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Wednesday, 11 January 2017 03:35

Screening of “Almost Famous” featuring a Q&A with the film’s producer Ian Bryce

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Ian Bryce left and Tim Carpenter right Ian Bryce left and Tim Carpenter right

The Road Theater recently held a screening of “Almost Famous” featuring a Q&A with the film’s producer Ian Bryce afterwards.

The event was recorded by Experience Talks Radio, KPFK 90.7 FM, by host Tim Carpenter.

Prior to the screening, a chance was had to chat up Carpenter about his selection of “Almost Famous” who opined that he felt that “Almost Famous” was one of the best films about rock out there. When reminded about “Spinal Tap” Carpenter did concede that it was up there as well. Carpenter also added that he had heard that “Spinal Tap” the band would be opening for Saxon on their upcoming tour.

That is wishful thinking friends as there are no plans for “Spinal Tap” the band to open for Saxon according to their management. "UFO is slated to be the opening act" according to Michele Coombe from their management company Siren Artist Management

Seizing the opportunity to find out the actual identity of the character Penny Lane from “Almost Famous” since during the closing credits it does state that Penny Lane is based upon an actual person, I dared to ask “Who is she?”

It turns out it is an American socialite by the name of Pennie Ann Trumbell who resides in Portland, Oregon. I was dying to ask if she called herself that because of the Beatles, but alas was not afforded the ability to ask that…sigh.

As for the influence that led to the band Stillwater being based upon, Bryce said that it is based upon the bands that Cameron Crowe was touring with at that time. HMMMMMM, that is The Allman Brothers and Led Zeppelin. During the whole film I saw many things that screamed Led Zeppelin to me, and I’m not sure about the Allman Brothers.

How about when the Sillwater bandmate Russell Hammond is completely obliterated on drugs, climbs up to the roof of a garage and screams “I’m a golden god”…pure Led Zeppelin as Robert Plant did the exact same thing.

In case no one has seen this rock film based upon Crowe’s own personal experiences, this film is semi-autobiographical and is said to be a “coming of age” film which outlines Crowe’s first foray into the crazy, wild world of rock on the road.

The main character is William Miller, a 15-year-old who is a writer of music reviews and wants more. His mother is his foible to his dreams of rock n’ roll grandeur as a rock critic.

When it comes to Penny Lane, Miller saves her from an overdose and then speaks his truth.

In reality, Miller is Crowe, who penned the story about himself and his early experiences as it was difficult for him to get close to the characters without putting himself into the story. The story took 10 years to write.

The film is rife with wonderful and quotable lines and scenes and it would be easier to just go see the film yourselves. Crowe did win an Oscar for Best Writing, and Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen in 2001.

Although the film was released in 2000, it is still relevant as a vehicle to get a bird’s eye view of life on the road. The famous line spoken by Penny Lane to Miller “We’re not groupies, we’re band-aides” is written in indelible ink in the minds that were on the road during that era and all of those that have seen this film. Kate Hudson is quite convincing as Penny Lane and is probably the best role of her career.

According to Bryce, the film was well received by reviewers and those that did manage to see it. Bryce also stated that films of this genre are "off-beat and difficult to market.”

As for Bryce’s appearance at the screening, it turns out that he is married to Taylor Bryce who is the Artistic Director for the Road Theater.

Bryce is known for cinematic hits such as “Saving Private Ryan,” “Spiderman,” “Transformers” and “The Last Night.”

He is very accomplished and has won numerous awards for his outstanding craftsmanship.

To learn what Bryce has to say about his work and himself please tune in to the KPFK radio show 90.7 on the last Sunday of January at 5pm…remember... Experience Talks.


For our year-end round-up I had toyed with the idea of running the rather long list of music professionals that passed during 2016, but decided that would be just too depressing as we lost so many wonderfully talented musicians. Instead I want to celebrate music and/or make my readers laugh.

Coming in at Number 1 on my round-up is actor/musician Johnny Depp who was voted the most overpaid actor in 2016 by Forbes Magazine…LOL. Not much in the music arena either if you ask me…Hollywood Vampires…really?

#2: Who was shocked when Bob Dylan won a Nobel Prize for his body of lyrics? I know that I was, but I had forgotten that there are courses being taught at universities about his work and books have been written about them as well. Dylan was an unwilling participant to award ceremony and sent an emissary in his place. Punk Queen and a great lyricist herself, Patti Smith stood in for Dylan and sang “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” which I am told didn’t come off too smoothly for Smith because she apparently forgot words to the song. So does Smith get to keep the $900,000 award or does Dylan keep it? Dylan should definitely keep the Nobel Laureate medal and perhaps forge it into one of his wrought iron works.

#3: Look out folks, Mariah Carey is on the warpath blaming everyone for that huge gaffe on New Year’s Eve when she has a serious lip-sync malfunction while performing on Dick Clark's New Year’s Rockin’ Eve show. Apparently, she is blaming Dick Clark Productions for sabotaging her performance. Ummmm, lets see. Aren’t more things likely to go wrong during a “live” taped lip-synched performance than an actual real live performance?

I know that I refuse to throw away a lot of cash to see someone lip-sync at a concert. Many have defended the practice with excuses such as “they find it too hard to sing and do all of the choreography” which I find lame. I want to see the person sing live and I don’t care about all of the dancing. If I want dancing then I’ll go to the ballet.

#4: Graham Bonnet of Alacatraz, Blackthorn, Rainbow, Michael Schenker Group and now the Graham Bonnet Band gets my hats off for takin’ a lickin’ and yet keeps on ticking. His latest effort is very slick, tight and fills all of my metal needs. Thank you Jack Witt for taking me on a stroll down memory lane with this CD.

#5: I was really moved by the touching grief that came from Sean Ono Lennon and Yoko Ono Lennon over Carrie Fisher’s untimely passing. Julian Lennon noted Fisher’s passing as well, but not to the depth as was the case with the Ono Lennons. I would not be at all surprised if the three of them pen a song to Fisher. Something along the lines of John Lennon’s fun song “Oh Yoko.” That song has such a great up-beat and jaunty nature.


Happy New Year everyone. Let’s hope that 2017 is a more favorable year for our recording artists.

Read 2102 times Last modified on Wednesday, 11 January 2017 10:36
Caroline McElroy

The muse struck at a young age and began with Ernie's Record Shop on Lankershim Blvd. In North Hollywood where I purchased my first Beatle record "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and a record by Major Lance titled "Um,Um,Um,Um,Um,Um". From there I saw the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl and I was hooked...on Rock N' Roll. At the age of 13 it seems as if the magical world of Rock N' Roll opened up and welcomed me. A trip to Indio with Frank Zappa and possee, and subsequent gigs as a dancer at The Teen Fairs at the Hollywood Palladium sealed the deal. As a trained journalist, I've written for magazines, newsletters,newspapers and blogs. In addition, I have run a nightclub by the name of The Cave. Music is the thread that weaves a patchwork quilt of genres, venues and experience out of my life and in the process have introduced many fine acts to my followers.

For the rest of my story dear readers, read my articles and it will unfold like the petals of a lotus flower. 


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