Transcript:

Speaker I'd love to hear I mean, let's start at the beginning how you met Jeff, I know you told me so you that's going back quite a ways.

Speaker I actually remember the specific time I was at a studio. I'm a I designed recording studios and production facilities in that sort of thing. And I was at one of the rooms that I was working on. And my wife called and said somebody named Jeff Bridges called looking for you. It sounded like that actor. He said, I thought, why would he want me? You know, because I didn't know that he was so musical. So I called him wheaty, says I want to have a recording studio. So I was asking why, you know, what kind of studios is. It's really something that I get these calls sometimes and someone wants me to move their speakers around for him and, you know, tell him it's all OK. He says, no, I want to I want a real studio that I can record and make music. And so I said, OK, and went and met with him and I'll never forget. He says he was so excited, like he couldn't wait for me to ask. He says, well, I've got all these songs. He gives us this book. It was thick, you know, just so many songs. Right. So, yeah. And I wrote this one about my wife and I wrote this one and my friend John Goodwin, who I'm sure you guys know about, who's a brilliant writer. And and so he gets his guitar and he starts playing all these songs and singing and says, get that guitar and play with me, you know, so we're sitting there and I realize immediately that he's just really in love with music and that he's been doing it a long time, clearly from all the work that he had there. So we sort of got, you know, passed the the fun of playing music and got into making a studio for him.

Speaker And through the process of building the studio, we just became great friends, started surfing together and playing music and stuff. And when the studio is done, he said, I really want to make a record. But he didn't really know how to make a record. And I had been a staff producer for some production companies back in my 20s, made my own records and in the 80s and whatnot. So I said, well, let me help you do a couple of songs. Just give you an idea of the process of, you know, how to make a record as opposed to putting a mic in the room and just, you know, getting getting around in a circle. And we started cutting these tracks. I brought in a rhythm section that I had worked with in the past. And and it really started sounding really good, you know, and Jeff was really excited. And then that's how we met and how he got into the music. I'm sort of getting ahead of myself.

Speaker What are the things you said to me when we just haven't had the good fortune that the producer. Which one is going to.

Speaker Culpable.

Speaker Yeah, good. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker All right, what do you think you said to me when I first met you was you were quite struck by the fact that this wasn't just a guy dabbling in this and he writes the music that he was it wasn't just what you said, that he really was serious about creating a working studio, that, yeah, he had a goal.

Speaker He had he had a vision and is, you know, with Jeff, he's pretty focused.

Speaker And once he decides I'm going to I'm going to do pottery or I'm going to do music or whatever it is that he decides that he's really interested in, he's pretty driven and focused. And I don't know, I guess it's kind of a a laid back way, but it's it's assertive.

Speaker And he was after this thing, I could tell and I know that because I work with these kind of people and I work with hobby guys, and I know this guy is just, you know, he wants to play around. So when I met Jeff instantly, it was like, no, this is real. This is as real as anything is in his life, which I really appreciated because it's that much a part of my life as well. So, you know, when I was able to put this room together, which turned out really nice and we had a lot of fun in there making records when we first started making to be here soon record Michael McDonald coincidentally decided to get this call from his. He loves to go to Rose Cafe in Santa Barbara. So I'm at Rose Cafe and one of breakfast, you know, if you guys talk to Michael yesterday, but he didn't tell us this. Yeah, so. So we're having breakfast at Rose Cafe. And I said, you know, I'm working on this project. I sure love it. If you'd play keyboards for me, I was hoping mostly for keyboards because that was missing pieces. Whereas I said, well, you know, Jeff Bridges is he says kind of had the same reaction. Yeah. Like, why does he want music? So I said, well, we're working on this music. Why don't you come up to his house and listen to it, see if you're interested. And he instantly got it all. So he goes, I can see why you want to do this. It's really good. And he's really into it. So he became our keyboard player. Then he became our coproducer. Then he became background singer. And, you know, fast forward. We made this record together and I'd love that record. Still be here soon for his first professional record. It's a real good record. We got you know, David Crosby came in and sang with us and we had a lot of a lot of wonderful talent. And then Michael had a record that was partially done. And we finished his album together and we were all out surfing when they happened. Hollister and and just I can't I mean, I think it might have been my suggestion, like, why don't we just form a record label? You know, we just I had a record label when I was younger, so I kind of knew what that meant. And I said we could do that. And and we did. And we hooked up with Jimmy Buffett's label as a distributor. And that's how rap records sounded. So I just gave you the quick from the beginning how I met Jeff and how we got to rap records.

Speaker There's a lot of other stuff in the middle, you know better than I can't buy what I mean.

