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Diary

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Production notes from the Director, Amy Pickard
 


 

July 20, 2004

Hello and Happy July!

Wanted to write a brief entry this time out as I'm on the road again! Yes, I've finally joined the work force by accepting a job for an unnamed network for an unnamed show! If I told you about it all I'd have to kill you. You'd think that I work for NASA or that I'm smuggling secrets through Baghdad. It's just a TV show! But mum is the word.

What I can tell you is that I'll be on the road for five weeks! Where are they sending me? Paris? Milan? London? Nope, Cleveland. And various cities in the Midwest that I can't mention. Oh, okay, I'll mention a few: Louisville, Kentucky, and St. Louis! There are a few others but again, secret agents would happen upon your doorstep and rouse you from your sleep and brutal punishment would ensue. The good news is that I'm back to the land of my Ohio peoples. Yes, the moment I touched down in Cleveland, I was instantly hit with that glorious Midwestern combo smell of farmland and July heat. No, not cow patties, the smell of cornfields in the sun. The smell of my childhood and home!

The crew and I walked from our hotel to a restaurant and my producer said, "Well, what do we do now?" and I joked, "Well, when I was a kid, we'd spend a long, summer night away by hitting lightning bugs with wiffle ball bats." Just as I said that, we suddenly noticed that we were surrounded by lightning bugs!

It was an Ohio moment! And let me just apologize to all of the lightning bug community for my early acts of brutality when I was young.

I'm basically traveling separately from my crew meaning I'm traveling all by myself and finding my way around the cities... all by myself! This is quite handy for bathroom stops, carefree restaurant choices, and singing loudly in the car, but it makes for a boring old time when you finish work and land back at the hotel at 6pm with no pals to play with! Amy no mates! Makes me envious of bands who stroll into town, work and then have several cool people and dare I say, some of them foxes, waiting to go out with them or show them the town! I emailed this to a drummer friend of mine and told him that I needed some groupies! He wrote back, "Heard that sister!"

All groupies who want to show my friend the town on his next tour, please apply in writing with all of your past experiences and rock references to his website.... KIDDING!

I've taken a few good books with me to read and have thoroughly enjoyed Belinda Jones' book: "On the Road to Mr. Right". The perfect read for a road trip or even if you're stuck in your flat for the summer. You can escape vicariously! I also love love loved the book by Jen Sincero called "Don't Sleep With Your Drummer". My friend Katie recommended it to me since it reminded her of my 'style' of writing. (I didn't know I had a style and thought it was probably "off the top of my head".) She was right and it was practically a diary in spite of the fact that it's fiction. There are plenty of LA references and it's about a woman in her thirties who decides that she wants to be a rock and roll star when she grows up. I loved it and it was very funny. Okay, so enough of Amy's book club. Let's mosey on over to music, shall we?

The night before I left for my Midwest adventure, I went to see Neil Finn and Tim Finn in concert. The Finn brothers played LA and I managed to get there just as the doors opened to pass out flyers for OFTR. As at the last Elvis Costello gig, I ran into past recipients of glennmovie flyers. Sorry about that, but I gotta keep trying to spread the love! I just went up and down the line to get in asking if there were any Squeeze fans. The Finn fans are almost always fans of Glenn, which is why I'd love for any of you out there who are going to catch the brothers in concert, to at least take a few flyers and paste them on a bathroom stall door or something! Most Finn fans are surprised to hear that Glenn is still around and making music. Almost everyone hadn't been aware of Glenn's new album... until I told them about it. Some lovely folks offered to help the movie in various ways and gave me their cards but since I was leaving at the crack of dawn the next morning, I wasn't able to follow up as quickly as I would've liked.

A few reactions that I got made me laugh. Often times the fans would say, "You gave me a flyer two years ago! You're STILL not done with the movie??" Well, I'm done but I'm still trying to get people to see it and trying to raise money in order to enter more festivals, have more screenings and get more awareness. With awareness, comes interest and then hopefully, a DVD distributor and/or television network to buy the flick. How lovely would it be to sit around the TV say, at Xmas time in Britain and have GT: OFTR appear on your TV schedule amongst the other cool holiday viewing! Or if you live in the States, to have the documentary air on VH1 after the Squeeze: Bands Reunited special! Keep your fingers crossed!

Back to the concert. After flyering fun, my friends Tony and Gretchen turned up. Gretchen knows the guitarist, the fabulously talented Tim Smith. You might know him as Sheryl Crow's right hand man/guitarist/vocalist. He's faboo and put Tony, Gretchen, and myself on the list. We scooched up to the front of the crowd (I'd say about 20th row) and rocked the night away. They played Weather With You and History Never Repeats and the crowd went crazy. The Finn harmonies were heavenly as always and Tim S. was playing bass like a champ in the background. A guy in the audience named Todd offered his services to sing on It's Only Natural, so they brought him onstage and he sat down at the piano like it was an everyday occurrence! The great thing was, he didn't hog the mic or pretend that he 'belonged' up there, it was as if he just pulled up a chair and decided to sing along. He actually sounded great and he improvised some harmonies which inspired a surprised look on Tim and Neil's faces. They were truly amazed and I think, relieved since it could've gone horribly wrong. My favorite bit was before Todd started singing, he said to the audience, "These guys are the most underrated singer songwriters of our time and they should be playing the Staples Center!" The crowd let up a huge round of applause and it was so lovely because I think everyone who sees Neil and everyone who sees Glenn, feels the same way. They both should be selling out stadiums and are just not appreciated enough!

