Johnnie Be Good

Our first annual Johnnie Be Good Rock and Roll Trivia Night (Feb 2) to raise completion funds for the music documentary JOHNNIE BE GOOD was a stressful success!

Despite losing my entire trivia presentation three days before the trivia night, I had a packed house. People had fun. I’ll now be able to pay some important bills. A lot of positive feedback, so it was a pretty good night for Johnnie Be Good. Trying to keep the momentum going.

Thanks to sponsors and donors Friends of 5 On Your Side, Straubs, Mantality, the Montford Point Marines, Andy’s Seasoning, Eye Roc Eyewear, Citizen Park, The Mac Guys, Broadway Oyster Bar, Schlafly, Sugarfire, Vintage Vinyl, Euclid Records, Jeff Appel Photographs, photographer Baron Wolman, Bullivant Gallery. Shout out to event planner Parties and Props, and my volunteers who probably worked a lot harder than they planned: Rene Knott, Jennifer Blome, my Johnnie Be Good editor Tony Chambers, Linda Holliday, Adella Jones, Cathy Mitchell, Sharon Stevens, Dan Dillon, Larry Gendler (and my new friend Jennie). I’m leaving people out and just know I’m grateful for the community support.

A recent and exciting development for JOHNNIE BE GOOD is that award-winning actor John Goodman has agreed to do some of the narration for the documentary. As production of JOHNNIE BE GOOD winds down, I’m still looking at ways to make the film great. The goal is to make the film as good as it can be and start submitting to film festivals in 2019. No one wants to cross the finish line more than I do, but in the case of a music documentary that contains a lot of copyrighted material, it’s a tremendous challenge from a legal standpoint. Preparation for a “fair use” argument continues, which would allow the use of copyrighted material.

JOHNNIE BE GOOD examines the musical relationship between two rock and roll architects, Johnnie Johnson and the guitarist he hired in 1952, Chuck Berry. Chuck Leavell, keyboardist for the Rolling Stones appears in the film and this is what he said about JOHNNIE BE GOOD after watching a prior edit: “…congrats on the piece…just awesome and a fab job. I think you have been very fair in the ‘controversy’ of Johnnie/Chuck Berry….and I think that is really important. While there is obviously some thought that Johnnie should have received some royalties for his contributions, it is important to have that balance of pointing out the incredible influence and genius of Chuck. I just wanted to give you my initial thoughts and accolades for doing such a fantastic job.”

In 2005 when Johnnie Johnson died, David Fricke of Rolling Stone Magazine wrote that Johnson “…went on to become the greastest sideman in rock and roll, at the very moment the music was being born.” Should Johnson also be recognized as a partner in one of rock and roll’s great song-writing teams? Not even a lawsuit settled the debate.

Art Holliday Director/Writer/Producer