Seeing 40 concerts in 40 different cities over the course 40 consecutive nights. Sound cool? Sure does. While such a trip would be an unrealistic fantasy for most of us, former senior writer from Paste Magazine, Steve LaBate and his good friend, filmmaker Scott Sloan, decided that they would turn that fantasy into their reality this spring.
Their goal: To investigate the current state of rock 'n' roll and to determine what relevance and life still remains in the genre that has now taken on so many different interpretations over the last 50 years.
Starting a couple of weeks ago in Albany, New York, the duo has made their way into Texas--and they'll be hitting the of Montreal show at the Granada Theater tonight as part of their trip. of Montreal, along with bands as diverse as Drive by Truckers, Ratt, Reverend Horton Heat and Third Eye Blind will all be subjects in the book and documentary that will result from this excursion.
We had the chance to chat with the road-tripping duo, just as they were making final preparations for their trip.
Paste hailed Denton as a top music scene a couple of years ago. Are you expecting to uncover any new music scene that may surprise you?
LaBate: Yeah, I'm sure we will. We are hitting New York City and L.A., along with some classic college towns like Athens, Georgia, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but we're also going to Billings, Montana, where weren't even sure there was a rock band to be heard, even.
Judging by the roster of bands that have already signed on to be a part of this project, it seems as though variety is an important aspect.
LaBate: Absolutely. We've got '80s hair metal with Ratt, '90s alt-rockers with Third Eye Blind, and even UK punk with the Subhumans. They all fit under the large umbrella of rock 'n' roll, which is what we are going after.
Why the number 40?
Sloan: Steve came over to my house for Christmas and we drank forty 40 ounces of King Cobra, then we decided to do a movie (laughing). Really, 30 days is just too easy, but 50 days is too long.
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The project has such a grand scope. What will the actual results of this excursion be?
Sloan: A book, movie and our web site. The site is going to be very interactive and will be a resource for the fans of the bands we see and talk to. It started out as only a book and a movie, but when you look at where modern media is right now, nothing is just one entity. We really want to build a community around all of this.
LaBate: We're also going to take a Star Wars approach to merchandising. Maybe some action figures of Scott and I in the jeep
Sloan: And sleeping bags, too. They'll be pre-stained with blood and whiskey.
Over the course of 40 days, you're going to rack up a ton of footage. How much raw footage will you have to sift through, after the trip is complete?
Sloan: Well, I shoot judiciously, really. If we shoot only one hour each day, that's going to end up with 40 hours of footage, which is heck of a lot of footage to slug through. I imagine we'll get 20 to 40 minutes per day from the top-end camera. This is a very DIY, guerilla project and it's snowballing into a beast of its own, really.
LaBate: We think the DIY approach mirrors much of our subject matter, also.
I see that comdian Eugene Mirman will be included in this. How does he fit in?
LaBate: Eugene is a rock and roll expert, and he's also a Maxim magazine certified sex-pert. Sure, he's a comedian, but he's on Sub Pop records, and we wanted to get his perspective, for both the comedy as well as his taste in music.
LaBate and Sloan will be at the Granada Theater tonight, checking out of Montreal. If you see 'em, buy 'em a beer for us.