It was an amazing movie! I learned so many things I didn't know about the LA session scene. It was awesome. Very entertaining and funny -- Tommy Tedesco had me laughing many times.
I'm a movie freak and highly recommend this film. I see everything that comes out and this one I would see again!
- Carmine Appice - Rock LegendPlease allow me to say that Tommy Tedesco was the Godfather for all of us young studio guitarists coming up in the 70's. When working with Tommy on a recording session, he had our backs and would teach us so much valuable information! Denny has done an incredible job on all levels creating a masterpiece. This film is a must see for anyone that has interest in music history on any level!
- Jay Graydon - Guitarist/ProducerThat's really how it was. These were The Greats the best of the best! They made the music to the sound tracks of our lives. This offering gives us insight into the minds, the art and the soul of these creative musicians.
- Jose FelicianoIt was incredible! I felt just like I was sitting there with them at that table. It had everything I wanted to see and more that I didn't expect. Tommy's humor drew you in and the lifelong respect for each other was so evident. Thank you for making this film because it shows that these legendary musicians, who we listen to everyday, are anything but invisible!!!!!!
- Peter FramptonDenny has worked hard to put together a very world-class documentary to tell the truth about how our group of experienced fine musicians helped create and perform on everyone's favorite recordings of the 1960s-70s....his meticulous and sensitive f ilming of interviews, caring of the musicians and stars he interviewed, plus his lengthy personal time and toil in getting the very best ways of telling our story will help make the history of working musicians an interesting story as well as a wonderful documentary of the real lives and history of the musicians behind the music everyone loved and grew up to in those years...
I highly recommend this to everyone to see. It's terrific, hard-hitting with the right punches, and filmed as only experienced fine film-makers can do...besides I've known Denny since he was a young lad visiting our recording studios, he's one of "our kids"... who we did the work for. Thanks Denny for doing such a wonderful film about us, your Dad, and those of us who are playing in Heaven already. I know your revealing film will be enjoyed and appreciated by the public for years to come.
- Carol Kaye
Like the Funk Brothers being the backbone of the Motown Sound, the Wrecking Crew were the backbone of the L.A. Sound. This group of musicians played on and created hundreds of hits that became the soundtrack to our lives in the 60s and 70s and are still on radio today. I would recommend this DVD to anyone who likes music and who doesn't? It's an historical peek and inside look at the backbone of American hit parade music that rocked the world.
- Randy Bachman
Guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive
The reason they were the unsung heros, if those guys were playing sessions today, they would be like the front four of any football team, those guys would be known, people would know about them. It would be something more than just session players.
- Cher [from the documentary]
"The Wrecking Crew" documentary is the first time that people will finally understand what it was like to be in the trenches of Rock and Roll... Its the closest thing to being there. It is a great pleasure to be a part of Denny Tedesco's Wrecking Crew.
- Hal Blaine
Music can be many things to many people. That is what makes it so fascinating as an art form. It's subtleties and nuances are not easily expressed in words yet are easily felt as an impact on the senses. This film tells the story of the unsung heroes of a musical era that can never be duplicated. If you've ever wondered who REALLY played on most of your favorite records, you're about to find out.
- Dweezil Zappa
Just wanted to say what a great look the film is at an unknown and unforgettable part of American pop music history. To see the men and women, most often uncredited, behind the soundtrack of the 60s and 70s, and to share a little of their infectious camarederie, was the next best thing to being there in the room with Brian and Spector and the rest. Good luck with it.
- Harry Shearer
This is an exquisite film with far reaching interest, from every musician on earth, to anyone who was even remotely touched by any of the music (i.e. anyone who was alive) during that era. Even if you were born after the era, the comedy and stories from these amazing personalities will easily carry you through. The editing too, will hold the interest of even the most devoted 4 shot Starbucks devotee!!
- Jennifer Batten
Much congratulations to you for undertaking the project and for delivering it in such a wonderful way. For me it was educational, entertaining and thoroughly engrossing...
- Clive Davis
A wonderful, touching and hilarious film about the unsung stars of so many records that you carry in your heart.
