Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Harping On: Todd Slobin

Todd Slobin is the producer of the upcoming documentary, “Pocket Full of Soul”. This movie looks amazing. You can check out the movie trailer on the HOOT blog later this month. Todd was kind enough to give HOOT some of his time, as well as a great interview.


1.What aspect of the harmonica is the focus of your documentary?

The documentary focuses on every aspect of the harmonica.We discuss the history of the harmonica, types of harmonicas, styles of playing, performers, brands, etc.

2. What made you want to make a documentary about the harmonica?

Marc Lempert and I are childhood friends and we were working on a screenplay that had a large harmonica component. We started to do some research about the harmonica and stumbled on the SPAH convention in Dallas. Since we are both originally from Houston, and I still live here, we thought we would go to the convention, take some cameras, and see what we could discover about the harmonica. Within a couple of hours, we realized that we had stumbled onto something truly amazing - the harmonica culture. We quickly focused our energy on making a harmonica documentary, and the rest is history.

3. Is this something anyone can enjoy, or harp enthusiasts only?

The film is for everyone. Harmonica enthusiast will naturally be drawn to the film, but we believe it is very interesting and most people that have seen the film that are not musicians or even fans of the harmonica, have really enjoyed the learning experience. We want people to walk out of this film craving harmonicas.

4. What is your background in harmonica?

Marc and I are both very creative people and novice musicians. Mark is a guitar player and I am a drummer. Obviosuly since starting the documentary our harmonica collections have grown, but I cannot say that our harmonica skills equal our collections.

5. What kind of support have you received from fans and harp players?

The harmonica world has welcomed us with open arms, from SPAH, to musicians, to fans, to collectors, etc. We have really made true friends from this experience.

6. Have there been any interesting occurrences during the production?

Yes, too many to count. Traveling and touring with Rob Paparozzi and the Original Blues Brothers' band in Italy was amazing. All the adventures with Jason Ricci have been unique and memorable. Every person that we have met that truly opened their hearts, harps, and minds, to let us explore their love of the instrumenthas benefitted us and the project.

7. What has been your greatest challenge while putting this show together?

Everything. It has been a truly amazing experience and I would not change it for anything, but it has been difficult. From finding the right interviews, to getting certain harmonica celebrities, understanding and conveying the breath (no pun intended) of the instrument. And, basically trying to make a film that we can be proud of that will appease harmonica fans and non-harmonica fans alike.

8. Any word on the premiere or release yet?

We are working with an agent to obtain a distribution deal. Our fingers are crossed as we really want to get this film out so that everyone can start enjoying it. More details to come when we have them. Also, we are working on some type of premier musical event in Houston in Spring 2009. If it happens, we will want every harmonica player in the State of Texas to be there.

9. Who are some of the players we can expect to see in the film?

The film includes, but is not limited to, the following: Clint Black, Robert Bonfiglio, James Cotton, Magic Dick, Rick Estrin, Joe Filisko, Dennis Gruenling, Taylor Hicks, Mark Hummel, Robert Klein, Charles Leighton, Howard Levy, Huey Lewis, Delbert McClinton, L.D. Miller, Tommy Morgan, Charlie Musslewhite, Jerry Murad, Sam Myers. Lee Oskar, Rob Papparozi, Rod Piazza, John Popper, Jerry Portnoy, Gary Primich, Annie Raines, Mickey Raphael, Jason Ricci, Peter Madcat Ruth, Captain Walter Schirra, Corky Seigle, Sugar Blue, Survivorman Les Stroud, Kim Wilson.

10. Any last words for members of HOOT?

Thank you for your support. This film is for you.