Geoff Edgers, “Do It Again”
Geoff Edgers is a newspaper man by trade, writing for the beleaguered Boston Globe. But his passion has always been music, and he has always held a special torch for The Kinks, whose principals, brothers Ray and Dave Davies, dissolved the band after years of internal strife, bickering, and constant power struggles.
In his documentary “Do It Again,” Edgers makes an attempt to bring his beloved band back together, but finds himself frustrated by Ray’s reluctance to participate in the film at all, as well as financial issues and contract talks between his union and paper ownership that threatens to shut down the Globe altogether, leaving him unemployed.
Edgers chatted with The Yap about his film, his love for The Kinks and shifting his film’s focus.
“Do It Again” plays at the Indianapolis International Film Festival Friday, July 16 at 9:30 p.m. and Friday, July 23 at 3:15 p.m.
Get Indy Film Fest showtimes for this film by clicking here.
The Yap: I found it interesting that as much as your film is about getting The Kinks back together, it’s also a movie about a guy making a movie about getting The Kinks back together. Did you always intend on going outside of your film’s “thesis,” and if so, why? If not, how did it come about that it did?
GE: I think I always wanted to make a great film about The Kinks. My director, Robert Patton-Spruill, wanted to make a great movie. So when The Kinks were not cooperative, we just kept pushing ahead, determined that our story was perhaps not the story we at first envisioned. Failure, if done well, can be far more entertaining than success.
The Yap: Why did you pick The Kinks as your focus? What was it about them that affected your life enough to want to a) try to get them back together, and b) to make a film about it?
GE: I love The Kinks. There’s something really compelling about telling people about a group you believe in that you don’t think enough people appreciate. What’s the point of telling people how great The Beatles or Stones are? Everybody already knows that. But do enough people understand the brilliance of “Arthur” or how influential a song like “David Watts” was? I think not. As a teenager, The Kinks – the version that played arenas in the early 80s and produced “Come Dancing” – was one of my favorite bands. I remember listening to “One for the Road” over and over again with my buddies during a long, hot summer on a boombox.
The Yap: What is it about the Kinks music that draws you to them so much?
GE: I love the kinks because they sound great but also because Ray writes about things most rockers don’t write about. A digestible theme record about the British empire? Sibling and class rivalry—Two Sisters? David Watts? And a nostalgic longing for a place that may or may not exist in Village Green. But again, the music sounds so good, which is why we’re first drawn to music, and it’s so varied.
The Yap: At what point did you realize you weren’t going to get Ray Davies’ cooperation, and what specifically did you decide to do?
GE: I always thought there was a chance Ray might jump on board. I officially gave up when we finished filming. But you never know when it comes to one human being deciding what he wants to do. My general plan was never to stop just because it was hard to see success.
The Yap: I gotta ask: so what was it Dave Davies told you (Interviewer’s Note: Dave Davies agreed to divulge a secret to Edgers during the film, but only off-camera)?
GE: I can’t tell you about Dave’s statement. It seemed to me he didn’t want me to tell anyone.
The Yap: I’m really interested in the way you portrayed journalism as a career during the course of the film, and in many ways I think your film is as much about journalism as it is music or anything else. How did the troubles you were going through with your job, the contract negotiations, and the pay cut affect filming?
GE: For one thing, the challenges at the paper made things tense. Imagine you’re doing something you’ve never done before that could be an incredible waste of money and suddenly, you have a massive salary cut. Cosmically, I tend to think the paper’s problems were poetically aligned with my journey. I think of the ray’s work as being so much about the factory, whether the literal factory or the record business, that somehow I can imagine him identifying with the collapsing journalism front.
The Yap: How did your journalistic skills serve you in running down these old band members and get them talking? There were times you seemed to struggle with it, but you were still successful.
GE: I think I understand what it is to ask for something and get rejected, and then ask for that thing again. I don’t shy away. I also don’t want to be a jerk. I want these guys – The Kinks – to like me, but I’m not going to turn on them just because they turn me down. I’m not Michael Moore. I mean, I admire Michael Moore but he’s fighting injustice. What am I fighting? The challenge of getting an interview.
The Yap: I was blown away by how you got Zooey Deschanel and Sting to sing with you. It was interesting that with the guy who didn’t want to sing the song with you, he out refused when you asked (which of course was by necessity), but with the two of them, it really just seemed to grow out of the interview naturally. How did you do that, and what were you feeling performing a song with some of these people?
GE: When I was playing with Sting or Zooey, I wasn’t feeling anything. I was just trying to hit my chords and move forward without collapsing. I think what happened was that they love The Kinks and are actually very down to earth and found their love for the music turned them into teenagers, not unapproachable stars.
The Yap: Ultimately, what did this film teach you about the band, the business, and yourself?
GE: I learned that, perhaps, it is wrong for me to want to reunite these guys. They need to do it on their own terms. As far as myself, I learned that I should never give up, even when I think I have no idea what I’m doing or no sense of whether I’ll succeed. This can be applied to so much: marathon training, writing a book, et cetera. It is about doing a little bit every day until you’re done.
The Yap: One more thing about Zooey Deschanel—what was the deal with the bit at the end of the film, where she asked you the question about the Red Sox and you completely ducked it? And why did you include that at the end of the film?
GE: I just thought it was funny. I’m not sure it would have made sense in the regular part of the film, though. I didn’t think I ducked the question. I don’t remember the moment much but I assume I was a little jumpy and nervous and thinking about my Kinks questions.