In 1975, Bob Dylan ventured out in an ill-fated tour called the ‘Rolling Thunder Revue’, where the legendary artist (alongside other famed names like Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott) hit the road to play theater venues with little to no-notice for the general public. The rolling caravan of shows featured music, theatre, a face-painted Bob Dylan, and at times a confused crowd (when seeing a face painted Bob Dylan, a heckler asked; “Why are you wearing a mask?“).
It went as well as expected. But through all the fabled stories of ups and downs the tour produced, cameras were rolling the whole time- capturing the traveling troupe of trouble as it traversed across North America.
On June 12th, Netflix will release Martin Scorsese’s documentary about the tour- the second time Scorsese has worked with Dylan- and will feature Dylan’s first new on-screen interview in more than a decade. Titled Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese (phew), the release coincides with the upcoming 14-disc(!!) Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings release.
The official Netflix blurb details how the documentary;
“captures the troubled spirit of America in 1975, and the joyous music that Bob Dylan performed that fall. Master filmmaker Martin Scorsese creates a one-of-a-kind movie experience: part documentary, part concert film, part fever dream. Featuring Joan Baez, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, Sam Shepard, Allen Ginsberg, and Bob Dylan giving his first on-camera interview in over a decade. The film goes beyond mere reclamation of Dylan’s extraordinary music—it’s a roadmap into the wild country of artistic self-reinvention.”
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese will stream starting June 12th on Netflix. Watch the trailer below:
The Making of Motown, the Making of Hitsville
Motown Records was the soul of a city, the rhythm of a nation
Few cities are as American as Detroit, be it for their rich automotive history or for their unique place in America’s music lore. There are few record labels as enshrined in American history and culture as Motown Records, the famed Detroit soul label famous for releasing a string of Top 10 hits by The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, The Four Tops, and Marvin Gaye through the 60s. Founded by Berry Gordy, Motown is more than just the incredible records they released in the 60s, it was the immense cultural impact the label had on America.
Famed songwriter Smokey Robinson, who was the founder and frontman of Motown artists The Miracles, once said of the label’s impact;
“Into the 1960s, I was still not of a frame of mind that we were not only making music, we were making history. But I did recognize the impact because acts were going all over the world at that time. I recognized the bridges that we crossed, the racial problems and the barriers that we broke down with music. I recognized that because I lived it. I would come to the South in the early days of Motown and the audiences would be segregated. Then they started to get the Motown music and we would go back and the audiences were integrated and the kids were dancing together and holding hands.”
A new documentary detailing the history and legacy of Motown Records is being released on Showtime titled Hitsville: The Making of Motown. Featuring a host of historical footage as well as interviews with label founder Berry Gordy, Jamie Foxx, John Legend, Smokey Robinson and more, the documentary will tell the story of the label, its formation, and its continued impact and influence on American music and culture. Directed by Benjamin Turner and Gabe Turner (The Class of 92), the documentary will air August 24th on Showtime.
Anarchy in the desert in Desolation Center trailer
An old kind of lawlessness in the desert
Long before music in the desert meant Instagram models, hipsters, and shitty pop music, it was about something more transgressive. During Reagan America, music was thrust into action as a voice for frustration and disappointment at the state of the union and was the catalyst for many social movements within music. Desolation Center is a documentary detailing part of that 80s rebellion, telling the story of music and performance art that took place in the (at the time) lawless confines of the desert.
Featuring interviews with an array of musicians from punk, rock, alternative, and industrial music, Desolation Center hopes to shed light on a little known movement that paved the way for countless music festivals like Lollapalooza. Interviewees include Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, and Minutemen’s Mike Watt, while rare live performance footage features the likes of Meat Puppets, Red Kross, Einstürzende Neubauten, and Sonic Youth.
The documentary was written and directed by Stuart Swezey and has been hitting the festival circuit this year. Desolation Center will open in US cinemas September 13th.