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The Wrecking Crew Movie

CrewI went to see The Wrecking Crew movie again at my local art theater in Albuquerque. It was a big hubbub there on Saturday night with oldies fans and press coverage. I sat next to a grizzled old DJ who lamented that Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell and Chubby Checker were not yet in Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He admitted it was very political.

Before the movie ran, pics of the wrecking crew artists flashed on the screen. One was Cher at the Hollywood Bowl. I wasn’t able to find it online but the man in the row behind me said, “so beautiful!”

Sonny_cher_concertDenny Todesco, the director, called all the movie's hardcore fans "wreckies." He said he started working on the movie in 1996 when his Dad Tommy Todesco was diagnosed with cancer. Nineteen years later, the movie is getting theatrical release. Todesco used Kickstarter and donations to pay off the crazy $500,000 in licensing fees for all the music in the film.

Afterwards, we had a Q and A with Denny and Marty Cooper. They talked about the Jack Nitzsche song "Lonely Surfer."

Denny Todoesco said the only criticism anyone had about “Snuffy Garrett” was that he wouldn’t let the musicians fix mistakes or do it better once Garrett felt he had a take he felt was sell-able.

When I saw the movie at the Arclight in LA many years ago, Todesco said he couldn’t get Leon Russell for an interview. Someone in the audience said, “I can get you to him.” Leon is in the new cut wearing a pinstripe suit and twirling a cane around like the New Orleans mafia. Todesco said he never could get Tom Petty, Max Weinberg or Bonnie Raitt and said he didn’t know if this was them or “their people” who were impenetrable. But he got Cher early on it sounds like! I was worried new Leon Russell footage would deplete the Cher footage in the movie but she’s still prominently in there.

Todesco mentioned an interview he had done for the Mark Maron podcast. If you're interested in more about The Wrecking Crew, it's really good.

In the podcast, they also discuss the Muscle Shoals movie. From this trailer, it doesn't look like Cher is in this one although Gregg Allman is. For a nano-second at the end of the trailer you can see a flash of Cher's album go by. I was wondering if they were going to cop to it.

The Wrecking Crew website store is full of great stuff now: You can get a coffee table book, a DVD or Blueray of the movie with six hours of footage! There's also a cool Goldstar jacket available. I was inspired to get Tommy Todesco and Hal Blaine’s books after seeing the movie again. They both have sucky reviews on Amazon and Todesco’s book lists only one paperback copy the seller wants $999 for. What the hell? You can get an eBook copy for $25 (actually an outrageous price for an eBook, too).

But that Hal Blaine! What a cutie he was.




I'm a huge Wrecking Crew fan with my entry point originally being Cher and just saw the film for the first time. I thought it was good, but wished it went heavier on Spector, although perhaps that is just my interest. Zero mention of Sonny was strange to me, and I find it interesting you talked about Jack Nitzsche at your screening because zero mention of him at mine. Other than that, a TON of Cher, which was great. Cher is not in Muscle Shoals at all other than a flash of an album cover, not even a mention of the story behind the sign or anything. Definitely going to check out that podcast! Thank you!

Cher Scholar

Hi Laura...thanks for that info about Muscle Shoals. It seems from the trailer there's a world of a difference in tone between the two movies. Is that your sense of it? Muscle Shoals being much less down to earth? I think the only reason Jack Nitzsche came up was because his "Lonely Surfer" co-writter was there at our screening. What did you talk about at your screening?

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