Interview with Chuck Leavell

Spent the morning with a Rolling Stone, just one more example of how the documentary journey is an amazing experience. Chuck Leavell’s immense Georgia plantation was impressive, exceeded only by his hospitality and willingness to talk about Johnnie Johnson. Leavell performed with Johnnie on several occasions, most notably the Chuck Berry documentary “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘N’ Roll” and the “24 Nights” concerts in London in Eric Clapton’s hand-picked blues band. Leavell had plenty of stories about both, as well as interesting observations about the Johnnie Johnson/Chuck Berry collaboration process and whether Johnnie should have received a song-writing credit. Regarding the Berry/Johnson collaboration, Leavell said “they went into a different direction and turned boogie woogie and blues into rock and roll. I have to give credit to both those guys and certainly to Johnnie where the piano was concerned. In my mind he was the father of rock and roll piano.” I think I can find use for that piece of videotape! I already respected Chuck Leavell’s long, productive career; I respect him even more for inviting me to hang out and talk. There won’t be many documentary days better than this. Leavell wrote the following inscription in his autobiography: “Art, So great to work with you on your tribute to Johnnie Johnson and to have you as a friend. Groove on. Chuck Leavell. That’s what I’m talking about! Art HollidayDirector, JOHNNIE BE GOOD