It’s evident from watching “The Sopranos” that David Chase is a rock ‘n’ roll fan. His love for the music is comes to the fore in his big-screen directing debut, “Not Fade Away.”
Best known for writing for television, Chase worked on shows like “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” and “The Rockford Files” before creating the groundbreaking “The Sopranos,” which ran from 1999 to 2007. And even though Chase likes “Mad Men” and “Boardwalk Empire” today, he considers himself more of a movie guy.
“Not Fade Away” tells the story of a 1960s-era, Rolling Stones-influenced band that wasn’t successful, but generated its fair share of drama between band members, family, and girls.
Chase himself played bass and sang in a band.
“Like in the movie, [our band] pooled our money and made a demo,” he says. “And that was it.”
He adds: “Other than that, we never did anything. We never played a date in front of people. It would have ruined it. We played in the basement. We were our own audience. We considered ourselves a big supergroup in our town. It was all in our head.”
“Not Fade Away” has a simple plot, if that, and no big stars, though James Gandolfini, who played Tony Soprano, appears in a small, pivotal role.
Chase was influenced by films from the era, like Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Blow Up”; a clip of it is featured in “Not Fade Away” in a scene in which two characters ponder its moods and mysteries as they watch it in a movie house.
“I respond to movies where there’s a great deal of mood and texture, and plot kind of comes out of the behavior,” Chase says.
He didn’t specifically channel specific events from his past, but rather looked to memories.
“The events of the movie are not exactly the events of my life,” he says. “But the feelings and the emotional weight of it, how I felt about things at the time, how it felt to be in love, how I felt about music. That’s all there.”
He says that the music of the time played a huge part in shaping everything.
“It’s extremely powerful,” he says. “It really comes down to the whole human experience. Are we going to go with our worst or our best instincts? And rock ’n’ roll has both.”