The Guys Who Wrote ‘Em

10264531_234637603404884_9192227121526722189_nThe Guys Who Wrote ‘Em
Don’t Knock The Rock Film Festival
Cinefamily at The Silent Movie Theatre
Los Angeles, California
August 7, 2014
By Victoria Joyce

We love a good documentary. Like who doesn’t?

Doll-Baby, director and filmmaker, Allison Anders has been running the DKTR film festival for a near decade and bringing exceptional Rock and Roll (and sometimes Blues & Jazz) films to the dedicated Hollywood Rockers.

We saw this listing and immediately booked the date – Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart were songwriting legends in the 60s & 70s. This was such a pivotal10441329_258082027727108_5016203210464137124_n time for this particular craft – with the emergence and dominance of the Singer-Songwriter. (The “Next Bob Dylan” was a very long list.) And Bobby and Tommy were big contributors to that California Sound that was so groovy, baby. Seriously, like Burt Bacharach, Jimmy Webb and Herb Alpert (who signed them when they formed their own act) – these guys were huge.

Starting out as All American Boys both come to Tinsel Town for fame and fortune and the story goes on – up and down and back up and then a little to the left, move over for the British Invasion, swerve to the right, back East to the Brill Building and back to Hollywood and back up.

The big claim to fame (as most know) is they wrote, sang and played the theme to The Monkees – before the actors were cast. Did you know it was a TV show that turned into a band? And not the other way around? And the story of writing that song is wonderful. And everybody’s favorite “I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone” was a signature song to their sound. So distinctive.

Narrated by Bobby Hart -  sadly Tommy Boyce passed away a few years ago -  the film features interviews with the Monkees and other wheeler-dealer types with beautiful archival footage and performances from “I Dream of Jeannie” and “Bewitched.” And vintage interviews with Dick Clark, Lloyd Thaxton, Joey Bishop, Kim Fowley, Herb Alpert and assorted TV hosts from the Age of Aquarius. There is a genuine reverence for these guys from their peers.

“Boyce and Hart were the Monkees,” according to Mickey Dolenz. They even teamed up with Mickey & Davy Jones for a short stint in the 70s. And when everyone else was protesting the Vietnam War and burning flags, Boyce & Hart were waving them and lobbying Congress to get the vote for 18 year-olds. Jesus Christ.

Together they wrote songs that sold 83 million records.  This film may not get wide distribution. Please find it on Netfilx, Hulu or YouTube.