The Times just published a fascinating feature by rock critic Alan Light about the documentary we’re opening today at the Monica Film Center, with one-night screenings next week at the Laemmle NoHo, Claremont, Town Center and Glendale. (The filmmaker and a member of the band will participate in several Q&As; full schedule here.) The sub head: “A new documentary chronicles the strange, intrigue-filled saga of Blood, Sweat & Tears and its disastrous Eastern Bloc tour in 1970.”
The full piece is worth reading but it begins: “Last year, Rolling Stone compiled a list of “The 50 Worst Decisions in Music History.” Near the top, alongside very high-profile errors in judgment like Decca Records’ rejection of the Beatles, there was a much less familiar episode: the time Blood, Sweat & Tears embarked on an Eastern European concert tour, underwritten by the State Department while the Vietnam War was raging. The reputation of the U.S. government was in tatters for young people, meaning the band looked, as the magazine put it, like “propaganda pawns — which is, more or less, what they were.”
“Now the band members are telling their side of this bizarre story in the new documentary What the Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears? While everyone involved agrees with Rolling Stone’s conclusion — that the band’s career never recovered from that 1970 tour — the saga turns out to be more complicated than was previously known.
““This isn’t a music doc, it’s a political thriller,” the director John Scheinfeld said in a telephone interview. “It’s about a group of guys who unknowingly walked into this rat’s nest, and how political forces impacted a group of individuals.””
Read the full piece here.