By: Judy Shields
Photos by THT
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 1/16/2019 – “We are honored to partner with Independent Lens to bring you exclusive preview featuring clips from the film and a dynamic panel discussion and spectacular music performances.” Juan Devis, Chief Creative Officer PBS SoCal.
An Electrifying Look at Native American Influence in Popular Music
PBS SoCal and Independent Lens will present RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World, an electrifying look at Native American influence in popular music, despite attempts to ban, censor and erase Indigenous culture. As the film reveals, early pioneers of the blues such as Charlie Patton had Native as well as African American roots and one of the first and most influential jazz singers, Mildred Bailey, had a voice trained on Native American songs. As the folk-rock era took hold in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Native Americans such as Peter La Farge and Buffy Sainte-Marie helped to define its evolution, and Native guitarists and drummers like Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix, Jesse Ed Davis and Randy Castillo forever changed the trajectory of rock and roll. The film is directed by Catherine Bainbridge (Reel Injun), co-directed by Alfonso Maiorana, executive produced by legendary rock guitarist Stevie Salas (Apache) and Tim Johnson (Mohawk) and produced by Christina Fon, VP and Executive Producer of Rezolution Pictures. RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World premieres on Independent Lens on Sun., Jan. 21, 2019 at 10 p.m. PST on PBS SoCal.
Last night at the ACE Hotel, PBS SoCal, Independent Lens and The Autry kicked off the new year with a concert and sneak peek at Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World which looks at Native American influence in popular music, going deep into the Indigenous foundations of rock airing January 21st at 10pm on PBS SoCal. Special performances include:
-Pat Vegas, founder and member the legendary native rock group Redbone singing “Come and Get Your Love”
-PJ Vegas, indigenous RnB, Hip-hop artist/activist and winner of the 2018 Native American Music Awards and MTV VMA winner for 2017’s Best Video with a Message.
-Raye Zaragoza, award-winning singer of “In the River”, songwriter, and performer who carries an acoustic guitar and a message.
-Wildhorse Drummers, local Native American youth promoting traditional values like drumming, singing and dancing through cultural traditions important to the health of and resilience of our local native communities.
AND a Panel featuring Dr. Joely Proudfit (moderator), Stevie Salas (Musician and Executive Producer of RUMBLE), Edward James Olmos (Actor, Lieutenant Martin “Marty” Castillo in Miami Vice, William Adama in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, teacher Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver, and Detective Gaff in Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049) Bill Carbone, (VP of Education/Rock and Roll Forever Foundation) and Wayne Kramer (Guitarist/Composer)
Hosted by Joseph Quintana, Development Director for the United American Indian Involvement.
After only seeing a few clips from this documentary, and the interviews I got, I can tell you that you don’t want to miss this film next Monday, January 21st at 10:00 p.m. on PBS. I will definitely be watching it and getting the word out there for all my friends and family members to do the same.
The Hollywood Times was on the red carpet for several interviews.
PJ Vegas, Musician
THT: What brings you out tonight?
PJV: “I’m a singer/songwriter from Los Angeles CA representing the Yaqui/Shoshone Nations and preforming with my Father, Pat Vegas, from Redbone. I will be performing two songs tonight. One is called ‘Tears’ which I just won Best Native American Music Single Award in 2018. It speaks about the missing Indigenous women issue that is going on and is a big epidemic in native country. I am also performing another song called ‘Never Could Have Planned it’ which speaks on abolishment of Columbus Day here in Los Angeles. It has turned into Indigenous People’s Day as of last year, so I am pretty happy about that. We are just here to celebrate the release of ‘Rumble’ on PBS January 21st.”
THT: So what was your inspiration for your two songs that you are performing tonight?
PJV: “Just speaking on native issues and stuff that is going on in our communities and using my platform to bring awareness. That is the biggest thing that I am about right now because there is so much going on that needs light shed on it and because we are musicians and we have great platforms, so what better than to use our platforms for that.”
THT: Where can we find your music?
PJV: “You can find me on Spotify, Apple, Apple Music, iTunes at PJVegas or you can find me on Instagram @therealpjvegas
THT: Tells us about ‘Rumble’
PJV: “January 21st PBS SoCal is airing ‘Rumble’ on Independent Lens and its’ going to be really fun. It talks about how Natives influenced main stream music and helped mold the sound of what you would consider rock and roll or the blues today.”
Stevie Salas, Musician and Executive Producer of Rumble:
THT: Tell us a little bit about you.
SS: “When I moved to LA there was a guy named Steve Salas with a 70’s band called Tierra and I’m Steve Salas and he never hassled me about my name and I sold a few million albums and sometimes he would play and people would come to see me and he was never mad at me or complained to me. Now his nephew actually works with us. His nephew collects publishing for his Uncle and called me one day and told me I had a ton of money sitting out there and asked if he wanted him to find it and I said get it! Small world.”
THT: Tell us about Rumble.
