The crowds in Athens are preparing to watch Boom: A Film About The Sonics for the first time! And of course, we have Gimme Shelter Film Festival to thank for that. But to be honest, I was really eager to chat with the man who had the determination, the patience, and the passion above all to make such a film and do The Sonics justice. So here is our small talk with Jordan Albertsen, director of the film we are about to watch!
1. Hello Jordan Albertsen and welcome to afternoiz.gr . It is an honor to have you here. Let me start by saying that, to me, the Sonics have been my heroes as I was, and still am, addicted to music. What do the Sonics mean to someone born and raised in Seattle?
Thank you so much. Pleasure to be here. Seattle has such a rich history of incredible music. So growing up in the Northwest during the 90’s with the grunge explosion, we all took a lot of pride in the music coming out at that time. Alice in chains, Soundgarden, Sleater Kinney, Pearl Jam, Screaming Trees, Nirvana, Mudhoney… the list just goes on and on. But nobody was talking about The Sonics. They had kind of fallen through the cracks at the time. So after my father introduced me to them, it kind of blew my mind. And started my obsession with digging deeper into the history of not just Northwest music, but music in general. The sonics mean the world to me. Just a perfect band, and a perfect storm.
2. It was your father that introduced you to them. How did you feel about that? And comparing it to the music you heard at the time?
When he introduced me to the Sonics it was really one of the first times him and I had bonded over anything. I was a punk rock kid and always felt like him and I never had anything in common. And it was eye opening for me to learn that my dad was actually cool?? Haha. You know? He’d never really shared anything with me about his past. And the music was so ahead of it’s time. This was from the 60’s, before the
Stooges even and they were screaming and shredding their guitars. It was pretty eye opening.
3. Was it tough to track down the guys?
Everything about this movie was tough! But it was really all about gaining Buck Ormsby’s trust first. Then it took a few years for the guys in the band to warm up to what I was trying to do.
4. How did they feel about it?
Initially they weren’t very excited. They just didn’t think that they were deserving of a film. I remember at one point Larry said to me “we’re not the fucking Rolling Stones, I don’t think anyone gives a shit about us”. Man, was he wrong.
5. How hard was it for you to track down footage from that era? Paper clippings, posters and stuff like that…
Extremely difficult. Years of digging, rummaging through garages. It was a massive effort.
6. What was the thing that drove you to film in a totally new direction doing a documentary? When did you decide to do it?
I decided to make the film on Halloween night in 2008 at the first reunion show in Seattle. I was just so floored by the show that I knew someone had to tell this bands story.
7. How long did it take you to complete the task? Was there a moment you felt like giving up ?
This took 15 years of my life. It was such a huge part of my life for so long. I stopped many times. Constantly trying to get financing, having it fall through every time. It was such a battle.
9. Going to England and finding out what was going on there was a surprise I guess. How long did it take you to track down those guys from bands and Dirty Water Records?
I was actually following the band around on a tour they were doing. We had some down time in England. That’s when I met Yvan Serrano and he really set up that entire day. So in the film where I’m following him around, none of that is staged and all of those people we met were friends of his. You have to realise, the Sonics are a little cult band in the US. It’s such a different story in Europe. All of that was a total surprise.
10. Sratched Vinyl Films is a Jordan Albertsen gig? Could we expect another music documentary?
Right now I’m focused on a couple different narrative, scripted projects. Very different from Boom. But, I would be happy to work on another music doc if the stars aligned correctly.
11. Are you happy with the people’s response to the documentary?
The response had been completely overwhelming. I just didn’t know if anyone would care. But the film has gone on to play all around the world, won some pretty amazing awards. It’s all been really incredible.
12. How do you feel touring with the documentary?
Touring has been such a blast. Its been so fun to connect with fans of the band. Because ultimately, I’m just a fan of the Sonics.
13. What are you currently up to?
Right now I’m pretty buried with prepping Boom for its world wide release for next year. Also, I’ve got a handful of scripts that I’m prepping to shoot. SO doing my best to stay busy and creative.
14. Well, I guess this is it! On a personal note, it was a huge delight to see the doc being a garage rock fan. Thank you for your time! If you feel like sharing anything else, please do so!
Thank you so much. And feel free to reach back out with any additional questions.
Thank you Jordan Albertsen for making all this happen and releasing and bringing over to Greece THE documentary!
P.S. Question number 8 was lost in oblivion. The Sonics will not be thanks to their music and of course, this great guy!