'Malibu Country' and his album-making film make TV premieres tonight
Dave Stewart is an artist whose livelihood thrives off of collaboration. The former Eurythmics founder these days splits his time between his guest-heavy rock albums, producing other artists’ work – frequently with acts who also show on his records – and managing film and TV projects via his company Weapons of Mass Entertainment. He was just one part of a five-person supergroup SuperHeavy, with Joss Stone, Mick Jagger, A.R. Rahman and Damian Marley, and they released their first full-length last year. He produced Stevie Nicks’ new album “In Your Dreams,” and the doc of the same name, which made its bow at the Hamptons Film Festival last month.
He is also a songwriter, producer and musician that savors his own eccentricities. In album-making documentary “The Ringmaster General,” he chronicles the making-of the 2012 album of the same name plus last year’s “The Blackbird Diaries” through songmaking vignettes, but also shots of him brainstorming in the bathtub with his sunglasses on. He pressures martinis in Nashville’s Blackbird studios at any given moment, with off-handed references to friends like Annie (Lennox), Bob (Dylan) and Reese (Witherspoon). Re-created “footage” has managers exclaiming budget emergencies and his wife confused as to where the hell he is, as Stewart enthusiastically recalls his new guitar’s origins and candy-stores a costume shop catering to all his showman’s cravings. Meanwhile, famous females like Alison Krauss, Martina McBride, Colbie Caillat, The Secret Sisters, Joss Stone, Stevie Nicks, Jessie Baylin, Diane Birch and Orianthi all come by to take their turn at the mic on his country-inspired tunes.
“The Ringmaster General” – the film – makes it’s broadcast premiere tonight on Palladia. The pilot for his ABC show “Malibu Country” starring Reba McEntire also makes its bow tonight. Below is my abridged phone interview with Stewart, on what it is to be damned busy.