SS: “It was really a story I started working on in 1988 really when I was a kid. I went from a high school band right to Rod Stewart and playing stadiums. I was out of my mind playing at Madison Square Gardens and I said to myself, am I the only Native American that has ever played Madison Square Gardens? So I started doing some research and of course I wasn’t, but I didn’t know though. Not only did I not know, a lot of my friends never knew. So the more I started to dig into understanding about these amazing musicians, I started to realize that all my famous rock star friends I went on to play with all worked and worshiped these guys. Like Jeff Beck told me that he and Jimmy Page, when they were 17, used to play air guitar in his Mom’s house to Link Wray and I said WHAT? Link Wray influenced Beck, Pete Townsend from the Who, Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin all the people I grew up listening to, like Slash listened to and didn’t realize that those guys, the Mount Rushmore of rock guitar where actually influenced by Link Wray, Native American. Fantastic!”
THT: That led you to your documentary Rumble?
SS: “It’s a documentary about the influence of Native American musicians on the history of rock and roll. It was the unknown influence by the most famous musicians in the world. Steven Tyler pulls me aside and told me that when he and Joe Perry started Aerosmith, he listened to Taj Mahal and Jesse Ed Davis, that was the sound he wanted for his band. Aerosmith is probably the biggest American rock band in history influenced by Jesse Ed Davis, a Kiowa Indian and I had no idea. “
THT: How did these Native American musicians get their platform back then?
SS: “That is the thing that is so amazing. Most of them had to keep it a secret and if they didn’t keep it a secret, they just did their thing and Jesse Ed Davis had his issues and died of a drug overdose. It wasn’t easy and that is what made the film so important, because I wanted other Native American kids and First Nations people around the world to see that. It wasn’t easy but it can be done! Because it can be done, maybe we have to work a little harder because we don’t fit the stereotype. The film proves it without a shadow of a doubt.”
“We won at Sundance and three Canadian Academy Awards and I’m going to Barbados tomorrow. I have shown it all over the world, like Australia, and Hungary a few weeks ago. It’s bananas, this film has just become this massive thing.”
Salas was born on November 17, 1964, in Oceanside, California, United States. He is of Apache ancestry.
2017 has started off with a big bang for Stevie! His long-awaited film “Rumble” rocked the Sundance Film Festival in January, receiving a prestigious Special Jury Award for World Cinema Documentary. At the same time Stevie released a collaborative album with Japan’s Koshi Inaba under the name “Inaba/Salas.” “Chubby Groove” went to #2 on the Japanese Album charts supported by a sold-out CHUBBY GROOVE TOUR throughout Japan. (Wikipedia)
Brendan Bennett, Music director for Redbone and also for PJ Vegas.
THT: Will you be performing tonight?
BB: “The band is basically comprised of drums, bass and guitar. We back Pat and PJ Vegas and carry on the Redbone legacy and moving it forward into the future. My role is musically directing and arranging the performances and putting medleys together to revitalizing the Redbone sound, bringing it into the new century. We are adding more modern contemporary elements to the music to keep it alive and keep it fresh.”
THT: Do you play an instrument as well?
BB? “I do, I’m a basses like Pat. I have been playing for 12 years. I played in 7th grade and a little guitar too.”
THT: What is your involvement with Pat & PJ Vegas?
BB: “I met Pat when I was in high school and had a cover band. We reached out to Pat because we used to play ‘Come and Get your Love’ in our sets. We were all 16-17 years old and we had a horn section and I just cold called him after finding him on Facebook. Asked if he would come out and perform ‘Come and Get Your Love’ with us because we wanted to sell enough tickets to get a residency at this restaurant we were playing at out in the Inland Empire in Chino Hills. He said yes. We did a song with him and he gave me PJ’ s first mixed tape and told me it was his sons and to check it out and PJ and I connected on Facebook and stayed in touch over the years and started working together a year ago.”
Kenneth Shirley, CEO and Founder and Bac Garcia. Representatives of Indigenous Enterprises (https://indigenousenterprise.com/)
THT: Tell me about yourselves.
KS: “We represent Indigenous Enterprises, we are a collective of Native America Entrepreneurs and dancers and we are helping out PJ Vegas and Redbone onstage during their performance.”
THT: Is there a name for the type of dance you will be performing tonight:
KS: “Yes it is called ‘The Man’s Fancy War Dance.’ This dance comes from Oklahoma, the Ponca nation, so it’s a representation of a horse and mustang, so you will see a lot of high energy and intensity.”
THT: What tribe of Native American are you from?
KS: “Navajo and Bac is from the tona authem nation. We live in Los Angeles and Garden Grove.”
THT: How often do you have to practice?
KS: “I’ve been dancing since I was two years old, dancing all over and doing this ever since I could walk. I started this company in 2015 where we go out and spread our culture at festivals and working with parks.”
BG: “I have been dancing basically since I could walk. I practice right after school, every day in my back yard to become better and better.
THT: Tell me about your beautiful costumes? Who made them?
KS: “My auntie put this together for me since I was a little kid.”
BG: “It’s called a regalia, not a costume.”
THT: “I apologize for that.”
BG: “My family made this for me, my uncles and aunties made it for me. All Handmade.”
Edward James Olmos (Actor):
THT: What brings you out this cold, windy and rainy night?
