Watch the music documentary, "Los Wild Ones," on KCET on Wednesday, March 22 at 9:00 p.m. The film will be streaming here for two weeks after this airing.
The film “Los Wild Ones” is not so much a story about rockabilly counterculture, but more of a story about Irishman Reb Kennedy’s journey as the owner of independent music label Wild Records and a small group of young Latino musicians. Kennedy treats his artists like family, offering both praise and critique (even when they don’t want to hear it).
Full of heart and rockin’ tunes “Los Wild Ones” is an intriguing look at what it takes to own an indie record label in the Los Angeles. KCET spoke to Jessica Golden, one of the producers of the film, about her experience diving into the world of underground music.
What was your inspiration for the film, "Los Wild Ones"?
Jessica Golden: The second Reb and Wild Records was brought to my attention, my interest was piqued. Then when I saw the first live show, I knew I wanted to make this happen. Not only are they fantastic musicians with varied unique styles, I had never heard of anyone running a label the way Reb does or heard more compelling stories about a group of musicians so closely intertwined (both on and off stage).
Above all else, there was a sense of wanting to champion a group of talented artists extremely deserving of a break. These are really good people who do everything with a ton of heart. The idea of possibly playing a small part in helping them realize their dreams by providing a new platform and subsequent exposure outside of their current fan base, was also a significant aspect of my motivation to work with them. I always love an underdog story, and I think so many of us relate to the sense of “If only more people knew why they’re so great, they may have a ton more opportunities.”
In fact, one of the most common reactions audiences have is: “How have we not heard of them before "Los Wild Ones”? I love that because I feel the same way!
What do you feel like are the themes in "Los Wild Ones" that sets it apart from other music documentaries?
JG: Family, questioning what success really means, heart… what sets it apart: a genuine love the artists each have of being part of Wild Records beyond just being on a label or in a band
Why do you think Wild Records has such a family aspect as depicted in the film with its owner Reb Kennedy and his clients?
JG: That’s just the way Reb does things. He’s created a family and being on Wild means being part of the Wild family. He’s committed to the musicians in ways that are well beyond a manager or label owner. He really is a father figure to them.
Why do you think Latinos are attracted to the rockabilly music scene as reflected in many of the performers and fans in this film?
JG: A lot of the musicians in Wild had personal/family connections to the music they play (their parents or aunts/uncles used to listen to it, etc.)… they also looked up to the first guys on Wild they used to go see play (Luis and Omar for example — a lot of young Mexican kids would see them and want to be part of that scene/the music)
Do you have any updates about Reb and Wild Records you’d like to share?
JG: Reb has signed a ton more bands since the film started and I know he’s big on clarifying that they don’t just play rockabilly music. They play rock ’n roll, soul, garage rock, and more (whatever he finds interesting). I imagine Wild Records will continue to evolve in even more directions.
Reb is truly an individual and a unique character — he cares deeply about all the kids on the label, and I know he will continue to push boundaries, champion his ‘kids’ and put out great music. And they on the other hand, will never have a shortage of Reb stories!