Who Really Made “California Dreamin’” a Reality?
Video Services Corp.,
The Wrecking Crew
A film by Denny Tedesco
Official Selection – 2008 SXSW Film Festival
in select Canadian cities
Top Forty’s Top Secret Band Revealed!
Director Denny Tedesco and Producer Chris Hope are available for interviews.
What the Funk Brothers did for the Motown sound…The Wrecking Crew did for the Callfornia sound. Tommy Tedesco, Plas Johnson and Carol Kaye are not household names but are the session players behind number one hits by The Beach Boys, The Mamas and the Papas, The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, The Monkees and other iconic bands. From “Be My Baby” to “California Girls;” “Strangers in the Night” to “Mrs. Robinson;” “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin'” to “Up, Up and Away;” and from “Viva Las Vegas” to “Mr. Tambourine Man,” The Wrecking Crew played on them all.
Denny Tedesco’s acclaimed documentary, The Wrecking Crew, takes boomers back to the solid gold era when Los Angeles was a Top Forty mecca, where one session could produce several Top Ten hits! A labour of love for the filmmaker, The Wrecking Crew uses Tedesco’s memories of his late father, Tommy Tedesco, the prolific studio guitarist, as a gateway to a world of musicians who could make hits happen in any genre.
Amid a plethora of archival footage and interviews, The Wrecking Crew builds around a surviving members’ roundtable as the then-ailing elder Tedesco reminisces with drummer Hal Blaine, Johnson and Kaye, a single mother who was one of the most sought-after bass players in the ‘60s. The hot wax memories are a narrative backdrop for visuals and interviews with Cher, Glen Campbell (a Wrecking Crew guitarist who went on to stardom) and Nancy Sinatra (whose Crew-backed duet with her father, “Something Stupid,” was Frank’s only #1 hit).
“I was inspired to have a round table from the Woody Allen film, Broadway Danny Rose,” the younger Tedesco recalls. “If you remember, a bunch of old agents sat around and they just tell stories. Well that’s what it was like when you get musicians together. I always loved listening to my father and his friends. And at the same time, musicians have a certain dark sense of humour.”
From the original interview sessions to the final music clearances, The Wrecking Crew took almost twenty years to complete. “In the end I look back now and realize if I had finished the project after a couple years, it would never have been the project that it could have been,” Tedesco says. “I think losing my father and putting space in between gave me more insight. My dad was thrilled to be able to make a living at guitar. To make a living at an instrument puts you in a minority. But to record as many hits as they did made them elite. They really were at the top of their game.”
About Video Services Corp
Founded in 1993 by former rock critic Jonathan Gross, Video Services Corp. (VSC) is a leading independent all-platform film distributor with offices in Toronto and Los Angeles. VSC’s DVD catalogue includes “Corner Gas,” Sharknado, Richard Lewis: Bundle of Nerves, and Don Cherry’s Rock’em Sock’em Hockey series. Recent theatrical releases include Frank starring Michael Fassbender, Alan Partridge starring Steve Coogan, Israeli horror sensation Big Bad Wolves, and Cannes Selection Life Itself. VSC’s 2015 slate includes TIFF Midnight Madness People’s Choice Award winner What We Do In The Shadows, Cannes Un Certain Regard winner White God, and Berlinale Silver Bear for Best Script winner Stations of the Cross.