Speaker Well, you know, no.

Speaker One of the things that I'm struck by is and then this continuing to now it is, is that you said it so perfectly when you said he's a student laid back about it. And I think that's more to the point. Perfectly so. Obviously, this wasn't just going to be a bunch of cool guys. We need to make sure I make sure the mic is safe. There's no doubt about it.

Speaker Your friend, um, I'm sort of sorry, Jeff.

Speaker So sorry, folks.

Speaker Just this being mean. Obviously, no. Michael McDonald steps into the ring here. Everybody is looking at this. Yeah. Not just as just hang on, hang on. But do a little playing. And even if you didn't necessarily look at the final goal to be a record, the actual coming together, collaborating on really real music making, I think must have had been both surprising and exciting and an interesting mix, again, of types of people.

Speaker It was. And what I really admired about Jeff was that, I mean, normally when I'm producing a record, I'm kind of having to come up with all the ideas and corral everybody. He's so amazingly creative. He's really a genius. He truly is. I'm telling you, his his concepts and ideas about orchestration and instruments and how to implement them and experimenting. It was really it caught me by surprise stuff that I had would have not thought of.

Speaker And I just sort of said the same thing. Did he say sit down and listen to some of the songs that you have written? And they were quite, you know, quite original that he was kind of. Replace it really wasn't sort of hamstrung by any preconceived notions. That's for sure. You don't have to think about music, but that he just sort of did this and it had its own musicality to it. It had his own sort of bring a cello in here.

Speaker You know, it's true. It's true. Mike and I used to laugh about it. And we feel like, isn't that kind of the strangest progression that you've heard?

Speaker And he's like, well, it's just sort of something that maybe, you know, some people might say it's wrong, but then it works. And that's how you know, that's how jazz happened. Right. That's how all kinds of music have in the blues. You know, you're playing all these things that maybe classically shouldn't happen, but then they create their own sort of art. And Jeff, Jeff is just, you know, he's he thinks inside and outside of the box, sometimes at the same time. And he just brings a real I've learned a ton about music from him, you know, and I've been playing music my whole life. That was what I did, you know, before I became a studio designer. And just his sort of, you know, look at it from over here approach has given me a whole nother attitude about music and then look at it from over here, which is just echoed all the way through.

Speaker Everyone we talked to in any sort of discipline that anybody sort of, you know, interfaces with him. And I hate that word. But you know what? I'm sure people who are actors, we actors that have worked to say, you know, he's immediately trying to say, what if he did this with it? What he did that it go save yesterday? You know, that the difference in their styles as actors is that was is more of the one take. He sort of get it first time. And I must say, I sort of think that, too. I always think in an edit for us, we hit it somehow. We hit the stride of it when it's the least overthought. Right. And and Jeff's approach is and what we're saying is, no, let's keep trying. Keep trying to keep trying, because it just at that moment when you think you don't have it anymore, that may be the moment where the most inspired sort of thing will happen. So I think this, you know, that sort of keep looking at it, keep looking at his extraordinary quality that does keep finding itself.

Speaker And it does. And what comes with that, too, is he's he's he works. He's not afraid of work. And, you know, for to put together a band, you know, most most bands get out there and after about their tenth show, they kind of start feeling like they're getting it right. And that's what it takes. And Jeff embraces that. And I've worked with a lot of a lot of other artists that they kind of start getting a little bored and a little tired. So I really have to do it. Can't you guys do this without me? You know, Jeff doesn't want anyone doing anything with that. He wants to be part of it. And he just is, you know, and it's really who he is. It's not just part of the time.

Speaker It's, you know, like I say, he's driven and he's focused.

Speaker And what's the status of people now?

Speaker Well, it's still is existing. And, you know, it's always just sort of been a private little label for, you know, Mike and Jeff and John Goodwin.

Speaker I'm just I'm making a new record right now of my own. That will likely be another rap project. And we're looking to take it to the next level. I think there's a I've had a couple of meetings recently and just talking to people about kind of partnering up with some bigger players to just help us elevate ramp and keep it as a as our outlet for our creativity, whether it be us or people that that we believe in or produce. And our Jeff has, you know, his daughter, Jessie's a great artist and I watched her develop. And it's just such a joy to see her, you know, kind of as a kid, just sort of fumbling through it. Now she's got a record and it's good and she can sing and write and she's beautiful. And there you go. And John Goodwin, who the first time he performed in front of anyone was in Montana. And I forced him up on stage with me and he was horrified. And now he's so it's funny.

