Gary Wilkinson - 'We Sold Our Soul For Rock 'N' Roll' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 28, 2012    
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A great piece of social history.

Gary Wilkinson is an established Tyne & Wear-based filmmaker whose works over the last twenty years or so have documented the social and economic history of the region. He's also a big music fan; the first band he saw live was Black Sabbath on the 1980 'Heaven & Hell' tour, the reason he gives for naming his latest film 'We Sold Our Soul For Rock 'N' Roll'. The documentary gives the chance for musicians, writers and collectors to tell their own stories about the South Shields music scene of the Seventies and Eighties. Running over 100 minutes, an eclectic bunch of locals - all of who have music running through them like the letters in a stick of rock and a dialect as hard as a Jason Statham box set - enthuse about all things music.

Their stories are fascinating, none more so than those belonging to some of the leading NWOBHM musos of the time. The likes of Kev Charlton (Hellanbach), Vince High (Mythra) and the semi-legendary Lou Taylor (far too many bands to name, but a guy who started off using disco equipment to provide Mythra with a light show before deciding he wanted to give it a go himself) describe in detail what it was like to be growing up and becoming musically aware in some of the bleakest economic years the country had seen since the War.

The environmental backdrop is pretty dreary, and as a result 'We Sold Our Soul...' is unlikely to be used in any advertising campaigns by the South Shields tourist board, but as a piece of history the filmmaking and social commentary are second to none and the individuals have all been allowed to relate their tales and make their points with obvious passion and excitement. The result is an evocative set of recollections from people who, for whatever reason, suddenly decide to devoted their lives to making music or supporting music or collecting music, and if you're reading this there's every chance you can relate to what they're saying -- if you can understand it! Writing as a wussy Southerner who sounds like the bastard offspring of Pam Ayres and Worzel Gummidge, there are occasions where the almost impenetrable accents could do with subtitles, but that's a minor point. At the end of the film you'll be cranked up and enthused about music, but you might also wonder at times why people put themselves through such trials and tribulations. "Because that's what we do" I suppose is the simple answer...

Wilkinson advises that you listen out for the title song, by the way. "It sounds like he's singing 'we sold arsehole...'!" he explains. "It's a bit of an in-joke as the musician who wrote it thought that was what I said when he asked for the title of the documentary. We had a good laugh with that -- so he went with it!"

This is a great piece of social history. For more information go to

John Tucker

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