- Elvis CostelloIf I'd known they were available, I would have used those guys on my records. 'The Wrecking Crew' is the best documentary yet about the recording scene. I loved it.
- Steve Miller, Gangster of Love
You know, the musicians were really the unsung heros of all those hit records. They really made it work. The Wrecking Crew was on almost every record I made and I had 21 chart hits with them. Needless to say I think they were the best musicians in the country - then and now. Brilliant technique, execution and feel... and they could READ!
- Nancy Sinatra
As a musician ever-curious about how many of my favorite records were made, The Wrecking Crew gifted me with a rare peek inside the secret world of the 60's studio musician. Denny Tedesco's heartfelt tribute to his father is both personal and universal at the same time, tangibly showing the comradery and mad skills of the Wrecking Crew who together helped to create the soundtrack for not only all baby-boomers, but almost anyone who has ever heard classic American Pop music. I for one am very glad that Denny persevered to create this film, giving us all a bird's eye view of the people behind the creation of some of our country's most classic recordings.
- John Jorgenson
2009 Grammy Best Instr. Country Performance
I loved the film, thank you for bringing to light the story behind one of the most important musical ensembles of the modern recording era...
- Chad Smith, Red Hot Chili Peppers
I hovered in the room near the ceiling as I watched this inspiring movie about the musicians who made the songs that continue to lift me higher than ever.
- Nancy Wilson (Heart)
It's about bloody time!
- Micky Dolenz
The Wrecking Crew film is a must see for anyone interested in the history of great American pop music and the LA recording session scene! As an LA recording session drummer, I cannot stop watching over and over again with peers this amazing film that Denny Tedesco has brilliantly made for us all!
- Gregg Bissonette, Drummer and member of Ringo Starr's All Starr Band
Denny Tedesco has given us an amazing look at a musical moment in history that everyone who loves rock and roll should see.
- Christopher Guest
|Published and Online Reviews|
Toe-tapping audience members can scarcely contain their joy (or their singing voices) as the first notes of every familiar tune fly at them rapid-fire. And with each new salvo of nostalgia, viewer-listeners are left asking themselves that same baffling question: "the SAME BAND played all of these songs?!"
Indeed they did. The movie tells the story of a relatively small group of studio musicians nicknamed "The Wrecking Crew" that played on almost every hit single of the late 1960s and early 1970s. With a relentless work ethic and a mastery of the recording process these 20 or so souls formed a backing unit the likes of which was never seen before, nor will ever be seen again. Read the entire article...
- Jeff Cazanov, Rock Cellar
Mr. Tedesco's plight underlies the difficulties that the makers of music documentaries increasingly face. As the recording industry has seen its sales tumble by more than half since 2000, labels are intent on squeezing every bit
of profit out of songs in their catalogs. Licensing that music to films -- whether big Hollywood productions or modestly budgeted documentaries -- is an attractive source of revenue.
"It's harder now, because the music industry needs those licensing fees," said Eddie Schmidt, who has just finished a three-year term as president of the International Documentary Association. "If you're making a film about a singer-songwriter, that person might have some influence over what gets licensed. But here the people who are your subjects aren't necessarily the names on the records, so you have to go to third parties and say, 'What's your price?' " Read the entire article...
- Larry Rohter, New York Times
A new documentary tells the story of the Wrecking Crew, a collective of Los Angeles musicians who played on hits
by the Righteous Brothers, the Beach Boys, the Byrds and many others. Directed by Denny Tedesco, son of the late
guitarist Tommy Tedesco, The Wrecking Crew features interviews with Brian Wilson,
Cher, Roger McGuinn, and famed Crew members like Bassist Carol Kaye and drummer Hal Blaine. "These guys were chameleons,"
Tedesco says. "They went from Phil Spector to Nancy Sinatra to the Beach Boys. They always had to sound like somebody else." The
film is currently playing festivals and is seeking theatrical distribution.
