‘The Jews and The Blues’ is my musical journey – Sun Sentinel
When I attended the world premiere of the documentary “The Jews and the Blues” during the Judy Levis Krug Boca Raton Jewish Film Festival, director Drew Stone and executive producer Arny Stone, the son and father filmmaking couple captivated the people present.
At the time, Drew said, “It’s an honor to be selected to project this incredible musical journey which along the way has grown into something so much more. Join me as I pursue my passion for music and adventure as I travel to Israel and discover how the blues relates to this incredible mix of cultures: Arab, Ethiopian, Moroccan, all Jewish, all Israeli, united by the universal bond that unites us. …Music.”
Listening to the independent filmmaker describe his childhood in the neighborhoods of New York, you begin to understand where he developed his passion for cinema and music.
“I was born in Queens and raised in Manhattan and the Bronx,” Drew said. “I’m a New Yorker through and through.”
“I am part of the Blank Generation. I was too young for Woodstock and too old for MTV. I was somewhere in between. It was a time when I was looking for an identity.
“I grew up in the 70s and early The 80s was an interesting time to be in New York. It was dangerously exciting artistically. The music was bubbling!
Lots of art and music was the scene that unfolded.
“I always wanted to be a musician, but I became an actor because of my dad’s job,” Drew said. “I wasn’t afraid to be in front of a camera.”
“I didn’t understand what it meant to be an actor.”
In the early 80s, while studying acting at Emerson College, Drew discovered Boston’s burgeoning hardcore punk rock music scene and became the lead singer of The Mighty CO’s.
Hardcore punk is a punk rock musical genre and subculture that originated in the late 1970s. It is a subset of punk rock that emphasizes speed and intensity.
“Ethos got involved and made things happen,” Drew recalls.
“I fell into the music scene. In Boston, I was in the right place at the right time. I joined children of my age in the development of this scene.
“I went to college to study acting, but I struggled with it. I felt like I was wasting my time. I was extremely unruly and immature.
Music was where Drew found his footing.
When he returned to New York in 1983, one group trained another. He was the frontman for The High & The Mighty, Antidote NYHC and Incendiary Device. Another of his current bands, The Drew Stone Hit Squad, plays punk, hardcore, traditional and Americana in an acoustic format.
Drew discovered his own interest in filmmaking, using what he learned in the hardcore scene to produce music videos for various punk, metal and rap groups.
“At first I got involved in the film industry to pay the bills,” Drew said. “I worked as a production assistant, truck driver and other odd jobs.”
After working for years as a crew member on film sets in a variety of roles, Drew formed the film production company Stone Films NYC in 1992.
“The bands said we needed help making music videos, so that’s how I got started in that medium. I produced and directed them.
“I loved making the videos and I was pretty good at it!”
Drew has produced numerous music videos for artists including Run-DMC, Onyx, Type O Negative, Insane Clown Posse, King’s X and Biohazard. He went on to direct videos for Agnostic Front, Madball, Sub-Zero and Garth “Culti” Vader. Teaming up with his brother Evan as “The Stone Brothers”, he made music videos for various artists including Vanilla Ice and Channel Zero.
“I’ve helped bands achieve great success! »
His interest in film turned to a series of extreme sports films, which exposed the new sport of freestyle street-biking to viewers around the world.
He created the Urban Street-Bike Warriors: Black Sheep Squadron Tour.
“Creating these movies took me around the world,” Drew said.
He embarked on the editing and production of documentary films.
“All Ages: The Boston Hardcore Film” showcases Boston’s influential early hardcore punk scene with a focus on aspects of community and culture. It debuted at the Boston Independent Film Festival in 2012.
Later projects included “The New York Hardcore Chronicles Film” and “The New York Hardcore Chronicles Film 1.5”. Both films spotlight the New York Hardcore Punk scene.
Then came the idea of ”The Jews and the Blues”.
“I wanted to do something different,” Drew said.
“I’ve always loved Americana and Blues music. The film is my musical journey!
“I created it with the intention that the film would also be a sense of discovery for the viewers.”
“We left enough space for the magic to work!”
While making the film in Israel, Drew discovered that the Blues was connected to many different cultures.
“It’s one of the most exciting and rewarding things I’ve ever done as a filmmaker.”
“Being in Israel was amazing!”
“Music is the bond that unites us. I really connected with these people in the film.
Arny and Drew think “Blues” was rewarding for both father and son.
“We are very proud of each other,” Arny said.
“The greatest thing about ‘The Jews and the Blues’ is that it gave me the opportunity to work with my dad again,” Drew said. “We worked closely and did a lot of research together.”
“Making the movie had a huge impact on me,” Arny said. “As a secular Jew, I learned a lot about religion.”
“We both learned a lot about Jewish culture. It really inspired us,” Drew added.
“The bold statement I wanted to make was ‘I’m Jewish and this is my movie!'”
During filming, Drew said he had one of the most incredible moments of his life.
“I was dancing with the Torah at the Western Wall in Jerusalem during Simchat Torah.”
“Everyone was at the Wall. It was incredibly inspiring and breathtaking!
“The film’s recurring message is ‘Everyone has their own blues.'”
Among Drew’s many current projects is promoting the “Blues” on the film festival circuit.
“Mostly at Jewish film festivals.”
On June 8, a screening will take place at Impact Israel’s Yemin Orde Youth Village on Mount Carmel near Haifa, Israel.
Fundraising will help at-risk youth and young adults move beyond a survival mindset to become leaders.
“I’m really excited to screen the film in Israel,” Drew said.
“In addition to showing the film, I have about ten projects going on at the same time.”
Drew is the host of The New York Hardcore Chronicles LIVE! which started during the pandemic.
“I’m best known for performing and I’m about to do my 200th show. It’s an opportunity to interact with different musicians, including several from my past.
“It was also great promotion for the movie ‘Blues’.”
Drew is also an author.
“’The Hardcore Chronicles of New York Vol. 1 (1980-1989)’ is the uncensored story of the early days of the New York hardcore punk scene. It includes more than 200 exclusive interviews with never-before-seen photos.
“I am a multimedia artist. There is always something going on in my life. Everything is mixed up. »
“Creating Legacy documentaries is another of my projects. I make personal documentaries about accomplished people – people with important stories that, if left untold, would be lost forever.
“I would have liked to have had the opportunity to interview my grandparents. The Legacy project pays homage to them in a way.
For more information, including a free consultation, contact executive producer Arny Stone at [email protected]