Speaker We saw in Massachusetts and he was saying to me, because I talked to him and he said, I don't know, I'm not going to be able to do this. I don't really do this very well. He was super.

Speaker Oh, you see, he's using that. That used to be true. But now he uses that, you see, because he knows he can perform.

Speaker And I think. Alan, weren't you there with us in Montana? That was fantastic. So, you know, I think he's a he's a, you know, kind of prides himself as an as a rider. But I think he's a real artist and a performer also. So there's a big talent pool around us.

Speaker And I think that's very nice about this story as I get it, is he has a randomness to it and yet a purposefulness to it. People don't know John Goodman. I mean, I also I want him to integrate some of his music and want to use his music. This I mean, obviously it's on the record. But I also sort of suggested and maybe he would think about writing a song about Jeff or something that we could. Oh, that would be great. Wouldn't it be quite fun. But what I like about this is he thinks he's not necessarily looking for. Yes, he is Michael McDonald and people now, but people don't know, trying to win like one has nothing to do with the other. It's how this all mouth together, which, of course, is a true notion of how I think one should think about forming a band or forming anything is that is that the parts have to significantly contribute to the whole. And it seems that that is very much in sort of how these he's he's approaching all of this. It is it's not with some sort of I need to get that person because that person is known.

Speaker Now, he I don't think that really matters that much to Jeff at all, quite frankly.

Speaker And that's part of him looking at it from over here. And I think what works with Jeff is the people I think he becomes connected and friends with people who are like minded, who say, hey, I can let's go. I'm happy to go out there and look at things. And sometimes I go out a little further and then at the same time, you know, maybe we'll bring each other back like we're getting too far away from reality here. No one's going to like this except us. So we can do it for us or nobody's going to understand it if we're trying to communicate something and we're too out there, you know. So but to be able to be right lobed enough and creative enough to explore all of those elements.

Speaker And we have hours and hours and hours of conversation about everything from music theory to religion and spirituality and all that stuff. And we go all over the place with it. And it's how how you grow and learn. And I think it's, you know, aside from the music and the professional, he's really just become like my best friend, probably, you know, if not the best friend. I have one of my absolute best friends. And I think there's a mutual childlike exploration not going to grow up, but can do a job and can do it real good and be serious about it. And that's you know, that's sort of has been a it's been a real blessing for me. And he's introduced me to really people who have also become some of, you know, my best gal. And the guy shooting this camera is one of my best friends also met him through Jeff. And we've had some fantastic moments and experiences of sharing and and the, you know, John Goodwin, Michael McDonald through me now they're writing songs together and recording. So it kind of grows. And I really believe the people that that connect are those people who can go outside the box pretty good but not lose sight of the box.

Speaker Talk about now. So you made this you know, this you did as a friend the same. I mean, a little bit. You know, you're soon and, you know, you all know each other quite well. And this was all in the confines of rap and within the confines of the studio. But now he's got now you guys have got some gigs. Yeah. Now you have put a band together. Right.

Speaker And I would love to talk about that, too, because I know how, uh, I watched your rehearsals in in Santa Barbara and I and going back to how much a perfectionist. I think all of you are right for my purposes and for our purposes in this film. It's quite great to watch that process happen. It's great to watch it not be perfect yet. Did not be exactly right because that's what we then can see. Then you can you actually can see that progression. Mm hmm. But I know that he was even a little annoyed that we didn't sort of stay with the rehearsal. It gotten better, but it's still so great to see that finding it. And so how do I have to think about what is a group that can be a band? It's it's like a little bit about the formation of the band and the sort of that journey now to this first gig, which is kind of great. And I get to do more.

Speaker Yeah, well, you know, Jeff called and said, I've got an opportunity to do a couple of shows and I put together, you know, for be here soon.

Speaker I gathered all the musicians was like the producer, music director originally.

Speaker So I said, well, I'll get the best guys in town. I've talked to a bunch of people and I've figured out who I thought the best personalities and the best talent would be in it. We didn't have to fire anybody. They worked, you know, it was great, which was also just fearis like, well, I don't know if I want to use him. He's a friend of mine would have had to fire him. I said, well, that's a good point. So they're all guys that none of us really knew well.

Speaker And it turned out to be great. And it's a lot of work to get from where you came in. The reason we wanted you to stay is because we actually had a couple of songs we were going over that we had already learned. So it was still a rehearsal, but we kind of knew we were doing the stuff you saw was really abstract and pure and sat again, much more interesting for us.

