Chicago Sun-Times
Tuning in with Thomas Conner

The Kinks won't 'Do It Again,' but documentary filmmaker tried

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Rock and roll reunions are, alas, inevitable. The Eagles, God save us, returned to Soldier Field this year. Pavement has played Chicago twice this summer. The original Naked Raygun lineup is together again in a couple of weeks. Echo & the Bunnymen have been together for the second time longer than they were the first. The Beatles released two songs with John Lennon years after he died. Nothing, not even death, can stop them.

Then again, that remains to be seen for a few select bands -- bands who refuse to succumb to that always pathetic second act. We'll probably never see the Smiths back on stage, and their legacy remains beautifully intact thus far because of it. Another band drenched in about as much bad blood likewise probably won't share a stage again: the Kinks. Lead singer Ray Davies has hinted before that the original lineup -- Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaife and Mick Avory -- would take the big check and record a new song again. But the acrimony between them is too thick. It's a bad bet.

Geoff Edgers, however, a reporter for the Boston Globe, is a betting man. A couple of years ago he made it his personal quest to reunite the Kinks. At least, he made a documentary in which he talks and talks and talks about what a great idea that would be, without -- no surprise, really -- accomplishing his objective. The film, "Do It Again: One Man's Quest to Reunite the Kinks," screens at 7:30 tonight at Metro, 3730 N. Clark, as part of the monthly series from the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival. Tickets are just $10 here.

Edgers is incredibly self-involved and admits that a mid-life crisis likely fuels his hopeless quest. He interviews a lot of people about this idea -- John Cusack, Yoko Ono, Clive Davis, Robyn Hitchcock, Paul Weller, Zooey Deschanel, Peter Buck -- and asks most of them to perform a Kinks song with them. It's embarrassing every time, awkward and horrible.

But the film does present a case, a convincing argument for setting aside all the "pieces of the Kinks" out there today, from Oasis to Franz Ferdinand, and hearing from the real deal one last time. If Flock of Seagulls can reunite and tour again, by God the Davies brothers can suck it up. An interesting point is made mid-film by Sting, backstage after one his concerts by the reunited Police, a band once infamous for their spitting, cursing fights. Sting, before picking out his favorite Kinks tune on a guitar ("You Really Got Me"), he says, "We're a society of divorced families" and that he sees the deep-seated emotion in people's eyes, in his audiences, watching his famous trio together again.

In the end, Edgers doesn't accomplish much more than stimulating a few snatches of dialogue, and rethinks his intentions. He has his moment with Ray and his moment with Dave -- the latter an interview worth seeing for any fan -- just not together.

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on September 23, 2010 10:00 AM.

For Janelle Monae, the truth is out there -- and you can dance to it was the previous entry in this blog.

Maroon 5, 'Hands All Over'; John Legend & the Roots, 'Wake Up!' is the next entry in this blog.

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