it's about life - not "lifestyle
|One of the great semi-lamented tragedies of the surfing culture is the lack of availability of a lot of the seminal surf movies due to use of copyrighted music without permission.
This period ran roughly from the inception of surf movies right up until the end of the 1960's, which oddly enough seems to have been around 1972 (nobody was big on living by the bells and whistles of society back then). Early movies ran with records in the background (if anything) and live narration. An early-mid 60's version of this might have seen a reel-to-reel tape music background with live narration. But some of the most established filmmakers who had real soundtracks used the best music of the time and sent it out on tour.
To be sure this wasn't generally considered a rip-off at the time. Things were naive then in many ways, and certainly in the surf world. I can recall seeing a segment of MacGillivray-Freeman's WAVES OF CHANGE being shown on a Los Angeles teen music show while a Moody Blues song played over it - the first actual "music video" type thing I'd ever seen. And if memory serves at all that segment played in the film when finally released...still my favorite surf movie.
Several years later - somewhere around the summer of 1971 - MacGillivray and Freeman had blown the 16mm WAVES OF CHANGE into 35 mm for a big screen release called THE SUNSHINE SEA, complete with new footage. I remember going down with my friend Dwight Weatherhead to see one of the first performances at a theater in Waikiki (where it premiered). We were barely 16, in summer school, running loose and surf-crazed in the capitol of the Pacific during the Vietnam War. I remember being a little disappointed about some of the things which had been cut from the original version, but absolutely blown away by the first real movie footage I'd seen of Gerry Lopez at the Pipeline...which I recall as being played to "White Bird", the signature song of what eventually turned out to be the most litigious major music group of the era - It's A Beautiful Day.
WAVES OF CHANGE and its mutant offspring, THE SUNSHINE SEA, are far from the only films of that "lawless" period which can't be released on video now due to tighter legal considerations. Not all are classic works of art, and there probably isn't a massive market for them, but they are part of the well of source material that really should be available. You wouldn't be seeing half the vintage 60's-70's footage on the Surfer's Journal television show without them, and it would be great to see them in their original context.
There would probably not be enough money to justify paying what an unsympathetic corporation might ask for use of, for example, original Hendrix and other period pieces. Yet at this point, with the massive popularity of surfing and the astounding numbers of people who ride waves, and the diversity of their ages and occupations, we ought to be able to offer up some men and women with the talent, connections, and maybe even funds to resurrect the "lost films".
If a film segment was cut to a certain piece of music, the beat of the song ought to be replicable enough to jam something together. Maybe do cover versions of the original songs. There are also enough guys with serious musical interest floating around that might want to kick in: Slater, Machado, King, Curren, and recently Jack Johnson for visible starters There are others too, probably dozens of qualified people who could do the job...surfing has the talent pool. It would be a chance for surfers to actually "give back" in a visible way.
Of course, all this goes against the demographic data. Getting air back in those days was painfull to look at and usually meant blood on the reef or rocks, and there weren't a lot of women surfers - although some of todays ladies might be surprised to find out they aren't always the pioneers they are being told they are. Maybe Quiksilver's Geezer or Golf divisions could be approached to pony up for the project and do themselves some good in the process. This is an eminently solveable problem - something rare these days. How about it?
|Copyright (C) 2001. All rights reserved.|