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Face to face

A conversation with Geoff Edgers about The Kinks



Say you're a fan of the great British Invasion pop outfit The Kinks, and you really, really wish they'd get back together. Why not document your passion in a film? That's what Geoff Edgers did, with the assistance of documentary filmmaker Robert Patton-Spruill, in Do It Again, a film that has received excellent reviews in its initial screenings on the festival circuit. The film screens as Friday night's Center Frame event, after which local Kinks channelers The Kinksmen will hit the stage to satisfy the faithful, with some seriously jangly accompaniment by a triumvirate of Carolina legends: Peter Holsapple, Chris Stamey and Mitch Easter.

Independent Weekly: It kind of struck me as almost a benevolent rock 'n' roll Roger & Me...Ray & Me.

Geoff Edgers: I wasn't trying to be Michael Moore. I mean, this is The Kinks, it's not GM There's no wrong for me to fight for, for the people. It's really just about a fan wanting to get a band back together.

Was it a hard sell, getting this director [Robert Patton-Spruill] who is not a Kinks fan, or did he just see what you were getting at immediately?

No, it was not a hard sell. He was into following me, while I was into The Kinks. And so the fact that we couldn't get The Kinks to cooperate in a typical way meant that we had to figure out a way to make a compelling movie. And Rob is a storyteller, and he was equipped to do that. And it's not like we didn't use Kinks music. I paid the licensing for that stuff. We used more Kinks music than any other movie I know of.

You're a reporter at the Boston Globe. You have a wife and a daughter. Yet you went on a mad quest—I gather this isn't typical behavior for you. What do you attribute it to? Is it all down to that so-called midlife crisis?

When I was in college in my creative writing classes I thought oh, I'll just write novels or write for Rolling Stone, and then you get older and it doesn't come together. You have a family. And things don't always work the way you think they would. So while on the outside I may look perfectly successful; I'm at a newspaper, I've written a few children's books. I didn't think I had ever done anything great, or special. This was nagging on me all the time. [...] I mean, I could have given up after the first day, but once I got Robyn Hitchcock or once I got Sting, how could I give up? I had footage of these guys, I needed to use it, right?

The Kinks' history of "fucking things up" is alluded to, but there is very little chronological/ historical context given. Was this a conscious decision to avoid the typical rock-doc trappings or was it more of a time constraint thing?

I think at a certain point you have to decide what your movie is. And once we decided that it wasn't a typical rock doc, we had to make it a movie and not, like, Gandhi. I would have loved to use other songs. I hope that a film gets made about The Kinks, like that Julian Temple film about Joe Strummer. With all the clips you can't get anywhere else and all that insider stuff? But that's not what this is.

You played a Kinks song with nearly every musician who sat down with you. Was that an aspect that just evolved or was it something you knew you wanted to do?

Rob really pushed it. From the start, I always wanted to make something different, something special. To me, there's this whole thing that happens with rock documentaries. I'm so sick of, like, seeing Tom Petty sitting there with a guitar behind him on a wall, saying, you know, "Brian Wilson ... he's our Beethoven."

I was a little surprised to see Sting though, because you had so many cool-type musicians and then this one gigantic rock star.

He's a good guy. I think people think he's super-scary because he does good things for the world, humanitarian things, and I think because he's in good shape.

So now that you've done all this, did you get your ya-yas out, or are you just getting warmed up?

You go to these festivals, you show your movie and people ask you questions, you hand out buttons, and it's exciting, and I think you should also enjoy that a little bit. But beyond that ... I'm really looking forward to showing this film to my friends, and them hearing these killer guys play a bunch of Kinks songs—that's gonna be fun! And I think I deserve a 20-minute set of Kinks songs.

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