Do It Again (Patton-Spruill, 2010)

 

Boston Globe music journalist Geoff Edgers states in his brief and lovable documentary Do It Again, “Pieces of the Kinks are still floating around out there, but we need the real thing.” Throughout the course of this fun romp, Edgers tries to gather together these pieces by interviewing many of the musicians who have been influenced by The Kinks over the years: Robyn Hitchcock, Peter Buck, Sting, Paul Weller. During the course of the interviews, Edgers shares with the musicians his quixotic quest, one that has led him to take a salary cut, argue with his wife, and travel to London at a moment’s notice: reuniting the notoriously contentious brothers Ray and Dave Davies with each other and with the rest of the Kinks. In addition to sharing his quest, he also seizes the opportunity to play Kinks songs with the musicians (all of whom, except Weller, happily comply). His mission raises eyebrows, but Edgers is sincere in his desire to recapture the spirit of the Kinks—-and perhaps recapture a bit of his own youth as well.

One of the most endearing moments of the film comes when Edgers’ wife recounts the tale of his senior year in high school, when he and his band were ousted from their big moment as the closing act in the school talent show when it unexpectedly had to be cut short. Although he’s gently self-deprecating about the experience, Edgers himself is bittersweet when he notes that this was a defining moment in his life. One can’t help but wonder if in his passionate desire to reunite the Kinks, he is also trying to recapture his own lost moment of musical glory.

Zooey Deschanel and Geoff Edgers

An amateur musician and professional journalist, Edgers has devoted much of his life to rock music; he is an uber-fan, and his love of, and respect for, music is clear as he interviews not only the musicians, but also producers Shel Talmy and Clive Davis. He states that many of the musicians he interviews are heroes of his. As they wax rhapsodic about the effect The Kinks had on them, Edgers himself often seems a bit star-struck by being in the presence of great musicians who have influenced him.

The film is chock-a-block with poignant moments: Edgers patiently tries to explain to his young daughter why he is doing what he’s doing and how important it is to him; Warren Zanes of The Del Fuegos pensively recalls his own contentious relationship with his brother and bandmate, Dan; Edgers and a group of friends (including a few youngsters) perform“Yoda” (a satire of “Lola”) for a group of moms and tots. The most touching moment, however, is when Edgers finally gets the opportunity to interview Dave Davies, who suffered a stroke in 2004. Davies, famously difficult to understand, has even more trouble expressing himself these days, but his sadness and regret over his inability to get along with his brother are clear. At age 63, he still has guitar chops, which he demonstrates when he performs “Strangers” with Edgers, which includes the lines “Strangers on this road we’re on/ We are not two, we are one.” The choice of song speaks volumes about Dave Davies.

The closest Edgers could get to including Ray Davies in the film was to shake his hand at a Kinks convention in England, while convention-goers videotaped on their camera phones. While Edgers does not seem to intentionally demonize Ray Davies here, he certainly does not come off well.  The film, although fun and rollicking and full of laugh-out-loud moments, is not without sentimentality; Edgers, unsuccessful in his mission, gains something even more valuable: a sense of peace with the present.

The most important aspect of the documentary, however, is the music. Any music fan would find something here to love. Edgers accompanies Robyn Hitchcock on banjo(!) for “Waterloo Sunset,” Peter Buck and Young Fresh Fellows frontman Scott McCaughey do a haunting version of “Get Back in Line,” Sting puts his unique spin on “You Really Got Me” ( a track that he appears to unabashedly adore) and the lovely Zooey Deschanel helps Edgers belt out “David Watts.” If you’re not already a Kinks fan going into this film, you will be by the time you leave. And, ultimately, that’s what Edgers seems to want to come out of this venture: for us to love The Kinks as much as he does and enjoy the ride right along with him.

Leatha Fields-Carey teaches high school English and Creative Writing in Smithfield, North Carolina.

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