SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Bravo! After watching "Every 40 Years," you will come out of that movie theater wanting to buy a music album from Gunhill Road, and invigorating fans while attracting new ones.
This cleverly put together documentary takes the audience on a journey behind the 1970's band that managed to make some noise in the golden days of American music, Gunhill Road.
The film tracks down the original band members, some of whom are living in Santa Barbara, managers, producers, and some immediately recognizable artists in the music and comedy world. Audiences hear the first-hand eyewitness accounts of how one of the most understated bands came to be one of the most beloved.
Whether you're a music fan, historian, or other, you will come out of that movie theater knowing that life has a funny way of providing second chances if you dream hard enough and seizing the moment.
An exploration of Gunhill Road's return to music, 40 years after breaking into the Billboard Top 40 charts, "Every 40 Years" is about second chances, and the power of chasing your dream down one more time.
Q&A with Director Eric Goldrich
What motivated you to want to tell this story?
For 24 years I didn't know my Dad was in a band. Turns out that he didn't just hit pots and pans with buddies, but was in a top 40 Billboard band. Through miraculous, or entirely coincidental events, his band Gunhill Road reunited in 2011, then went on to record a new album, and finally played an album release party where they got their start in 1969, the Bitter End in New York City. How could I not document this?
Please talk about the planning and filming process making this film.
It was mostly an organic process, as the band reunited and then recorded a new album, I followed as it went and kept hiring a rotation of camera operators and sound mixers (shout out to Dave Rosenberg!). The interviews were the toughest part, but ended up getting as many celebrities from Gunhill Road’s past as I could.
You seem to have interviewed virtually every person that was part of Gunhill Road’s rising. How did you manage to track them all down?
A lot of emails, phone calls, and following ups! Some people I couldn’t get either because they aren’t physically on Earth anymore, or they simply just didn’t remember what happened 40 years ago. Every interview I did though was an honor. Fred Willard was especially accommodating and highly generous with his time.
What were the challenges you and your crew faced in making this film?
The toughest parts were organizing, sometimes day of, the travel and equipment rentals for shoots that ‘had to happen’. Sometimes driving hours just to meet and interview a subject. Also, doing a documentary on your own father is no easy cookie.
What was your most memorable moment, good or bad, making this documentary?
The ‘coolest’ part was getting 3rd row tickets and a backstage pass to meet, interview, and see Kenny Rogers. I brought him Gunhill Road’s vinyl album that Kenny produced to help job Kenny’s memory, and Kenny thought it was a gift… I kind of wrestled it out of his hands… and after my father said I of course could have given it to Kenny. What an idiot I am.
What did you learn about Gunhill Road and the process of filmmaking after finishing the film that you didn’t know when you started?
How close they were to becoming a mega-star. And how many reasons there are to point at their demise. Also how different documentary filmmaking is from traditional narrative filmmaking with a script! This was a reverse process for me, where the production happened first, and then we wrote the story.
What does it mean to you to have “Every 40 Years” screen at this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival?
It means more than I can write or say. That this film is now recognized as a good enough feature to be in the same festival as so many prestigious and incredible films is just astounding. It’s an honor, to say the least.
While the film touches on different themes such as friendship, careers, family, and more, if there’s one thing you want audiences to leave that movie theater with after watching this film, what would that be?
I hope people leave the theater with a deeper understanding of second chances. And are inspired. It truly is never too late. Put the excuses aside and do what makes you happy. I’m too young to say ‘life is short’, but relatively speaking, it is. Gotta go for it!
- Monday, February 6 - 5:00 p.m. - Metro 4 Theater, Screen 2
- Tuesday, February 7 - 8 a.m. - Metro 4 Theater, Screen 1
FREE PUBLIC CONCERT
On Monday, Gunhill Road will be holding a special free public live performance at the Red Piano at 519 State Street at 7 p.m., following the film's first screening. Watch an exclusive film clip below.