Monday, July 25, 2016

Led Zepplin Played Here

Led Zepplin Played Here. Directed By Jeff Krulik (2014). 

Every so often we like to branch out and take a break from the usual gore and cat 3 flicks that we celebrate here over at the TOG headquarters. This is a very special case because I received a copy of this film after inquiring about buying a DVD (when does that ever happen)? The director graciously hooked me up so I figured why not mention it here, who cares if it's non horror, it's worth your time. 

I love the films of Jeff Krulik, there's nothing like them. They capture all kinds of snippets of brilliant weirdness lurking in the dark corners of any town U.S.A. The most legendary example that made him world famous is Heavy Metal Parking Lot of course. I ordered that VHS directly from the director long ago, bought a copy for my brother-in-law and tried to convince anyone that would listen to check out his short films because I think they're brilliant!

Some of my favorites besides HMPL are I Created Lancelot Link, Meet Fan Boy with Rock Savage hanging out at a vintage Spencer's Gifts, Neil Diamond Parking Lot and an episode of Joe Franklin where he presented himself as a theatre critic to get interviewed on the show. Most of these films are on his Youtube channel or Vimeo.  

Krulik's style is just a nostalgic hodgepodge of irresistible psychosis that totally resonates with me. His latest film is Led Zepplin Played Here. And if you're like me, a "meh, I don't get em type Zepplin fan", there's still tons of mind candy to gnaw on. I just never appreciated the band and think of them as car commercial fodder but what do I know?

The commitment in interviewing every rocknroll personality connected to an unassuming high school gymnasium where tons of legendary bands played along with the mudshark lunatics (aka Page,Plant, Bonzo and Jones) is astounding. No one really believed it happened because it just seems too ridiculous that a ginormous band would play for gas money in a tiny gym at the Wheaton Youth Center in Maryland and that's the premise. 

Nixon in-hog-ural protestors 

There's tons of interesting rock and roll collectors that showcase their obsessive memorabilia and it's fun to check out all the rarities. Lots of eyewitness's illustrate the time period like Skipp Groff, who helped start off Dischord Records and Mario Medious who was a promo guy for Atlantic Records. I liked how Sharon Ward Ellis, the manager of the Wheaton Youth Center during the early 70's talked about how horrible and idiotic Iggy & The Stooges were. She mentions how he smashed a jar of peanut butter down his pants and seemed really high (of course he was)!

The Zepplin show coincided with the epitome of square-ness, the inauguration of Richard Nixon. Krulik does a good job showing the juxtaposition of establishment verses the counter culture youth and the power that classic rock music had (and hopefully continues to have over the rebellious spirit). He really travels all over to gain different perspectives on the story and finally lands in front of the band themselves to confirm the mystery at The Kennedy Center. Unlike Nick Broomfield or Michael Moore it's not an ambush or an embarrassing display staged for a cheap stunt, he engages with Jimmy Page and the famous guitarist actually seems overjoyed to talk about the past. It's funny but I've never actually heard Jimmy Page's voice, its very high! All I can think of is how silly he must sound talking about how rad Aleister Crowley or Tolken are. I highly recommend the film it's a blast even if you're not "a get the led out" type music fan. There's an issue with the music rights (these songs are super expensive) but hopefully this film will be available soon.    

The director getting closer to solving the mystery

I'd like to thank Mr. Krulik for sending me this screener and if this film comes to your town certainly check it out. If you're a fan of solid, highly entertaining rock history make sure to catch it when it plays at a film fest near your town.

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