Filmmaker Hopes for Long Playing Success

By: 
Steve Propes

Fans of recorded music, be it classical, jazz, R&B, soul, heavy metal or hip hop were recently exposed to a preview of an upcoming documentary on the subject of vinyl records entitled “Longplaying,” produced by Long Beach movie maker, Kevin Poore.

At present, there are at least four documentary films in various stages of production on the subject of vinyl records or the hobby of record collecting, which has a thesaurus full of alternative names, the most famous is probably “crate digging.” In fact, that’s how Poore describes his approach to collecting.

To be sure, “Longplaying” is not strictly about vinyl record collectors. Of the over 100 subjects shown in the movie, “only 15 to 20 percent were collectors,” according to Poore’s calculations.

Born in Inglewood, Poore graduated in broadcast journalism at Cal State Long Beach in 1981. Poore was on KSUL “when they closed the station down.” Poore, who worked in business and as a screenwriter, moved back to Long Beach 15 years ago.

As Poore and a business partner had been talking about doing a documentary, which to Poore meant “people exploring life in film.” Five years ago, they went to Record Store Day in Pasadena. “I didn’t know it existed, but when we got there, we saw a big line outside the store. My business partner told me, ‘shoot some film, this is our documentary.’

“I wrote out all the ideas. I wanted it to be like Studs Terkel, who wrote ‘The Good War,’ which gives you an idea of what war really is. It’s merely interviewing people and using what they say. He allows everyone to say their piece from all different angles, to compile it into a cohesive story, which tells a bigger story.

“It fed into my lifelong love of collecting, which was telling my story, with other people doing it for me. My mother gave me my first record at age three, ‘The Ballad of Davy Crockett’ and I used the actual record at the opening.” From that early start, she “began buying me the 45s. Then I asked her to buy me albums.”

“We wrote down the name of every person we knew in the business. Radio DJ, turntable DJs, musicians, people in the industry I knew who worked for record companies. Various musicians and record store owners,” collectors like Grammy award-winner Larry Cohn, whose vast collection of blues and jazz was partially displayed, musician and writer Billy Vera, who spoke of his collection of rhythm and blues singles; Jeff Gold, author of 101 Essential Albums and a Warner Brothers executive; Jeff Weiss, a record industry figure who owns an artist management company and was head of Hollywood records. Others in the film are one-time KRTH DJ Dave Randall, known as Dave Burchett when at KSUL and KLON and Andy Chandlee of the Sound.

The Friday, December 9, event at the Art Theater followed a showing the previous weekend at a the Silent Movie Theater in the Fairfax District. Both previews attracted several participants, devotees of the vinyl record and music professionals. Though not an investor, among those helping to birth the movie was Rand Foster, who owns a very successful Fingerprints Records store on downtown’s Fourth Street.

Scenes in the movie are based on how record albums are formatted. There’s the introduction, then the presentation of nine facts about which the participants comment, like the best album to hear on headphones, favorite album cover to the number of records they own. Those nine facts are like nine cuts of music on one side. In between, Poore represents the album’s “dead space,” namely the groove between each song, with eight additional scenes such as children drawing depictions of famous album covers from the Doors to Michael Jackson. Thus completing one side of an LP.

An extended scene was a discussion of the best or favorite album to listen to on headphones. The overwhelming consensus by over half of those asked was Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” Poore expressed admiration for that work and the “genius of making that album, so singular when it comes to audio and what it represents, no one will ever come close.”

“It’s incredibly tough to get music for use in a film,” said Poore. “I wanted to license songs and music that I liked, then have local musicians do their own versions of that song.” As to the preview showings, Poore stated, “My biggest reason was to see people’s reactions to things, which I wanted to see in a theater, whether or not they like or dislike what I’ve done.”

Foster’s reaction to the film was that he had a sense of optimism that vinyl records would thrive based on what various participants were expounding.

For more information, go to: longplaying.com; for a preview video, go to: vimeo.com/189889919.

Note: the author, Steve Propes, appears for several short segments, including one on favorite album cover.

steve@beachcomber.news

Category:

Beachcomber

Copyright 2020 Beeler & Associates.

All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced or transmitted – by any means – without publisher's written permission.