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David Chase, Steven Van Zandt, Jack Huston, More Talk Rock'n'Roll at the 'Not Fade Away' NYFF Press Conference

Photo of Jay A. Fernandez By Jay A. Fernandez | Indiewire October 8, 2012 at 12:38PM

On Friday, New York Film Festival audiences finally got a look at "The Sopranos" creator David Chase’s feature directorial debut, “Not Fade Away.” After the initial press screening, Chase, music supervisor Steven Van Zandt, producer Mark Johnson and several cast members (including John Magaro, Bella Heathcote and Jack Huston) answered questions about the 1960s-set rock-and-roll drama.
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Not Fade Away

On Friday, New York Film Festival audiences finally got a look at "The Sopranos" creator David Chase’s feature directorial debut, “Not Fade Away.” After the initial press screening, Chase, music supervisor Steven Van Zandt, producer Mark Johnson and several cast members (including John Magaro, Bella Heathcote and Jack Huston) answered questions about the 1960s-set rock-and-roll drama.

Indiewire collected the best quotes from the Q&A:

Chase: “I was trying to capture what a strange time it really was. Especially toward the end of that era, it seemed like something major was happening every day — assassinations, invasions, it was constant.”

Magaro: “We didn’t grow up in the Sixties — unfortunately, because it seems like a very interesting time. Our generation grew up with this music still from our parents. I spent my childhood with my father listening to the oldies station. That music is the defining music for America, it’s timeless, and kids younger than us are still listening to that music, so we could relate to it in that way.”

READ MORE: New York Film Festival Review: David Chase's Directorial Debut 'Not Fade Away' Pays Homage to an Era, Without a Purpose

Van Zandt: “I begged David to find musicians who could act, and he said ‘Forget it.’ Acting must come first. Of course, he’s right. He basically found a bunch of people with no musical talent whatsoever. So we decided to go to boot camp for three months in my studio. It must have felt like six months to you guys. But they were amazingly dedicated and all learned how to play. Literally, they’re a band now. They can perform at a party tonight. And that was extraordinary to watch, because it took me ten years what they learned in three months. I don’t know how they did it. And we really got lucky with the singing. That’s something I felt very strongly about, because it’s very rare that you see a movie where an actor can sell that thing about singing. I don’t know why. It was really important that the actors be able to sing — both John and Jack. That’s why it’s totally real and organic when you see the film.”

Huston: “We were playing a lot together. Everyone was in the same understanding that we wanted this to be as authentic as possible when we were playing. We were going tooth and nail trying to get this right. By the end of it, we were a band. And one of the best things about it was we became friends. You’re forced together in such an intimate setting before you even start filming. So three months into rehearsing that long, we were hanging out at night playing together. Everyone should do that before a movie.”

READ MORE: Watch: 'The Sopranos' Creator David Chase Makes the Move to the Big Screen With 'Not Fade Away' Trailer (VIDEO)

Chase: “To me, it all begins and ends with the music. But as I was working on the script, I began to learn — I mean, I had been around it, but I wasn’t paying attention to it because I was a normal suburban kid — that that was an economic boom time, and I tried to incorporate it.”

Not Fade Away

Chase: “It’s personal, certainly. To call the organization that I was in a band would be a misnomer. I was with some talented people, for sure. We had some really, really good guitar players. But I never even bought a set of drums. I played on cardboard boxes. We never got out of the basement.”

Van Zandt: “Part of the authenticity is that most bands are cover bands for the first few years of their lives, or they should be. These days, not so much, and that’s actually a bad thing. But most of the good bands — Beatles, Stones, E Street Band, you name it — spent a few years doing other people’s songs. That’s how you form your identity and that’s how you learn how to write songs, from analyzing those existing songs and absorbing them.”

Chase: “I just tried to remember what I was trying to learn how to play and songs that interested me. And I had a compilation over the years of having stuff in my head. One of the reasons I did the movie was because with ‘The Sopranos,’ maybe my favorite part of that whole thing was putting the picture and sound together. I missed that. I always have ideas for songs to put against picture. This is really a compilation album of a lot of my favorite songs. We had to work it out such that they would be logical, it was right chronologically, that the band could theoretically do it at their level of expertise, and that you could sell it that these guys could do it as individuals.”

Chase: “I remember thinking that, in the ’60s the Roaring Twenties were 40 years ago, and that nowadays, as John said, kids and adults are both singing, to a certain extent, the same songs. Back in the ’60s, nobody was playing my father’s music. That had died out. But the music from the ‘60s is still with us, it’s very present.”

Chase: “The revolution has been bought out. Nike and those people just said, ‘We’ll take it and sell shoes with it,’ and they did. That was very much in my mind. I don’t want to get into this thing where I’m bragging about the ‘60s, because I don’t really feel that way about it, but the one thing I have to say is the music was really good. And I always felt that I was really lucky to be that age at that time — that I was living through one of the best musical periods ever. And music was a way into everything. That’s where I first learned about art, poetry, fashion, film, politics — it all came from there. Rock and roll was my first glimpse of, ‘Oh, that’s art! Maybe I could do that.’ Rolling Stone is a magazine that was formed right as this movie is ending, and that was a rock and roll magazine but it had everything in it. Everything was filtered through that lens.”

Chase: “The conflict between security and freedom — human needs are always in that context: I want to be part of something, I want to be babied, I want to be taken care of, and I also want to tell you to go fuck yourself, and I’m free and I can do what I want and be my own person. That was the whole key to the movie. It was what initially launched the movie in my mind.”

Not Fade Away

Chase: “There are no garages in the city. The suburbs is where you find the garages — to me it’s always been very much a white suburban phenomenon.”

Van Zandt: “Do I have any thoughts on New Jersey? That’s a scary question. On weekends, I would go to Greenwich Village to see what was coming to New Jersey a year later. It was a more relaxed atmosphere at that time, because of the economic situation. There wasn’t as much pressure. In the city, paying the rent was tough, so there wasn’t that casual extra luxury of having a band necessarily. There wasn’t the time or the space to learn your craft in a pressurized city setting. I think that’s why most of these things happen in the suburbs, usually in the most boring possible towns. Seattle became a very cool hub of music — you can’t go outside, it’s raining. Or Sweden or Norway, or New Jersey — you’re looking for something to do.”

Chase: “Rock and roll comes out of the most dramatic time of your life — or it seems that way at the time. It comes out of high school and all the stuff that happens there — all that intense self-scrutiny, self-loathing, self-glorification, being in love, discovering your freedom. That’s the suburban feeling.”

This article is related to: Not Fade Away, New York Film Festival, David Chase, Steven Van Zandt, Jack Huston






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