Speaker What you've already learned. Yeah. Is less I mean, in all seriousness, when you speak about this, you know, driving, he does work hard. Did you do it? Many people can say it. I could see it. Oh. And we see things like that. So, you know, it's extremely great for us to sort of be in the embryonic stages of some of this stuff and not have seen it perfected.

Speaker Yeah, well, you know, like I said, it's a lot of work. And by the time, you know, we we played. The libero, and then we played at James Cameron's place, which was kind of the dress rehearsal, that we were really pretty well rehearsed for that and that was our preamp to our rehearsals and our shows and Niagara Falls.

Speaker And every time just gets a little better and you learn a little more. And he's just really he's really up for it. And I think he loves it. And last night he said, I got another opportunity, you know, in January.

Speaker And he could actually, if he wanted to, he could he could have a very full touring career. But, you know, there's as much of the music as a big part of his life and a huge part of his life. He's got a lot of other things that he he can't just let any of it die on the vine. And he does.

Speaker And somehow he balances that, you know, and yeah, he's he's an artist. And some of that is to say he's an artist and it takes a real artist to be able to balance so many different avenues of and keep them all equally as passionate and important as the other and not completely fall off.

Speaker Well, one of the things we were talking about yesterday, also, if that's how crazy heart sort of allowed this string of hands to now find a kind of place where it can meld into a movie so that right now gets to have this character, which you see little bits and pieces because you see it in Thailand, which I would definitely want to talk about. But what Crazy Heart sort of does now is also him now know this wasn't somebody else's hands, even though I know things like that. But I mean, I know him, right. So he becomes sort of bona fide in another arena of now doing this and now suddenly he can't have can be this kind of very nice because it really is also it allows something else to emerge in a more public consciousness that not just old friends new.

Speaker Right. It really did. I think Tiboni did a brilliant job of helping Jeff kind of mold into a niche that really is comfortable for him. And he's really versatile. I mean, that that movie could have been about another type of artist as opposed to this country type of artist that Jeff could have also performed and been equally as passionate and could have been equally as part of as much a part of him.

Speaker But because of the screenplay and the the purpose of the movie, Pettibone really kind of found that in Jeff, I think, in a brilliant way. And it helped him discover something that about his his performance abilities and capabilities that I'm not sure he quite had known before.

Speaker You know, confidence maybe. Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker And in the guitar playing, you know, he's really playing guitar in the movie, like when we did the Thailand thing and it was a little different.

Speaker I actually was the guitar player in Thailand, but Jeff in the movie was the guitar player. So again, another another testimony to to his abilities and focus. He played originally. It was about he was this guitar slinger. Right. And all the guys like key guitarist, you know. Yeah, he was a mess. But, you know, Peter Tars, all other like big rock guitar players apparently in the movie would go and watch.

Speaker I forgot what his name is. And I want to say Noah, Noah, somebody Noah and and Noah was his name.

Speaker Noah, something they would come and watch Noah. And he supposedly invented the whole like, you know, the deal. So he had to be a real like a guitar slinger. So John Goodwin wrote the song and I turned it into like a real basement rock, heavy duty deal.

Speaker And I did this crazy, you know, kind of Hendrix's sort of guitar thing.

Speaker And Jeff watched me and then he videotaped me and every little weird twitch that I did when I was playing it, because I get a little bit, you know, kind of lost. He had them all down.

Speaker So it was a little freaky because when I was in that, I was the bass player on stage with him, you know, and I think I was there more for, you know, in case he kind of like, well, you know, my really is this really looking real? But I was two weeks out of brain surgery and all screwed up on pain pills. And that's a whole nother journey how I got from L.A. up to Canada. That was funny, but I remember going through the thing and we're playing to the track.

Speaker And there were moments where he was so convincing that I really believed, you know, for a minute because I was you know, I was saying, well, I was on I was on medication, you know, so I'm playing the bass line. And I didn't really play the bass line on the record, but I learned it. So I really felt like I'm playing it exactly like I'm hearing it.

Speaker And he's playing it exactly like I'm hearing it. But wait, that's me for their.

Speaker Really little moments where I was like so convinced because he mimed me so well and he cloned me so well that I have to kind of shake my hand.

Speaker Oh, wow. Well, that was very weird for somebody to be that to be able to fall into character that well, that the character that they're playing is believing it. Right. So that's that's just kind of another testimony to his.

Speaker You know, he says he says it's really carry a camera with him and bring it home. And I know that when he made that statement one time. Yeah. He said that he had made that statement one time that Suge said, you know, you're killing your brain, you know, when you you know, but I mean, there have to be all these vestiges of not only the characters, the people who inform the characters around him all the time because he also becomes pals.

