Saturday January 28th not only marked a New Moon and the start of the Chinese Year of the Rooster, but my return to the land of shooting live musicians onstage. For your listening and viewing pleasure I present Anterockstar's first video release of 2017; “TAKE ONE: Featuring DOUG HELL, Live from the Rockpile”. A taste of what’s to come in our feature documentary, DOUG HELL: Love Hard, slated for submission to HOT DOCS 2018.
I’m pretty excited about this piece, and grateful to so many people for bringing this production together. I haven’t shot a video in a while, and was beginning to think I was losing my touch. Many thanks to my post-production wizard and creative partner Mr. Kevin LeClair for his expertise, and of course Mr. Jake Disman of The Rockpile for the sound mix. It goes without saying that my subject has my gratitude for so many things, not only subjecting himself to the scrutiny of my lens, but permitting me to do so from the stage, and for daring me to do my best, ALWAYS. I’m also, as always, grateful for my date and chauffeur to the shoot, Shelley. I can always count on her to accompany me on an adventure, and I’m grateful we had an opportunity to enjoy a road trip together.
I’m also extremely grateful to whoever set the stage at the Rockpile in such a fortuitous manner. One of the things I love best about shooting live is the way the camera angle and performer can cause flash play with the lights, and with enough practice, and rehearsal, you get what amounts to natural effects in the footage (JJ Abrams uses this technique with glass in the Star Trek franchise). I have shot Doug playing these numbers many times, so I know his timing and movements well enough that I was able to deliberately time some of the flashes exactly, and I’m proud of each one of those “hot spots”. The sails mounted on the rafters gave me beautiful opportunities to create surreal backdrop that give the footage an ethereal feel; just like Doug. You can really see the effects of those tricks in the end of the footage, during “Going Sane” and “Voices”. I knew when I was shooting them that they were touched shots, and was even more pleased when I saw the rushes …
And then I ran it passed the Hellion himself, and was met with what I could have taken as a derogatory remark “Thanks for trying”. Reminds me of the Karen Carpenter lyric… what do you get when you fall in love? “A boy with a pin to burst your bubble”. Doug has been bursting my bubble for going on 10 years now, and I think I’ve finally grown the back bone to tell him to go fuck himself. I can finally see that I’m nothing more than an instrument to him, and thank God, this allows me to see him for what he really is too.
It seems fitting that we should release “Take One” on Anti-Bullying day, Doug was selling pink shirts at the above noted show that said “Doug Hell says Go Fuck Yourself”. It’s a great message to bullies, from the king of the bullies himself, because you know, the Devil doesn’t mind him. To say Doug isn’t an imposing figure standing alone on his higher mountain is an understatement, even when he isn’t walking a line slumped over a cane into your kitchen threatening to apply Anusol to himself; and to say he hasn’t used his superior physique and psychology to create havoc in people’s lives would be a lie. But to say he hasn’t wreaked havoc in his own psychology, physiology, and life would be an equally alternate fact… and the theme of LOVE HARD.
I’ve been on the end of Doug’s Bully, and I’ve been Doug’s Bully in my own strong but subtle ways too. Hell, I’m humiliating him right now (or what he would dismiss as a lame attempt to). I choose to see us as neither, I choose to coexist with Doug (and the bullies) and disregard their wantonly aggressive overstatements to my lack of merit, my lack of morality, my general lack of purpose in general.
I’ve been Doug’s friend for 10 years, we have grown immensely together as co-bullies, and we’ve been made stronger together for the doing: Neither of us suffers humiliation with any shade of shame. We’ve also made every color of craft, he’s one of my favorite muses, when he’s not being imperfectly human… and just the fallen angel he is… without him, I can’t create.
The point is this: Those folks who put you down? They’re testing your mettle. SHOW them what you’ve got. YOU decide what you’re made of. Once you do, everything else falls into place… including the bullies… cause they’re human too.