Monday, October 6, 2008

Tribute to Little Walter

Friday night, Nasty Nate and I took a trip up to Camden to meet and film blues harmonica player Dennis Gruenling's band Tribute to Little Walter. The reason for our trip was simple: we need blues music for our documentary South of the Border. In this case we really lucked out because each of the members of the band have solo projects that they're going to let us use in our film. In less than a week we've gone from having no music at all to having a rather plentiful collection of awesome blues to sift through.

We filmed the band and cut together a little piece:

Besides being really talented, I hold a lot of respect for these guys (Dennis Gruenling, Steve Guyger, Doug Deming, Mookie Brill, and Dean Shot) for being nice enough to let us use their music. We need independent artists because using major label music can get you sued... or worse because music rights problems can hold up distribution.

In my quest to find music for our film, the guys from this band are by far the most down to earth players I've met. A few other artists I talked to were completely full of themselves. For example New York band The Wiyos told me via email that they weren't interested unless the film was guaranteed major distribution, and that they'd have to see a final version of the film before they would agree. We're students, we're definitely not going to make any money off this project, and we'll be lucky if we can get any sort of distribution at all. Who do these guys think they are?

Dennis Gruenling was quite an interesting character. He looks bluesy, talks bluesy, and personifies the struggling artist type. He admitted to sometimes sleeping in his van, and this isn't your punk cousin that decided to drop out of college and tour with his band. Dennis has been playing for quite some time and is recognized by blues aficionados as an accomplished musician. Though his chances of knocking whatever shitty group off the top of the charts are slim, I was surprised to see how many videos of this guy are on youtube. I feel like I've uncovered an underground blues movement that I had no idea existed. And that's exciting in its own rite.

Thanks again to the members of the Tribute to Little Walter for being cool with us and giving me my first real blues concert.

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