Gretchen and I sang along to the songs and my personal highlight of the gig was my favorite Finn song Only Talking Sense. It was perfectly sublime. Their harmonies make me feel like I'm cocooned in sugar. After the gig we three marched backstage and who should we find there but Grant Lee Phillips, Jon Brion (he cowrote the Aimee Mann song That's Just What You Are - Glenn sings my fave harmonies of all time on that ditty!) and then one of my favorite, favorite singer/songwriters of all time: Jason Falkner! They all conglomerated backstage to meet Neil and Tim Finn and I thought, "Why not have Paul McCartney and Glenn show up to make my pop fantasy complete??!" Sadly, I did not talk to Neil. I was too shy! I was wearing my fabulous One For the Road shirt and I had sent him a copy of the movie ages ago and I just didn't want to have some stilted, awkward conversation. I met Tim S., Gretchen's friend, who I actually met years ago when I lived in London! I was working for Channel 5 at the time and swung some tickets to see Sheryl Crow play a private gig at Abbey Road Studios. Being a Beatles fan, it was a dream come true to be in Studio 2 and being a Sheryl fan, it was doubly thrilling. Tim was playing with Sheryl at the time and I met him afterwards. (although it was brief and I'm sure he didn't remember.) Anyhoo - it was lovely to meet Tim S. and he shared the fact that he is a huge Finn fan! I asked him if he was thrilled to be playing with them and he said that it is such a dream come true that it hasn't sunk in yet! LA was only his third gig with them! I love stories like that! I also found out that Tim S. played with Jellyfish, one of my all time favorite bands.

I remember when I was coaxed onstage by Nick Seymour of Crowded House back in 90 I think it was. Two other girls got up with me and we belted out the song In the Lowlands. They pulled up another guy onstage after us and proceeded to ask the crowd to vote who was the better singer and sadly and rather unfairly, the guy won. I thought us chicks were pretty damn groovy but hey, there you go. It was the ultimate karaoke. You hear the song so many times when you're driving in your car, or hoovering your carpet or whatever and then all of a sudden the actual song, as it is heard on the record starts playing behind you and it's the actual BAND playing it for you! It was one of the highlights of my rock and roll life and I'm just glad that Neil doesn't remember it!

Tim S. shared with me that his wife had recently seen Glenn in concert in Atlanta and was blown away by the gig. I told him that I did the documentary and that I had a copy of the movie in my bag and his eyes widened and he said excitedly, "Gimme! Gimme!" So I did. Who knows... maybe he'll pop it in the tour bus and all can enjoy it! Looking forward to getting his reaction.

Speaking of reactions to the movie, National Public Radio here in the US recently featured Glenn on their Weekend Edition on July 18th. Unbeknownst to me, they requested a screener of the movie and the folks at Compass Records were on the ball and sent them the VHS that I had sent them. The NPR producer and host watched the movie and loved it and they played some clips from the movie on the show! They plugged the documentary and even said to Glenn, "We loved the documentary One For the Road, how did that come about?" And the ever rambling Glenn then went on for like, an hour about how much he loves the RV! Cheers Glenn! www.glennmovie.com Learn it, live it, love it. SHARE IT! Well, I suppose I should be thankful that the movie was mentioned at all! And I am! The NPR site has the interview archived on the site if you want to have a listen. The movie bits aren't heard in the ten minute snippet provided on the site, but if you click on the whole Sunday show and then go to the Glenn piece, you'll hear the movie's dialogue and music.

NPR is HUGE in the US and my inbox was inundated with emails from new fans and even friends who were amazed at the mention! Several kind folks promptly signed up on my mailing list and I was even contacted for some possible interviews so a big, huge THANKS to NPR! A documentarian friend of mine heard the radio program which reminded him that I sent the movie ages ago for him to critique. He ran to his desk and underneath piles of paperwork and tapes, he dug out my flick and finally watched it. His comments were all very positive and he wrote that he loved the movie's "goofy warmth" and that there were some lovely, funny moments as well as just the right bit of melancholy and that Glenn comes across very well in the flick! High praise indeed coming from a pro like him. I was flattered and honored and looked forward to having MORE people see the darn thing!

Still looking for sponsorship in order to take the movie around the country and still working hard trying to get the movie out to you. Watch this space and I thank you again for your patience and support! I am finished with this job in five weeks or so and if I come across any cities that you are in and you're free for a beer, drop me an email!

Rocking from the Midwest,
Amy


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