Saturday, August 05, 2006

Hell Hell, R & R

It’s after midnight and I got one man on my mind, Chuck Berry. I just got back from Jack’s house and we sat there in awe laughing at all of the behind the scenes calamities that occurred during the making of “Hail, Hail Rock and Roll”, the movie celebrating the 60th birthday of Charles Edward Anderson Berry. Just watching one disc of the 4 DVD set of “Hail, Hail Rock and Roll..The Ultimate Collection”, I learned a lot more than I ever wanted to know about my hero. (remember.. “Stay Away from your Heroes”)
First of all, he was promised $150,000 to do the movie so after the first day they had shot 2 hours of miscellaneous video and he bailed. The contract was for a 90 minute movie, they had enough for that. Hell, they hadn’t even done the show at the Fox Theater yet! He wouldn’t show up to shoot more video until more money was sent over. And let me remind you, Chuck don’t take checks! Cash only! So increments of $25,000 were sent over just to get him to show up for each day’s shoot until by the end of it all he had made an extra $650,000!!!
There's a great part about Chuck not wanting Etta James (a suggestion of Keith’s) anywhere near his movie. He had never heard of her. Then she told him at rehearsal that she had sung backup on 3 of his hits. So then she sang “Hoochie Coochie Man (she sang GIRL)” and brought Chuck to his knees. He was OK with her after that.
I was mostly disappointed to find out that he booked a gig in Columbus,OH (unbeknownst to the producers!) at the Ohio State fair (an outdoor show at night) and lost his voice just 2 days before the Fox show and that a lot of his vocals had to be dubbed in later. He came in and nailed’m when he did’m, but the fact that they weren’t really in the moment ruins it a little bit for me.
He really was an ass to a lot of cool people in the making of this thing and I really hope you check it out. There are to many great things in here to be missed. I think Jack got it at something like that. It’s spellbinding, sad and hilarious at the same time.


roscoe said...

My fave part has to be when he's playing the steel at the end of the movie on "In the Wee Wee Hours". Its also really great that they got Johnnie Johnson back together w Chuck.

Danny Eyer said...

YO TA - "Jersey-Boy Dan" here....I can't wait to get my hands on THAT DVD, 'cause I got to PLAY with Chuck about 6 months after that movie's release! It was a 2 week tour of Japan, and the bill was CHUCK, WILSON PICKETT, BEN E KING and DANNY & THE JRS. He didn't want another guitar player playin' with him, so I had to play piano. I woodshedded in every key for 2 months! Good thing, too, 'cause when he came out for soundcheck (our first meeting), he leans over to me and sez, "Everything we're gonna do is in the key of A, Bb and Eb". He was checking me out while he was saying the flat keys to see if that was gonna be an issue with me. I sez "OK Chuck", he smiles and starts heading towards one of the 2 Fender Dual Showman they had on each side of the stage. He immediately came back, bent down, whispered in my ear "Keith Richards sez those are f***ed up keys, but I think HE'S f***ed up!". We laughed for five minutes straight, then he sez "You guys know KEY TO THE HIGHWAY?" - He had so much fun with us, we jammed way over into showtime! Talk atcha soon! -Danny Eyer