"THIS IS LIVE"
GP & the Rumour on the set of "This Is 40."
USA release August 2013 (hopefully in the UK/Europe around then, too).
(Being a blurb about the upcoming live DVD/Blu Ray featuring me and the Rumour's complete performances on the set of "This Is 40."
If you don't feel like reading my ramblings below, just go directly to Shout!Factory and make your order: https://www.shoutfactory.com/node/217652
It's very good.)
"Three Chords Good" had been recorded in July 2011, but the full band had still not been onstage together since the very end of 1979. The possibility of touring was no more than that: a possibility, but perhaps one with a certain inevitability behind it. But there was one gig that by now had become an intriguing certainty.
We could tell that Judd Apatow was deadly serious about a shoot with the Rumour for his in-progress movie "This Is 40" when the cameras, manned by the Gramaglia crew, who were in the process of producing the documentary "Don't Ask Me Questions," turned up at the studio. This was Judd's idea, and so by now there was no reason to doubt that we would indeed all meet again for a two-day shoot in Los Angeles scheduled for the last day of August and the first day of September, 2011. As previously stated, this was going to be our first time onstage together since 1979, and compared with turning up at the Nag's Head in transit vans unloading our own gear in a thunderstorm in some depressed town somewhere, it seemed about as likely as us being booked in the Enormodome to an audience of thousands, but even cooler.
I was vacationing on the coast way down in the south of North Carolina but had to vacate two days early because of Hurricane Irene. I got back to New York state in time to be greeted by Hurricane Irene, a monster storm that did less damage to North Carolina than it did to Vermont! The thing was getting worse as it moved north, and even had the classic eye going for it, which I walked out into in the eerie silence before the back end of it came through with winds hammering outside at an alarming clip.
As the power went out and the garage under the house filled with water and trees bent double, I was never more pleased to know that I was going to be getting on an airplane bound for the West Coast, but whether I'd actually get to the airport was becoming more questionable with every hour.
The day after the storm, as people were assessing the damage, I called the driver who was sent up from the city to collect me, and told him to wait by the downed tree in the road about 500 yards away.
"I'll bring my stuff and climb over it," I told the driver.
It took two and a half hours longer than usual, due to I-87 closing down in at least one section, but I got there, and with the certainty that power would be out for a good eight days, I put the chaos out of my mind and enjoyed the flight, even though Jason Segal was sitting behind me and talked - I kid you not - for the entire 5 hours of the flight! (When the plane landed, the guy next to me said: "I cant believe that guy behind us talked for the entire flight!" I agreed, equally incredulous.) But I had put the headphones on to block out the racket and watched "Arthur," trying not to pick up too many of Russell Brand's mannerisms, because at some point in this upcoming two-day shoot, I was also going to be doing a little acting, my second attempt after having already been on-set for a couple of weeks previously when they shot the backyard party scene of Pete and Debbie's birthday celebrations (my bit with Charlene Yi in that session didn't make the cut, but there might be some of it as an extra on the Blu Ray; I don't know, because I haven't got a Blu Ray player) and I did not want to go all Russell Brand on its ass.
So, I arrived in LA and checked into the Sunset Marquis, an old stomping ground for me, until the modern world - which favors only people of great wealth - made its prices beyond that of most people who aren't Hedge Fund managers, or Sting. I found my way to this whole new area of recent development on its now vast grounds, walking into my "room," which was big enough to house a small nation, where I studied the bathroom fixtures, wondering what had gone wrong with my life that a hotel room (more a cottage, really) like this was now something I would have to take a out a mortgage to stay in. "I thought I was doing alright!" I was thinking. "Oh, right, I am," my feverish brain reminded me. "I'm a principal actor in a Judd Apatow movie." (Jet lag...what can I tell you?)
Once I finally got over my almost erotic fixation on the finer points of bathroom design, I put on some trunks and strolled down to the pool, where I found three Rumour members, two in the water looking svelte, one at full stretch on a couch about the size of the hotel rooms I usually crash in.
The band members who had arrived from the UK recounted their pampered 1st class Virgin Airways flights, describing their onboard seats/beds as being about the same size as the hotel rooms they usually stayed in, and a jolly time was had by all as the rest of the band members drifted around, and there we were, GP and Rumour, in somebody else's element.
After a day or two of rehearsal, we were picked up outside the hotel at the usual amusing movie-making time of around 6AM and were driven (in a behemoth Mercedes van) to the Belasco Theater, about 50 minutes downtown in the already miserable Los Angeles traffic. The parking lot had been taken over by the trailers, and I found my one (my name on the door, natch) and stepped inside into the air conditioned arctic temperature, did some vocal warm-ups, had a breakfast fit for a king followed by make-up and dress, followed by the call and a walk next door to the Belasco itself.
It was probably about 9AM when we stepped inside the theater to be greeted by a large melee of crew members and extras milling about, all swathed in a cloud of dry ice, making it feel unsettlingly like it was actually about 10PM and the show was about to start. What a joint! This place had apparently been closed down since about the same time as me and the Rumour had called it quits and had only recently been reopened after an excellent refurbishment with many art deco details preserved.
Judd and I had agreed on a set list of about 12 songs, which I knew we would have to perform over and over again in various configurations with a multitude of camera angles each time. Two long days. Singing "Protection" at 10 in the morning may not be ideal, but I'll take it, and we had a great time onstage hitting that natural musical symbiosis that we always had. And we looked pretty good, too, as good as you can make a bunch of blokes who can get bus and tube passes in London for free can look at any rate. Even extras, in the breaks, were asking me: "Are you on iTunes? You guys are great!"
Well, a new fan is a new fan.
There was talk right off the bat of the possibility of the footage at some point being edited together and sold as a stand-alone DVD. The generosity of Judd and music supervisor Jonathan Karp did indeed come through, as it did with everything else they proposed, and some of the "This Is 40" folks who put in the time for this are noted in the credits, but I'd also like to thank all the producers and technicians who worked on the film and got behind us, some in big ways, some in small, and all of it important. And it's nice to have your show introduced by Paul Rudd.
The sound and visuals are really something to behold. This will not happen again...