The Spector 45 Documentary Premier Was a Success. What's Next?
Jonathan Buchner's 45 was screened for the public for the first time last night. And for those who came to either screening at 8 or 10, it was hard to walk back out onto a muggy night without having a strong mix of emotions floating in your mind.
Assembled in the large space that is 2625 Main Street in Deep Ellum, almost every seat was full for the first screening. Introduced by Frank Campagna Sr. and featuring comments from Buchner and Scott Mankoff, the tone was light but urgent, welcoming those who gathered. But when the conversation turned to the topic of suicide, Mankoff and Campagna strongly stressed reaching out to people - including anyone in the audience - if you're having suicidal thoughts.
With that, 45 was prefaced by Spector 45's three proper music videos. As the final one wrapped, the chronicling the history of the band began. Very soon into it, it was obvious that Buchner has assembled a healthy roster of well-spoken people that were the closest to Frankie Campagna Jr. and Adam Carter. Be it family, friends, fellow local musicians, girlfriends, or even former Observer music editor Pete Freedman, everything came from credible and valuable sources.
Documentaries on bands work best when the emphasis is on the people who made the music, rather the music itself. You can rehash memory after memory about a crazy show or how great this song is, but ultimately, a wider story is told when it's about the people. With 45, you're not going to find a more comprehensive document on this band anywhere else.
Once the narrative got going with the various talking head interviews, cheers and laughs frequently erupted from the audience. For a story that has such a tragic end, there is a large dose of humor in the first half. From tour antics to the origin of the band's name to the one time Frankie ran over a band member's leg with a car, the fondness and candidness were most welcome. Surviving Spector 45 member Anthony Delabano frequently talks about the inner-workings of the band with plenty of insight and humor as well.
Everyone in the room knew there was going to come a point where the film's tone would turn somber. That would be a slow transition, but it didn't feel forced or out of nowhere. And when the heaviness of talking about Frankie's and Adam's suicides began, there was total silence in the audience aside from occasional sniffles.