On Thursday, September 19, Magnolia Pictures and Budweiser hosted a special New York Screening of "Muscle Shoals." Director Greg ‘Freddy’ Camalier and producer Stephen Badger were in attendance, in addition to subjects Gregg Allman, Percy Sledge, Patterson Hood, Jimmy Johnson, Oldham Spooner, Morgan Bradley, Candi Staton, Rick Hall, and The Swampers. Other celebrities in attendance included Goldie Hawn, Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgewick, Michael Shannon, Sophie Auster, David Call, Christian Campbell, America Olivo Campbell, Kiera Chaplin, Jeisa Chiminazzo, Peter Cincotti, Dana Delany, Shane Gabier, Julia Jones, Cory Kennedy, John Leguizamo, Nanette Lepore, Lorenzo Martone, John McEnroe, Lucas Nelson, Lesley O’Kelley, Elvis Perkins, Christopher Peters, Ben Rappaport, Kelly Rutherford, Stella Schnabel, Danielle and Jodi Snyder, Paul Sparks and Helene Yorke, to name a few.
The movie starts by explaining how a small little town, in the middle of nowhere, produced some of the most popular and well known music in history. The town sits on the Tennessee River, which the Native Americans used to refer to as "The Singing River" because they said there was a lady in the river who would sing if you were quiet enough! Rick Hall grew up in this town, and was crazy about music! After all the tragedy that had befallen Rick, such as his mother leaving him, and his brother dying at a young age, Rick started his own record label company. For the first time in Alabama white and black singers were getting record deals and producing hits. Rick went on to supply his own soul and funk rock players, called the Swampers, for backup sound to many famous musicians, such as Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Cliff, Gregg Allman, and later The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Traffic, and the list goes on!
The film interviews famous artists who all have important roots in "Muscle Shoals. These artists include Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Candi Staton, Percy Sledge, Steve Winwood, Clarence Carter, Etta James, as well as today's popular artists Bono and Alicia Keys. All these legends explained how Rick and Muscle Shoals had a certain affect on them and shared that the town brought out better music when recorded there, with Rick. The message throughout the film was how this small, beautiful town in Alabama could produce some of the greatest music of all time.
Check out our exclusive red carpet interviews at Landmark Sunshine Cinema.
Freddy Camalier (The Director)
What attracted you to the project to begin with?
The story found us, as much as we found it. You know I was a music fan, and this story was huge! And the fact that it hadn't been told. We stumbled upon the town, myself and my best friend, who I made the film with and when we did, we were just impacted by the town, our first day there. And then we started to learn more about the story, we knew just a little bit about the story, and we learned more and more that first day we were there and we were so blown away by the magnitude of the story and the fact that it had never been told and so we were like "Man, we HAVE to tell this story!"
Was it intimidating to interview huge Rock Legends like Keith Richards and Mick Jagger?
No, you know, I wasn't, other than Alicia Keys a little bit...I was able to keep it together and stay focused.
Why is this story important to today's generation?
Well this music has influenced so much of the music of today, even if you don't realize it. Because it's a massive amount of music, and it's definitely left an impact for all the generations of music to come. The way they made it! It's soulful, it's rare, it's humans coming together and it's timeless! This music is going to hold up, it already has held up and it just has that staying power. Some music's timeless and this music IS timeless!
Rick Hall (Owner and Founder of FAME Studios, Main star of the movie)
Are you glad to be here tonight?
I am delighted, tickled to death! I couldn't be happier!
How do you think the movie will portray the record company?
I hope that people see what everyone had saw when they saw it! We've had nothing but rants and raves about it, and we're proud of it, and it's been forty years and coming, and the toughest four years to make it! I hope you like it! I really do!
How do you think it will affect today's generation?
I think it'll be great. I think it will give a lot of 'umph' to the young people that are creating music today. I think it will influence them one way or another. I think it's great for young people, I think they're all about it!
Candi Staton (American Soul Singer that participated in records put out through Muscle Shoals, was interviewed in the film)
Tell us about your role in this film?
I am interviewed and also did a session with Greg Carl, about 8 months ago, that's how got involved. I mean I've been involved since 1969. You know, I'm a Muscle Shoals Girl!
Why do you think it is important to support a film such as this? In today's age?
I think its important to see where a lot of the best music came from. A little tiny town, no one ever recognizes the name, but some of the best music in the world came from there! It was born there, in that city!
Actor Wass Stevens was happy to show his support for the film. He said, "I think you always have to support independent film. Not that I am going to dis studio films, cause I never would! But you know people take risks in independents, it's difficult to get things made nowadays, the economy's real bad, and anytime you can dedicate a film to music...the cutting edge, rare music! I'm in! The after-party featured live performances by Gregg Allman, Percy Sledge, The Swampers (Spooner Oldham, Jimmy Johnson and David Hood), Candi Staton, Patterson Hood, and many more at the Jazz Room at the General. It was packed with celebs and famous musicians. There were delicious appetizers going around with the option of wine, beer, whisky or vodka mixed drinks. After about an hour of socializing and introductions to some of the biggest names in music history (Gregg Allman), the Swampers band took the stage and began to perform. They were shining with red and blue neon lights as they jammed out for the mixed-generations of audience members. Everyone began to swing their hips and go along with the beats of the classic rock intertwined with funk and soul music that was echoing throughout the bottom floor.
"Muscle Shoals" is now playing.
JC Routh contributed reporting.