionally today if not for Bruce. Any Derek Trucks fan needs to see this movie to understand what a profound impact the Colonel made on Derek.

Chuck is equally complimentary, both of the Hampton Grease Band and ARU. He says playing with Aquarium Rescue Unit made him be on this toes musically in a way he never had before, and he glows when talking about recording the first ARU album at Georgia Theate, calling it one of the most special musical nights of his career.

All in all, an excellent, very well-done documentary and the definitive document about Col. Bruce Hampton. My wife and I went to the showing with my parents, and my Mom commented afterwards about how well-edited and put together the movie was. My parents were not familiar with Bruce of his music, but they found the movie hysterically funny and quite entertaining

My favorite part of the evening was introducing Bruce to my Mom and Dad

[Edited on 3/31/2012 by RobJohnson]

 
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  posted on 3/31/2012 at 07:30 AM
is this going to be available on DVD??
 

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  posted on 3/31/2012 at 08:01 AM
I'd love to see it!!!

 

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  posted on 3/31/2012 at 10:22 AM
I would certainly hope it will be available on DVD soon, but I don't know the details.

Once it does come out on DVD, anyone who has ever had even a casual interest in Col. Bruce or his musical disciples needs to see this film. I've tried for years to explain the strange phenomenon that is the Colonel, but this movie does it far better than I ever could.

 
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  posted on 3/31/2012 at 05:30 PM
Rob this is a docementary right? And in no way associated with Mike Gordon correct?

 

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  posted on 3/31/2012 at 08:11 PM
Charlesinator, you must be thinking of Outside Out, the movie Mike Gordon put together with Bruce a few years back with the Colonel as the "Outstructional" guitar guru.

This is a comprehensive documentary of Bruce Hampton's whole career. Mike Gordon does appear and they do talk about Outside Out, but this is a much more, shall we say, "linear" film

 
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  posted on 4/1/2012 at 03:00 PM
I was also at the premier and was more than pleased with the production. This is a very entertaining and informative film and whether or not you like, or even know Col. Bruce, if you’re a lover of the jam band scene this is a must see. It’s a bit like the Tom Dowd movie in how it explains the development of an aspect of the music scene and you get to hear several firsthand accounts of how it all developed. The stories on their own are plenty fascinating and hilarious - the Col. has always interjected a good bit of humor into his act and so there are several moments in the film that are laugh out loud funny.

There is a lot of the Allman Brothers fan. I never knew Duane Allman had been a champion for the Col and the Hampton Grease Band. Oteil also had a lot to say. I remembered that Oteil even gave the Col a shout out when he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy’s. I went back and listened to what he had to say: “I would like to thank Col. Bruce for teaching me how to hear music – because without him, I wouldn’t have been prepared to play in this band”. Obviously the Col’s influence has made a big difference to a lot of people.

The Col’s impact has been difficult to measure or for many to recognize since he stays on the move so much. The Aquarium Rescue Unit for example was such a phenomenally talented and progressive act and its place in rock and roll history should be supreme. But their time was so brief and with only two albums, both of which were never promoted properly, music fans today are going to miss knowing anything about them. Its almost as if you had to be there. Luckily I was – wow! And for the Col, approximately 5 bands later…. You never know what’s next.

I was also surprised when I saw Ron Currens in the movie since I had been chatting with him while standing in line for the movie. I recognized him from the live music scene around Atlanta but never realized this is the guy that founded Hittin’ the Note magazine. And Rev. Jeff Mosier figured prominently into telling the Col’s personal story.

I could go on and on and it really is great to see the Col start to get some due recognition with this movie. Its doubtful that many of you will get a chance to see this film but my guess is we’ll see it for sale on the Hittin’ the Note site before too long. Lets hope so!

 

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  posted on 4/2/2012 at 10:39 AM
Love it love it love it --
hadn't known something was in the works about the Col.
the ARU CD from the early 90s was one of the 1st CDs I owned
this film sounds awesome -- Duane himself talking up the Grease Band -- Music To Eat -- 3 sides of the Col. --
great info & thanks

 

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  posted on 4/2/2012 at 05:40 PM
Stephen, one of the things I enjoyed about the movie is they took great care to make a strong case that both Music To Eat and the first ARU record are truly great albums.

Both are real works of musical art that deserve wider recognition as some of the finest, most original recordings of the 20th century, and the movie makes that point very well.

 
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  posted on 4/2/2012 at 05:56 PM
Way cool stuff Rob, esp. you & your folks meeting Col. Bruce! Really would love to see this film -- hopefully it comes out on DVD -- it's great seeing this for the Col. -- he's one of the greats -- really gotta refamiliarize w/the Grease Band -- haven't heard that album in years
the Grease Band, ARU, Fiji Mariners, numerous others -- Col. Bruce, thank you

 

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"I know y'all came to hear our songs, we like to play 'em for you but without Gregg here it's really hard for us to do. He sings & plays so much & does such a good job. He's really sick, 103* He might've come, but no one would let him." Duane

 

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  posted on 4/5/2012 at 10:18 AM
Thanks for the reports Rob and Brewster. This just totally slipped my mind (seems a more frequent occurrence these days). Hoping for the DVD...
 
 


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