Documentary Alert – Hired Gun

This post is about a theatrical event that will only be available in the US. If it follows the pattern of the other ones I mention below it will eventually be available via other media. 

Fathom Events is airing a documentary at movie theaters this Thursday night, June 29 2017. Titled Hired Gun, it “introduces music fans to some of the world’s unsung heroes of the music industry. These artists have played with musical legends such as Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, Billy Joel, Pink, Ozzy Osbourne, Michael Jackson, Metallica and many more.

Hired Gun is the story of the musical talent responsible for the most famous instrumental solos in the world, who have toured with the musical legends who hired them. The movie details the highs and lows of touring life, the demands of session schedules, and the dedication required to play backseat to some of rock’s most iconic musicians.”

That write-up is from the documentary’s website. If you’ve been paying attention the past few years, they’ve been making some pretty good documentaries about the music business: Twenty Feet From Stardom, about backup singers; The Wrecking Crew, about LA studio musicians; Muscle Shoals, about the legendary Alabama studios; and Tom Dowd and the Language of Music about the guy who produced everyone from Ray Charles to John Coltrane to Derek and the Dominos.

Following the movie will be a Q&A with the cast.

More info and tickets.


10 thoughts on “Documentary Alert – Hired Gun

  1. This sounds great, Jim. I have to believe there is a large number of such “guns” out there you rarely hear about.

    I hope the documentary also acknowledges the biggest unsung heroes of rock & roll shows: the roadies. Without these guys there would simply be no show – and all of this for tiny pay!


    1. No, the documentary appears to be about musicians only. I will agree with you 100% about the importance of roadies. However, it’s hard enough to get people to see any of these documentaries. I saw the Tom Dowd one on its first run. I and one other guy were the only attendees. I suspect that if they did make a well-deserved documentary about roadies, only their mothers would go.


  2. Reading my mail again. I’ve seen so many good music (and other) docs. Met a guy a few years ago who did a doc called ‘Jingle Bell Rocks’ he even slid me a CD. Cool guy. I’m pretty sure you’d dig it. Thanks for the heads up on this one. I seen something familiar years ago about Jazz players that did this stuff, weddings etc I think they called them “casuals”.

    I’m working on a piece about favorite docs of mine. One of the reasons I’m doing it is to hopefully get a line on some leads for CB to watch. Why I said ‘Reading my mail again” (By the way you’re in the hole in the guest spot).


    1. Cool. I have a reblog queued for you for a while. I’m thinking now I might hold off till after the Kinks extravaganza which I think you will totally dig.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. If anybody’s still reading this, I went to see this documentary the other night. Prior to the movie, they screened the red carpet (from the premiere) interviews. The interviewer was a diamond-in-the-rough drummer named Kenny Aronoff. The flick was really good with interviews of mostly not-so-famous freelance musicians. Takeaway – you have to be an A-list musician, you must constantly stay on top of your game, and the life is insecure. One guy was touring with a band one day, painting some other rock star’s house the next. Alice Cooper is interviewed and comes across as a decent guy. Archival footage is shown of Billy Joel who seems to progress from nice guy to tremendous dick over the years. Fires almost his whole band, then later his drummer, Liberty DeVitto who clearly doesn’t understand why. “Why can’t I ride on Billy’s plane anymore?” “Billy might want to lie down.” Ha! Billy, I like a lot of your music and one day I will profile you But I won’t forget this stuff.

    Lastly, some of these musicians got together in a studio for performances that were obviously staged for the movie. These are some kick-ass players, boy. Side note for guitarists – Jay Graydon who played the guitar solo on Steely Dan’s “Peg” makes an appearance and plays part of the solo in the movie.


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