SUBURBAN STEPS TO ROCKLAND – The Story of The Ealing Club
Suburban Steps to Rockland is a feature-film produced by 62 Films, co-produced by the Ealing Club CIC (a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting West London's music heritage), Caucaso Factory and directed by Giorgio Guernier.
It revolves around the story of the Ealing Club, a venue recently defined by the prestigious Mojo Magazine as ‘The Cradle of British Rock' thanks to its role in creating a new musical movement whose participants continue to influence the sound of contemporary music.
By early 1962, Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies found themselves playing electric guitar and harmonica for the interval session of the Chris Barber band (with whom they used to play trad jazz) at the Marquee Jazz Club.
The jazz crowd found the music too loud and didn’t like it.
Before long, Alexis and Cyril, with the precious help of Art Wood (brother of Ronnie Wood), jumped into a sidecar and travelled across London to try to find a venue that would accept the sound of ELECTRIC BLUES GUITAR.
In West London, they bumped into an Iranian student named Fery Asgari, who was the events manager of a basement bar, where he and other local students used to run nights for themselves during the weekends.
BRITAIN'S FIRST RHYTHM AND BLUES CLUB
The 17th of March 1962 the Ealing Jazz Club (commonly known as the Ealing Club) was advertised in the UK Music press as Britain's First Rhythm and Blues venue.
The list of influential musicians that would become associated with the club is breathtaking:
The Rolling Stones (they met and played their second-ever show there and were resident band for 6 months between 1962 and 1963)
The Who (Pete Townshend lately mentioned the club in an interview with David Letterman)
Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker (they both used to play with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated)
Eric Clapton (he sang and even stood in for Mick Jagger during early Rolling Stones performances at the club)
Manfred Mann (they started out with a residency at the club as the Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers later changing their name to Manfred Mann)
John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers (John Mayall recently stated in Classic Blues Magazine: "Ealing is obviously the foundation and starting point of everything". His one-time bassist and Ealing-born founder member of Fleetwood Mac, John McVie is known to have played the venue)
Mitch Mitchell (later of Jimi Hendrix Experience), Eric Burdon (The Animals) The Birds (first band of Ronnie Wood), Jeff Beck (The Tridents) Downliners Sect, The Artwoods, Rod Stewart, Graham Bond and many more are known to have passed through here.
Many of the first golden generation of British Rock Music began their careers or simply visited the venue, just to learn how to play the blues.
Keith Richards wrote in his biography: ‘Cyril Davies and Alexis Korner got a club going, the weekly spot at the Ealing Jazz Club, where Rhythm and Blues freaks could conglomerate. Without them there might have been nothing.’
THE EALING CLUB IN 2013
The EALING CLUB COMMUNITY INTEREST COMPANY is a not-for-profit organisation based in Ealing, that takes its name from the legendary venue that inspired so many bands. Although the original building still exists as a bar (called The Red Room), the Ealing Club CIC only occasionally has the opportunity to run LIVE MUSIC sessions there.
SUBURBAN STEPS TO ROCKLAND – The Story of The Ealing Club
When I moved to Ealing, I didn’t know anything about the Ealing Club. The legendary Ealing Studios and a fistful of classic British movies such as ‘The Man in the White Suit’ were the only things that I could associate with this wealthy and safe West London borough. A couple of months later, I stumbled across the website of the club and then, even more accidently, Alistair Young, the secretary for the Ealing Club CIC. As a former musician, avid vinyl collector and filmmaker at the same time, I think that the idea of making a movie about this legendary venue came up as a sort of natural thing. I have been lucky enough to receive a strong support from the local community, that helped with contacts and advice, so the project took off and now it's a pleasure having it presented here to the Kickstarter audience.
Where are we now?
25 people have now been interviewed: musicians, writers and historians whose stories and opinions confirm the true significance of this story. Filming is at a halfway point.
Interviews have provided important testimonies about an era (before the height of the swinging sixties) that was led by a movement of innovative and young musicians. The film will present many fresh anecdotes and amusing stories about bands who would eventually take their sounds to the world.
Our research for new footage and photos is ongoing, but we can already assure that the film will contain previously unseen photos and/or video footage of the Rolling Stones, The Who, Downliners Sect, Manfred Mann and Paul Jones.
Interview's conducted so far include: Bobbie Korner (wife of Alexis Korner) Terry Marshall (co-founder of Marshall Amplification) Chas McDevitt (Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group) Tom Newman (co-founder of Virgin Records, Ealing Club Veteran and producer of Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells") Pete Brown (lyricist for Cream), John O'Leary (Savoy Brown) Ali Mackenzie (The Birds), Don Craine and John Sutton (Downliner's Sect), Damian and John O'Neill (The Undertones), Mike Watt (Minutemen, Iggy Pop and The Stooges), Geno Washington (Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band), Ronnie Jones (Blues Incorporated), Phil Ryan, Paul Trynka (writer), Harry Shapiro (Jimi Hendrix and Jack Bruce's biographer) and many more.
Many other interviews have been already set up and the shoot will finish by the end of October 2013. Post-production will follow straight afterwards. The film is scheduled for completion by March 2014.
A SUCCESSFUL KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN WILL HELP:
- PAY FOR LICENSING MUSIC (The Soundtrack for this story is key but assuring rights will require investment)
- PAYING FOR ARCHIVE FOOTAGE (essential to put the music into context)
- EXPENSES AND TRAVEL COSTS TO REACH KEY PARTICIPANTS located outside London and the UK.
- POST PRODUCTION (Such a story deserves top quality services of an Editor, Colourist, Sound Designer and a Sound Mixer)
- APPLYING FOR FILM FESTIVALS
£6.000 is the minimum budget required to get this story to the place it deserves, i.e: audiences at film festivals and beyond.
Additional funding helps access to a wider range of music, archive videos and photographs and will maximise promotion of this important story to a larger audience.
YOUR CHANCE TO BE PART OF A GREAT STORY!
There's no doubt that the Ealing Club has been instrumental in the foundation of The Rolling Stones and crucial for the development of bands and artists like The Who, Cream, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, John Mayall, Fleetwood Mac, Deep Purple and Dr Feelgood.
Be part of the film that illustrates the story of a place that offered so many legends so much inspiration!
Do you like London and the 60s?
We like them too and our aim is to illustrate what both the city and the period were about.
SUBURBAN STEPS TO ROCKLAND is something more than a musical documentary as it ambitiously aims to:
- Illustrate the social background behind the explosion of the R"n" B phenomenon and explore the reasons as to why LONDON became THE destination for young musicians (and stylists, writers and directors) who all tried and succeeded in making a difference to life in subsequent decades.
- Please visit the website: www.62films.com
Risks and challenges
RISKS AND CHALLENGES
This is not only a music documentary but also an historical film. It aims to illustrate the social background of London, from the Post-Second World War to the mid-late sixties. The challenge is to source both an iconic soundtrack and original archive footage. Having researched these potential costs with commercial suppliers, we are well aware that these items will be expensive.
However, many people we have met so far have helped us with their personal archives. Nevertheless, additional expense will be required to illustrate the story and the music with the content it deserves.
A successful kickstarter campaign will avoid the risk of finding ourselves without access to music and archive footage.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)