- Rolling Stone
They're the L.A. studio musicians who played on Glen Campbell's early hits, including "Gentle on My Mind" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix,"
and countless other songs that became part of America's soundtrack during the '60s and '70s. One of their biggest admirers, Denny Tedesco, remains on
a mission to tell their story in the film documentary, The Wrecking Crew.
Read the entire article... |
- Calvin Gilbert, CMT News
One of the movie's most interesting clips is from an interview with Frank Zappa, originally part of
a 30-minute profile about his father that Denny made in college, previously only aired on local PBS. The senior Tedesco
was the class clown of the Wrecking Crew. As is fairly well known (even legendary) in the guitar community,
he won TV's "Gong Show" by playing guitar and singing a song about being a washed up studio has-been -- dressed like a
300-pound ballerina. "This is where it got interesting for me," Denny says. "We showed Frank Zappa a clip of my
father on 'The Gong Show' and expected some funnycomment from him. Instead, he came back with a very serious
commentary about how the recording business works in L.A. At the time I was disappointed, but only years later did I understand
the impact of his comments. It's as if he said, 'Hey, you might want to take a look at this in 25 years.'
Read the entire article... |
- Dan Forte, Vintage Guitar
A treasure trove of witness-at-creation anecdotes and
enduringly potent '60s pop classics, "The Wrecking Crew" is a well-nigh irresistible treat for aficionados of music from the era when acts like
the Beach Boys, the Association and the Monkees were topping the charts. Pic celebrates a loose-knit group of largely unknown (except
by industry insiders) session musicians, many of whom supplied the defining licks and backbeats -- and in some cases, actually played
instruments for band members -- on legendary recordings. Nostalgia-drenched rockumentary should score impressively as cable fare, homevid
product and public television fund-raiser. read more...|
- Joe Leydon, Variety
Tedesco captures their tumultuous, raucous world in interviews (with participants such as Brian Wilson,
Herb Alpert, Campbell and other surviving sidemen), a staggering soundtrack of 130 recordings featuring the musicians and
Blaine's voluminous collection of session snapshots. read more...
- San Francisco Chronicle, SF Gate (pink section)
You'll gawk open-mouthed at the first hour of Denny Tedesco's documentary tribute to his father, guitarist Tommy Tedesco, and the astonishing group of Los Angeles studio musicians who were his friends, and so much more.
When Tedesco left Niagara Falls for L.A. there was absolutely no way he could know that he and the musician friends he'd make who'd come to be called The Wrecking Crew - would become the musicians in America's national soundtrack for an entire generation - plus...
...This is a man's heartfelt tribute to an extraordinary father and his equally extraordinary friends and what they managed to accomplish in the world. If you have ever loved a record any record between 1960 and 1980, you've probably loved their work. And you'll find this movie deeply touching, very funny and a revelation.
- Jeff Simon
(out of 4)
I give it four stars out of four -- and it deserves an extra one.
- Honolulu Star
(out of 4)
Selected as one of the Top Ten Classic Rock Documentaries
Much like Standing In the Shadows Of Motown, The Wrecking Crew tells the inside
story of the studio musicians who played on the many hit records recorded in Los Angeles in the 1960s,
including songs by The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Sonny & Cher, numerous Phil Spector productions and countless,
countless others. Basically examining the music that became "the soundtrack to our lives," this is a nostalgia trip
well worth taking.
- Mitch Myers
This movie is a loving and revealing look at the gang of LA studio musicians who shaped the west coast pop sound of the '60s. Among the talking heads are Brian Wilson, Jimmy Webb, Herb Alpert & Lou Adler, Micky Dolenz, Cher, and a roundtable of players including the inimitable Hal Blaine and Carol Kaye. Worth the price of admission to hear Kaye discuss how she came up with the bass lines for "These Boots Are Made For Walking" and "Wichita Lineman."
