Visit Boston Becomes Eclectic - Sister Blog of IHRTN

40 Nights Of Rock And Roll – An Interview with Steven LaBate

Note: This online interview was conducted on May 5th with the help of Liz Lawson (Deus Ex Machina Publicity).

1. What was the criteria for choosing bands featured in this movie?
To be chosen for this film, artists had to meet two very stringent qualifications—they had to have a pulse, and they had to RAWK. Actually, there was a little more to it than that. When Scott and I started planning this ridiculously insane project, he had driven from Denver to Atlanta (where I live), to visit some family – so we holed up at his Dad’s place, and worked late into the night, drinking straight whiskey and cold beers, brainstorming a couple hundred rock bands that we love and would want in the movie. Step 2? Check all of their tour schedules to see where they’ll be, and then compile all of their dates into a behemoth Google Docs spreadsheet to see what our options were.
After that, we went through the very mind-numbing process of trying to come up with a workable route that included as many of the bands we wanted to film as possible. This is no easy task; it’s like a very big, expensive choose-your-own adventure book—once you start making choices, it sets you on a path, and there’s no turning back. This is because when you choose a city, it limits your options for where you can go next, because you can only drive so far in one day. Then take into account all the other variables: We wanted a wide variety of sounds under the very large umbrella of rock & roll, we wanted bands at different levels of success, playing different size and feel venues, and we wanted to do this without repeating any cities or artists. Also, we wanted our journey to span the entire United States of America. Now that we’re out here, doing it, I think we succeeded. But the real test is to see if we can survive 14,000 miles in 40 days while filming a movie, maintaining a website, doing interviews and staying up really late drinking Jim Beam.
2. (Almost) every movie about rock’n’roll features at least one Spinal Tap moment. Were there any ST moments that you encountered in the process of creation of 40 Nights of Rock and Roll?
Sweet gawd and baby jeezus, we’re only four days into this mess, and we’ve already had slew of Spinal Tap moments. Just the other night, Scott’s pod failed to open, and I got so frustrated that I smashed a TV with a cricket bat. But really, the one constant reminder of Spinal Tap in our journey thus far has been our sweet chariot—a well-worn, rock-as-hell 2001 Jeep Cherokee that is as black as the cover of Smell the Glove. Her name is Black Betty, and she’s as tough as they come. You can see yourself in both sides – she’s like a black mirror. There’s something about her, it’s like, “How much more black could she be?” The answer? “None, none more black.”
3. Any movies that served an inspiration for the idea behind “40 Nights”?
Absolutely. Our main inspirations for the film are the original Predator (particularly the scene where Jesse Ventura get his guts blown inside out), Rodriguez’s  El Mariachi, Caddyshack, The Blues Brothers, Back to the Future, Where the Buffalo Roam, every film John Hughes ever made, and that new date movie, The Human Centipede (please do yourself a favor and watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wmTv2nqTHo ) … Those and I guess maybe Rolling Stones Rock & Roll Circus; Athens, GA Inside/Out; and AC/DC’s Let There Be Rock.
4. How is rock’n’roll scene circa 2010 differs from rock’n’roll scene of the 80s/90s?
The gas is more expensive, there are less groupies and cocaine, and a lot more laptops backstage.
5. Is rock’n’roll really dead or does it just smells that way?
Fuck you. We will fight your face. Rock is immortal. That said, it does smell bad. … One thing they never tell you is that, for most of your favorite bands, the sexy rock-star lifestyle is really just a bunch of guys eating beef jerky, drinking warm Carlings and farting in a van. But, hey, if you get to rock every night, it’s all worth it.

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