Thursday, August 07, 2008

Chicago Sun-Times heralds The Seventh Python

The Chicago Sun-Times features Neil Innes in today's issue, in anticipation of Saturday's Heartland premiere of our Innes biopic, The Seventh Python.

The film will screen at 11 a.m. Saturday for early-bird fans at The Fest For Beatle Fans at the Hyatt-Regency O'Hare Hotel.

Jeff Elbel interviews Neil from his home in England:

Chicago Sun-Times
August 7, 2008

A satisfied Rutle spends lost weekend with Beatles fans in Chicago


According to Neil Innes, he stumbled innocently into show business with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band during the 1960s and has been falling through open doors ever since. He’s happier as a respected peer of timeless entertainers like the Beatles and Monty Python troupe than being considered a star himself.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Rutles film “All You Need Is Cash,” a wickedly funny Beatles spoof. Monty Python’s Eric Idle wrote the screenplay about the “Prefab Four,” and Innes starred as John Lennon figure Ron Nasty. Innes’ compositions for the soundtrack (and 1996’s “Archaeology”) rival the wit and craft of the Beatles’ works they affectionately skewer.

This weekend in Chicago, Innes will speak at The Fest for Beatles Fans and perform Rutles favorites with the band Liverpool. Attendees also can see a new documentary called “The Seventh Python,” dedicated to Innes’ “accidental career.”

Innes spoke with the Sun-Times from his home in England.

Q. The Rutles song “Joe Public” could make a fitting theme song for the pro-anonymity stance of “The Seventh Python,” if you weren’t such an inspiring skeptic. Would the lyric “I put my faith in the powers that be” ever suit you?

A. No, but that’s what Joe Public does. If you go right back to Socrates, intelligence has not been a commodity held in high esteem. Most Joe Publics are happy to support a football team or form some sort of tribe, which plays into the hands of anyone wanting to take away their hard-earned dollar. [The general public] are not stupid, but we are unaware of how things work.

Q. Does “The Seventh Python” stoke your ego, or provoke your contempt for fame?

A. It’s a wriggly, awkward place to be, I’ll tell you [laughs]. I quite like that they went ’round with a photograph and nobody recognized me. My favorite bit was on Hollywood Boulevard, where the guy says, “So, you’re making a documentary about somebody nobody knows?” Fame and money have become the twin pillars of modern culture. I love the idea of a D-list celebrity, which is someone who’s been hit on the head by Tiger Woods’ golf ball.

Q. Would people at The Fest for Beatles Fans have the same trouble with the photo?

A. No, no. I just don’t cross into the mainstream. I’ve [witnessed] very big fame through people I know. It’s a lot more fun being a Rutle than a Beatle!

Q. Will you find the type of fans who made life challenging for the Beatles at the Fest?

A. No; it’s people on a voluntary Lost Weekend with family, playing songs to each other that they love. What unites everybody is a preferable reality to the one that comes down the pipe every other day of the year. It’s a little oasis of friendliness and hope. I’m incredibly flattered that they should find the Rutles songs not that wide of the mark.

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