INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Indiewire FEBRUARY 16, 2007 - by Brian Brooks
SCOTT WALKER: 30 CENTURY MAN
"Someone I dated gave me a big joint around 1990 and sat me down and said 'you have to listen to this,'" recalled director Stephen Kijak (Cinemania) on his first encounter with solitary singer Scott Walker. Fast forward to 2001, Kijak began his sojourn to illuminate the artist's work with an initial fax request. "We wanted to do something cinematic, and he liked our vision," recalled Kijak adding that others had tried to solicit Walker's participation before without luck.
Earlier this week he screened his latest documentary, Scott Walker: 30 Century Man, in the Berlinale's Panorama section. The film features interviews with Sting, members of Radiohead, Brian Eno, Jarvis Cocker, Damon Albarn, Alison Goldfrapp, Johnny Marr, Marc Almond, Ute Lemper, Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins), Gavin Friday, and Dot Allison.
The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Any More became an international hit in the mid '60s for pop band the Walker Brothers, formed by American bassist and lead singer Scott Walker. Near the height of their fame, the band separated in 1967. Instead of going solo and vying for the attention of screaming groupies, Walker recorded dark sounds and challenging lyrics on solo records that are widely viewed among his more famous peers as some of the most influential in pop history, despite their limited commercial success. "I've become the Orson Welles of the music industry," Walker has been quoted having said in a Berlinale description of the film. "People like to lunch with me, but nobody wants to finance the film."
Through a chance connection via a "friend of a friend of a friend" who knows David Bowie, a huge Walker fan, Kijak was able to solicit the help of the famous singer in creating the film. "Scott is one of the artists he feels the most about," he said of Bowie (who also appears in the film), adding with a chuckle during a post-screening Q&A in Berlin, "we thought it would be great if he'd given us heaps and heaps of cash, but we knew he'd be [critical] in getting [the project] international attention."
And most essential, Scott Walker himself agreed to participate. "At first [he'd] speak to Stephen with his hat on," said producer Mia Bays describing how he maintained his own distance even while granting an unprecedented on-camera interview. "[Eventually] the hat came off."