Stop Making Sense

Talking Heads release their concert movie in theaters October 19, 1984. It’s conceived by David Byrne and sculpted by director Jonathan Demme. His girlfriend, fellow filmmaker Sandy McLeod, followed the band on tour to note how they moved on stage and how it could translate to film. On December 13, 14 and 15, Demme shot their concerts at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood.

The response from both the public and reviewers are positive. It’s now considered by many to be one of the greatest music/concert films of all time. As well it should be.

The School of Rock

October 3, 2003 ~ Richard Linklater’s “homage to rock n’ roll” opens in theaters. It features the acting debut of Miranda Cosgrove (Summer Hathaway) and nabs Jack Black (Dewey Finn) a Golden Globe nomination.

Among other rock classics, we hear the Dewey Finn’s band of budding rockers take on “Highway to Hell” and “Smoke on The Water.” Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” is featured only after Black begs the band via a video to allow the song to be added to the movie. Jack is very persuasive.

“Any of you guys know how to Madison?”  Rocky Horror turns 45

September 26, 1975 ~ The Rocky Horror Picture Show opens in Westwood, California, featuring a young Meat Loaf along with Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon. The movie tanks but now … now it’s a cult classic, with audience members shouting back at the screen and bringing toast, toilet paper, and other assorted items to enhance the viewing experience. Dig it if you can.



Grand Theft Parsons

Phil Kaufman, Gram, Emmylou …

September 20, 1973 ~

The body of Gram Parsons is stolen and taken to Joshua Tree National Park, where it is set on fire.

Parsons died the previous day after a visit to Joshua Tree when he took an overdose of alcohol and morphine. His body is at Los Angeles International Airport, scheduled to be flown to his family in New Orleans, but his friends Phil Kaufman and Michael Martin have other ideas: Showing up at the airport in Kaufman’s hearse (his everyday vehicle), they claim the body, signing the release forms as “Jeremy Nobody.”

They head to Joshua Tree, about 200 miles away, stopping at a bar along the way where they drink a toast to Parsons. Arriving at the Cap Rock landmark in the park, they unload Parsons’ casket, douse it with gas and set it on fire. Cap Rock has special significance, as it’s where Parsons enjoyed an evening with Keith Richards doing peyote.

The following day, authorities find the body, and Kaufman and Martin are later arrested, fined, and given suspended sentences. Kaufman claims that Parsons had asked for the desert consecration, and that he was simply carrying out his wishes.

The incident becomes legend and provides Parsons with a far more elegant coda than his hotel room overdose.

Credit: Songfacts

“Desperation – it’s the world’s worst cologne.” 

Cameron Crowe’s Singles hits the big screen on September 18, 1992. Set in Seattle in the early ’90s, Singles introduces a nation of mainstream moviegoers to the burgeoning grunge scene taking over the Pacific Northwest. The film centers around a group of young adults navigating life and love in the world of coffee shops and bar bands, and that’s where it really makes history. Matt Dillon stars as a shorts-and-combat-boots-clad heartthrob named Cliff Poncier, who fronts a grunge band called Citizen Dick. The rest of the fictional band is comprised of Eddie Vedder, Jeff Ament, and Stone Gossard, who at the time of filming were in a real-life band known as Mookie Blaylock.

The Wall

September 17, 1982 ~ Pink Floyd’s seminal double album The Wall makes it to the big screen as a feature-length musical.Bob Geldof of the Boomtown Rats plays the lead role of Floyd “Pink” Pinkerton, a part originally earmarked for Roger Waters.

The movie is a surprise success, initially opening in just one theater but eventually climbing to #3 in the box office charts after a nationwide release (there’s often a funny smell in the theaters when the film is showing, and the concessions sell an unusual number of snacks). It later enjoys a second lease of life as a cult classic thanks to its release on home video.

“You ARE home.” 

Almost Famous is released in theaters across the US 20 years ago … on September 13, 2000.

The film is a semi-autobiographical account of writer and director Cameron Crowe’s time spent interviewing rock bands for Rolling Stone in the ’70s, when he was just a teenager. The film centers around a fictional band called Stillwater, and rather than being based on one band in particular, Stillwater feels like every ’70s arena band rolled into one.