The feature-length documentary Where Are You, Jay Bennett?, on the renown multi-instrumentalist and recording studio savant, will have its Blu-ray Disc and pay-per-view release on April 19 from MVD Entertainment Group.
Four days later on April 23, it will have a “Record Store Day” release featuring the film on DVD along with Bennett’s last two albums Kicking at the Perfumed Air and Whatever Happened I Apologize available for the first time on vinyl.
As a member of Wilco, Bennett was a large part of the genius behind their three seminal albums. He joined the band prior to the recording of their second album Being There and subsequently co-wrote most of Summerteeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot with Jeff Tweedy (and has been called the sonic architect of both albums). Bennett was also instrumental in the recording of the Mermaid Avenue/Woody Guthrie sessions with Billy Bragg, and went on to a critically acclaimed solo career before dying tragically at the age of 45.
Directors Gorman Bechard and Fred Uhter use a mixture of audio interviews with Bennett, never-before-seen performance footage, animation, and extensive interviews with those who knew him best to give an account of the artist’s life. The offers a look at the other side of the narrative that had been created in the media once Bennett had been asked to leave the band.
“At the time of his firing, Jay’s behavior was cast in a negative light. But there are always two sides to every story,” Bechard said in a statement. “In this film, we show just how instrumental Jay was to Wilco’s brilliance. How Bennett and Tweedy together truly were one of the greatest collaborative teams in rock history, but also how they were both perfectionists who needed to push boundaries. Ultimately, that was simply not sustainable in a band setting.”
The film, funded completely through KickStarter, is an insight into a piece of American musical history exploring Bennett’s life, his influences, his art, his obsessions, his vices, music, recording, and Wilco and their unfortunate split.
“The animation by Ed Gendron brings to life these amazing interviews with Jay,” Uhter said in a statement. “To be able to hear his voice, to have Jay himself tell his side of the story, talk about how records were made, and what role he played, it’s a priceless piece of music history.”
Bechard is the filmmaker behind 2011’s Color Me Obsessed, a Film About the Replacements.