The Incredible Bongo Band – Sharp Nine

So last weekend I travelled to the B.F.I. in London for the U.K. Premiere of “Sample This” – a film detailing the story of The Incredible Bongo Band. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the film and it pulled together very well the strange collection of events surrounding the coming together of the band as well as those which ultimately brought about the break-up.

Here’s a little taster of what you can expect from the film when it goes on general release:

Before the screening, we were able to catch up with Dan Forrer, the writer/director of “Sample This” to ask him a few questions about the film. Check out what he had to say below:

Dan Forrer

Gazfunk: How/when did you first become aware of The Incredible Bongo Band?

Dan Forrer: I heard “Bongo Rock” on the radio in 1973 and became curious about the “band”. The song was a Top 20 hit in Canada.

G: What was it that excited you about the story of the band that made you want to make a film about them?

DF: I read an article in the New York Times by Will Hermes that connected the story of “The Incredible Bongo Band” to the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. I became fascinated by the unlikely chain of events that led to the creation of “The Incredible Bongo Band”.

G: There are many famous musicians in the film, was it hard for you to convince them to take part?

DF: The musicians were happy to tell their story and I was privileged to have many of them appear in the film. There are over 30 different musicians that played on the 19 original tracks!

G: The legendary Gene Simmons of “Kiss” fame is the narrator of the film, which may seem a strange choice to some, what was his connection to the story?

DF: Gene Simmons was a close friend of Michael Viner. He was very generous with his time and agreed to appear in the film to honor his friend.

G: Sadly Michael Viner passed away in 2009, but did you get an opportunity to speak with him about your plans for the movie before his death?

DF: I only had the opportunity to communicate with Michael via email but he was very supportive of the project. He passed away about a month after I started my research.

G: I know that the movie premiered back in October 2012 in Austin, Texas, what was the reaction from those who were lucky enough to see it?

DF: The people who watched the film were surprised by the fact that “The Incredible Bongo Band” would never have happened if it were not for the assassination of Bobby Kennedy.

G: With Gazfunk being primarily a music blog, I’m sure our readers will be interested to know a little bit about your own musical background, so what type of sounds do you dig?

DF: I’m a vinyl junkie with a 5,000+ album collection. I love mostly sixties/seventies soul and funky jazz grooves.

G: Where can our viewers go to find out more information about the film, release date, screenings etc?

DF: You can follow us on Facebook or Twitter at samplethismovie. There’s a trailer on youtube as well (Ed – see above)

G: Finally, we normally invite our interviewees to select a song for us to feature but given that the film is about “The Incredible Bongo Band”  (and we’ve yet to feature them on the blog), now seems as good a time as any to showcase their sound. So which track would you like us to play?

DF: Well, you could play “Apache” which is considered the national anthem of hip-hop. However, one of my personal favourites is “Sharp Nine”. The break shows just how incredible King Errison & Jim Gordon are.

G: Thanks for your time and good luck with the film.

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