Colonel bruce hampton has been a legendary figure in southern rock and jam band circles for more than four decades. The new documentary “Basically Frightened: The Musical Madness of Colonel Bruce Hampton” captures Hampton’s strange and brilliant career. The film’s director, Michael Koepenick, answered questions for The Pulse via email in advance of the film’s Chattanooga debut on June 21.
The Pulse: You’ve mentioned that you were not an aficionado of Hampton when you joined the project. How had your appreciation changed, and what in particular struck you about him?
Michael Koepenick: I moved to Atlanta in 1987 and started having random encounters with Bruce Hampton fairly often and he always puzzled me. I knew the caliber of musicians that played with him and raved about him, but I just didn’t understand what he was all about and wrote him off as more eccentric than talented. But the more I learned about him from working on the film, the more and more respect I gained for his dedication as an artist and just how much of a part he played in helping countless musicians have major breakthroughs in their playing and understanding about music and where it comes from.
What was the most important lesson you learned making the film?
I think the most important lesson is to really figure out what is the real story you want to tell in a documentary before shooting the footage. You can really miss out on getting the real pearls from an interview if you haven’t done your research ahead of time. The other thing to remember if you want to make good docs is that facts and information are interesting and can help a story, but if you don’t create an emotional connection with the audience then they will most likely lose interest along the way.
The Musical Madness of
Colonel Bruce Hampton”
Thursday, June 21
Chattanooga Theatre Centre
400 River St.