A balanced blend of thoughtfulness and boogie, “Every 40 Years” is as humble a film as the band members themselves.
Many people cringe at the thought of their parents’ wild and crazy antics as young adults, during the years of pre-children responsibility, but director Eric Goldrich was so infatuated with his dad’s unknown past life, a man whose title, as far as he was concerned, was only that of “father,” that he set out to investigate his family’s history. What he discovered about the identity of his unassuming dad turned out to be a giant surprise in the form of an underground rock-n-roll icon of the 1970s. This is the premise of the documentary “Every 40 Years”– an enjoyable journey of discovery and second chances.
Goldrich, along with co-director Ben Friedberg, takes audiences down memory lane as he explores his dad’s involvement in the band Gunhill Road, 40 years after the group broke into the Billboard Top 40 charts. His father, Steve Goldrich, (Piano/Vocals) and his bandmates, Glenn Leopold (Guitar/Vocals), Gil Roman (Original Bass/Vocals) and Paul Reisch (Bass/Vocals), recount their days as an up and coming band, playing shows at the legendary venue, The Bitter End, in New York City.
While they seemed to have a promising career after the release of their first and second record (the latter which Kenny Rogers produced), shady deals and other external factors caused the group to go their separate ways. Intimate interviews capture the heartache felt by the members at that time– even 40 years later, the raw emotions are still there. However, when an opportunity arises to reunite for one final show, the former bandmates jump at the chance, much to the delight of their fans and the guys themselves.
The title is a bit misleading to me, for some reason the phrase “Every 40 Years” conjures up feelings of heaviness and dramatic longing. But after watching this film, one thing’s for sure, if these guys weren’t musicians, they would have made a killing as stand-up comics. Aside from being funny, it is obvious that those who are fans of Gunhill Road will get a kick out of seeing them back in the spotlight. Whether or not you’re a Gunhill Road fan, the universal theme of passionate living and believing in second chances will no doubt resonate with audiences.