NEW YORK – A documentary that should be required viewing for any of the thousands of wannabes looking to become rock stars.  “Won’t Anybody Listen” is a valuable cautionary tale that serves as a handy correlative to the many fictional films in which the biggest problems are depicted about the music biz are the pitfalls of having too much drugs and sex.  The low-budget effort should be a natural addition to rock fests like this months CMJ Festival.

Dov Kelemer’s film chronicles nearly a decade in the career of the aggressive but tuneful rock group NC-17.  Haven’t heard of them?  That’s exactly the point.  Founded by brothers Frank and Vince Rogala in their small hometown of Mackinaw City, Mich., the group now consists of five musicians, including a violin player.  Years ago, like many before them, they relocated to Southern California in search of fame, fortune and, most specifically, a record deal.  Now based in Orange County, the band has made several recordings, but not only haven’t they made it big, they’re struggling for financial survival.

Alternating between color with black-and-white footage and largely composed of interviews with the musicians and various agents, lawyers and record label A&R execs – not to mention disgruntled family members, wives and girlfriends – the film effectively documents the difficulties and the Catch-22’s involved in the current rock music scene.

As several performance sequences illustrate, the band is not without talent and musical proficiency:

But, as is made abundantly clear, especially by the plain-talking A&R guys, talent alone is not enough to guarantee success.  Particularly troublesome are the details revealed regarding the financial burdens placed upon musicians themselves by their record companies.

Needless to say, this is one showbiz tale without the requisite happy ending.

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