Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ripple Media - "The Warrior Spirit: The Legend of Gideon Smith" -- Independent Film

When I first heard that a movie was being made about the legend that is Gideon Smith I thought "now this is fitting."  I'd be hard-pressed to think of another personality in our world of heavy underground rock that would be better served by a biopic of his life.  Part freedom biker, part shaman, part martial artist, part poet -- Gideon is a legend to those who've crossed his path.  I've search in vain for over a year for a copy of his book, "The Way of the Outlaw Spirit" and all I've ever come across are books that have already sold for hundreds of dollars.  I own every Gideon Smith and Dixie Damned CD there is and still sit here patiently waiting for the vinyl.  I even have the Gideon Smith Tribute CD, where a legion of admiring bands pay tribute to the man, the myth, the legend . . .and the music. 

So a movie seemed natural.  

Highly respected producer and journalist Peter Gordon Donald (Ex-Fox Televisions Stations Productions, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, GQ, and a former manager of Travis Meeks/Days of the New) contacted Gideon with an idea to produce an independent movie about his life presented in the 'found footage' genre. Entitled 'Warrior Spirit: The Legend Of Gideon Smith' the film was completed in North Carolina in 2014.   Found footage is an apt description as the film is a smattering of separate vignettes that weave back and forth encompassing many aspects of the life of the man.  From martial arts sequences to "captured" moments with  Gideon and his friends, the movie offers a glimpse -- just a glimpse into the life of one of rock's most complex individuals.  There is a haunting nature to much of the film, much like Gideon's poetry, that reflects both light and dark.  Glimpses of his shamanistic philosophy are given, his mantra, his soul.  Somehow this all seems to perfectly capture the persona that Gideon has created.  

"The Warrior Spirit: The Legend of Gideon Smith" presents in 'found footage' retrieved from archive film recently discovered in the basement of an abandoned Charlotte, N.C. bar. These powerful and fragmentary images reveal the true story behind the raw early years in the life of legendary southern rocker, Gideon Smith. Intercut with this newly discovered footage of Charlotte’s filthy dives, alcohol drenched recording studios, Dionysian shows, hidden occult backwoods, hard streets and underground haunts are new live performances on stage and in the recording studio. The amazing story of legendary southern rocker Gideon Smith is brought to life with authentic scenes from Gideon’s life, painstakingly recreated by actors, friends, collaborators and fellow musicians…. and of course, Gideon himself in the lead role, assuring authenticity and depth of characterization through the weight of his life experience and his determinedly heroic/anti-heroic way of perceiving the world. A mixture of real-life action, philosophical musings, gritty reality in all its ragged beauty, and full-on rocking, 

And of course, no film about Gideon would be complete without the music, and "The Warrior Spirit" features live gigs that capture the essence of the music and the musical world.    My highlight is the spontaneous, freeform jam from Murr House of Music in 2006 with Gideon sitting of the living room floor while his buddies strum away and the women on the couch sing accompaniment.  Sublime. 

My only quibble is that the sonic quality of the true live gigs is a bit rough, which hurts because I really want to hear the man in full flight.  But still, the flavor comes through. 

Gideon Smith has pioneered southern ‘stoner rock’ as a shaman, sage and veteran of the genre. The mosaic form of the film – with Gideon himself holding the pieces together – reveals much, yet still remains mysterious. 


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