WITH: Bob Ray, writer-director of the
punk rock glory story, ROCK OPERA & Jerry Clark, the movieās
I met Jerry at the monster truck rally & Harley biker
fest back in '82. His uncle was a biker and mine was a monster
truck racer. They got tangled up in a fight at the post race
party. My uncle beat the shit outta that biker goon. I noticed
that Jerry found it nearly as funny as I did that his uncle
was getting the shit kicked out of him and we instantly hit
Yeah, but at least my uncle did get laid from a pity fuck. But
I guess that's neither here nor there as me and Bob hung out
we realized how much we had in common being you uns at the biker
fest. Needless to say we reeked havoc amongst the drunken and
drugged up rednecks. I guess we seemed destined to have incredibly
insane stuff happen to and around us over the years. Which led
to a certain time in our lives that we just had to pseudo re-enact
and dramatize it for the public to see.
That about sums it up. Me and Jerry played together in bands,
and on the same kick ball team, we had our own pirate radio
show and we shot a shit load of films together over the years.
Shooting films is where we found our calling. We were like a
well lubed tag-team, me behind the camera and Jerry in front.
We would occasionally high five over her back and she would
say, "Did you just high five?" and I would think "Cameras can't
WHAT'S YOUR FILM ALL ABOUT?
The film perty much revolves around a scraggly starving
musician who wants to play music, delve into substances, get
his band on the road and somehow wrestle a fire-breathing goddess
into a chicken wing half-nelson. To do this he will pretty much
fuck over half a dozen of the meanest sons o' bitches in Texas.
And who wouldn't? I mean, chicken wing? I think that it's due
to these little details of life that the film has a universal
appeal. ROCK OPERA is a story that just about any one can relate
UP WITH THE TITLE?
Well, the good news is that there ain't a lick of opera in the
entire picture show. Despite that fact, the best title choices
were ROCK OPERA and ROHYPNOL SUMMER. In the long run, I just
figured that since there's about as much date rape in the film
as there is opera, it wouldn't be proper to get folks all riled
up about something like that and not come through for them.
It just seemed wrong, the movie's not about frat boys, after
all. And, you know, who really cares about opera anyway?
I dunno I wouldn't mind slippinā the old singinā fat lady a
ruffie or two, ahem..heh...aaaaaww I'm just jokin' sheesh.Yeah,
there were some other titles we had in mind as well, but screw
it. Who wants to freak out over a title when what we really
need to do is stab this ridiculous rock and roll story into
the fragile eyes of the public?
TEXAS CRUDE was another option, but again, misleading. What
we have here is a goof ball action-comedy-thriller about a band
struggling in the Austin underground music scene. ROCK OPERA
seemed to be the least misleading. And opera's are a big production
sort of like the main character, Toe seems to make of his life;
WAS YOUR BUDGET, SCHEDULE?
The production budget was around thirty big ones (thirty
dollareenies ) that's thirty donuts. About half of that was
raised through investors. The rest of the loot came from a combination
of places, some was money I had saved while working as an iron
worker-welder and the chronic abuse of my wife's credit card
covered the difference.
Budget? Whatās a budget? Hey did I mention I did this for the
love and only the love of my director? Oh and maybe for the
possibility that I might get laid since it will be premiering
at the Dobie Theater in Austin, Texas for South by South West
Film Fest. And maybe I might even be able to swing more acting
jobs in the future.
YOU SACRIFICE ANYTHING BECAUSE OF BUDGET?
Only the drug induced WWII re-enactment hallucination scene
and the Sasquatch love sequence.
Not to mention I did all my own stunts which was worse than
being Someone help me!
We couldnāt afford the marmosets either. But, we made
the best of it and came out with a damn fine movie, I must say.
DID YOU DO IT?
I did it because acting and playing music are the two most important
things in my life and I think it would be great if I could actually
do this and get paid lots of money for it. Yep, I guess that's
a dream I share with thousands of others but dammit I don't
wanna dig freakin' ditches for the rest of my damn life there's
no women throwing themselves at guys who do that ..and I don't
wanna end up in some tower shooting at the public with a high-powered
I did it on a dare. A triple dog dare. That and Lone Star beer
gave us some free beer to use as props and we wouldn't want
to let them down (I hear they have hit men on the payroll).
Needless to say, we had to make the movie. For the beer's sake.
IT WORTH IT?
Was it worth it? I could answer that question on so many levels
but, I'll be honest, if I get laid by a nice hot li'l mama because
of it, then yes, it all will have been worth it entirely . So
I guess Iāll have to wait and see.
Damn straight it was worth it. Now we get to write a Filmmaker's
War Story. And get to work on the next one. I wanna explode
more stuff on the next one.
ADVICE OR PEARLS OF FILMMAKING WISDOM?
Same old shit. Be really prepared. You are never really prepared.
If you think you are prepared, you are wrong, prepare more.
A lack of good organization will bite you in the ass. Youāve
heard it a million times and here it is again, be prepared.
Note: If your script sucks then
all that preparation crap will just be a waste of time, so forget
about that part and just get it over with. And finally, that's
why they call it dope.
I know this may sound cheesy and gay but if you are following
your heart and know you're being true to what you wanna do I
don't think you could ever go wrong..Jeez, does that sound silly?
We are having our world premiere at the South by South West
Film Festival on March 13th of 1999 at the fabulous Dobie Theater.
SXSW put ROCK OPERA in the midnight slot, a time reserved for
especially subversive type films like ROCK OPERA and CANNIBAL!
THE MUSICAL (the Trey Parker and Matt Stone film that occupied
the slot last year). I figure that I'd sell the film at the
fest and collect a hundred million thousand dollars and then
I'll make a good old fashion trucker movie, or a zombie flick,
or something about arson and justice or staple guns. Whatever
it is I think it should involve exploding trailer parks and
eighteen-wheelers. In the mean time, Iāll ride the festival
roller coaster with ROCK OPERA, and squeeze in short films whenever
Well I'm gunna actually direct my own li'l short movie on super
8 and ride Bob's coattails into glory being the next ridiculous
character he needs for his next movie or he might just find
himself held at gunpoint.
up with the low down on ROCK OPERA and all the other antics
of Bob and Jerry at the CrashCam home page:
the film at SXSW (March 13th, 15th & 16th at the Dobie):
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