Regarded of one of the pioneers in a genre later dubbed "power pop," Van Duren's lost career is a parable of the trials and tribulations of the music industry - an industry that leaves countless broken dreamers behind in its wake. Waiting: the Van Duren Story is a love letter to the artist that should have helped define a generation.
Following the documentary's premiere at the Memphis Film Festival in November, and screenings at the Grammy Museum (LA) and Sound Screen (London) this March, Waiting: The Van Duren Story will make its Australian big screen debut his April. To coincide with the screenings, Memphis legend Van Duren has announced his first ever shows outside of the US in Melbourne, Sydney and Katoomba, in addition to festival performances at Boogie, The Gum Ball and Bendigo Autumn Music Festivals.
Managed by Andrew Loog Oldman (The Rolling Stones) in the 1970's, Van Duren was tipped to be the next Paul McCartney but instead faded into obscurity. Forty years later, Australians Greg Carey (Manager of The Rubens, Urthboy) and musician Wade Jackson stumbled across the mysterious musician's lost album and set out to discover what went wrong. They tracked Van Duren down on Facebook and despite having never picked up a camera before, journeyed through North America to meet him, crossing paths with rockstars, Scientologists, con men and a host of talented musicians who never quite made it.
Featuring Andrew Loog Oldham (Rolling Stones), Jody Stephens (Big Star), Mickey Curry (Hall & Oates, Bryan Adams, The Cult), Hilly Michaels (Sparx, Dan Hartman), Jon Tiven (Wilson Pickett, Don Covay), Waiting: The Van Duren Story premiere in Australia at the Gold Coast Film Festival on April 8, followed by run of screenings in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Central Coast, The Gum Ball Festival and Bendigo Autumn Music Festival, each with a Q&A with Duren and the filmmakers.
Duren released his first album Are you Serious? via Big Sound and Decca | London Records in 1978. Receiving rave reviews and heavy airplay on over 100 FM stations in the US, he travelled extensively to ecstatic crowds. His follow up album, Idiot Optimism was completed in early 1980, but Big Sound, now morphed into a different struggling label refused to release it. In 2000, Air Mail Recordings in Japan finally licensed and released the album, 20 years after it was completed. Many music fans today consider Idiot Optimism to be ahead of its time and a masterpiece of pop/alternative music.
Waiting: The Van Duren Story (Original Documentary Soundtrack) is now available digitally and on vinyl via Omnivore Records and includes unreleased recordings featuring Jody Stephens and Chris Bell of seminal band Big Star.
Set to bring the recordings to life for the first time outside of the USA, Duren will perform headline shows at Melbourne's The Curtin on Thursday 18 April, Sydney's Oxford Art Factory on Tuesday 23 April and Katoomba's Baroque Room on Thursday 25 April. The intimate shows will mark the dawn of an exciting new chapter in the evolution of Duren's complex musical career.
Waiting: The Van Duren Story Screenings
Monday 8 April - Gold Coast Film Festival (Australian Premiere)
Tickets on sale Friday 1 March
Tuesday 9 April - Blue Room Cinebar, Brisbane QLD
Wednesday 10 April - Event Cinemas, George Street, Sydney NSW
Thursday 11 April - Cinema Nova, Melbourne VIC
Saturday 13 April - Presented by High Tide, Central Coast, NSW
Tickets on sale and location revealed
Thursday 28 February
Friday 26 April - The Gum Ball Festival, Dashville (Hunter Valley) NSW
Saturday 27 April - Bendigo Autumn Music Festival, Bendigo VIC
Van Duren - Australian Performances
Thursday 18 April - The Curtin, Melbourne VIC *
Sunday 21 April - Boogie Festival, Tallarook VIC
Tuesday 23 April - Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW *
Thursday 25 April - Baroque Room, Katoomba NSW *
Friday 26 April - The Gum Ball Festival, Hunter Valley NSW
Sunday 28 April - Bendigo Autumn Music Festival, Bendigo VIC