Speaker And he's told us this, too. He learns from people, he writes people he becomes these people are and what these types of you know, what these types of personalities are.

Speaker And absolutely. And, you know, I think Thailand is one of those movies is kind of odd and weird as it is. You know, when I went to watch Jeff and I watched it on his computer and we couldn't look away, it was disturbing. It's kind of a strange, disturbing movie. But I think it's one of those things that if people give it a chance and they're ready to be a little disturbed and instead of shocked, like, oh, man, what it's rather courageous, actually decide to be a corpse for 90 percent of the time.

Speaker Absolutely.

Speaker And he played I mean, it was so uncomfortable for me to see him before he was dead in the movie to be that screwed up on, you know, on Cristal and heroin. And he looked and acted so much like those people you see and know who are that far gone. And there again, he might he you know, he had a person who was a junkie for most of his life as somebody who was coaching him on that.

Speaker And he took on that character in a very, very uneasy way for me to watch. Yeah. For me to watch as his friend, I was like, oh, man, are you OK?

Speaker What are you really doing up there in Canada or what have you been doing while I was getting brain surgery? You know, were you like slamming heroin or something? But no, of course. Yet there he is, clean as the day is long. But man, when he went into those scenes. Yeah. I mean, that's that's a real ability. Right.

Speaker But there's also a next degree of that is the Terry Gilliam, the Terry Gilliam effect on him and extracting that performance experience. Sure. To start with that character on to start with. Not a pretty guy, you know. Yeah. And in this dream of we're going to be going to Copenhagen now. We're going to Copenhagen, we're going to announce that they were going to meet Hans Christian Andersen has, I think, right. Ealand, which is where it which is where that is. I mean, they have that sort of it was it's all so wild.

Speaker And then you just isn't it, though, isn't it? Well, here's the greatest part. When I got there, I had a big, huge scar on my head and it was all swollen.

Speaker And the makeup guys tell me before you get that, tell me how you got to be in the film.

Speaker Well, we were just shake. Am I getting you shaking up, you know, shaking. Yeah.

Speaker Well, Jeff said, you know, I got this opportunity to get one of John songs, and it's Terry, very serious kind of film. That going Hollywood. Really.

Speaker Yes, that would be fantastic. And use that track. Right. That track. I mean, so many people have said, why isn't that the theme song for Entourage, which it would be the best? No, it doesn't hit them. Right. Right.

Speaker But it does. Which they wish. But, you know, it's it's a powerful track.

Speaker I really still love it, you know, and, you know, all this hard stuff and all this stuff we've been doing the past is just not to get you to distract it off this. The minute we started, did he tell you how he did this thing with Plexiglas, with, you know? Well, this is a very famous Picasso thing with Picasso doing Plexiglas. And I wanted to do this. And we set this up and he did this. And it's it was two weeks. Truly extraordinary. Made me so happy to watch this. And I don't disagree with him, which was equally right. You know what love is again, another whole dimension. It's going to come out now with, again, extreme authenticity, that hard working. And you don't know what it's going to go see. And it just hit me that this is the seventies. I think it's a perfect idea to use.

Speaker I love it. Of course I love it.

Speaker I love it for many reasons. And his pottery is really cool is that we've got a bunch of it.

Speaker The first one he gave me, my wife is like, what is? And I said, I don't know. But I dig it. And now it's it's always there, you know, it's kind of like. A wave thing, but OK, the Van Gogh and Hollywood deal, you know, he said, what do you think? I said, I think I have the right idea. You know, I got an idea of what the film was and where it was going to be played.

Speaker And there were a lot of versions of this song and they were all really, really good.

Speaker But I thought I just think they should just be really reckless and kind of kind of wild. So I got a rhythm section together, and the drummer is a really talented, slick drummer. His name's Nate Wood. And I said, Nate, I want you just to be absolutely reckless. I want you to just go play all the stuff that you like, play with just reckless doing that very, very low level.

Speaker I don't think it's problematic.

Speaker Is it somebody somebody we know that a little.

Speaker Chris, this is great. This is kind of, you know, that's fun.

Speaker Thank you. Yeah, it's OK anyways.

Speaker OK, so there are a lot of versions of this and I just, you know, and they were all really good. But I said I think let me just try one. And rather than try to get the deal and then do it over the course and it's still time.

Speaker Sorry. It just could be a big group of people. It's not it's not too bad. Well, no problem, I can talk.

Speaker Sorry. Yeah, no, I can talk, I could stay here till tomorrow. Keep talking. Yeah. And I should probably on my own show. So let's do that next. Let's do that next.

