photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
my god the documentary THE ORIGINAL CHARVEL GANG (ROYALROCKFILMS, 2021) was TERRIBLE.
which is a SHAME, because the story of how TALENTED entrepreneurial-minded craftsmen and startups they initiated took the game from bigwigs like FENDER and GIBSON through INNOVATIVE guitar designs made by and for guitarists is a story very much worth telling. in many ways it reset the table for today's gear landscape with countless high-quality boutique GUITAR, AMP and PEDAL manufacturers. the list of interviewed participants including STEVE VAI (FRANK ZAPPA, DAVID LEE ROTH), WARREN DEMARTINI (RATT), MICHAEL ANTHONY (VAN HALEN), TOM DUMONT (NO DOUBT), STEVE STEVENS (BILLY IDOL), DOUG ALDRICH (WHITESNAKE), BRIAN "HEAD" WELCH (KORN), PHIL COLLEN (DEF LEPPARD), NUNO BETTENCOURT (EXTREME), SLASH (GUNS N ROSES) and past luthiers at every stage of the company's development only goes to show the WIDESPREAD INTEREST and CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE of CHARVEL and JACKSON guitars over the years.
where this documentary FALTERED was in its execution. the sound design and cinematography was uneven and highly DISTRACTING. as a viewer you are made aware of how poorly edited this film was constructed (the ultimate sin in cinema since the medium strives for seamlessness). compounded is the fact that the subject at hand is about the relationship between TECHNICAL INNOVATION and shifts in CULTURE, which means this documentary should have been likewise seamless in its production and quality control. there were also lots of odd choices, like a fully-clothed TOM DUMONT walking around fully clothed on a marina with a surfboard or the director himself walking around in a sand dune like the NATIVE AMERICAN dude from OLIVER STONE's THE DOORS (TRI-STAR, 1991). and then there is the lame jam session with the director and two hired guns in front of lear jet in a hanger. i didnt get the point of that. maybe the director just thought all these DISTRACTIONS looked cool (?), but it just came off completely amateur hour and really sidetracked from the intent of the film which was to showcase the legacy of WAYNE CHARVEL and GROVER JACKSON. this and the fact that it was PAINFULLY obvious the film wasnt able to secure any of the rights to the music of the important artists being interviewed (i.e. VAN HALEN, QUIET RIOT, NO DOUBT, RATT, DEF LEPPARD, OZZY OSBOURNE, KORN) which is just SAD.
i think it makes total sense why GROVER JACKSON did not take part in this film. its a total utter DUD. definitely not worth checking out, which again is UNFORTUNATE because this wasted opportunity of a documentary covers a topic i care about as someone who lived within a few miles of SAN DIMAS when the glory days being discussed where underway. its part of my cultural heritage that i wish was presented in a more coherent, mindful manner.