Film Reviews

Lowell George

Feats First: The Life & Music Of Lowell George (Pride DVD)

lowell george, little feat, feats first: the life and music of lowell george

Featuring a host of rock ‘n’ roll eggheads (Barney Hoskyns, Bud Scoppa) and firsthand eyewitnesses (engineer George Massenburg, collaborator and fellow Factory worker, Martin Kibbe, producer Russ Titleman, and Van Dyke Parks among them), Feats First: The Life & Music Of Lowell George is an extensive, though often slow, study into the rock ‘n’ roll doctor’s brilliantly creative but ultimately destructive journey.

Neither authorized nor represented by any party from Lowell’s camp or Little Feat’s, the erratic and unparalleled trip starts with the Factory, through Zappa, the GTO’s, the Feat, session work and solo. Studio after studio, take after take, acclaimed album after album and tour after tour pursuing that slippery, serpentine, somewhat absurdist, country/blues/funk road which resulted in no sales, cult status, fierce intra-band feuding, booze, coke—the whole enchilada. As a point of comic reference, Feat’s label, Warner Bros., signs the Doobie Brothers as a sort of “Little Feat lite.”

Little Feat were a band’s band, such that each talking head rightly and hotly argues for Feats inclusion into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Not that that would matter to Lowell, to many of his compatriots or to me, honestly, but they’re damn right about what George and his band deserve: no one heard it quite as greasy or frikkin’ funky as Lowell George.

—Mike Jurkovic

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