As a young radio guy in the early ’70’s I was intrigued with the potential of television, especially this new thing called cable television, to play “music films”. This was before Don Kirshner and a decade before MTV. An incredibly brilliant friend of mine from college, Dick Shapiro, became an audio engineer at Electric Ladyland Studios in New York at the age of 19. He got me a meeting with Michael Jeffries, the manager of Jimi Hendrix. Jeffries’ take on “music films” was to marry a music performance with a place. “Poco in Paris” is what I remember him saying. The idea stuck.
In the mid 70’s I was working at WCAS radio in Cambridge still thinking about music films when I went back to school part time, to the MIT film section. I had access to 16mm film gear and new friends who were excellent cameramen. The radio promo guy for Warner/Elektra was managing a new band and he asked if I could film them. I said I’d need to get the film stock paid for and because of this unreasonable demand the ‘deal’ fell through. Too bad because the band turned out to be “The Cars”.Read More...
A year or so older and wiser, I decided to finally make some “music films” and pay for the film stock myself. I set out to find some exciting bands. As soon as I saw The Neighborhoods, I knew they had be shot. Minehan was a rock and roll force of nature, as good as I’ve ever seen, songs, guitar, persona, charisma, athletic energy – he had it all. David’s band mates “Careful” Mike Quaglia and John Hartcorn were the complimentary black and blond frame to Minehan’s fiery red.
I don’t recall all the details of how we ended up filming at Norfolk Prison. I’d been involved in a B.B. King prison concert while an undergraduate, but it may have been The Neighborhoods idea. I do remember talking to the Warden as a “representative” of WGBH. I had done some editing on a WGBH project but I made it sound like Public Television was going to film this concert.
The idea of these androgynous boys in a tough men’s prison, the juxtaposition, was intriguing. My only regret was that we didn’t get more footage exploiting that, but the prison put restrictions on filming the inmates. On the other hand, I was interested in transforming the concert experience to film. As a radio guy I had been to hundreds of concerts and club performances. After awhile, if I wasn’t seated in the first 10 rows, I felt outside of the performance. I wanted to capture that experience by not cutting away from the performers. Minehan and The Neighborhoods put on an exciting show and the camera stays with them.
I produced, edited and shot a bit but the film really belongs to my talented cameraman friends, Benjamin Bergery and Morgan Wesson. Their intuitive and fluid work stands out after 35 years. The result is “The Neighborhoods at Norfolk”.
__Filmmaker Moe Shore, November 2016
David Minehan – The Neighborhoods
Moe Shore – MIT Filmmaker