Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Word Or Two About New Doc Danny Says, Out Tomorrow

See that guy up there? I mean, the geeky non-Ramone guy. That's Danny Fields and he more or less invented punk rock. And he's the subject of a fab new documentary called Danny Says and it's out tomorrow in theaters and on-demand.

Now, of course you know Danny from the Ramones song "Danny Says" from 1980's classic End of the Century (1980) album. But you might not know Danny Fields' role in discovering and promoting so many of the acts you love (The Doors, The Stooges, Nico). Thankfully, and perhaps surprisingly, The Ramones are not the central focus of this new film from director Brandon Toller. Rather, Toller tells Fields' life-story by letting Danny tell it himself as only he could. A master story-teller, Fields is a born raconteur as every story, from his days as a gay young man at an Ivy League school decades ago to his shepherding a drunk-and-high Jim Morrison at an industry party in the Sixties, charms and induces laughs. While Fields' worked for Elektra Records, among other positions in the music industry, the film -- thankfully -- touches on all of Fields' famous friends and not just the ones on that famous label.

My only criticism of Danny Says (2016) is that there doesn't seem to be enough detail on whatever Danny's been doing after The Ramones wrote that song about him. To its credit, Toller's film builds on the knowledge of that famous punk cut so that a viewer is sort of waiting to hear that story and when it arrives, the story feels like the climax of the film, in a sense. And while there are artists here that are not as important to viewers as Patti Smith and The Ramones might be, Fields' brand of anecdote-relating is so pleasant that anyone watching Danny Says (2016) is surely captivated enough to stick with the film through its modest running time.

A barrel of laughs, a man of tremendous enthusiasm and laconic wit, Danny Fields has probably deserved a documentary for decades. Now he's got it and the results are pretty darn good and a whole lot of fun. Catch Danny Says in select theaters or on-demand where available starting tomorrow.

More details on Danny Says (2016) via the film's official website.