Speaker OK, so all these different versions and like I said, the the drummer, I really felt like I didn't want him to play it real, like he could say, I want you to play this like you're a young kid that's probably screwed up on drugs and you're in a basement bar someplace and you're really excited and just go for it, you know, just play like, you know, I want it's kind of sloppy. Same with the bass player.

Speaker And that's what we got. I mean, you know, there's places where the band is just kind of seemingly lost and somehow they come back and they're together. And so there's that excitement of true improvisation, which it was. I mean, we cut that track live, you know, the guitar, the rhythm, the lead, everything. It's one take drums, one take bass. Jeff came in and then sang it, you know, saying that the scratch vocal. And then we did a few different versions of the vocal. And Terry had the idea, I want it kind of distorted and weird sounding. And it really worked, too. Right. So so we created this track that really works in the scene where you come into this dark, dingy basement, you know, and it's very grungy and edgy and and Jeff's up there, you know, screwed up.

Speaker Right. And just wailing and really looks like he's playing to me. Like I said, I did it and he convinced me. Right. So it was it was a great scene.

Speaker And so some time in between when we cut the record and I was supposed to go up, you know, to kind of support him and, you know, be the bass player in the band, they discover I have a brain tumor. Right. And so Jeff calls me in the ambulance. What's going on? You know, so, you know, I guess I'm going to die because that's what they told me, which I'll just quickly tell you this story, because this is kind of heavy. This is all happening right around this Thailand thing. So it's very monumental to me. You can, you know, cut it if you want. But I'm going to tell you, it won't take long.

Speaker They had two CAT scans from one hospital to CAT scans from another hospital with contrast without contrast. And the neurologist comes in and says, you've got a primary brain tumor. Nobody survives these. You're going to die from this. So that's the bad news. And I said, OK, how long do I have? He says, Hmm. Some people might survive a year and a half or two years. I suppose it looks pretty advanced. And you had about nine months. So this is seven years. Right. So I had to think, OK, well, I have nine months and four for a few minutes. I had to look into, you know, my faith, like what's going to happen after I die. Right. So and I immediately I never knew that I had a strong faith, as I do a Christian, and I felt like I'm actually OK with this. Now, what am I going to do for the next nine months? Meanwhile, my wife is calling people and freaking out all these people at some churches where I've done some acoustics work. And she had about 2000 people from all over the place praying for me. So the next day the doctor comes in with a big smile on his face. I said, what are you so happy about? You know, this is like really a cheerful moment is I got great news. You have a benign tumor in the night before he quote unquote, said it's a thousand. He said it's a thousand percent malignant. It's a thousand saying. And he says, I'm a thousand percent sure it's benign. As a man. I've been hearing some conflicting stories here. Right. He says I can't explain it, but it's different today than it was last night. There's words to me, right? So. I said, well, I think I I think we should still take it out because I don't know what's going on. I'm still thinking now and thinking this guy is totally nuts. And I decided that I would be the one guy that would beat it if it was malignant. I was talking to Jeff on the phone. I said it's going to be like the Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns, you know, it's going to go the 12th round. Yeah, we're laughing about it and, you know, and crying about it, you know, on the phone, all that stuff. So long story short, they took it out. It was benign. So the doctor said, well, you can go to Canada, you're going to be a little screwed up.

Speaker But so I did better. So I did.

Speaker And I you know, I got on, you know, just drugged out. And I have this terrible headache. And the producers put me on a plane where I had to go all the way across San Francisco airport. And I had like ten minutes to do and I'm dragging my feet. I got my back on of I'm almost going to make it and I get in the tram, I'm going to make my plane. The tram takes off, goes 30 feet and breaks down. And I'm stranded on this tram for an hour and a half because they can't hear me. So I missed the flight. I get on a later flight. I end up in Vancouver. There's 400 people in emigrations with their work permits and Jeff calls them, Where are you going? And I don't really know because I'm so scared. He knows where he going, where I say I'm in Vancouver, I'm going to just stay here somewhere. So eventually I made it.

Speaker It's kind of the perfect world have shown up and then that it was morbid.

Speaker There was some morbidity, some morbid movie. Okay.

Speaker The last thing on this movie, because I could talk about this experience because this set of ideologies. OK, well, this is a Terry Gilliam thing. So I get there and there's this makeup artist and he's looking at this terrible sky and he says, oh, don't worry, we're going to put a beautiful wig on you and you going to make you look really you're going to look beautiful. And I said, you know, and here I'm telling you, I was zonked. Right? So whatever you want to do, Terry comes in, he goes, what are you talking about? No, no wigs, shave his head, shave his head and take that scar and make it even uglier. Right. And we're all cracking. I mean, I'm in the movie for, you know, fifteen seconds maybe. But his idea was that because of the way the movie was, they took this guy and put Rouge on and they made it worse.

