By Anne M. Raso
Denny Tedesco, son of legendary "Wrecking Crew" axeman Tommy Tedesco, has been holding screenings of his wonderful documentary for two or three years now in the hopes of raising the money to cover the soundtrack for this film that features dozens of the greatest 60s hits (and classic "non-hits"). The tab is something like 180 grand, and in the back of my head, I often wonder how someone of the more successful artists interviewed for the documentary can't just pitch in the entire amount. (Certainly Cher has spent more than that on plastic surgery, LOL!) Nancy Sinatra could probably throw in a few bucks as well.
There are always surprises at the screenings of the film--the one I went to in Brooklyn last year included an impromptu performance of "Be My Baby" by Ronnie Spector (who, of course, is featured in the film since her ex Phil Spector worked with the ace musicians of the Wrecking Crew on an almost weekly basis). Last week's screening at the Cutting Room in midtown Manhattan included two after-show bonuses: Tedesco interviewing Tommy Lipuma who was one of the great record producers of the 60s and 70sand a special performance of The Sixties Show, a great tribute band featuring the legendary Liberty DeVitto on the skins. Spotted in the crowd were some other legendary skinpounders, the most notable being Carmine Appice, as well as author May Pang. To say DeVitto's group is a tribute band is kind of not totally correct--while they cover many of the great hits of the Kinks and even the Moody Blues (doing a killer rendition of "Tuesday Afternoon"), they are truly all A List musicians.
|Legendary sticksman Liberty DeVitto wows The Wrecking Crew post-screening crowd with his 60s cover band The Sixties Show--they perform many unexpected and complex Golden Age Of Rock tracks! (Photo: Anne Raso)|
If you have not caught The Wrecking Crew, well, take a look at the schedule at www.thewreckingcrew.tv. The film makes the rounds cross-country and is often shown at music festivals and conventions. I would also suggest following The Wrecking Crew on Twitter (@WreckCrewFilm) and liking it on Facebook (www.facebook.com/WreckingCrewFilm).
|Wrecking Crew top-tier guitarist Tommy Tedesco at a late 60s West Coast session.|
And in case you're curious, Denny Tedesco never got to meet any of the stars his dad worked with (and he worked with hundreds--everyone from The Beach Boys to Frank Sinatra and back again). I am still trying to wrap my head around that, but I guess Tommy Tedesco was the type of guy who liked to keep his work and private lives separate. Tedesco told me a little about his personal favorite cuts that his dad played on: “The fun ones are (the themes from) Batman, Green Acres and Bonanza...and then (I love) his work with The 5th Dimension, especially ‘Up, Up And Away.’ I also love (his work on) Elvis's comeback special and (the Elvis song) ‘Memories.’”
One thing's for sure--TT certainly was a versatile player (especially gifted in the Spanish style even more so than rock 'n roll), and the footage of him later in life (especially in drag on The Gong Show) is something I won't soon forget!
(Photos Courtesy Denny Tedesco.)