WTF with Marc Maron
WKSU 89.7, Kent State Radio
Sportsradio 1310 Dallas - 'The Ticket'
Cincinnati Radio Interview
MORE ONLINE REVIEWS/FEATURES
Santa Barbara Independent
San Diego Reader
Times-Herald - Napa, CA
Daily Republic - Fairfield, CA
Jack FM Radio Interview
North Coast Voice (Ohio)
Allegro (NY Musicians Union 802 magazine)
Ventura County Star
River Cities Gazette - Miami Springs, FL
Live 2 Play Network
Newstime - Danbury, CT
Cincy World Cinema
Overture Magazine [4/09]
goTriad.com Arts (Salem)
Willamette Week (Portland)
CultureCatch.com - Ten Best of 2008
Gambit Weekly (New Orleans)
Jan and Dean Blog
Mix Magazine: The Lost Tommy Tedesco Interview 1985
Bloomsday Ramblings (Mill Valley)
Life and Times of a New Dad
Buffalo Niagara Awards
Overture Magazine [6/08]
Digby's Blog (Seattle)
Bass Player Magazine
The Wrecking Crew is everything good about independent film. There is a feeling of intimacy with the picture and the audience is connected and brought back to a time long past. The story gets right to the point and does not use any of the glamour or hype tactics that more commercial films often do.
These men and one woman are the unsung heroes of sixties style rock and roll, and while the movie could have been "in your face" about how the events transpired the story is told with humility, and firmly gives credit where credit is due. Read more...
- Nathan Seaward
As a music reviewer who goes to lots of shows and listens to lots of records, it's hard not to notice that
there's often a huge discrepancy in what you hear live and what comes through your radio or headphones. There are, of course,
numerous reasons for this (more time in the studio to get the sound right, use of highly-paid studio professionals, etc
often it's because you could be hearing two separate groups of musicians. The studio players are often the more-skilled but
rarely get the credit, so a film like The Wrecking Crew exists to retroactively ensure those musicians get recognized for their contributions.
Filmmaker and narrator Denny Tedesco was the son of one of those musicians. His father Tommy was one of the most well-known studio guitarists of the time. Of course this documentary romanticizes those musicians (and rightfully so) but it also provides an interesting look into their world and helps piece together the process for making hit songs.
Although there are interviews with stars like Cher, Brian Wilson and Nancy Sinatra, the most fun parts of this doc to watch are the scenes where a camera let four of those studio musicians sit at a table (it looked like a poker table with the close proximities) and let them tell their stories. Tommy Tedesco was joined by bassist Carol Kaye, drummer Hal Blaine and saxophonist Plas Johnson. Their stories set the narrative for the film and were sometimes funny sometimes heartbreaking (especially hearing Blaine discussing his post-divorce life). This took place in 1996 (Tommy Tedesco died in 1997). Kaye's solo interview is often illuminating because she was holding her Fender bass during the interview and illustrated some of her signature basslines while the camera focused on her hands.
It was only a 95 minute doc, so the pop music nerd in me could have listened to those stories for hours and hours without growing tired, but the film did a good job of balancing the wonk stuff with telling their stories as accessibly as they could.
Tommy Tedesco, unsurprisingly it is his son's movie, comes across looking the best. He is seen as being funny and gracious and not showing any bitterness towards the people who were credited with the parts he actually played. When one touring musician told him that he felt guilty when was complimented by fans for parts that Tedesco actually played, he just told him to take the compliment and say thanks. He explained that it cuts both ways. If someone paid him their last $25 for his guitar parts on a record that flopped, he wasn't going to give the money back. He is considered to be the most widely-recorded guitarist ever, playing on over a thousand different tracks.
The film ends anti-climactically. Studio musicians, even ones as skilled as the "Wrecking Crew" were, become less and less in-demand as music fans begin demanding that the same people they hear on records are the same people they see on stage while artists like Jimmy Page and Pete Townshend could do both and do it well. There are no real villains in this film and Denny Tedesco is very aware that the good times for studio musicians like his father couldn't last forever. The film works so well because the subjects are both humble and fully aware of their skill. They were not exploited or hold any real bitterness (at least that is apparent in the film). The Wrecking Crew succeeds because it lets these musicians who are largely unknown by name tell their stories in their own words and lets them take the credit they deserve.
Three Imaginary Girls indie press
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