Joe Viglione’s Unique Perspective on Film

The upcoming Spiderman film looks like fun. Doctor Octopus, Doctor Strange chock full of docs…. I started writing reviews at the age of 15 in 1969 for my fan publication Varulven Magazine. 52 years later I have developed my own “writer’s voice” giving insight quite different from other critics. My theory is, why do a regular mainstream review that you can find online from any publication? With a film out worldwide Marty Balin Live on the Esplanade – Rock n Roll Hall of Fame artist directed by Joe Viglione, the first solo Marty Balin (of Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship) disc full of surprises, and a number of new films already in the planning stages, you get ideas inside my reviews from behind the camera and from the front row of the theater.

From Joe V, the director: This Marty Balin DVD is the “ultimate fan package”…meaning, rather than allow unauthorized tapes to flourish we got footage together from both professionals and people who are long-time Balin supporters who wanted to run cameras at the June 14, 2008 concert in Boston. The spirit of the recording was to document a rare Balin gig a la Cracker & Camper Van Beethoven’s “The First Annual Camp Out Live at Pappy and Harriet’s P”. It’s a 9 camera shoot utilizing 7 of the cameras in the edit. Don’t expect a multi-million dollar production – this disc is a labor of love spanning 14 years beginning with an interview from 1995. As the 1995 concert footage that accompanied the original television broadcast interview was Jefferson Starship material we decided to film a new concert with Marty’s band. Balin was originally scheduled to open for Johnny Rivers in 2007 but due to a prior commitment with Jefferson Starship in New York the date got moved to June of 2008 – a gig with the group/duo America at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade (same venue Rivers played the year before).

The cover photo is not from this America/Balin concert…that’s a picture that former Jefferson Starship lead singer Darby Gould took from the stage when Marty was in the latter-day J.S….and we thank her for such a beautiful and mysterious shot. Marco Centola and Rob Fraboni remastered the two-track soundboard audio…D.J. Eli Polonsky at WMBR in Cambridge/Boston played “Somebody To Love” on the air and it sounded great coming over the radio. Marty Balin was interviewed by Polonsky on Tuesday, November 24, 2009 and when the DJ noted that singer Didi Stewart is a legendary Boston figure Marty said immediately “She’s a great singer!” As producer/director I would love to see an extended version of this DVD a few years from now…and maybe an audio CD mixed from both the soundboard and the multiple cameras. The August 1976 hit “With Your Love” was performed in the studio practice at Newbury Media on 6-13-08 the day before the show and is probably up somewhere on the web as a trailer for this project, though that classic wasn’t performed the next night at the show. Those songs were digitally recorded, multi-track, at the world class facility which has gold and platinum for Marky Mark, New Kids on The Block and other major recording artists. Three of the Newbury Media rehearsal sessions are on this DVD – Essra Mohawk’s “Shaping The Night”, a second version of the Jesse Barish classic “Count On Me” and Balin’s own “Somehow The Tired Reach Home”. The audio on those three bonus tracks was mixed by Ken Kanavos at the studio and the quality is superb.

It is my hope that everyone gets to see the genius of Marty Balin 39 years after he performed at Woodstock and enjoys this presentation that we put a lot of time and love into, released on the 40th Anniversary of the Woodstock event. Four of the songs the Jefferson Airplane performed at Woodstock appear on this disc recorded 4 decades after the Summer of Love.

As noted above I’m the producer/director of this document. The 5 star rating I give it is for Marty Balin’s performance and the performances of singer Didi Stewart, keyboard player Gordon G.G. Gebert (of a latter day version of the group Angel), bassist Dave Trupia (also on Marty’s upcoming CD) and the extraordinary Donny Baldwin, drummer with Elvin Bishop Group and the latter day Starship (the Mickey Thomas version of the band after Marty Balin went solo). It was an absolute honor to work with these talents and it is my hope that the public enjoys this recording for what it is: an historical record of a rock & roll hall of famer with no frills and lots of bonus material including interviews with Signe Anderson, Jeff Tamarkin and Marty Balin himself.

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