Clem Burke (Blondie) at NYC Independent Film festival
At the 10th edition of the NYC Independent Film Festival all our attention will be at Clem Burke, the drummer of New York band Blondie. Reason for this is a new film coming out on him: My View: Clem Burke
A film by: Philip Samson
At NYC Independent Film Festival on May 11th we will screen a new film on Blondie Drummer Clem Burke.
We will have a Q&A at the end of the film. Here an interview with film director Philip Sansom.
Being important on the background. That is the main role every drummer plays. Tucked away on the stage behind his band members, no opportunity to jump around with his instrument, usually too busy to sing in harmony, with the only real exhaust valves to be just loud and ominous with those sticks. Clem Burke never had trouble to be noticed behind the drum kit of his band Blondie. The hardest working man in drum business didn't just do those fast drum fills when he was 22. He is still doing them, wherever he shows up.
Clem Burke joined Chris Stein and Debby Harry to form Blondie in 1975. Burke immediately put his stamp on the music: a driving beat, almost always up tempo and with fills that are equally full. The drive in fact made Blondie good for rock 'n roll, punk rock, pop or even disco in later years. Listen back to a classic album like 'Parallel Lines' and notice how in the back of that layback singing of Harry there's this very vibrant drummer.
And it never changed. Although the band split up for a few years and got back together in 1997 their music characters haven't changed. ,,He is an awesome drummer who has inspired generations of drummers. Clem is a very unique character and equally a very unique musician,'' say filmmaker Philip Samson. ,,I think this film has a beat that works for Clem's character. It's fast, fun, and hard working."
Samson made 'My View: Clem Burke', a 50 minute portrait of the musician, which is going to screen at the NYC Independent Film Festival in May. The title refers to a series of musical portraits Samson was planning to make. My View is an untold story of an individual who is renowned within the industry but perhaps not a household name. ,,Clem was the perfect first story to tell as we have all heard from Debbie and Chris a million times, but Clem's amazing story was yet to be heard. Also we wanted to share the drummer's point of view with the audience and literally Clem's viewpoint during a stage performance."
,,The film is about the music and about being a drummer. The film was always intended to let the music and craft do the talking. I remember sitting down in a pub in LA with Clem with a few beers and to discuss the angle and he was only too pleased to be part of it.''
When Blondie stopped Burke started playing in numerous bands: The Romantics, The Fleshtones and The Eurythmics and with artists like Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop and David Bowie. In the film we see his former band members or contemporaries from The Stranglers and the Sex Pistols. One of the most important quotes of the film is when one his colleagues says: 'Most musicians - when they get to be good - tend to transcend the technical side of things and play like their personalities'.
,,I followed Clem for a number of months and wanted to see what it takes to be such an active musician and what drives him to be so prolific and play with such a huge number of artists. I became clear that he was someone who plays for the share love of playing and plays as hard at a small gig with friends as he does to a sell out show to 100,000 people. Drumming is not a job, its his life."
Blondie came up in New York: this was the home town that drove them. One of the major successes the band always chased was getting recognition from their 'own' audience in NYC, even though it was just in small clubs like CBGB's. ,,NYC is the city that never sleeps, it has a rhythm and a beat, music on every corner and a huge history of musical influence. I think living and growing up here imparted a real work ethic on Clem," says Samson.
,,New Yorkers are hard workers and they don't stop once they get famous. Working in the post office, studying at school and still taking his drums into Manhattan on the train for gigs and rehearsals must have been hard core. NYC also was home to an incredible scene of musicians and artists that all pushed each other creatively, it was a hot bed of talent and to be one of the best in the scene at that time, you really had to be good."
My View: Clem Burke
Saturday May 11, 8:30 PM
Producers Club Theater - G · 358 West 44th Street · New York, NY 10036
Check out our website: https://www.nycindieff.com
NYC Independent Film Festival