“The hardest thing when you’re documenting is where do you cut,” said director Denny Tedesco, who started editing his documentary The Wrecking Crew in 2006. Of the 75 subjects Tedesco interviewed, 29 made it into his film’s final cut.
Even with the necessary editing, the documentary is a loving and thorough look at a revered and diverse group of musicians who plied their trade in recording studios all across Los Angeles. The documentary reveals how these artists’ skills helped craft the West Coast Sound during the 1960’s and early 1970’s, as it features interviews with members of the Wrecking Crew (drummer Hal Blaine, keyboardist Don Randi, bassist Carol Kaye) and such icons as Brian Wilson, Herb Alpert, Cher, and Nancy Sinatra.
The entire project was a labor of love for Tedesco, as his late father Tommy Tedesco was also a member of the Wrecking Crew. Even with such an interesting topic to cover, licensing the music on the film would have reached an estimated cost of $700,000, and it’s understandable why it took years (he started the project in 1995) to get The Wrecking Crew in the can.
The great news is that with a ton of perseverance, as well as the ability to generate $312,000 through the crowd funding site Kickstarter, The Wrecking Crew is finally upon us, and viewers will be treated to various members’ experiences working on many of yesteryear’s most beloved records.
Whether it’s putting work in on Brian Wilson’s masterpiece Pet Sounds or amplifying Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound,” the Wrecking Crew’s professionalism and craftsmanship left an indelible mark on the music industry.
Denny Tedesco, Hal Blaine and Don Randi did a string of interviews to promote The Wrecking Crew at the Professional Drum Shop in Hollywood. I had the pleasure of asking Blaine, who is a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, about his thoughts on working with Brian Wilson.