ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HEART: CHERI LOVEDOG’S ROAD TO SUNDANCE

As the film was being shot did you get to have much input into the production? ^ Aside from the rewriting as mentioned above, I was just there and available if Alex – the director – or any of the actors had questions or just wanted to hang out and talk. Most of my creative input
and working things out with the director and actors was done before we started shooting. Having the writer on the set, especially when it’s semi-autobiographical, can be a drag and stressful if the writer is constantly yacking in the director’s ear and addressing the actors while they are working. There comes a point when you, as the writer, have to trust the director and actors and the script and let it happen. Let them do what they do. So I sat back, shut up (for the most part), watched and learned. It’s definitely a “pick your battles” situation. Equally, it was a lot of fun and I did get to approve the vibrator.
The film is set in the late ’80s. Do you think it was anymore difficult at that point for female musicians to get respect–as opposed to now when they seem to be everywhere? ^ The play was set in the late ’80′s. We put the film in the present, but it didn’t lose that LA 80′s vibe, which is great. I think female musicians got more respect then than now. And I think it was well deserved. Back then, more chicks in bands played instruments and/or wrote and sang
their own songs. And I think the key word here is “band.” Most of what you see now is some border line anorexic, half-naked young girl singing songs she didn’t write, backed by hired players, not a band. There is something pure and powerful and unique sounding about a band that can’t be conveyed by people playing for the paycheck. They are good players, don’t get me wrong, but a band is band – a family – and you can’t get or give that energy any other way. In a band, everyone is invested. Now that record companies are run by CEOs and corporations and all decisions are based on charts and demographics, it has become much more about catering to the lowest common denominator than the music. It will implode on itself, it always does, and then we will get back to the basics. Rock and Roll bands. You can never underestimate the power of music or the determination of musicians.
As a musician, did you find that Gina Gershon and Drea de Matteo were easily able to do a credible job of portraying rockers, or did you have to give them some pointers? ^ Well, Gina already played guitar and sang, so it was just a matter of her finding her “inner punk rock Jacki.” We talked a lot about different women in music, she listened to a lot of music that influenced me, and I gave her some chord charts, but that’s about it. She learned to play all the songs and Stephen Trask, who produced the soundtrack, worked more closely with her on that than I did. She was a natural, and amazed me with her commitment to getting it right. She worked her ass off, and I am very pleased and proud of her performance. She did all the vocals live in the film, so she really was able to put her emotion into it. NO lip-synching.
Drea also learned to play all the songs. Drea IS a rocker, and she looks like a bass player! She was perfect in the role of Tracy, which was pretty much written with her in mind since the play. (She was originally going to do the play but her “Sopranos” schedule prevented it.) You’d
never know she’d never played a bass by her performance in the movie. She kinda reminded me of Poison Ivy from the Cramps, and that’s a compliment.
Lori Petty and Shelly Cole also learned to play all the songs. Lori is the best air guitar player, hands down. She had no idea what she was doing or playing, but damn – she made it look easy! At the wrap party I asked her to come up and play with us and she just laughed. She had no idea how to really play the songs. She fooled me.
Shelly had to learn the drums, which is the hardest instrument to fake. Not only did she have to learn drums, but she had to learn those songs and look like she had spent half her life behind a kit. The director and I both wanted a band that he didn’t have to shoot around. You’ve seen the movies: they show the guitar players face and upper body, then cut away to close shot on hands playing guitar. Surprise, surprise! It’s not their hands! Drummers rarely get much screen time, but in this movie, Shelly’s character has probably the most emotionally difficult journey and we need to see her. All I can say about how well Shelly did is check her out, especially during “Every 6 Minutes.” She nailed it. So impressive.
Get the rest of the interview in part four of ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HEART: CHERI LOVEDOG’S ROAD TO SUNDANCE>>>




Posted on April 16, 2003 in Interviews by
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