Quick Review: “Roadies” (Showtime, 2016)

Roadies_Pilot101_3696.RA 10 episode series about those that load-in and load-out for a major rock band. Bonded by a love of music and a love of the music experience. Written by Cameron Crowe.

It was a very imaginative series, well written, well acted, but probably of limited interest to most viewers which is why there will be no season 2. The series-ender was last night and, knowing it would be the last one, Cameron Crowe went way off the wall to create something memorable. The episode is called “The Load Out” and it is very definitely worth a watch if you can find it re-run on Showtime or on the torrents. Some of the most original, imaginative film on cable.

The theme is that the legendary father figure of all “roadies:, Phil Valentine, died suddenly and a lot of A-list rock stars arrived to offer up a song at his wake. Including Eddie Vedder, Gary Clarke Jr, and Jackson Browne, all of whom you really believed were there in tribute to Phil. As an aside, Jackson Brown’s tribute song was a tune written by the late Lowell George, of Little Feat. Jackson said it was Phil’s favorite song of all time.

It’s a song called “Willin'”, actually written when Lowell was with The Mothers of Invention pre-Little Feat and got him kicked out of the band as Frank Zappa was famously strict on any kind of drug songs. Willin’ is definitely a drug song and is considered a signature for the tragic Lowell George, considered one of the greatest slide guitar players of all time. Died early of drug causes. Lowell played this song frequently but when Linda Ronstadt got hold of it in 1974, she brought it to it’s peak in her “Heart Like A Wheel” album. You have to kind of get over the drug reference. Maybe a testament to Lowell.

Willin’ is not a usual song structure, as you will hear when you listen to it, and you will listen to it. It has silly trucker lyrics and a very clear drug reference, but it’s one of the most spectacular songs I’ve ever heard, interpreted by one of the most spectacular female singers that ever lived. Phil loved it and so do I.


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