I remember first hearing the story of Jackson C. Frank, an Amercian folk singer who Rolling Stone once called “one of the best forgotten songwriters of the 1960s.”
Despite having the likes of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel behind him, he only ever made one record. Plagued by crippling shyness, personal issues, schizophrenia and depression, his career never quite took off. The rest of his life saw him in and out of psychiatric institutions, afflicted by numerous medical conditions – music all but forgotten. He died of pneumonia and cardiac arrest in 1999, at the age of 56.
It’s a sad story, but far from uncommon. How many great musicians have been lost in the sands of time? Too many to count.
Watch the trailer for new documentary uncovering the story of Van Duren, a “lost musician” once touted as the next Paul McCartney.
A new documentary by two first-time Australian filmmakers sets out to explore a similar tale. It’s called Waiting: The Van Duren Story,
“Born out of the ashes of Big Star, arguably the greatest cult band of all time, Memphis local Van Duren joined forces with ex-members Chris Bell & Jody Stephens to form a band and become regulars on the Memphis bar circuit,” reads the documentary’s synopsis. “In little time they garnered the attention of Rolling Stones manager, Andrew Loog Oldham who then took on management of Van Duren in the mid-70s.”
Van Duren was tipped to be the next Paul McCartney but instead faded into obscurity.”
The documentary is the passion project of musician Wade Jackson and Greg Carey, manager of The Rubens, Urthboy, and Saskwatch. By pure chance, the two friends came across Van Duren’s lost album and set out to discover why he wasn’t a household name.
The journey took them around the world and across the paths of “rockstars, Scientologists, con men and a host of talented musicians some who made it…..and others that didn’t.”
“Van Duren’s lost career is a parable of the trials and tribulations of the music industry – an industry that leaves countless broken dreamers behind in its wake. Waiting: the Van Duren Story is a love letter to the artist that could have helped to define a generation.”
The film will be premiering at the Indie Memphis Film Festival on November 3, 2018. Watch the trailer below.