The ultimate goal for any genuine musician in todayÃs world is tough to come by. The artist, or band, must have a big enough fan base in order to obtain efficient record sales so that once they are signed by a large record corporation they allow you total artistic freedom. This, however, can be a short lived dream that can easily turn into a nightmare.
Just ask Wilco.
The new film, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, playing Sunday through Wednesday at the Tampa Theatre, is the true-to-life documentation of the band Wilco and their abrupt upheaval from the aforementioned creative catbird seat and their subsequent ascent back to the top. More importantly, though, it is a portrait of artistic integrity triumphing over the greedy bottom-line of todayÃs large record company.
Wilco is an indie/alt/folk/country, otherwise indescribable, band that is critically and commercially renowned throughout itscareer as one of the foremost innovative bands in music today.
The first portion of the film, which is in black and white, allows the viewer into the recording and development process of WilcoÃs newest record, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
The filmmaker, Sam Jones, captures some superb material during the albumÃs recording, including tensions over creative input and conflict over final song mixes.
This turmoil within the band structure eventually leads to Jeff Tweedy kicking original member, and aspiring control freak, Jay Bennett out of Wilco. The termination is supported well with substantial footage that conveys Bennett pressing to win insignificant arguments rather than pressing toward collectively creative output.
One of the great comments in the film comes from Tweedy, the bandÃs lead singer and songwriter, commenting on WilcoÃs brand of song development or un-development.
Tweedy remarks that the bandÃs formula for creating a finished song is by making a really good tune and then stripping away the ordinary features of the song. This, Tweedy says, is done in order for them to reconstruct the song unconventionally for the purpose of feeding the bandÃs collective artistic appetites Ã± and it sure makes for an attractive viewing experience.
The latter half of the film illustrates Warner Bros./Reprise Records dropping Wilco from the label because of a refusal by the band to modify Yankee Hotel Foxtrot from a brilliant musical statement into a conventional pop record and the bandÃs subsequent search for a record company with similar pioneer characteristics.
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart dramatizes WilcoÃs twists and turns over the duration of almost a year into a story that depicts the purity of artistic maturation and the complexities that challenge its progression. For music and film fans this movie is quite a picturesque endeavor an interesting testament to the determination inherent in the creative process.
Contact Nick Margiassoat firstname.lastname@example.org