When movie stars and rock stars take time out to help you make your movie, it’s a pretty cool thing. When you get three outstanding interviews in two and a half weeks with an Oscar winner, the star of “A Clockwork Orange”, and the man who gave us “Two Tickets to Paradise”, it proves once and for all that your life doesn’t suck.
Earlier this week Eddie Money came to the St. Louis area to perform and sat for an interview to share his admiration for Johnnie Johnson. In the 1970s and 80’s, Money rocked the music charts with singles such as “Baby Hold On”, “Two Tickets to Paradise”, and the marvelous Ronnie Spector duet on “Take Me Home Tonight”. All those songs are on my iPod. Here’s what Money had to say about Johnnie Johnson: “I think he is the most outrageous rock and roll piano player the world has ever seen. I don’t think he ever got a lot of credit. He was definitely the master. He was the Beethoven of rock and roll. I have never heard anybody who plays like him to this day. There should be more people who play like Johnnie Johnson, but for some reason, they didn’t pick up the knack.”Thanks, Eddie. And big thanks to Mike Knopfel of the Ameristar Casino for setting up the interview.
The Eddie Money interview came less than a week after I interviewed veteran actor Malcolm McDowell. I was introduced to McDowell by Lindenwood University professor Peter Carlos. After inquiring about my film and learning it was the Johnnie Johnson story, McDowell shared a flashback to Liverpool, England in the early 1960’s when he went to the legendary Cavern Club. A band called the Silver Beetles was playing Chuck Berry covers. His annecdote illustrated one of the main story points of “Johnnie Be Good”: that Chuck Berry and Johnnie Johnson influenced the early Beatles and the early Rolling Stones.McDowell on Johnnie Johnson and the music he made with Chuck Berry: “Arrangement-wise they were incredible and that was obviously Johnnie, as we have learned now. Nobody knew who Johnnie Johnson was and nobody was there to stand up for him and so we’re just now learning what his role in history was, which was enormous. Which is fantastic and i’m so happy you’re doing this because he should be remembered for the genius that he was.”Thanks to Peter Carlos for hooking me up with Malcolm.
Oscar Winner Lou Gossett, Jr.
Lou Gossett’s role as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in the 1982 film “An Officer and a Gentleman” won him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. What’s Lou Gossett Junior’s connection to Johnnie Johnson? His voice. And his love of rock and roll. Last year, Gossett narrated an hour long documentary, “The Marines of Montford Point: Fighting for Freedom”, a film about the first African-American Marines, who integrated the Marines during World War ll. Montford Point was the segregated boot camp for twenty thousand black Marines. Gossett talked about his admiration for those Marines, including Johnnie Johnson, a Montford Point Marine. The journey continues……Art HollidayDirector, “Johnnie Be Good”firstname.lastname@example.org