Hunting down the Elusive Interview.
On a project like the Johnnie Johnson documentary, I spend a lot of time trying to get the attention of famous musicians because Johnnie shared stages with some of the most famous musicians in history. Case in point: Chuck Leavell who’s currently playing with the Rolling Stones. Leavell has had an amazing career, playing with the likes of Eric Clapton, George Harrison, The Allman Brothers Band, The Black Crowes, the list goes on and on.
Leavell was on my A-list of interviews, and a couple of months ago, I went to Leavell’s website and wrote an email telling him about “Johnnie Be Good” and asking for an on-camera interview. Keep in mind, I wrote to Leavell while the Rolling Stones were on their world tour. Leavell got back to me in less than 24 hours! to put this into perspective, a lot of the superstars I write to don’t bother to respond, or they have a handler write back to me, so you don’t even know if your message got to the person you’re trying to contact. I’ve come to expect the worst so that I’m never disappointed. Suddenly I was exchanging email with one of the Stones! He immediately agreed to try to find time for me to interview him, but he cautioned it might take awhile because he was kind of busy traveling around the world. We stayed in touch and then came the recent Keith Richards injury, postponing the Stones tour and Leavell invited me to his home for an interview. I’m making plans to interview Leavell in June about his Johnnie Johnson connection. One story I intend to ask him about is the “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘N’ Roll” documentary shot in 1986 when Keith Richards hand-picked Johnnie Johnson to play during the tribute concert to Chuck Berry. Chuck Leavell was also part of the all star band. When it was time to set up the location of Leavell’s organ in relation to Johnnie’s piano, the plan was to put the piano on the opposite side of the stage, but Leavell said he wanted to watch Johnnie’s hands and asked that his organ be put near JJ’s piano. Cool story. I’ll tell you how the Leavell interview went during a future blog.Art HollidayDirector, JOHNNIE BE GOOD