You Think You Really Know Me: The Gary Wilson Story

  • 2005
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Documentary

Hipster enthusiasms for lounge music and outsider art converged with the 2002 re-release of Gary Wilson's cracked, 1977 cult oddity, You Think You Really Know Me, originally recorded on a cheap, Teac reel-to-reel in Wilson's father's damp basement and featuring such genre-hopping tracks as "6.4=Make Out," "Chromium Bitch" and "Groovy Girls Make Love at the...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Hipster enthusiasms for lounge music and outsider art converged with the 2002 re-release of Gary Wilson's cracked, 1977 cult oddity, You Think You Really Know Me, originally recorded on a cheap, Teac reel-to-reel in Wilson's father's damp basement and featuring such genre-hopping tracks as "6.4=Make Out," "Chromium Bitch" and "Groovy Girls Make Love at the Beach." To a post-everything music scene too self-consciously arch for its own good, Wilson's album was a refreshing blast of outre genius. But who was this guy who wrote geekily surreal heartbreak ballads and was recording electro-white boy funk when Beck — an avowed Wilson fan — was only seven? Anxious to find out, filmmaker Michael Wolk enlists Christina Bates and Adrian Milan of Motel Records to guide him through the bizarro world of Gary Wilson. Though previous Motel Records releases had included such offbeat cultural artifacts as the sexadelic soundtrack to Jess Franco's Vampyros Lesbos and the Bollywood music Bombay the Hard Way compilations, Bates and Milan were floored by a vinyl reissue of Wilson's magnum opus. Deciding to add You Think... to the label's catalogue was easy. Finding Wilson —who, for all they knew, was long dead and gone — wasn't. Bates and Milan traced Wilson's roots back to the small, fading shoe-factory town of Endicott, NY, in hopes of finding a member of Wilson's backing band, "Blind Dates," and unearthed the legacy of a small, underground scene of art-damaged high-school students led by none other than Wilson himself. Many of the now-grown Dates were more than willing to share memories for Wolk's camera: Frank Roma, once an aspiring experimental filmmaker, was also willing to share the odd 16mm shorts he made with Wilson and their friends. And one was even able to point them to Wilson himself, who left Endicott in 1978 and now worked in a San Diego adult bookstore. Thanks to the enthusiasm of these two dedicated music lovers, Wilson's odd story gained a happy ending. Wilson's reissued record became a hot seller at NYC's trend-setting record store, Other Music, leading to a profile in the New York Times, a sold-out show at Manhattan's Joe's Pub and, finally, a trip back to Endicott for a welcome home concert. In addition to Bates and Milan, Wilson is equally well-served by Wolk, a filmmaker who understands and respects this peculiar genius, and who offers up Wilson's incredibly strange music without ever resorting the kind of condescension that pervades the treatment of so much so-called outsider art.

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  • Released: 2005
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Hipster enthusiasms for lounge music and outsider art converged with the 2002 re-release of Gary Wilson's cracked, 1977 cult oddity, You Think You Really Know Me, originally recorded on a cheap, Teac reel-to-reel in Wilson's father's damp basement and feat… (more)

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