In 2014, The New York Times wrote, “You could make a convincing case that without Danny Fields, punk rock would not have happened.”
A new documentary about the music legend — who discovered and managed bands Iggy and the Stones, MC5 and the Ramones, among many others — will be screened this weekend, Oct. 21-23, at Speed Cinema.
“Danny Says” was directed by Brendan Toller, who used footage from more than 250 hours of present-day interviews and items from Fields’ immense archive (thousands of photographs, audio cassettes, ephemera and more). It examines the pivotal role Fields played in music, particularly in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, and explores his uncanny ability to recognize talent — even if that talent didn’t fit into what was popular at the time.
“Danny Fields created a platform for the outsider to exist in the mainstream,” says Toller in his director’s statement. “It’s the underbelly of American rock ‘n’ roll that set the aesthetics and tone of contemporary music and culture.”
Toller first met Fields in 2008 when he was filming “I Need that Record!,” a documentary on the vanishing record store culture. He says he knew right away Fields would be the next subject for his films.
“Five years of interviews, travels, archive digitization and archive acquisition followed. Danny’s archive is now housed at the Yale Beinecke Library aside the works of Eugene O’Neill, Ezra Pound, Mark Twain, Boswell and others. I had keys to the apartment. I slept on Danny’s couch like Iggy Pop, Joey Ramone, Jann Wenner and (hundreds of) others.”
“Danny Says” will screen Friday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m.; Saturday Oct. 22, at 3 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 23, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $9, $7 for Speed Museum members.