Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band

ZackyDog

Friend of Fred
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 6, 2015
7,739
In the USA
Initially, I didn't care for The Band but, they grew on me and I bought their Best Of CD in 1995. They looked like they were from another century.

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I used to jam with a couple of guys in the Seattle area circa 2003, and we had very similar taste in music. But when it came to The Band, they referred to them as, drunken old men. Pretty harsh, huh?

Anyway, I always love rock-umentaries and this one was no exception:



I didn't know Robbie Robertson got very sick (103 temperature) before a major gig. Promoter Bill Graham insisted that they perform, despite Robbie's condition. A hypnotist was summoned to treat him and the hypnosis actually worked(!). The hypnotist was at the side of the backstage of the concert in case Robbie needed him.

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You can watch it here.
 

swivel

Country Gent
Silver Member
May 13, 2018
2,348
PNW
Always like the Band since 1970 ish. . Different stuff for sure. I just read a great book by Levon Helm, one of the best musician bio's I've read. They were Dylan's backup band for years too.
Not a big Robbie fan though. Probably the least of the musician's in The Band IMHO.
 

Maxadur

Electromatic
Feb 17, 2013
66
Huntsville, Ontario, Canada
Better look into his background a bit, Swivel... he was guitarist for Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks in the early sixties.........ground-breaking stuff there, he was magnificent with his clanging telecaster!
Always like the Band since 1970 ish. . Different stuff for sure. I just read a great book by Levon Helm, one of the best musician bio's I've read. They were Dylan's backup band for years too.
Not a big Robbie fan though. Probably the least of the musician's in The Band IMHO.
 

ZackyDog

Friend of Fred
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 6, 2015
7,739
In the USA
I like Robbie, but it is skewed a bit. For what it's worth, Robbie mentioned to Martin Scorsese in The Last Waltz, that he didn't have a place to live, as his wife, Dominique, had thrown him out of their home.

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swivel

Country Gent
Silver Member
May 13, 2018
2,348
PNW
Better look into his background a bit, Swivel... he was guitarist for Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks in the early sixties.........ground-breaking stuff there, he was magnificent with his clanging telecaster!
Yeah I knew that. I read the book. He and Scorsese spent 2 years making Last Waltz into something listenable as his singing was so off etc. Of course they were both smoked out and on cocaine the entire time didn't help. I always thought Robbie's style was choppy and frenetic live. But to each his own! I guess former guitarists with the Hawks before Robbie were Jimmy Ray Paulman and later Joe Carter Jr. After a long stint of shows in Toronto, The Hawk moved to Toronto eventually, most of the members were previously in Arkansas. Levon was with the Hawk long before Robbie.
 
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audept

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Platinum Member
Dec 1, 2010
30,504
Sydney, Australia
"Music From the Big Pink" was a formative album on my musical development. My band considered getting a keyboardist to join so that we could play the iconic "Chest Fever" but our roadie threatened to revolt if we did: " There's no way I'm carrying a B3 and Leslie up 3 flights of stairs to a gig" he said. "You'll also have to buy a bigger van!". That put paid to that idea in no time! :eek:
 

lathoto

Synchromatic
Apr 23, 2020
656
Ohio
I saw them open and back Dylan in 1972 (and many times there after) when they were so tight you could hear the harmonies the next day. Robbie gets some bad press these days and most likely deserves at least some of that criticism. Sometimes the administrative duties (leader, manager, secretary, treasurer, etc.) within a band can warp the music. Give a listen to Levon's later material as a reminder.
 

BennytheJet

Gretschie
Dec 6, 2019
102
Arlington, WA
While I enjoyed this one, it definitely felt too curated at times. When you pair it with Levon Helm's book, This Wheel's on Fire, you seem to get a much more holistic look at The Band.

Reading TWOF, Robbie Robertson is definitely the bad guy; watching the doc, RR appears the responsible, sane one in the group. The answer is probably somewhere in the middle, and I felt like I could easily see that when considering both texts.

If any of you haven't checked out the book, I would highly recommend it. Helm is a storyteller and his voice really shines through on every page. One of the best music reads out there.
 

wabash slim

I Bleed Orange
Feb 10, 2010
19,398
lafayette in
The Band was around in one form or another since 1960. They've got the history, and the talent. If I considered the personalities of the musicians I like, I'd have a much smaller playlist to listen to.
"Music From the Big Pink" was a formative album on my musical development. My band considered getting a keyboardist to join so that we could play the iconic "Chest Fever" but our roadie threatened to revolt if we did: " There's no way I'm carrying a B3 and Leslie up 3 flights of stairs to a gig" he said. "You'll also have to buy a bigger van!". That put paid to that idea in no time! :eek:
I can understand your roadie's thought process completely, I've hauled too much gear up multiple flights of stairs---including a B-3 and Leslie.
 

Hammerhands

Country Gent
Aug 26, 2011
2,552
Winnipeg
I just watched this tonight. The footage and everything is great.

You would be suprised to learn after the documentary that The Band toured without RR in the 1980s. How did those drugged-out unambitious layabout drunks manage that?
 


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