Speaker They shaved my head and gave me this big, long ponytail and put all this leather and stuff on me, big earrings and and just made it is even as morbid as they possibly could.

Speaker And just told me what one thinks about Terry, though right now, Terry is afraid of nothing. He is for nothing. Could be ugly. Who gives a damn or kind of excruciating. He is just fire for him, which is he's really brilliant at that.

Speaker And in his mind, I mean, he probably didn't know how much of that was going to be in the movie or not. As it turns out, there was very little. But I think his ideas that that was the ambience that he wanted for this movie, I was going to say that it's so brief the scene when you really see the scene, right?

Speaker Yeah, it sets the tone completely. And I'm a huge fan of Terry's work all the time, and I completely know how he thinks. I mean, as much as I can know that this is exactly vintage Terry Gilliam to have, even if it was a moment, every aspect of it conveys everything that you need to know about how this film has to feel. And it does. Yeah. You know, everybody have these are just a. You know, is completely and this is what I came to this hour with him, of course. All right.

Speaker This guy is just yeah, he's wasted. He's yeah, he is. I'll tell you, it was it was a great experience. I really loved Terry. And we had a lot of fun. And I think he got he really I remember him interviewing me and I remember he was kind of laughing because I must have been such a trip, you know, and he's asking me crazy questions, you know, and I'm entertaining him because my answers were, as you know, is probably well, I was on all sorts of opioids. Right. So I fit right in. I was eating Vicodin and I had this terrible like I felt like it was an ice pick in my head. So I really did fit into that movie, probably more so than Jeff did because he wasn't taking anything.

Speaker So, you know, it all fits. It does fit in. Here you are. He's very dear friend. So I'm sure there was a tremendous amount of sort of empathetic and and there's something about that is kind of great to hear that I didn't realize that you had that experience of being a pilot. And it really I, I feel that you were probably equally as important to the feeling, that whole junkie mood in that weird.

Speaker Oh, yeah. Yeah, I'm sure. I mean, it all contributes. Right.

Speaker It was a very powerful moment, I know, in my life. And I think in all of our lives, you know, and we've had other things have happened. You know, I remember like Alan Kozlowski, who's filming this, you know, he's he's every once in a while, he's got I don't know if you want this on TV. And I just I'm just talking about how, you know, we all have our. Well, your liver thing, right? Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker Well, if I can have some way to on camera so that when everybody's OK. Is that you. I'm just going to go. Yeah, it's everybody.

Speaker But there's there's monumental moments where people are going through things that are, you know, and, you know, whether it be an emotional thing, a physical thing, a medical thing. And that Thailand thing was one of those things, I think within at least within my circle. And Jeff's, you know, clearly a big part of my circle where it was it was historic. You know, it's one of those I mean, the life trip's a pretty big deal. Yeah. The life trip is a pretty big deal. I remember, you know, him calling me in the ambulance. You know, I was like making jokes. And I handed the phone off to the paramedics and said, hey, you want to talk to the dude? How about that? And they got the hugest kick out of that. Yeah. So it's like, really, this guy's dying and he's making jokes and having a little baffsky afterwards. What's going on? So what are you going to do? Right. I mean, it's not something I look, I don't want to be in that place again any time soon. It was heavy. But but you're right. I think the morbidity of it all in that film, you know, it was powerful. It was really powerful to us. And, you know, I think I'd encourage people to give that film another another try. You you saw the film. What did you think?

Speaker Well, I had as I say, I'll take the right of Guilliaume no matter what. I think that's not it.

Speaker I agree with you. I think this is a very hard film for people. I'm very hard for people. Aside from the fact that you have as a corpse in it for most of the film, just the other people in it, are we going to sell to. Right. I mean, the little the other guy it's disturbing is tremendously disturbing in the whole everyday and all the dead people who have.

Speaker However, I will tell you something that's kind of interesting about that film from.

Speaker My parents both died within the last year and a half, which is astounding to me. And there was something about this leaving the body there, keeping them there. This is going to sound a little bit weird, but I was sort of watching going, why couldn't you do that?

Speaker I couldn't. You just decide. So there's something about it that does.

Speaker So this is a perfect film for you.

Speaker Weird like I did, I had a lot of reactions to it and wow, parts of it were very difficult for me because of that, because you sort of also really want to take this little journey in your own mind and sort of what would be their condition several weeks later.

