Danny Says Storyline:
Danny Says is a documentary on the life and times of Danny Fields. Since 1966, Danny Fields has played a pivotal role in music and “culture” of the late 20th century: working for the Doors, Cream, Lou Reed, Nico, Judy Collins and managing groundbreaking artists like the Stooges, the MC5 and the Ramones. Danny Says follows Fields from Phi Beta Kappa whiz-kid, to Harvard Law dropout, to the Warhol Silver Factory, to Director of Publicity at Elektra Records, to “punk pioneer” and beyond. Danny’s taste and opinion, once deemed defiant and radical, has turned out to have been prescient. Danny Says is a story of marginal turning mainstream, avant garde turning prophetic, as Fields looks to the next generation.
Review by David Ferguson ([email protected]) (Dallas, Texas)
Tying in nicely with the repertory showing of Rock ‘n Roll High School (1979) at the Oak Cliff Film Festival, this documentary from Brendan Toller aims to give credit to one of the unsung (and mostly unknown) influencers of cultural and music changes in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Danny Fields was the behind-the-scenes “mover and shaker” who helped shine the light on bands such as The Doors, Velvet Underground, The Stooges, MC5 and The Ramones.
Fields is described as having his pulse on the underground music scene, and this is meant to be a compliment … he knew what the “cool” people were listening to. More than just a keen social observer, Fields finished 6th in his class at Penn – as the youngest graduate – and went on to drop out of Harvard Law School in order to be on the front line of the cultural changes occurring in the 60’s.
Director Toller’s respect and admiration for Fields is on full display, and we are treated to interviews from the likes of Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop, to multiple sit downs with Fields himself … the highlights of the film. The stories about “16” Magazine, Jim Morrison, Nico and Edie Sedgwick are all interesting, but it’s watching as Fields personally recalls his involvement that offer us something we’ve never before seen.
Fields’ time at Elektra Records is chronicled, as is his fallout with The Ramones … whose song provides the title of the movie (also covered by Tom Waits and Foo Fighters). It’s also noted that Fields decision to take The Ramones on a UK tour, helped drive the popularity of The Sex Pistols and The Clash … the foundation of the new Punk era. It’s always refreshing when accolades and credit find the proper target – even when delayed by a few decades.