British Rhythm & Blues to See Its Start in ‘Suburban Steps to Rockland’

ealing plaque

As of yesterday, the feature documentary Suburban Steps to Rockland has been crowd-funded through a campaign at Kickstarter. Actually, the project reached and then surpassed its goal amount of £6,000 sometime last week, but yesterday was when the campaign ended. That was a pretty low figure, but the success still shows that we’re not yet tired of movies about The Rolling Stones and other R&B rock groups to come out of Britain at the time.

This one focuses on the very beginning of the Stones, or at least where that beginning happened: the Ealing Club. The subterranean London venue was home to Mick Jagger and company after they all first met there and then later played their second show there in 1962. For the next six months, they were the house band on Saturday nights. Other notables who played at the spot in the early days include The Who, Ginger Baker, Manfred Mann, Eric Burdon, Rod Stewart and many more. For the rest of the history, we can wait for the film.

It would be nice if some of the bigger names could be interviewed for Suburban Steps to Rockland. Jagger has been appearing in a number of docs lately, so why not this one? Fortunately, the production is only halfway complete, so there’s time to get him and Keith Richards, maybe Pete Townsend and, if the director isn’t afraid of being struck with a cane, Baker (see Beware of Mr. Baker). No documentary should ever be so focused on a group of living people and then not get those people on camera. First-hand stories are best.

The director here is Giorgio Guernier and the producer Alistair Young, of 62 Films (formed for this film) and the Ealing Club Community Interest Company. They’re all about preserving the history and continuing the culture of local music in the Ealing area and so this will clearly be a real celebratory sort of film. I can’t find anything else that Guernier has done other than a synopsis for a short comedy called Meeting Rhino, about a washed up rock star. According to the Kickstarter page, they aim to make something more than a music doc by exploring the social background of the British r&b explosion.

Watch the Kickstarter trailer for Suburban Steps to Rockland, starring former Ealing manager Fery Asgari giving a little tour:


(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.