The movie was chilling. As I said it terrified me. What got me was how sinister it was. Rourke had sold his soul but had no memory of his behaviour, and then DeNiiro called to collect his part of the deal. Brown trousers time!Yes, he did. It is a terrifying movie. The ending involving the kid with demonic eyes ruins it IMO. Parker regretted including that scene which suggests that he had control over editing. It looks comical now.
Aside from that, there's some chilling scenes in it and both De Niro and Rourke are superb in it.
As you say the message it conveys is very unsettling. It takes the supernatural element very seriously with some cynical humour thrown in to presumably highlight the arrogance of humans. There's a moment when Louis Cyphre asks Harry (in a slightly mocking tone) if he is an atheist - "Yes, I'm an atheist. I'm from Brooklyn!"The movie was chilling. As I said it terrified me. What got me was how sinister it was. Rourke had sold his soul but had no memory of his behaviour, and then DeNiiro called to collect his part of the deal. Brown trousers time!
The bit with the kid at the end was kitsch for sure.
Is that you Shelley?I recall when the word went out about the auditions for The Commitments, every mug involved in the creative arts showed up to chance their arms for a bit part. I didn't bother because I wasn't interested but many of my own crew were deeply invested in the production team. Our bassist, Paul Bushnell, got the album and soundtrack production gig and he corralled an excellent group of session players for the recordings down at Ringsend Road studios.
As he was our bassist, the original project we were working on together was shelved for a period, but we all made money out of the film. The rest of my then group included Eamon Flynn and Conor O'Farrell Brady (keys and guitars respectively) and they too were drafted in for the album soundtrack. So the singer and I put together a jazz quartet to fill in the time: we worked as house band for QVII restaurant for a year or two to keep in employ. We played with every name who visited Dublin for concerts as they always ended up in the basement of QVII after their shows and we'd jam together into the wee hours.
The album for the movie was a surprisingly quick affair. The players were top-notch professionals who could get their parts done in one take. Fran Breen from Stockton's Wing and The Waterboys laid the drum tracks (using my classic snare drums collection) and Bushy laid the bass over them in double quick takes. Then the guitars and keyboards, then all the horns and incidentals, and finally the vocal takes. Jimmy Rabbitte's character had a terrible singing voice but he gave it a shot and it worked well. The girls all sang as themselves and Maria Doyle really wrecked the curve with her takes.
The role of the front vocalist was whittled down to two singers: Greg Pearle and Andrew Strong. The former was taken right to the tip of the mountain but dropped at the last minute. He wasn't happy at all at the way he was courted and he tried to cause a fuss, but was ultimately dismissed and Andrew Strong was chosen after a heated meeting with the production team. His vocals were awesome - mostly first takes with occasional drops to repair minor flaws.
When the album was finally finished, we all thought it would do okay as a commercial soundtrack as it pretty much reflected the standards of the acting roles, some of whom got to lay parts on the soundtrack (Glen Hansard wasn't up to the standards required in the recording studio so both his guitar parts and vocals were done by Conor and Andrew) but generally speaking, apart from the singers - few actors were invited to the recording sessions.
When the movie was finally released, it had cult status in a short time. The soundtrack did extremely well, and for one reason in particular: Bushy insisted that free copies be sent to all DJs in RTE and pirate radio. And indeed to the many Irish bars around the world. The latter proved to be a killer move: every Irish pub across the planet had the album on constant rotation which boosted sales and sent the soundtrack up to the same cult level as the movie itself.
Given the success of the soundtrack - the production crew considered the idea of playing live at the movie launch. Another killer move as the band were actually red-hot in reality. So after doing a few promo shows, they formed The Commitments, The Committed, and several other versions of the line-up. But the line-up with the actors themselves took it all the way. they were invited to the Middle East to play for some millionaire sheik who paid them silly money for the show. Then they decided to go for it and took on a global agency deal and toured the world. I remember the 'homecoming' gig very well as it was an outdoor at the RDS Simmonscourt opening for (The Artist Formerly Known As) Prince. Mega night - couldn't believe I was in the same room as Prince, but he was so cool and so down to Earth, and he thought the band were brilliantly hilarious - but also hot, so some lucky players got to jam with him. The touring drummer, Robbie Casserly, ended up nailing the Elton John gig. Eamon Flynn got work with: Spearhead, Zigaboo Modeliste, Evelyn 'Champagne' King, and many more. Conor, the guitarist, got EVERYONE ever who came to Dublin to record: Toots and The Maytals, Terence Trent Darby, and so on. Bushy got busy with a whole rake of global names and decided to quit our project and head to LA. He did (and is doing) so well.
