By: Sara Lambeth

Their music impacted and changed the world. It gave empowerment to the American youth, and became the voices of a changing nation. They were behind the biggest hits of the 1960s from artists such as, The Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, and The Monkees, just to name a few. This group of studio musicians from Los Angeles became known as The Wrecking Crew.  Members of The Wrecking Crew included Glen Campbell, Carol Kaye, Leon Russell, Hal Blaine, and Tommy Tedesco, Denny Tedescoís father.

I got the chance to interview producer/director, Denny Tedesco at The NAMM Show 2013 (International Association of Music Merchants trade show), where he was doing a special screening of his award winning film, The Wrecking Crew. This brilliant film tells the true story about The Wrecking Crew, giving you a new perspective on music during that decade.
Denny Tedesco began working on this film back when his father, Tommy Tedesco, was diagnosed with terminal cancer (1995). Sadly, during the making of the film his father passed away. Tommy Tedesco was not the only member of The Wrecking Crew to die while the film was in the making. Denny was able to capture some of their last moments which are featured on the film.

DB: Thank you for taking the time for this interview.

DT: I am honored.

DB:  What made you want to show your film at this yearís NAMM, and will any members of The Wrecking Crew be in attendance?

DT: Yes and possibly no.  I laugh as I say this.  They might be doing a session of all things on Sunday with Glen Campbell.  This is one of the reasons I made the film.  I was frustrated seeing many of these folks not working at the time because people just assume that they don't have it or play anymore.  I hope Iím stood up.

NAMM is the greatest place to show the film.  Anyone that is in that convention center that sees the film flips out.  It maybe the story of my father, Tommy Tedesco and his friends, but itís also the story of everyone at NAMM.   Everyone there has one thing in common.   A love for playing music.  Thatís what the musicians loved and playing for a living was a dream come true.  
Anyone that sees this at NAMM realizes it's their own story as well.

DB:  There are 120 songs in the film, how many songs did you decide not to put in the film? Of all the songs in the film, which one has the most meaning to you and why?

DT: I was able to get every song I wanted to tell the story with.  At the end when I was putting the credits of the songs at the end of the film, I realized I needed more songs to cover the credits and then I realized it was a losing battle.  It could have gone on forever.  

The songs that mean the most to me are probably at the end credits.  I use ďDedicated to the One I LoveĒ from the Mamas and Papas, Elvis's ďMemories,Ē which he is featured on, as well as Ray Charlesí "It's Not Easy Being Green."  All three songs say it all for me.  There is nothing like hearing his gut-string guitar break in at the end.  Brings a smile and a tear for me.

DB:  During the making of the film, several (five, if I am not mistaken) members passed away including your father. What was your experience like during their interviews?

DT:  The sad thing is, my dad never saw any footage.  I was shooting film at the time and I had no budget for editing. This was in 1996 and he died in Ď97.  Since then, we've lost drummer Earl Palmer, bass player Jimmy Bond, guitarist Al Casey, engineers Larry Levine and Stan Ross of Gold Star, pianists  Larry Knectel,  Mike Melvoin, Al Delory and others.

I was very fortunate enough and so glad I was to get these folks on film or tape.  I just wish they could have seen the love when audiences see the film.

DB:  What impacted you the most while making the film?

DT:  All of them are pretty humble.  They are not star-driven.  Even Glen's (Campbell) interview.  He talked about being a sideman as the best time of his life and career.  He missed that.  They miss working and creating.  

DB:   What does the future have in store for the film? I understand donations are being accepted and people can become a sponsor as well as dedicate songs?

DT: We were able to work though the International Documentary Association who is our fiscal sponsor.  People donate $5-$50,000 to get the labels, publishers paid off.  The last part is the AFM, musicians union that needs to be paid.  Hopefully that will be the last hurdle and we'll be able to release it.

DB:   What future plans do you have, personally and professionally?

DT:  Personally?  Lose weight, exercise, eat better, meditate, spend more time with my kids.  The film is older than my children. All they know is daddy does Wrecking Crew.  Itís a family project.  I have my 7-year-old and 81year old mother putting labels on postcards for screenings.  I pay the little one to help me and I put money in his bank account when he wants to buy something.  One day he woke up really early and asked him where he was going:  "I'm going to the office to do postcards."    "You have to go to school", I replied.  "But I want to work; I don't want to go to school."  So he got fired from his first job.  But I rehired him.  He is the best worker I got.  

Professionally, I produce other projects for TV. I'm working on a concert film as we speak. If it wasn't for my wife and producer, Suzie, we would have packed it in.  Itís impossible to put 24/7 into the film and try to work. She needs a break.  I need to give her that.  

Wreaking Crew PosterDB: What can readers do to help this film get out there?

