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Rock Docs Preview – America’s Lost Band

By Erik Taros

remains-200Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones predicted that rock and roll might travel a similar path to the blues. The purest form of the genre could well become the domain of artists in their 60’s performing the music of their youth to a new generation. America’s Lost Band, a new documentary playing at film festivals around the country, is a perfect example of his theory. It’s the story of The Remains, the legendary Boston band who vanished on the doorstep of stardom back in 1966 leaving a handful of classic records and scores of eternal fans in its wake.

Producer Fred Cantor was one of those believers driven to spread the word, initially via his 2004 biographical musical All Good Things. Teaming with director Michael Stich, the pair follow the reformed band (comprised of all four original members) as they return to the scene of one of their greatest achievements: opening the show for The Beatles at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The bulk of America’s Lost Band centers on two days The Remains spent in LA, playing their first gigs there after a forty year absence. Well crafted concert footage interspersed with a fly-on-the-wall vantage point of group interactions are the order of the day—the filmmaker’s style is to let the music and the artists tell the story with as little intervention as possible. In the process, the opportunity to answer the question of “why did they break up?” in greater detail is missed.