Rolling with the Stones at CIMMfest

Charlie is my Darling - Cover

CIMMfest, the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival, will host its 5th annual event April 18-21 in Wicker Park and Logan Square. Founded by musician Josh Chicoine (Cloudbirds, The M’s) and filmmaker Ilko Davidov (BulletProof Film), the festival has a huge following.

This year, CIMMfest presents CIMMpathy for The Stones, a tribute to the 50th anniversary of The Rolling Stones. One of the major standouts this year is presented by ABKCO Films –  The Rolling Stones Charlie is my Darling – Ireland 1965 – the first professionally filmed concert of the Rolling Stones, directed by Mick Gochanour and produced by Robin Klein. A trio of critically acclaimed films, including Charlie is my Darling, will be shown at on Friday, April 19 at the Music Box Theatre. Both the director and producer will be available for a Q&A following the showings. Below is an interview that I conducted with Robin Klein and Mick Gochanour.

Have the Rolling Stones been on board with the compilation of these videos and documentaries?
MG: Our work with the Stones is always a cooperative effort and we’re very pleased to be showing with their other great films.
RK: Yes, of course.

Are you a die-hard Stones fan?
MG: Not at first, I was more of a Beatles fan growing up. I loved certain songs over the years, but I very quickly gained a strong appreciation for what the Stones were doing when I started working on Rock & Roll Circus for ABKCO in 1993.  And, being a guitarist, even more so after reading Keith [Richard]’s autobiography.
RK: No – I also started off with The Beatles (and The Monkees). But, as time went by, I slowly began to appreciate…What am I sayin? Yeah! I’m a die-hard Stones fan!

What inspired you to make the new documentary?
MG: Charlie is my Darling – Ireland 1965 actually started as a restoration project of Peter Whitehead’s similarly titled, unreleased film. While researching the archives, I stumbled across hours of outtakes and unseen footage – much of it unprocessed film from ’65. There was lot of the band in performance, traveling and hanging out. When my editor and I began to analyze what we had, we immediately realized that we were looking at an incredibly rare and significant moment in history. I quickly envisioned an opportunity to tell their story using their own words – and to show the band performing when they were just coming into their own, raw and visceral.
 RK: For me, it was after seeing this footage. The condition of some of the picture elements was so incredibly degraded and damaged, but the story was so compelling. It became the challenge of producing and restoring that drove my inspiration and involvement.

Who is your favorite Rolling Stone and why?
MG: That’s impossible to say – it’s the classic sum-of-the-parts. I really have ultimate respect for the depth of Keith’s contribution and I thoroughly get Mick – his focus and vision, unique and always forward-looking.  And then there’s Charlie, the foundation of the rhythm – and without Brian and Bill, it’s hard to imagine the machine would have found its balance.  
RK: Keith – for me, he is the heart of the band.

What is the ultimate Stones song? 
MG: I think “Gimme Shelter” is an anthem to beat all anthems – it says so much about the time and their music, and remains relevant today.  That being said, it’s like asking what the ultimate Dylan or Beatles’ song is – it depends on your mood. My personal favorite will always be “Ruby Tuesday.” It’s just so melancholy, moody and beautifully lyrical in melody and subject. In recent years I have become more a fan of the open-tuning blues innovations.
RK: “Child of the Moon” – it brings up such great, special memories for me.

What is on your iTunes list? 
MG: Right now: Electronica (Flying Lotus, Solar Bears), alternative stuff (Radiohead/Grizzly Bear/Beach House) and a lot of cool jazz (Miles, Chet).
RK: Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal and The Allman Brothers, all of whom I saw live this week at Crossroads – I’m a child of the ‘60’s and love the way we’re aging!

How would you describe the evolution of the Stones over the past 50 years?
MG: I hope when you watch our film of them in 1965 you can see their direct trajectory into the 21st century.
RK: I completely agree. Mick, our director, was attempting to foreshadow exactly that. Here, they are just beginning to experience the insulated and intensely public life that would be theirs for decades. Jagger is visionary, Keith is pushing them musically, the tragedy of Brian, the laid-back attitude of Bill – and of course our darling, steady, endearing and humble Charlie.

What has been the most unusual thing that has happened while touring cities around the world with this documentary?
MG: Keith and Mick are 20- and 21-years-old in this film. I didn’t anticipate the connection this film would have with today’s teen and 20-something audience and how they ‘get it’ now. In retrospect, I came to realize they were seeing the band at close to their own age for the first time. For most of those younger people, they’ve only known the Stone’s as middle-aged men.
RK: The most unusual thing is the fact that this film even exists! Wherever we are, I love watching the audience react to seeing Charlie is my Darling for the first time. The Stones onstage prowess is totally raw, but you can see them coming into their own and the effect they have on the young Irish fans is pure magic. Additionally, I like the reaction the theater audience has seeing the band behind the scene; they are really quite comical.

What has been the best city you have visited to showcase the film?
MG: So far, Barcelona InEdit was incredible. It was the European premiere and the organizers went to great lengths to present the film in the best setting.  However, being from Illinois, spending my formative years going to concerts in Chicago and knowing the fans there, I have great hopes for this CIMMpathy for the Stones Retrospective.
RK: The New York Film Festival was pretty special. It was the Festival’s 50th anniversary, the Rolling Stone’s 50th and it was our fourth time being involved in the series. Andrew Oldham introduced the film for the first time, and sadly, it was the last year of Richard Pena’s reign as director.

Where have you received the most attention and praise regarding this documentary? 
MG: For revealing the early Stones in such an intimate and personal way. As Andrew Oldham told me recently, and I’m paraphrasing, he never would have let anyone see behind the curtain.
RK: The fan and critical reaction has been phenomenal. For so many of them this has been a revelation and insight into the myth and the legend, showing a very personal and human side of the band that has been so larger than life for decades. It has allowed people to remember why it is they became who they became.

What is next on your To-Do list? 
MG: Dig deeper…
RK: I would tell you, but then I’d have to kill you!


The Rolling Stones Charlie is my Darling – Ireland 1965 – ABKCO Films (2012)
Newly discovered, never-before-seen-footage has been woven into this intimate, behind-the-scenes diary of early life on the road with the Stones. Shot just weeks after their single “Satisfaction” hit number one on the charts, it features their first professionally filmed concert. Charlie is my Darling – Ireland 1965 captures the band before they became legends. When the lads still wore those cool mod jackets.


About Cindy Burns

Currently writing for TCW's 'Woman About Town' column, Cindy Burns covers Chicago's social scene, events, fashion, and interviews women and men who are making a difference in the world. With an M.A. in American History from DePaul University, Ms. Burns is an author, freelance writer, avid reader and researcher. Ms. Burns has spent over 20 years serving on charitable boards and organizations, and currently serves as a member of the Women's Board of the Joffrey Ballet and the Women's Auxiliary Board of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicago. She is also an Honorary Member of the Children's Service Board of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital. When Ms. Burns isn't running around Chicago covering current events, you can find her biking, on the tennis courts, or hiking in a mountainous region of her choice.