Tell us a bit about the movie.
PL: The film’s called The Holy Modal Rounders - Bound to Lose, and it's about the psychedelic folk duo from the 1960s. They were part of the Greenwich Village folk scene, along with Bob Dylan; they were kind of the wild and crazy ones, they definitely danced to the beat of their own drummer. It's really about the two main members, Steve Weber and Peter Stampfel, who's going to be performing at the festival. Everything leads up to the 40th anniversary concert in Portland, Oregon.
The film was 6 years in the making; it must have been a labour of love for you?
PL: Completely! The idea came from a short film I did that played in Leeds in 2000, about the music journalist Robert Christgau, who writes for the Village Voice in New York. He was a huge Holy Modal Rounders fan, and he turned us onto them. We showed up for one of their shows and wrote them a letter saying we wanted to do some filming. We just kept going; we would work for a while, save money, and then shoot, and edit, and not work, and then run out of money and then get a job again.
The Holy Modal Rounders have a reputation for being a bit wild and crazy - what were they like to work with?
PL: I think their wilder days are behind them, thankfully! Peter doesn't drink, he doesn't do drugs anymore; when we were filming, Steve was still drinking, but he was off hard drugs. They were really colourful characters. The film’s about what happened to the counterculture; what happened to the cult figures, and even the more mainstream figures of the 1960s; what happens 40 years later? All these really iconic people would pop up, so that was great for the film, and it was interesting for us to meet them. You mentioned Easy Rider -- how did Dennis Hopper's involvement in your film come about?
He handpicked them for the Easy Rider soundtrack because he’d heard one of their songs on the radio. We didn't think he’d agree to do an interview, because this is our first film, so we just sent him a fax and his assistant called back and said sure, come to Las Vegas! He was great, he knew very little about the band after that time period but he really loved that song, and it was probably the most important moment in their career. It’s probably what most people know them for.
Do you think the Holy Modal Rounders still influence what’s happening today?
PL: It has many different names, but there’s this whole outsider music thing going on in the States. It’s called free folk, or new weird America, and it’s starting to creep into the mainstream a little bit. It’s the spirit of taking traditional music, or different genres from the past, and doing your own thing with it. I don’t think the Holy Modal Rounders are responsible for that directly, but it’s more of a carrying on of a tradition. And they have fans; the bands Yo La Tengo and They Might Be Giants all show up at shows, and Peter’s actually played on their records.
The film’s doing the festival circuits at the moment, what’s that like?
PL: It’s good! I mean, it varies, you never know how many people are going to show up, or what their response will be. But so far it’s been positive and luckily for us, people are responding to it who would normally never listen to their music in a million years. I’ve never been to Leeds before, so it’s good to go to places where I’ve never been. It’s a great reason to go.