Matt Kent on the Amazing Journey Documentary

Scott Schrade schrade at
Sun Dec 23 11:10:53 CST 2007

With thanks to Mike S. who saw this posted on The Shout.

December 2007
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.


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