Day three of the 2015 Cinetopia International Film Festival found me at the Detroit Film Theatre for two screenings. Second film for the evening was Danny Says.
Danny Says is a documentary on the life and times of Danny Fields. Since 1966, Danny Fields has played a pivotal role in music culture of the late 20th century.
*SPOILER ALERT. I go into some detail in regards to scenes from the film. Proceed with caution.*
In his early years as a journeyman editor for the teen magazine Datebook in the mid-’60s, he caused waves by publishing John Lennon’s quote that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus. His early days also included hanging out with Andy Warhol’s Factory scene and becoming friends with Lou Reed, Nico, and others in the scene.
He talked his way into becoming the Doors’ press agent and a big move with them was recommending a shorter radio edit of the Doors' Light My Fire that turned it into a big hit for the band. His work with the Doors helped him score a job with Elektra as a A&R rep.
Danny Fields has a long history with Detroit. He traveled here and ended up getting the MC5 and Iggy and the Stooges signed to Electra. Iggy Pop is interviewed at length about Danny and those days and has lots to offer to the film. Danny tells a story about the day he knew he was done with the Stooges when their drummer Scott Asheton drove a truck, that was too high, under a overpass in Ann Arbor and ended up causing costly damage to both the truck and the overpass. David Bowie ended up flipping the bill for all the damage. Iggy has a nice laugh recounting the story after Danny does.
In 1974, Danny discovered the Ramones at CBGB’s and asked to be their manager. They said he’d have to buy them a new drum kit first. So he borrowed the money from his mother and got them signed to Sire Records.
Danny Says is largely crafted from over 250 hours of present-day interviews and items from Danny Fields’ immense archive including thousands of photographs and audio cassettes. One particular audio cassette that Danny has features Lou Reed hearing the Ramones for the first time and raving about them.
Many musicians are interviewed for the documentary including Judy Collins, Alice Cooper, Lenny Kaye, Wayne Kramer, and Tommy Ramone.
Visit the films website HERE.
Former MC5 manager John Sinclair is interviewed in the film and spoke after the screening of the film. John had many stories to tell about those glory days that were a little before my time. Being the music lover that I am, I soaked it all in like a sponge. I also had a chance to hang with John briefly after the screening to hear some more stories.
The Cinetopia International Film Festival is running now till Sunday, June 14.
Visit cinetopiafestival.org for full film descriptions, trailers and dates/times/locations of all screenings and events.