Two of the music world’s most secretive undercover icons are to debut their latest film at the Newport Beach Film Festival this year and the city had better watch out as rumor has it that the last time they were in LA together they talked U2 into climbing on a roof and brought all the traffic in downtown LA to a complete stand still.
The new film called A Kiss For Jed Wood is a disturbingly funny tale by music industry icons Barry Devlin and Maurice Linnane about a country and western star being relentlessly pursued half way around the world by an annoying fan after she wins a national TV show competition to track down the star with a film crew and ‘kiss’ the star . But before I continue and just for those of you who are perhaps not so clued in with the inner workings of the music industry over the last few decades (…and, if you said “who?” after reading those two names then feel free to include yourself in that scenario) then let me just give you a little insight’s as to why those two names carry so much clout to ‘those in the know’.
Maurice Linnane has for the last two decades been an almost legendary creative TV, film, documentary and video director for countless bands, artists, events and icons across the globe and has probably spent more time on the road with the likes of The Rolling Stones, U2, Neil Young (and even Garth Brooks!) than the legendary BP Fallon has with the likes of Led Zeppelin, T Rex and John Lennon (and THAT’S saying something!). On one documentary he even crossed America on two wheels to film the Harley- Davidson Centenary Celebrations on their transcontinental Open Road Tour and in 1996, when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were looking for the worlds’ best creative director for their own celebratory feature, Maurice’s concepts were so inspired that they had the hall kicking George Lucas’s esteemed Industrial Light and Magic’s proposals right into touch in favor of his plans. The last decade has seen his deep involvement in the ‘Other Voices’ project, originally filmed for Irish TV and now on sale internationally, the groundbreaking music show puts the small Irish town of Dingle on the world map for music when once a year he smuggles some of the most creative musicians and artists from around the globe into the tiny town to perform live everywhere from the church, to the pub, to even the kitchens and bedrooms of the occasionally bewildered locals in a unique show which continually turns Dingle and Kerry into the musical Hollywood of Europe for a few weeks every year (Ellie Goulding, Villagers, Snow Patrol, The National, O Emperor, Florence And The Machine and Jarvis Cocker being just some of the musical elite found blissfully wandering Dingles streets, beaches , private kitchens and bathrooms over the past year alone). Other stunning projects captured , conceived and directed by Maurice include Brian Wilson’s Opus Smile, U2’s ZOO TV world tour (where he was also the tours artistic director), and for his company, Long Grass Productions (and just to continue with that illusive icon theme Maurice is himself characterized in the company logo as that actual ‘pair of eyes’ peering out through the long grass ) the ‘Everywhere But Home’ Grammy Award winning Foo Fighters DVD, The Return Of The Dancehall Sweethearts (the story of Irish rock legends Horslips, their part in actually creating the contemporary Irish music industry and their return to creating music in the new millennium) and a myriad of music videos for all of the above and more.
Barry Devlin on the other hand (for anyone who has an Irish mother or grandmother like Barak or IS Irish or remembers the 1970’s) IS one of those legends and musical icons and he spent that entire decade in Horslips relentlessly touring America, Canada, Europe and the UK after their record breaking, self financed and independently released debut album actually caused fans to fight in the street after selling out in just days and instantly propelled the band to ‘hero’ status in his native Ireland. Barry has in his career, been attributed to, not only birthing the modern Independent and contemporary Irish music industry along with all his Horslips band mates but, that cultural and musical explosion that ensued from the Horslips 70’s touring career has even been attributed to birthing and ensuring the early successes of the Irish Celtic Tiger itself (the band were regularly in the number one spot in Germany, frequently bill boarded here and throughout Europe their music and legendary live shows were perhaps much better ambassadors for Irish trade and culture than any found in any government worldwide!). Horslips stopped touring from 1980 until 2004 and while the band were on what has been dubbed ‘the longest cigarette break in musical history ever’ Barry ventured from sound engineering and production into writing screenplays for film and television and also video direction for an equally familiar list of artists and bands. He became a lifelong mentor to not just U2 but to countless other bands, writers and filmmakers throughout the last forty years of both Irish and British creative history. On British TV he was the screenwriter for multi award winning shows such as The Darling Buds of May and BallyKissangel while in music he was often found helping a bunch of post punk Dublin rockers conquer the world throughout their own early ventures into America. He even made the governor of Las Vegas jump for joy by filming and directing ‘Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ in Vegas with Declan Quinn – a video , which apart from being the fastest U2 video ever shot, also managed to greatly revitalize the city’s image at the time. His ideas and concepts have also formed the backbone of a number of U2 video and touring ideas with the video for ‘All I Want Is You’ being a prime example of Barry’s creative imagination with the entire video coming directly from the Barry Devlin ‘treasure trove of ideas ‘ to being set to film by Meiert Avis (another partner in crime with Quinn form those ‘up on a roof days’) and just to ensure complete Devlin dominance on set his nine month old daughter Kate Devlin also made her acting debut by starring in the video too (If you’ve not seen it before then make sure you watch that classic here)
A Kiss For Jed Wood is one of a number of film projects due to emerge from both the Linnane and Devlin camps over the coming years and is featuring the remarkable acting talents of Lee Arenburg (who most will recognize as one of the slightly more humorous Pirates of The Caribbean) , Mark O’Halloran (Adam And Paul) and Jayne Wisener (Sweeny Todd).The soundtrack (bearing in mind that this is a comedy with a ‘Country and Western singer being pursued by two madmen and an even madder girl’ theme) also has some surprisingly excellent tracks from a number of top contemporary Irish rock bands too including the classic ‘Sanctuary’ by Dolorentos as well as tunes from the recently and frequently west coast touring Villagers and the avant guard Fight Like Apes. The film gets the official US debut on May 2nd and cast and crew will all be in town with the pair to celebrate at the festival…so just don’t be surprised if any Irish rock bands suddenly take to the roof and stop the traffic again! For more information about the film plot and it’s makers you can check the official site or the films facebook with more information on show times and tickets at Newport Beach Film Festival site and their Facebook page too.
And for any envious rockers desperate to see some west coast touring action from the Irish rock band who changed the music world …there are now a number of Stateside facebook pages dedicated to getting Horslips back over here to tour again (well… why should those darned Europeans have all that fun to themselves?!!)