The other side of rock’s decor is revealed with communicative tenderness Roadies (TF1 Séries Films), named after the technicians who set up and take down the concert stages every evening. The series thus follows the daily life of the entourage of the State-House Band, a group – fictitious – on tour of major American cities. A manager (Luke Wilson) and a producer (Carla Gugino) have to fend off groupies, negotiate with a record company, find an opening act. A connoisseur of rock, filmmaker Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire) imagined the story from his experience as a former journalist atRollingStonewho had already fed his film almost famous (2000).
A precursor: The Monkees
As he has Lindsey Buckingham (a real member of Fleetwood Mac!) say: “This tour feels like a mix between a Fellini movie and an episode of the Monkees!” The reference is not innocent: The Monkees is the show that definitely brought rock into the world of the soap opera. American answer to the Beatles, The Monkees is in fact a group created from scratch for this program which mimicked the psychedelic style of the movie Help! (1965) about Liverpool’s Fab Four. After 58 episodes and a feature film (Head, co-written by Jack Nicholson and Bob Rafelson) between 1966 and 1968, The Monkees even became a real cult band that chained hits (including I’m a Believer) and tours.
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Despite Cameron Crowe and JJ Abrams in the credits, Roadies did not go further than one season. Like the yet enticing Vinyl, produced for HBO in 2016 by Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese (who only signed the first episode): this chronicle of a record company boss in 1970s New York quickly bogged down in a meaningless criminal story. It’s barely better than the two seasons of the comedy Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (2015-2016) by and with Denis Leary as a fallen star forced to coach his singer daughter.
In the end, it was less prestigious projects that best honored rock. In My Most Beautiful Years (2002-2005), an average family experienced the cultural revolutions of the 1960s through a musical program. In 1998, Britpop was told in the closest way in the English series How to become a rock star (1998), with even an appearance by Noel Gallagher (Oasis). She respected the obligatory passage of the series for teenagers – to set up a group –, from Saved by the gong to Freaks and Geeks, through The Middle School Years, Happy Days and even Hélène and the boys.
Bowie and Johnny too
Television has also devoted several mini-series and TV movies to rock stars, including three just for Elvis Presley (the first directed by John Carpenter in 1979). The reference, however, remains the hilarious mockumentary The Ruthles: All You Need Is Cash, imagined in 1978 by Eric Idle. The most music-loving of the Monty Python parodies the career of the Beatles, with the complicity in particular of George Harrison.
Since you are never as well served as by yourself, some big names in rock have invaded series in person. In France, Johnny Hallyday played the policeman in David Lansky for TF1 in 1989. In The Sopranos, the slicked-back mobster Silvio Dante is none other than Steven Van Zandt, the bandana-wearing guitarist who accompanies Bruce Springsteen on stage. In 1999, David Bowie took himself for Rod Serling, the creator of The Twilight Zonepresenting the second season of the anthology The predatorsloosely inspired by the eponymous film (1983) in which the singer had starred.
A soundtrack by Clapton
Roger Daltrey (The Who), Debbie Harry (blonde), Jon Bon Jovi, Gene Simmons (Kiss), Courtney Love (hole) and Shirley Manson (Garbage) have also played actors during appearances in various series. Special mention to Iggy Pop as an alien in an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine! Let’s not forget Phil Collins in Two Cops in Miami (1984-1989), the first American series in stereo, and above all the first to use contemporary hits to create real mini-clips.
It was only a short leap to get to composing soundtracks for entire series. Eric Clapton signed that of the eco-thriller Edge of Darkness (1985), Bernie Bonvoisin (Trust) that of the anticipation series The Hordes (1991), and the haunting music of Ghosts (2012) is the work of Scottish band Mogwai. Up next will be Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for the comic book adaptation. watch men on HBO.
Second half of the “Roadies” series on TF1 Séries Films (the complete replay on MyTF1).