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David Chase Didn’t Have To Pay For Beatles And Rolling Stones Song On His Film

December 20, 2012 | Posted by Joseph Lee

In an interview with Billboard, David Chase says he “didn’t pay retail” for the 60s rock songs he uses in his first feature film Not Fade Away, which includes songs from the Beatles and The Rolling Stones. He gives credit to Steven Van Zandt, the E Street Band guitarist (and Sopranos cast member) who was the executive producer and music coordinator of the film.

He said: “That wasn’t really me. That was Stevie. He would tell you he has a few friends who are Beatles, and he has connections with the Rolling Stones Publisher at that time (ABKCO). He has these contacts and he was able to put them to use and negotiate some good deals for us.

He said that it helped that he wanted “lesser-known album tracks” instead of big hits. Part of the deal between ABKCO and the Beatles Apple Corp. was “a favored nation status so they would both get exactly the same (licensing rate) so there’d be no quibbling about any of that stuff. We kind of bought them in quantity, five from them and five from them, so we got the songs at a reduced rate.”

He added: “I love the music of that period, on every level. I think it’s great movie music. It’s fun for me to listen to. It’s fun for me to work with. I had a great time on ‘The Sopranos’ — we had a music budget — spotting music for that, and I wanted to continue that part of the experience. I wanted to repeat that experience.

The soundtrack to the film, a digital album, will be released this week. Both it and the film feature songs by The Rascals, The Small Faces, The Left Banke, The Moody Blues, Bob Dylan and The Sex Pistols. Chase said he was disappointed he couldn’t get a license from The Who. He said: “I think we probably could have done that, but we were running out of time. And, of course, the Hendrix estate doesn’t license anything to anybody.

The film is based, in part, from Chase’s own time as an aspiring musician in New Jersey. It’s a coming of age story set to music and follows a young band during the mid-to-late 60s. The young cast sings six songs as The Twilight Zones (with music played by Van Zandt and E Street bandmates Garry Tallent and Max Weinberg). Chase taught the cast about the history of rock music and culture before filming. Chase said it was hard to get them into the time period. He said: “It was very hard to get them to stop saying ‘dude,’ ” he recalls with a laugh. “The line could’ve been, ‘What did she say?’ and it would come out, ‘Dude, what did she say?’ Any time it happened we’d have to cut. ‘What?~!’ You said ‘dude.’ ‘ ‘I did?’ ‘Yeah, you said ‘dude.’ ‘ ‘Oh. I’m sorry…’

The film also features James Gandolfini, as the father of the main character (John Magaro). Chase didn’t plan on having Gandolfini but it “made everything fall into place, not only the scenes with the dad but also the whole thing.”

He concluded the interview by giving his thoughts on a Sopranos film. He said: “Y’know, it’s a strange thing. I don’t think there ever will be a ‘Sopranos’ film. I have no interest in doing one. No one’s working on one now. We don’t have elves toiling away in the toy shop working on it, and I don’t have an idea for it. At the same time, if I did get an idea for it, I might become interested. But every time I say that, what appears in the press is ‘Chase raises possibility of ‘Sopranos’ movie, which is not the case. I don’t raise anything.

Not Fade Away will be released on Friday in New York and Hollywood. It goes wide on January 4.

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Joseph Lee
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