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On the Road World Tour 2002 - 2003

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Topic: Keith on A&E Return to archive
07-15-02 09:22 PM
Xzile999 Biography: A&E: Bill Grahm: 7pm central -Check local listings for rebroadcast.
07-15-02 10:08 PM
VoodooChileInWOnderl I posted this yesterday at the 2400 Fulton list

Rock ringmaster gets top billing in A&E documentary

For years, Rita Gentry inundated the A&E network with letters and e- mails, imploring the powers-that-be to do a "Biography" installment on the late concert promoter Bill Graham. Gentry, Graham's secretary until his death in 1991, felt his story was a natural for the series.

Holocaust survivor, Barnumesque ringmaster, ruthless businessman, magnanimous philanthropist. "Such an incredible character," she said.

Her suggestions seemed to be falling into a black hole -- until, that is, the camera crew showed up.

When the filmmakers arrived in October, Graham's friends and associates were in a reflective mood: It was the 10th anniversary of his death. The resulting feature-length documentary on the life of one of San Francisco's largest-looming public figures premieres at 8 p.m. Monday.

"Biography" didn't simply recognize the appeal of Graham's story, as Gentry had hoped. The special two-hour episode is being showcased as the series' milestone 1,000th.

Graham, founder of the pioneering Bill Graham Presents (BGP) concert promotion firm, is much more a household name in San Francisco than the rest of the country. Clearly, "Biography" was attracted to the parade of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers who would testify to Graham's entrepreneurial genius. Carlos Santana, Keith Richards and the Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart are just a few of the luminaries who vouched for Graham's flair for big-scale production - - and his notorious volatility.

"They didn't whitewash him or try to turn him into a saint," said Jan Simmons, Graham's longtime personal assistant and onetime fiance. "They showed the bright side as well as the dark side, and in that sense they did him justice."

Producer Marc Kinderman comes from a background that had little to do with rock 'n' roll. Employed by ESPN for nearly a decade, he made several segments of the network's "Sports Century" profile series, including episodes on Ted Williams and Charles Barkley.

He admits that his initial knowledge of Graham was scant. Growing up on the East Coast, he was familiar with big New York City concert promoters such as Ron Delsener.

"I knew Bill Graham was (his equivalent) in San Francisco," he said this week. "But I really had to dip in to realize the length and breadth of what he'd done."

What Graham did was to radically transform the concert business, from the famous Fillmore franchise and the evolution of stadium touring to one-of-a- kind events such as the Band's "Last Waltz," Live Aid and the first Western rock 'n' roll show produced behind the Iron Curtain. Graham, as his successor Gregg Perloff said at a recent sneak-preview party for the documentary at the Fillmore, considered his life's work "experiments in public assemblage."

Graham's life was tailor-made to the "Biography" series. An orphaned child survivor of Nazi Germany, he rose to show business moguldom in a quintessential American tale of willpower and ingenuity.

"It's a pretty amazing life," said Kinderman. "I can't even begin to say how I'd be impacted had I escaped the Holocaust.

"Did he strive to make every dollar he could? Did he do all the (unpleasant) things people said he did? Yeah, but with what he went through, I still think he was a helluva person."

Though the documentary was produced by Clear Channel, the conglomerate that now owns the former BGP, Kinderman maintains that he never felt any pressure to lay off the unsavory side of Graham -- his failures as a father and mate, or his capacity for invective.

"I was really surprised at that," he said. "They might have changed a word here and there, but they didn't change any of the thoughts."

Some of Graham's confidants said the documentarians might have devoted more time to his deep, sometimes fanatical commitment to social justice. As Mickey Hart recalled at the preview party, one night after a show at the Fillmore East, Graham walked the length of Manhattan in the rain, handing out $100 bills to street people.

The producers were more interested in the rock superstar culture that Graham cultivated. Even the venues were stars: As Kinderman put it, "The Fillmore was his Yankee Stadium."

Graham himself often introduced the incredible bills at the club -- the Grateful Dead with Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix with the Jefferson Airplane, Buffalo Springfield with Muddy Waters.

At the preview screening of the documentary, BGP veteran Jerry Pompili was pleased to make an announcement: "Bill's playing the Fillmore to night."


BILL GRAHAM: ROCK IMPRESARIO premieres at 8 p.m. Monday on A&E's ""Biography.'' It is the series' 1,000th episode.

07-15-02 11:58 PM
Xzile999 A&E: Keith Richards: Bill Graham: 11pm central
07-18-02 02:25 PM
letitloose Any ideas on a reshowing??
07-18-02 02:37 PM
Xzile999 REBROADCAST: Sunday: July 21, 2002: 4pm Central: A&E
07-18-02 03:36 PM
Happy Motherfucker!! xzile999, that picture that you have of Keith is the same one that I have seen in a magazine with the phrase
"SOON YOU WILL ROLL AND SMOKE ME!" That's just to funny!
07-18-02 07:46 PM
Xzile999 LOL I had no idea about that! The actually size pic is killer!! I'm looking for the color pic. Say, if you find out the mag it was/is in ... would be cool if you could drop me a line, maybe I could find it myself. Thanks. ~~~~ J

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Rolling Stones tour 2002 - Rolling Stones World Tour - Rolling Stones on the road