Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, a music documentary executive produced by musician Stevie Salas, makes its PBS debut Jan. 21.
The documentary is part of the Independent Lens series, which showcases independent documentary films and airs Monday nights on most PBS member stations.
Rumble has been available on DVD since October 2017 from Kino Lorber.
It also is available for streaming or purchase from Amazon.
The 102-minute documentary looks at Native American influence in popular music, going deep into the indigenous foundations of rock. The film features interviews with such celebrated Native American musical icons as Robbie Robertson (of The Band) and Buffy Sainte-Marie, and spotlights the contributions of such other influential Native American musicians such as Link Wray, the electric guitar pioneer whose titular instrumental hit was banned from the radio; Hall of Famer Jimi Hendrix, who was part-Cherokee; and Jesse Ed Davis, the Native American guitarist who backed Taj Mahal and later did session work for the likes of Willie Nelson, George Harrison, the Faces and Byrds co-founder Gene Clark.
Their stories are told by rock legends who knew them, played music with them, and were inspired by them, including George Clinton, Taj Mahal, Slash, Jackson Browne, Taboo, Buddy Guy, Quincy Jones, Derek Trucks, Tony Bennett, Iggy Pop, Steven Tyler and Stevie Van Zandt.
At a panel discussion last week at a preview event at the Ace Theater in downtown Los Angeles, Rumble was talked up by Salas, actor Edward James Olmos, and guitar legend Wayne Kramer, formerly of the MC5 and one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
Salas, who is part Apache, said during the discussion, “Jeff Beck once told me that he and Jimmy Page used to jump around the bedroom at his mom’s house playing air guitar to Link Wray. To visualize these guys that are like the Mount Rushmore of rock stars playing air guitar to a Shawnee Indian, it just blew my mind.”
Salas in the late 1980s toured with Rod Stewart and later enjoyed a solo career with sold-out tours in Japan and Europe. He also was hired as guitarist and music director for Mick Jagger’s “Goddess in the Doorway” solo tour.
After the event, in a Facebook post, Kramer wrote, “This documentary knocked it out of the park from my point of view. My friend Stevie Salas lays out the influence of Native Americans on rock ‘n’ roll and it’s fantastic.”
The preview event for Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World at the Ace Theater also featured clips from the film and a live performance by the resuscitated Redbone, the Native American rock group led by with brothers Pat and Lolly Vegas best known for it early 1970s hit “Come and Get Your Love,” which was recently featured in the hit movie Guardians of the Galaxy.
The group, with only Pat Vegas remaining from the original lineup, performed “Come and Get Your Love” with Pat Vegas’ son, PJ Vegas, on lead vocals, filling in for his late uncle.
Redbone frequently performed in traditional Native American costumes.