Speaker But there were other aspects of it that allowed you to sort of entertain the notion that, hey. I can keep around and then, of course, you do keep in mind it's not about the actual body, but yeah, there was a lot of it that I, I had an idea, the rabbit hole thing. Absolutely. And that I don't have anything.

Speaker You know what?

Speaker I think Terry Moore agency is more effective than Timber Table if you really wanted to get into what was all that stuff. Yeah. And I think Terry's really a brave director.

Speaker I agree. I think there's things about that film that a lot of people maybe don't get that. I think I think I get and I think Terry was portraying was that, you know, as children, you can create your own sort of microcar, your own little world, whether it's under a bush somewhere. And it's as big a world as as you get older. You know, you have this these this world that we call real. Right. But this this little girl's reality was just as real as as anybody else as it was just her circumstances. And she turned it into this wonderful thing. And some places. Yeah. Yeah, it was it was her real world.

Speaker And I think to to be able to pull back into that the child in us all and, you know, as in such a very, very unusual, uncomfortable place, you see this child and she's got this joy, right.

Speaker And I think that Terry touched on something there that most people didn't get because they were too disturbed by all the craziness, right. Including myself, man, when I watched, I was like, oh, wow, did I really participate in that?

Speaker Holy smokes.

Speaker You know, you've got to give over to it. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Just allow it to, you know. But yeah, finding that little path through is not a bad, bad message.

Speaker And I'm really proud of that track too, because, you know, it's powerful. It's as outside as anything else I've ever heard. You know, it's not like right down the middle of rock and roll track. I mean, it's pretty wild.

Speaker And do you have because Jeff mentioned that there, that you guys made a kind of a funny music video about that with John Goodman in the audience as sort of a Jeff that he can't he does that. You couldn't find this. I just want you to get back and ask him if he's.

Speaker I don't have it. I don't say no.

Speaker I think he's he sort of looked for it didn't have to. I just that maybe, you know, anything anything more I could I could sit here with you all day, but I can't.

Speaker Yeah, no, no, no. You know, I think that, you know, right now, my ass, my contribution to, you know, aside from being a friend is the whole music thing, which is really happening right now for Jeff. And I've been blessed to have been a part of it and got that weird phone call. Hey, some actor wants you to build a studio for him. Yeah, really?

Speaker OK, maybe I'll get paid. Maybe, you know, it was one of those those kind of things. And it's really it's just been great. And it's inspired me to get back into music again and, you know, producing and making my own records, which I had just been designing studios for 15 years. And I even I have an album that I finished and I never released when I really got busy doing studios. And I'm revisiting all that stuff. And it's all been inspired because of Jeff saying he wants a recording studio and he wants to make a record. And I think a lot of music is coming out of other people besides him as a result of his ambition. So I'm really just appreciative, blessed, thankful to be a part of it, to be able to tell you about it. Great, because it was and I am more than thrilled that you're going to title the movie maybe Van Gogh in Hollywood.

Speaker And I use that for the track. I have to tell you, I think no one will know what it means and they will in the end. And that to me is also part of the deal. He is the way Hollywood is.

Speaker Yeah, and I've got it. I've got all the tracks. So so if you need the music you have on the other side, I love that.

Speaker Just one quick other thing, which is the dude. I mean, just as you said, bye to the dude, how how how pervasive that guy is. I mean. Right. I mean, this is a whole nother thing. Then you start looking at that perform.

Speaker Yeah. That will live on won't it. That will live on.

Speaker And that that movie that is in the canon of this is going to be in the canon of films that you know for sure there are the great films of of areas of lifetimes of of the film business.

Speaker Absolutely. And you know what I knew when I saw that I was one of the few people at the premiere who said I loved him. And I laughed and I thought it was great. So many people were going, oh, it was really good. Yeah. Like and it didn't it wasn't a box office hit at all, you know, it was basically, I think, perceived by many to kind of be not successful. Right. But look at it now. It's it's an absolute like a cult classic television. And I loved it from the first time I saw it. So I was thinking, OK, I must be crazy because everyone is saying this is a stiff. Right. So I kind of have a little bit of inside of me. I'm like, yeah, I guess I was a you know, I'm right very rarely.

Chris Pelonis
Interview Date:
2010-09-30
Runtime:
0:46:02
Keywords:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
N/A
MLA CITATIONS:
"Chris Pelonis, Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 30 Sep. 2010, https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/596
APA CITATIONS:
(2010, September 30). Chris Pelonis, Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/596
CHICAGO CITATIONS:
"Chris Pelonis, Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). September 30, 2010. Accessed January 20, 2022 https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/596

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