I made my money two ways: one was money for nothing - renting some prize and rare instruments for the recording sessions (stupid money for things I normally kept in storage) and the other as production assistant in Ringsend Road. It was a gas time - everyone was in high spirits as the budget for studios and production spaces was enormous - at least to us anyway. We had the quartet working QVII from Thursdays through to Sundays and Parker had his supper there most evenings, so the band and the actors were all part of QVII's furniture.
The movie was released globally and received mixed reviews in the press, but local media in Ireland was of course favourable and so the movie became a cult. The players were all boosted in terms of profile - Hansard in particular cashed in on his part and made it globally as a solo artist. Maria Kennedy Doyle is by now an institution unto herself. Many others simply walked away from show-business afterwards as they tasted fame and glory and disliked it.
Nowadays, all of those involved in the record and film have made their marks internationally, and of there's one great thing that Parker gave them, then it was the idea that they don't have to pretend to be anything they weren't for the camera's sake or for anybody else's sake: they were amazing as they were, accents and all included.
I look back on those days now with wonder: I was just a kid, my group project with the main players from the album were all much older than me, but they were great guys who knew I was in it for the long haul - except I was too young and inexperienced to risk as the main player. Instead, Bushy hired me in as many ways as he could, he'd stolen my band after all.
No regrets at all though, not a one: we're all still in touch with each other and we've excelled in our respective fields since then.
It was a fabulous time in Irish creative arts as everyone I knew at the time had some input to the film or soundtrack, and on every occasion Alan showed up in the studios - the drinks flowed, the pizzas and take-ways foods showered down, and we got nuts. He was a gentleman and an avid watched of people: he studied everything about the actors he chose and would instruct them to use their basic nature and awkwardness to their best advantage while filming, so what you get in the film isn't all that different to their actual real-world characters.
Long post - but I enjoyed recalling the times.
Everywhere I've ever been in the world I get to hear my 1981 issue Pearl (free-floating) brass snare drum when I go for a pint in the local Irish joint.
I bought her for just over two hundred punts and wouldn't ever consider letting her go.
Wanna hear her?
Check THIS shit out:
Rest easy, Mr Parker - your curtain call's up.
Awful wailing droning. Unbearable sounds. Give me the read deal over this any day.Shelley's doing great singing with a plethora of household names.
Check this out: she's on backing vocals for Mary Coughlan here, the video was made by my soul brother, Ian Thuillier. You can hear Shelley's distinctive Islamic waling - it really grabs your attention. Excellent video skills from Ian0-beano too.
We did Whelan's many times - but the underground? No. We were regulars at The Waterfront (now Columbia Mills) for quite a time. Are you sure you're not referring to the Waterfront down the docklands?
Anybody playing The Underground and expecting to get paid was a bit naieve to say the least.
Whelan's always paid well - if you had a strong ebough base - which due to Shelley and the boys we did.
Yeah, they were halcyon days.
When Parker arrived wit his cheque book - every piqued.
He was generous as he was talented and unique.
And I don't mean just money - but encouragement, positive energy, and genuine brilliance.
North Dublin - like Howth and Sutton? So I guess you worked with Cactus World News, In Tua Nua, Matthew Spalding's endless line-ups, Hinterland with Gerry 'Spooky Ghost' Leonard (now solo again after global tours with Bowie, Susanne Vega, Rufus Wainwright, etc) and Donal Coughlan (Haa Lacka Bintii, Spies, 1999 etc) and a few more. After Cactus split, I had another gig with a guy from Belfast, Mark Nixon - Fergal MacAindurish joined in for a while on bass. He's just bought a rig from John Entwhistle of The Who. He only brought part of it but it still took up most of the studio floor.
Gerry Leonard: 'Start Again'
I guess you and I have met so.
That being the case: can I have my tenner back now?
Remember the time I loaned you for that taxi home?
Mr Parker's looking down at you - waiting for you to repay me.