With The Band

“Hired Gun”, on Netflix, is a movie about “sidemen” – guitar, bass, drum and keyboard players who get hired by musicians to support them on tour, sometimes for a tour or two (Jason Hook, a metal guitarist spent time touring with Mandy Moore and Hillary Duff), sometimes joining the band (Jason Newsted with Metallica), sometimes bouncing around between being session musicians, touring with other musicians and being part of their own bands (Steve Lukather, Ray Parker Jr.).

It’s a little like “20 Feet From Stardom”, only with teeth.


  • I’d have never thought Rudy Sarzo – who played with Ozzy Ozbourne, both editions of Quiet Riot, and Whitesnake – would come across as pretty savvy philosopher.
  • If you don’t like Billy Joel, get ready to hate him. If you like Billy Joel, get ready not to like him so much. While I acknowledge his talent, I’ve never liked him much (other than “Songs in the Attic”, which had some cool songs, and “Innocent Man”, which was a great album), but the stories that Russ Javors and Liberty DiVito tell about Joel’s snide arrogance (and the role it may have played in Doug Stegmeyer’s suicide) re-centered my attitude on the little fop.
  • Alice Cooper (as a friend of mine pointed out on Facebook) is the opposite of Billy Joel – a great boss.
  • Kenny Aronoff – who played drums on all of John Mellencamp’s best records in the eighties, and is currently with the BoDeans – may be becoming my favorite living drummer. His story behind that little two-bar drum solo in “Jack and Diane” is a lot cooler than I’d imagined it would be.
  • If all you think about when the name “Ray Parker Jr.” comes up is “Ghostbusters”, then stop what you’re doing, cuz I’m about to ruin the image of the star that you’re used to (#NailedTheReferenceTieIn!). The guy was one of the better session guitar player in R&B for a looong time. But the story of how “Ghostbusters” came about is exactly as dorky as the video Parker shot for it back in ’84.
  • I will never feel adequate on guitar again.

There are happy endings, some really sad ones, and all in all if you care about music at all you should just watch it.

7 thoughts on “With The Band

  1. I’d be interested in watching the story of Badfinger. What an epic disaster they endured…and didnt.

  2. I’ve seen that too on Netflix. And had the same exact opinion as yourself with Billy Joel. The Steely Dan stories were interesting, basically saying if you made it on their records (Becker and Fagan being perfectionists), meant you were a very good player.

  3. Well, you steered me right with the recommendation on “Muscle Shoals” and, I think, “It Might Get Loud”, so I’ll add this to the Watch List!

  4. @Swiftee,

    The last surviving member of Badfinger resides in the Como district of Saint Paul.
    He’s a client of mine, and a rather sweet-natured man.

  5. Thanks for the Netflix recommendation. I streamed “Hired Gun” yesterday and enjoyed the hell out of it. The road of a session player is a tough one😎

  6. Thanks for the Netflix recommendation. I streamed “Hired Gun” yesterday and enjoyed the hell out of it. The road of a session player is a tough one😎

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