DT:  Tell others about that website and facebook page.  We have over 30K  fans, but need more to convince a distributor to jump in.  

DB: You have many screenings around the country, how is that working out?

DT:  That is the way we've been raising most of the money.  Having fund raisers.  When I travel, we find a theater, recording studio, libraries, schools and show the film.  We find local community sponsors that buy seats for their customers or clients ahead of time.  Then we have the travel covered.  In return, they get their name on the screen before and after the film plays, special thanks on website and DVD when it comes out.

We've had music stores, studios, dog groomers, lawyers, health food stores, car dealerships, hearing aid companies and so many more helping out.   So if you have a screening nearby, think about advertising.  Itís a donation that gives back.

If you've seen the film illegally, please donate today.  Itís great when someone comes up to me and tells me how much they love the film.  "Where did you see it?", "Oh, my teacher gave me a copy."

Here is the problem.  Will that teacher or student pay for a DVD when it comes out?  I hope so. Iím honored to be bootlegged, but this is the problem.  The reason when a documentary like this isn't picked up is the belief that we have a limited audience.  I disagree, but when each person makes a copy of a screener it starts to become a problem for me.  I'll never make my money back on this film and I'm come to terms with that.  I do want to scream, but I'm honored at the same time.   

This is a teacher (no name included) that actually has a job because there was a guy in the Ď80s who gave the owner of the school, 50K make payroll and it survived to become one of most famous music schools in the world.  Who was that guy?  Tommy Tedesco, my dad.  Irony?   

And if you've stolen music over the internet, buy something from an independent today.  Musicians need to support each other. If you don't, no one will.

To find out if The Wrecking Crew will be shown in your area:

To see the actual contracts on how The Wrecking Crew was associated with these hits go to:

Songs of The Wrecking Crew: 

5th Dimension
Let the Sunshine In/Aquarius
Stoned Soul Picnic 
Up-Up and Away  
One Less Bell to Answer  
Never My Love  
Beach Boys
California Girls  
Don't Worry Baby  
Fun Fun Fun  
God Only Knows  
Good Vibrations  
I Get Around  
Sloop John B  

Mr. Tamborine Man  
Glen Campbell
By The Time I Get to Phoenix  
Gentle on My Mind  
Wichita Lineman  

Captain and Tennille
Love Will Keep Us Together
Close to You
We've Only Just Begun
Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves

Chipmunks Theme
Nat King Cole
Ramblin' Rose
Sam Cooke
Twistin' the Night Away
You Send Me
Then He Kissed Me
Da Doo Ron Ron
He's A Rebel
Bobby Day
Rock-in Robin
Taco Wagon
Shelly Fabares
Johnny Angel

Richard Harris
MacArthur Park

Gary Lewis and the Playboys
Everybody Loves a Clown
Sure Gonna Miss Her
This Diamond Ring

Barry McGuire
Eve of Destruction
Jan & Dean
Dead Man's Curve
Surf City
Little Old Lady (From Pasadena)
Balboa Blue
Mamas & Papas
California Dreamin'
Creeque Alley
Dedicated to the One I Love
Monday, Monday
Henry Mancini
The Pink Panther Theme
Outer Limits
Surfer's Stomp

Dean Martin
Everybody Loves Somebody
Scott McKenzie
San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)
Mary Mary
Chris Montez
Let's Dance
Ricky Nelson
Fools Rush In
Wayne Newton
Danke Schoen

 Jack Nitzsche
The Lonely Surfer
Harry Nilsson
Everybody's Talkin'
Partridge Family
Come on Get Happy
Elvis Presley
A Little Less Conversation
Viva Las Vegas

Paul Revere & the Raiders
Indian Reservation
Righteous Brothers
Unchained Melody
You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'

Rip Chords
Hey Little Cobra
Johnny Rivers
Poor Side of Town
Tommy Roe
Be My Baby I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Let's Go
The Sandpipers

Lalo Schifrin
Mission Impossible
Simon and Garfunkel
Mrs. Robinson
Frank Sinatra
Strangers in the Night
That's Life
Nancy Sinatra
These Boots Were Made for Walkin'
Drummer Man

Sonny and Cher
The Beat Goes On
I Got You Babe
No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In)
Nino Tempo & April Stevens
Deep Purple
Tijuana Brass
The Lonely Bull  
Spanish Flea  
Taste of Honey  
Whipped Cream  
Zorba the Greek  

Ike and Tina Turner
River Deep Mountain High
Ritchie Valens
Bobby Vee
The Night Has a Thousand Eyes

Hawaii 5-O
Mason Williams
Classical Gas
Roger Williams
Born Free

Return to DaBelly

© 2013   DaBelly Magazine.  All Rights Reserved.