Matt Kent on the Amazing Journey Documentary
schrade at akrobiz.com
Sun Dec 23 11:10:53 CST 2007
With thanks to Mike S. who saw this posted on The Shout.
So Sad About Us
A couple of people have asked me what I think of 'Amazing Journey
The Story of The Who'. To be honest it's taken me to now to watch it.
It has taken me time to build up the courage to watch it because it's
still a painful subject for me to address. But now I've watched it and if
it showed anything to me it's how much I've been disowned by the
brand of the band, or by those surrounding the band who are so scared
of upsetting anyone in the band. When the documentary was first mooted
I went to a meeting with the bands management, Spitfire Pictures and the
then director D A Pennebaker and it was made quite clear that I was to
be the advisor on the film. I even met with the band's management and a
book company as I was asked to write the companion book to the film.
Subsequently I met with the Director a couple of times and advised by
email until he left the project after the band played the Isle of Wight
Festival. The new director, Murray Lerner, was brought in (I even
suggested to Spitfire that in my view he was the wrong person to
direct a film on the band as I didn't think he 'got' the band and the
fact that a third director was subsequently brought in speaks for itself)
and worked with him on delving into the band's archive, which at the
time was based in Norwich. Much of the official 'previously unseen'
footage shown in the movie was dug out and identified by me.
At the time Pete wanted little to do with the movie and so my time on
it was subsequently restricted. However, I spent hours reviewing and
identifying DV copies of the material in the archive and supplying info to
the then director. After I left Pete's employ I became pretty much persona
non grata within the band circles, with the exception of Roger, with many
people who were my 'friend' suddenly finding it difficult to pick up the
phone or respond to emails. Still, however, the producers and the third
directorial team asked for advice and help identifying and tracking down
footage and images - the only difference this time was that they paid a bit
for my time. So it was with a little surprise when watching the movie that
there wasn't even a credit there with my name.
It may seem like sour grapes on my part, I don't know it's not meant to
be but could sound that way, but I can tell you it bloody hurts. Anyway
Anyway Anywhere was also used as a major source for the movie with
page numbers being constantly quoted back to us. This comes at the end
of a week when I also found out that my photos had been used on the
2006 / 2007 Encore discs, again without knowledge, permission or credit.
Maybe I should have known better looking at how the last 18 months have
As for the movie itself I thought the most telling bits were the interviews
and the omissions. The interviews from both Roger and Pete were very
honest and truthful and at times very emotional. At the end it was in danger
of turning into a love fest but it did avoid that....just. Bill Curbishley, Mike
Shaw, Barney, Dougal, Mike McInnerney and Chris Stamp were very
good value and I enjoyed listening to their recollections (where were John
Wolff, Doc, Billy Nicholls, Jon Astley etc?). I would have liked to have
seen John's and Keith's family talk some more, particularly about their later
The 'guest' interviews were as far as I'm concerned a waste of space (which
I did say at the time) with the exception of Noel Gallagher, who I thought
was very funny. The most emotional part for me was John's death because
I was there at the time and involved with it on a emotional level, particularly
when dealing with it on the website and I was surprised that no footage from
the hours of footage which was shot at the bands rehearsal was used (maybe
its because I was involved in it!!). There must be about 180 hours of footage
there and a lot of it (as some of you would remember from the stuff we
webcast) would have made fascinating viewing.
I would have liked to have seen some accounts of the two days of rehearsals
in Burbank, when Pino was flown in. Probably the most intense, emotional
two days of my life and the drained looks on everyone's faces tell a story in
itself. We decided not to film those rehearsals because it was so hard (I did
take some stills) but I think it probably would have been nice to have spoken
to some of the other band members of the band about their feelings, particularly
Zak who was very close to John. Lots of other footage that could have been
used was also omitted which was a shame. The aim of the movie when it
started was to steer away from using previously seen footage but that seems
to have changed down the line.
Overall I think the interviews saved it but I think it's badly let down by the
footage. Don't get me wrong it's great seeing some of that stuff and some
of the improvements made to the footage is brilliant but I don't think it's a
patch on the Kid's Are Alright (particularly the remastered and expanded
version put out by Pioneer) which is a real disappointment. The opportunity
was there to make the definitive article and it's been lost.
More information about the TheWho