I couldn't finish my own projects, I walked away from most of my films, music, my writing. Eventually, I had to look at where I came from...
Quill, my father's band, opened the second day of the 1969 Woodstock Festival, with cameramen and their lenses trained right up on them.
Quill was told that they didn't get into the movie because technical difficulties during Quill's set that day in 1969. But, with even a little research, I realized that couldn't be true. It started to play like a mystery. Was my dad and his band cheated? Or was it some inner mechanism that would not allow these young men to move forward?
I grew up under the shadow of my father's lost creativity, which had real impact. When I couldn't complete my own projects, I decided to do a family archaeological dig. How do you get as far as Woodstock – the world's largest music festival – then walk away? Artists wait decades for a break like that. I always felt like there was more to the story, which unfolds over the course of a decade like a who dunnit.
The Woodstock Festival changed so many lives for the better. So why hadn't it done that for my dad? My life would have also been very different and I burned to know what had gone wrong.
When Quill didn't make it into the final cut of the Woodstock movie, their label dropped them and my dad walked away thinking he and his band weren't good enough. The same issue I was struggling with - was I good enough to keep going as an artist? - plagued my dad. But in finding his lost performances, I saw how good he was. Could perception be that fragile a thing? And what does that do to an artist's psyche to have no proof of your existence? Especially in a culture that only placed value on something that can be sold, like a film or a record. Did their experience have value without proof or a possibility of selling? Did they have no value? No believability? They didn't even believe it themselves.
The Quill story is not unique in the sense that many young bands get lost in the politics of the entertainment industry or the logic of inexperience, but these young men took this evidence (or lack of it) at face value. Years later, after I uncovered lost footage, miscommunications, untruths, cover-ups, I was mystified by how perception determines most of what we artists (and maybe even humans) do with our lives. Believability as a commodity, or recorded document.
While diving into a rock n' roll mystery, I touched upon the mystery of creation.
My goal is to restore Quill and my dad to the Woodstock pantheon, to set mythology straight, to shine a light on some dark secrets and most importantly, to break a cycle of artistic darkness for myself and the generations of artists in my family. My goal is to create a document of proof and value.
FOR MORE INFO: