About this project
KING OF THE SIDEMEN
Directed & Produced by Gary Simson. Edited & Produced by Andy Willinger.
They are the silhouettes on stage- far from the spotlight. Churning out the licks and holding down the beat- creating the musical magic that make the stars shine brighter.
They are the SIDEMEN... ...The unsung heroes of Rock and Roll.
These multi-talented virtuosos are some of the most sought-after musicians in the world. Yet, by playing exclusively in other people's bands, they are often unnoticed and under-appreciated.
This is their story, and we need your help to tell it.
From skid row bars to massive coliseums and legendary recording studios, a rock sidemen’s life is like a wild, unpredictable rollercoaster ride, with soaring highs sandwiched between deep lulls.
Some thrive- and maintain long-standing relationships with hugely popular musicians. Some barely scrape out a living. And others have faded away. But ONE has survived the pitfalls of the brutal music industry and remains as relevant today as when he his career began in the late 1960s.
WADDY WACHTEL’s resumé reads like a who’s who of rock and roll. He has played guitar on hundreds of hit records and has performed, recorded and collaborated with nearly every rock superstar imaginable, earning their respect and admiration along the way.
KING OF THE SIDEMEN is his story: a full-length documentary film that chronicles the struggles and successes of a rock-and-roll maestro and the making of some of the greatest songs ever recorded. The film spans his early days breaking into the business, to outrageous world tours with rock royalty, to Waddy’s pet project: the creation of an unlikely Supergroup made up of some of the best sidemen in the industry. The film documents the rise of one of rock’s greatest guns-for hire, with live performances from his band, vintage footage, personal photos, classic live and recorded music and exclusive interviews with rock icons including Keith Richards, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, Jackson Browne, George Thorogood, Dave Stewart, Joe Walsh and more.
KING OF THE SIDEMEN includes the stories of the members of what may be the world’s greatest cover band: long-time Rolling Stones backup singer Bernard Fowler, guitarist and keyboardist Brett Tuggle (Fleetwood Mac), ex-Tom Petty drummer Phil Jones and Neil Young alum Rick “the bass player” Rosas, and others. They play to a packed house in an unassuming bar in Los Angeles. But this is no ordinary club. On any given night, legendary rockers like Robert Plant, Roger Daltry, Ron Wood, and Neil Young stop by to kick out the jams.
They may not have had all the glory, but the sidemen get what others dream about: the chance to rock with the best.
A MESSAGE FROM WADDY AND THE DIRECTOR:
About The Filmmakers:
Gary Simson (Director, Writer, Producer) has written, directed and produced more than 100 biography, sports, music and investigative crime documentaries for cable television, international news organizations, and broadcast television networks. He has been honored with two Emmy nominations in the Outstanding Non-Fiction Series category. In 2002, he received with his first nomination for a documentary on basketball great Isiah Thomas, which aired on the Fox Sports Network. In 2006, he received a second nomination for his two-hour film on the life of Marlon Brando. Gary has produced for Bravo, History Channel, Discovery, Bloomberg TV, the Starz Network, Imagine TV and more. He has a masters degree in journalism from American University and worked as a news producer for Reuters Television in Washington D.C.. IMDB.
Andy Willinger (Editor, Writer, Producer) is an award - winning filmmaker with over 20 years of experience. As a founding member of the E! True Hollywood Story TV series team, Andy edited more than 30 one and two hour biographical documentaries. He also spent 10 years making On-Air Promos as a Writer, Director, Producer and Editor for Game Show Network. Andy's additional talents as a Musician, Songwriter and Photographer add a unique creative perspective to this project. He has a B.S. Degree in Broadcasting & Film from Boston University.
Joe Faissal (Editor) has been involved in post-production for over 20 years. Joe's creative talents and deep understanding of technology has made him distinctly invaluable to a wide variety of projects, including commercials, concert films, features and documentaries. Recently, he collaborated with such notable directors as Taylor Hackford, Paul Mazursky and James Toback. Joe studied Film Editing at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Nick Ramos (Co-Producer) has nearly a decade of experience writing, producing and editing reality, news, promo and documentary films. He has produced programs and specials for E! Entertainment’s news department and for the Style Network. Nick was a producer on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Vanderpump Rules.” He has also created promotional content for AOL-Huffington Post, the 2010 BET Awards Red Carpet event and the 2011 Essence Music Festival.
Jimmy Hammond (Camera) has worked on dozens of high profile feature, episodic, reality and documentary films. Projects include "The Newsroom" for HBO, "Valentine" for The CW and the documentary God Bless Ozzy Osbourne for Showtime.
Bill Megalos' (Camera) work as a director ranges from commercials and music videos to dramatic films. As a cameraman, Bill filmed over 30 full-length documentaries for PBS, BBC and Channel 4 (UK) in more than 20 countries. For the past five years, he has been making social documentaries and working as a media consultant for the Asian Development Bank, a large N.G.O. whose aim is the reduction and elimination of poverty in Asia.
John Mitchell (Graphics) was part of the animation team for the hit TV show "Smallville”. He served as On-Set Supervisor for "Hidden" and was the lead animator on the “Aquaman” and “Knight Stalker” pilots for Warner Brothers Studios. His animation work also includes the Janet Jackson video "So Excited" and the feature films “Spiderman 3” and “Herbie Fully Loaded.”
Risks and challenges
Documentary filmmaking is an extremely expensive and time-consuming endeavor, and music documentaries are even more difficult because of the complications in licensing songs. That said, this documentary is being produced by a team of very competent and experienced filmmakers, and most of the interviews, b-roll, and performances have already been filmed. Fortunately, we have the cooperation of many of the legendary artists and songwriters who are featured in this documentary. Also, we have acquired hundreds of personal photos, memorabilia and archival footage from fans like you!
In our first phase of funding, your Kickstarter contributions will go directly towards covering the costs of:
Completing a Rough Cut of the film:
-Initial graphics and visual effects
-Finalize principal photography
-Preliminary rights & clearances of archival footage, photos and music
-Original Music composition and audio mixing
The $32,500 we are asking for is not enough to finish the film. It is the bare minimum which will allow us to take the project to investors to gain completion funds for the most expensive part of the process: final music clearances of the classic songs necessary to tell the story right.
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