DENNY TEDESCO & THE WRECKING CREW
At THE NAMM SHOW 2013
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
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
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.
you for taking the time for this
DT: I am honored.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
impacted you the most while making the
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
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
DB: What future plans
do you have, personally and
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
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.
DB: What can
readers do to help this film get out
DT: Tell others about that
website and facebook page. We have over
30K fans, but need more to convince a
distributor to jump in.
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
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
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
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:
Let the Sunshine In/Aquarius
Up-Up and Away
Less Bell to Answer
Don't Worry Baby
Fun Fun Fun
God Only Knows
I Get Around
Sloop John B
Mr. Tamborine Man
By The Time I Get to
Gentle on My
Captain and Tennille
Keep Us Together
Close to You
We've Only Just Begun
Nat King Cole
You Send Me
Then He Kissed Me
Da Doo Ron Ron
He's A Rebel
|Gary Lewis and the Playboys
Everybody Loves a Clown
This Diamond Ring
Jan & Dean
Dead Man's Curve
Old Lady (From Pasadena)
|Mamas & Papas
Dedicated to the One I Love
The Pink Panther Theme
Everybody Loves Somebody
San Francisco (Be
Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)
Fools Rush In
| Jack Nitzsche
Come on Get Happy
A Little Less
Viva Las Vegas
Paul Revere & the Raiders
You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
Hey Little Cobra
Poor Side of Town
Baby I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Strangers in the
These Boots Were Made for Walkin'
Sonny and Cher
The Beat Goes On
I Got You Babe
No Matter What
Shape (Your Stomach's In)
Nino Tempo & April Stevens
The Lonely Bull
Taste of Honey
Zorba the Greek
|Ike and Tina
River Deep Mountain High
The Night Has a