Jeff Krulik, one of the men who brought you the underground rock film classic “Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” on Thursday premiered a fun and informative look back at when rock’s big names passed through Northern Virginia, in the days when bands like Emerson Lake and Palmer played places like the Alexandria Roller Rink.
It’s an hour-long panel discussion from November titled “Northern Virginia and the Rise of Rock and Roll,” intercut with Krulik’s great collection of memorabilia and photos. The original Jeff Beck Group, with young Rod Stewart singing, opened for Janis Joplin at the Alexandria rink, and Alice Cooper, the Yardbirds, Blood Sweat and Tears and countless other heavies of the ’60s and ’70s headlined there.
Krulik rounded up five big-time players from the Northern Virginia and D.C. music scene of that era, including promoters Durwood Settles, Mike Schreibman and Bud Becker. The group has entertaining war stories from the front lines as live rock evolved from raggedy road shows to giant theatrical productions, and Live Nation took over 90 percent of the universe. The event was shot by Arlington Virginia Network. After the jump, there’s more background about Krulik and his other interesting local music projects.
Krulik, 50, is establishing himself as one of the preeminent historians of the D.C. area’s place in rock history. He said he considers this NoVa rock discussion part of his “rock concert scene trilogy,” because he hosted a similar discussion about DC’s Psychedelic Dance Hall scene and one for the Wheaton Youth Center. He wanted to capture “the local rock-and-roll culture before there was the concert and music industry as we know it today.”
Among the highlights on the hour-long video about NoVa: former Washington Star “Teen Scene” writer Mike Oberman talking about picking up David Bowie at Dulles Airport for his first trip to the U.S., and taking him to a steak dinner in Silver Spring; Settles and Becker recalling how the Alexandria roller rink was becoming so successful that it was being called “Fillmore East” (before there was a Fillmore East), leading Alexandria’s city fathers to bring the heat down; and the promoters’ battles with hippies who wanted the shows to be free.
Krulik is also working on a documentary about a legendary show Led Zeppelin did or didn’t play at the Wheaton Youth Center in January 1969. (The video of the NoVa discussion shows quick shot of a poster of an unbelievable Led Zeppelin-The Who double bill at Merriweather Post Pavilion from May 1969. Led Zeppelin.com says it’s the only time the two megabands ever played together. Who opened that show? What violations were committed in the hotels of Columbia, Md., after that show?)
A Prince George’s County native and a graduate of Bowie High School (class of 1979), Krulik got an English degree from the University of Maryland, where he became interested in filmmaking. Then he began working for public access TV in Prince George’s County and saw its video equipment, and “I was hooked.”
“Heavy Metal Parking Lot” was shot outside the Capital Centre at a Judas Priest/Dokken show in 1986. Its 16 minutes of suburban anthropology perfectly captures both the exuberance, and the underlying sadness, of young lives whose pinnacle of happiness is standing in a vast concrete lot, outside a vast concrete barn, wasted, to hear some heavy metal music on a Saturday night.
Hey, there were worse things you could do on a Saturday night in the suburbs, believe me.
Krulik also did a Neil Diamond parking lot doc outside the Cap Centre, a video travelogue with Ernest Borgnine, a TV series of “Parking Lot” shows and many other pop culture gems. Check out his Web site for more
Here’s a piece NBC’s “Later with Carson Daly” did on the 25th anniversary of “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” with Krulik and co-producer John Heyn.