EJO: “History! This is a long time coming. This is truly a gift, not only is it a cinematic gift, but it’s a historical documentation of something that is so true and never understood. I’m proud to be here to see it.”
THT: Have you been involved with any other American Native films.
EJO: “I am native American, (laughter), I’m indigenous. That being said, I’ve been a part of my culture all my life and never denied it.”
THT: Thank you for all your years of entertainment you have given us all.
EJO: “Thank you for being here. Have you seen it?”
THT: “No I have not.”
EJO: “Oh yeah, I have, it’s going to wipe you out.”
Robert Stromberg, Special Effects Artist/Filmmaker
THT: What brings you here today?
RS: “My good friend is Stevie Salas and I am here to support him. We actually grew up together and he went off and did his great stuff on world tours and I went off and did movies. Over the last couple of years we found each other again and became very close. I am here to support what he is doing. Glad to be here and proud of it. Stevie has a lot of energy unlike me, I’m calm. We balance each other.”
THT: What are you currently working on?
RS: “I just finished a new show on History channel called ‘Project Bluebook.’ I’m executive producer and I directed the pilot and first episode, which aired last Tuesday. We did really well on the ratings. We are quite happy.”
THT: Tell us about Project Bluebook.
RS: “Project Bluebook is based on actual events and actual characters in the 1950s, it’s sort of Mad Men meets X-files if you will. It is about a government agency that was set up to investigate an ongoing UFO sightings. Each episode is based on an actual case, but it’s a scripted drama and I got Aiden Gillen from Game of Thrones and Michael Malarkey from Vampire Diaries. I’m really proud of it. We had the highest ratings for a scripted drama so far and very successful.”
Dr. Joely Proudfit, Director of California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center
THT: What is your involvement with Rumble?
DJP: “As a Professor and educator, I work closely with the Rock and Roll Foundation to teach the curriculum that goes along with the Rumble film. I am also a media and filmmaker and so I am super proud of this film. It is my favorite film, because it is so positive and uplifting. Usually stories about Native American’s are kind of depressing and focused on what is wrong with Indian countries. How American Indians influenced rock and roll. I am excited to have the world see it and excited to have PBS and Independent Lens premiere it on January 21st. I’m excited to be here on a rainy, cold southern California night. We know that water is life, here is the proof.”
THT: When did you see the film?
DJP: “I saw it at the premiere in Sundance and it was snowing and a really cold night, so I’ve seen the film through various iterations in the process of being made and to now going public-wide. The film is 90 minutes and it is a great movie for kids as well.”
Raye Zaragoza, Musician
THT: What genre of music to you play?
RZ: “Cult singer/songwriter.”
THT: Do you have a CD out currently?
RZ: “Yes. My debut album is called ‘Fight For You.’”
THT: What is your inspiration for the album?
RZ: “I write a lot of songs about fighting for indigenous rights and for social justice issues and staying current as young people. Making sure we are reacting and not allowing things to just happen to us. Not complaining but actually taking action. I wrote songs about Standing Rock and about the election. Trying to stay current as a young person in the country right now.”
THT: When do you find time to write your songs?
RZ: “I find time to write whenever I am not on tour. Even when I am tour I find it challenging to write. I write in the car and in my hotel room. I write on napkins, my hand, my arm. (We had a good laugh)
I asked Raye if she was 18 and she laughed and said no I’m 25. And she said “thank you and I will take it.”
THT: Where are you from?
RZ: “I am from New York City and currently live here in LA. It’s a lot warmer here and more driving here. I’m in my car all the time here. I’m here to perform and support.”
Juan Devis, Chief Creative Officer of PBS SoCal and KCET opened the show by acknowledging that we were actually standing on ancestral land of Tongva and Gabrielino Tribes. (huge applause)
RUMBLE brings the music and musicians to life using innovative re-creations, archival concert footage, and interviews. Their stories are told by some of the music legends who knew them, played with them, and were inspired by them, including Robbie Robertson (Mohawk), George Clinton, Taj Mahal, Slash, Jackson Browne, Taboo (Shoshone/Mexican), Buddy Guy, Quincy Jones, Derek Trucks, Tony Bennett, Iggy Pop, Steven Tyler, and Stevie Van Zandt. Also featured are Native American poet and activist John Trudell, rock critic David Fricke, director Martin Scorsese, and many more.
“This season features films that explore very personal and provocative topics and were specially selected to spark dialogue around the question, what does it mean to be a neighbor in America today?” said Sherry Simpson Dean, Senior Director of Engagement & Impact at ITVS. “With RUMBLE our hope is that audiences will connect this question with themes throughout the film, and open discussions within the community.”
Join the conversation on social media using #PBSSoCal and #Rumble
RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World premieres on Independent Lens Monday, January 21 at 10/9c (check local listings) on PBS. Streaming begins January 22 on PBS Video.
The electrifying and essential story of the, until now, missing chapter in the history of American rock: the Indigenous influence. Featuring music icons Steven Van Zandt, Stevie Salas, Robbie Robertson and Taboo, RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World shows how talented Native musicians helped shape the rocking soundtracks of our lives.
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(Pat Vegas and members of the Native American rock group, Redbone. Credit: Joseph Dominguez)