Q: Tell me a little about the beginning of your career as a musician.
A: Been playing boogie-woogie since I was 5 years old. Grew up in the beginning of the rock era and was lucky enough to hook up with Chuck Berry in 1966, while touring with a minor hit record recorded as The Woolies – “Who Do You Love.”
Q: What was it like when you first met Chuck Berry?
A: Grew up on the streets of Dearborn, MI listening to Chuck Berry and couldn’t believe it when we started working with him. It was a perfect fit in a lot of ways, and I ended up recording two albums with him and playing hundreds of dates. Still good friends and play with him on occasion.
Q: When did you get the inspiration to move into filmmaking?
A: Only recently, and now that I’ve done it once, I regret that I didn’t start a long time ago. Love the process and the possibilities of the medium and hope I’m lucky enough to make a few more.
Q: What was it like when you first met Bob Seeley? Could you have imagined how far your relationship has come?
A: Seeley is a rare bird. I’ve never played with anyone with his range, energy and repertoire. I was a fan from the first time I heard him play. As with Chuck, we were a perfect fit. There is this thing called chemistry. For some reason we have it. It is a joy every time I’m on stage with they guy
Q: Both you and Seeley have such as interesting life story to tell. Although the movie follows you both, often times as the director you really focus on Seeley’s journey. It seems like another testament to your friendship. When did you realize the focus your story would have?
A: I actually did a treatment at the request of a producer who didn’t end up taking on the project. My idea was to create a template that had the working title Under The Radar. The idea was to find somewhat anonymous masters like Seeley and tell their story as a peer instead of a talking head. I was working with Hubert Sumlin at the time, and was going to make him the first subject. As the logistics turned out, Seeley was easier to start with. Unfortunately Hubert has passed, but there are several other stories I could do in a similar way
Q: Now that you’ve taken the step from brilliant musician to brilliant filmmaker do you have any ideas for your next film?
A: As mentioned, I’ve got several projects I would like to do. I could do a sequel to Boogie Stomp, featuring two younger players as amazing as Seeley – Martin Schmitt and Arthur Migliazza. I could also take up a completely different subject and work with someone like John Hammond or Tom Rush or any number of major talents that are not generally known to a wide public. I also have a unique connection to Chuck Berry, and might be able to do The Chuck Berry Storyin a way that nobody else could. I also have several other projects I would consider in film. I’m a fan of Truffaut and have actually written some variations onShoot The Piano Player with a Chicago or Detroit venue. But these are all fantasies until I connect withBoogie Stomp! Right now, I’d be very happy just to recoup on this film and make enough to start the next one
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