In the most inspiring midlife crisis of any rock fan ever, Boston Globe arts reporter Geoff Edgers decided to try to reunite the Kinks, and film his attempt (with a lot of help from director Robert Patton-Spruill). The resulting documentary, Do It Again, debuts tonight on WGBH, a PBS affiliate. The Hollywood Reporter asked Edgers how he got that story.
THR: You’ve toured the film fest circuit last year, and now Do It Again is on WGBH, syndicated by American Public Television. How do you feel?
Geoff Edgers: I’ve gone through a whole string of different emotions. You see all these people who are in the film festivals who are incredible successes and doing it for a living. You do get tempted — why can’t my film be noticed in that way, you know? But Bill Flanagan told me, “You were never going to get rich off this thing and Ray was never gonna give you permission, so you should be pleased that you’re going to on primetime.”
THR: Your problem was, the Kinks’ Ray Davies kept eluding you, but his bandmate and brother Dave Davies and Sting, Clive Davis, Paul Weller, Robyn Hitchcock, Peter Buck, Warren Zanes and Zooey Deschanel did help.
Edgers: Right before I started filming in April 2008, I met with Ray backstage in Boston. I handed him a sheet describing what I wanted to do. I had to get approval for [song and clip] licensing, he has to know about it. I’m a huge Kinks fan and I believe it would be good for Ray to have this film out there, it would be good for the Kinks.
THR: Why doesn’t Ray want us to see this film?
Edgers: Control. The whole idea of a reunion is a very emotional thing that probably is very important to him. And to have this random guy in Boston suddenly cast himself into this issue, probably he might find it offensive. His brother participated in a way that’s very very moving, I think. And, you know, it’s clear that the Kinks can’t be the Kinks without Dave. It’s about more than just Ray. And I certainly play up the whole sibling rivalry and the problems they have, so that might also bother him. And then just on a simple level, like, he might find me annoying. I wanted the kind of thing you’d see on VH1. What I made was really the ultimate Kinks fan documentary. It’s got all these stars in it, and this weird idea of me trying to get them to play with me. It’s not a film that turns Ray into a villain, or turns Dave into a hero, but it does make an argument for Dave as an important figure. And somebody who, like, was…you know, was…treated poorly. And, you know, the fact is, Dave does get a voice. He talks about, you know, why he and Ray don’t get along, and it doesn’t make Ray look good. But it’s not like I was out to savage Ray.
THR: What’s your budget?
Edgers: Like $150,000. I raised about twenty grand on Kickstarter. I threw in probably $30,000 of my own money that I still haven’t recouped. I raised around $70,000 just from other people. Two investment guys gave me $60,000. You know, my dad helped me out. I actually received incredible generosity from the folks who I’d licensed video clips from for the film. They just basically extended our film festival license — I paid for the film festival, they extended that license for the PBS run, because they know I’m not gonna make any money off it.
THR: And Sting was probably performing for less than his usual fee?
Edgers: For a documentary, you don’t pay them anything. Sting was unbelievable in this thing. We also got a couple people we didn’t use, including Brian Wilson. And we got Kenny Jones, the drummer for The Faces. My biggest debacle may have been getting Paul McCartney to participate. I went to Las Vegas and filmed the full interview with him, and then after it was done, his managers blocked us from using it, strangely enough. Crazy, right? That was like, $25,000 from the budget right there.
THR: What about Brian Wilson?
Edgers: I love Brian Wilson. He…is just too difficult.
THR: He talks in kind of a circumlocutious fashion.
Edgers: He’s a damaged soul. it just brought everything to a screeching halt when he would show up on the screen. It was almost cruel. We also didn’t use Fountains of Wayne. They were just terrible. I love Fountains of Wayne, but they tried to play this song, and they didn’t hit the note right.
THR: What song?
Edgers: “Better Days.” They were having a bad day.
THR: But you got some great people.
Edgers: Pete Quaife, the Kinks’ original bassist, who died last year, he was really, really helpful. He actually licensed an eight-minute home movie that he took during the sixties of his, like, traveling around with the Kinks. I found it actually from a bootlegger and talked to him and he said, “Oh, I had lost that over the years” and I said, “can I license that from you?”
THR: So you lost money making your dream film.
Edgers: Yeah, $30,000 so far. To have a film and have only lost $30,000, that’s actually pretty good. I’m a superfan gone mad, you know?
See a clip from Do It Again below: