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Denny Tedesco starting filming THE WRECKING CREW when his father, legendary studio musician Tommy Tedesco, was diagnosed with a terminal condition in 1996. He gathered other members what came to be known as The Wrecking Crew around a table and had them tell stories. His father passed on in 1997, but Denny kept filming, recording for posterity a unique place and time in the music industry, when men and women moved from recording studio to recording studio playing riffs for television shows, opera singers, and the biggest singers and groups of the day. All without a line of credit on any liner notes.
When I spoke with Denny on June 22, 2012, I was surprised to discover that the filmmaker had never heard many of these stories before. His father kept his professional life separate from his persona one. In fact, Denny had never seen his father with a guitar in his hands until Tommy was in his 70s.
Making the movie let the younger Tedesco get to know his father as a musician, with wild tales of studio hi-jinks, as well as the lesser known stories of how his father had mentored the next generation of studio musicians, and stood up for them with difficult music producers.
We went on to discuss why that was, how telling Cher who is father was made for the perfect opening line, getting music rights that seemed out of reach, screening at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Hal Blaine attending, and they ways both Woody Allen and Barry Levinson influenced his moviemaking styles. We finished up with Tommy’s own definition of what a studio musician is.
THE WRECKING CREW is Denny’s boisterous and heartfelt memoir about his father, Tommy, and the legendary group of studio musicians of which he was a part. Dubbed THE WRECKING CREW, they provided back up to the biggest names of in music starting in the 1960s. Though they were in demand by the greats, they themselves preferred, with the exception of Glenn Campbell, to stay in the background.
Click on the link to listen to the interview(26:40) THE WRECKING CREW — Denny Tedesco Interview.