Rising Low (2002)
Directed by Mike Gordon
Released: October 8, 2002
Format(s): VHS , DVD
It was neat to get involved with this Gov’t Mule project since it meant Mike would get to meet more than twenty of his bass heroes. The documentary is about the late Allen Woody, of Gov’t Mule and Allman Bros. fame, and the process the Mule went through while making their Deep End albums, for which many of Woody’s bass influences paid tribute by playing basslines. The film includes such luminaries as John Entwistle, Flea, Bootsy Collins, Jack Bruce, and Phil Lesh and also attempts to answer questions like “What is the essence of bass?” and “Why do certain people rise to critical acclaim?” This exploration is enhanced by trickiness, like filming players with an aura-camera, or Mike playing Entwistle’s bass line on a wall of bricks. Rising Low won the award for best documentary at the Newport International Film Festival.
Let me place you for a moment in an afternoon of filming: Mike was to meet Entwistle (From The Who), the bass hero of so many a rock bassist, and Entwistle was to come in and record a track – maybe write and record with Warren Haynes – and then fly back out all in the same afternoon… and little did said bass hero know that there was a film being done. So, okay, Mr. E., ahh.. this, ah, Phish bass dude, is filiming, and well, could you just kinda go upstairs to this little cubby hole and talk about some shit, and here’s the release form if you wouldn’t mind… And then there is someone billowing the mylar backing with a screen for an hour while film (not video!) is being shot to make the background look cool, and The Ox is saying, “…. vibration? of course, bassists like the vibration, that’s why my girlfriends used to sit on the bass speakers while I played, and….” or something like that… And what a great guy he turned out to be, and sadly passed away just months later…. Not to mention talking to Joey Arkenstat, another bass hero that doesn’t usually grant interviews outside of Iceland…