By Jon Solomon, Westword | Dan Obarski and Scott Montgomery’s documentary The Tale of the Dog, which started streaming to the public on Tuesday, June 8, tells the previously untold story of the Family Dog rock club in Denver. The music venue, which was only open for ten months in the late 1960s, kickstarted the city’s music scene by bringing in acts like the Doors, the Grateful Dead, Cream, Big Brother and the Holding Company and Jefferson Airplane, while also launching the career of Denver legend Barry Fey, who went on to become one of the country’s biggest promoters, turning Red Rocks into a rock-concert destination.
The film was six years in the making, with Obarski and Montgomery amassing thirty hours of interview footage they eventually cut into a hundred-minute film. Cinedigm Corp recently acquired all U.S. and Canadian rights for The Tale of the Dog, which will be available on Apple/iTunes, Amazon, Google Play/YouTube, FandangoNOW, Vudu and Hoopla.
The doc includes the voices of musicians who played the Family Dog, including Otis Taylor and Paul Conley of Lothar & the Hand People, as well as venue employees; renowned artists Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso and Raphael Schnepf, who made psychedelic posters for the venue; Marc Arno of the pioneering light crew Diogenes Lantern Works; Twist & Shout owner Paul Epstein; and others.
When Obarski first met Montgomery, a University of Denver art-history professor who had curated an exhibit of Family Dog posters at the Byers-Evers House Museum in 2015, they both lamented the fact that there wasn’t much information available on the hippie rock club at 1601 West Evans Avenue that was a cultural hub in 1967 and ’68.
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Those interviews with Canned Heat led to one of the more compelling parts of the Family Dog story. The bandmembers, who were slated to play two nights at the venue but got busted for marijuana possession, were allegedly set up by the cops. They needed $10,000 to make bail and ended up having to give up half of their publishing earnings in order to do so. The band would later write about the incident in the song “My Crime.”
“They couldn’t bust the place,” state the lyrics of the song. “And so they got the band / ’Cause the police in Denver / No, they don’t want none of them longhairs hanging around /And that’s the reason why / They want to tear Canned Heat’s reputation down.”
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For more information, visit the Tale of the Dog website | http://www.thetaleofthedog.com/
Read Jon’s whole article here: