The Wrecking Crew - FamilyEducation

The Wrecking Crew

October 07,2008
Skaddadle
Todd Lieman
I haven’t written anything for a week or two. It’s not for lack of content or even opportunity. After all, K-Man is in the midst of potty training and G-d knows, there’s plenty of (pardon the pun) poop to write about during this phase. It’s tough to avoid writing about the kid crapping in the backyard, or proudly declaring that he peed on the floor. Attaboy! For some reason, fun (or funny) as it might be – I just couldn’t quite put “pen to paper” on that. I needed some inspiration. Not just another “look what my kid did” story. I found it last night.

Last night we went to a screening of a documentary called “The Wrecking Crew.” “The Wrecking Crew” was the name of an unbelievably talented group of studio musicians who played on (seemingly) every hit record that was recorded during the 60’s when rock ‘n roll was taking off. I’m talking about The Beach Boys, Byrds, Glen Campbell, Captain and Tennille, Carpenters, Cher, Jan & Dean, Mamas & Papas, Henry Mancini, Dean Martin, Sinatra, Monkees, Simon & Garfunkel, Ritchie Valens and on and on…The musicians that played on the albums weren’t the musicians in the band – they were the Wrecking Crew. (Which is why the studio recordings sounded so much more complex than the live shows – the Wrecking Crew, who were almost always uncredited on the albums, were far better musicians than the pieced together groups that went on the road only after the songs were hits.)

But this posting isn’t about an entertaining documentary that teaches an important music history lesson. And, this posting isn’t even about seeing former members of the Wrecking Crew, Beach Boys or Monkees at a post-screening concert. No. This posting is about a father and son. You see, the movie was conceived, produced and directed by Denny Tedesco, whose late father, Tommy, was a member (and leader) of the Wrecking Crew. This movie was one long love letter to his father.

Admittedly, I’m the guy who likes to look at parenting and the whole fatherhood experience from a “real” standpoint. I’m not the overly gushing, “oh isn’t this just the greatest joy in the world” guy. I’m the guy that says – yes, parenting is really cool, but it also really, really sucks. A friend said it best once when she said, “Having a daughter is great, being a mom sucks.” I get that. I’m not afraid to get that. There are times when that old life just looks pretty freaking great. But, when you watch a movie like The Wrecking Crew, you just realize how amazing this whole adventure really is.

I watched this movie in awe, not only because I’m always in awe of anyone who produces art and follows his/her passions, but also because of the way Denny Tedesco clearly thought and continues to think about his father. Yes, there were likely times when Denny and his dad didn’t see eye-to-eye. According to the movie, The Wrecking Crew played gig after gig after gig after gig and their families often suffered. But, the movie also made it abundantly clear that when Tommy was around…he was dad. Totally dedicated. Totally focused. Totally there.

I know that K-Man is only three and for the most part, I’m a hero in his eyes. Yes, there are times when he’s crying or upset that he might tell me to “Go AWAY!” or even, “I don’t like you!” But it only lasts a moment and I know it will only be a matter of time when he comes running to me with arms wide open – a bundle of energy and unconditional love.

But years from now?

As I watched “The Wrecking Crew,” I hoped that someday, K-Man would think well enough of me to want to tell my story. I may not turn out to be a world-class musician, writer or whatever, but I’m not sure that’s the most important part. I’m not sure that’s what matters most. Sure, the story certainly helped make a more compelling film (and one that is winning awards at film festivals around the world), but without the overwhelming love that Denny obviously feels and felt for his father, the movie wouldn’t have been nearly as good.

This isn’t a movie about music. Sure, that’s important, but it’s about something much deeper. And, that’s really what matters.