Stratford artist Greg McLeod lends his skills to Sky Arts rockumentary King Rocker which tells tale of Robert Lloyd, frontman for The Nightingales and The Prefects
Rockumentary King Rocker debuts tonight (Saturday) on Sky Arts on Friday at 9pm (it’s free to see online) it tells the story of the cultish but little known Robert Lloyd frontman of Birmingham bands The Nightingales and The Prefects. His story is artfully and hilariously told by comedian Stewart Lee and Brass Eye director Michael Cumming. Most happily for us Stratford’s illustrator/animator/musician Greg McLeod was also involved, and here he tells Herald arts about it.
How did you get involved in King Rocker and which bits did you do? Tell us about the creative process.
As I understand it Michael Cummings and Stewart Lee were doing a talk at the Flatpack Festival in Birmingham and saw some of my images from an exhibition I was doing as part of the festival. They approached me afterwards about doing some animation on their film. I’m a big fan of both their work and so jumped at the chance to work with them. Coupled with it being a music documentary about a band from Birmingham where I grew up it was a no-brainer. There were a few stories where there was no actual footage so my job was to create some clips to fill those holes.
Have you seen the finished version, and what did you think of it?
I’ve seen a rough cut and I loved it. I’ve watched a ton of music documentaries and this
is very different and all the better for it.
Were you familiar with Lloyd/the Nightingales previously, and are you now a fan/more of a fan?
They’d been on my radar and had heard some of their stuff. I’ve been in bands since the late 80’s and there was one sound engineer at The Hummingbird who used to go on about them all the time. I’ve listened to them a lot since working on the film.
Best bit in it?
The Bo Diddley anecdote is very funny.
Why should people see it?
I think it’s about a band who seemed to have fallen under the radar, with a frontman who is fascinating and so far removed from the archetypal rock frontman. The music is great and the way the story unfolds is funny and moving.
Which band/artist would you do a documentary on?
Well my favorite band are The Oh Sees so that would be cool although I kind of like the mystery of not knowing too much. Maybe it would be a slightly surreal dreamlike documentary, an animated one where fact and fiction aren’t clear and you’re left at the end wondering what you just watched but feel you’ve been enlightened in some way by experiencing it.
What is your favourite rockumentary or documentary?
I used to have a VHS copy of The Compleat Beatles when I was a kid and watched it on a loop, it was one of the reasons I started playing drums and joined a band, Malcolm MacDowell’s narration was hypnotic. This doc made me aware of the Yellow Submarine film which was what got me into animating. In other words it’s all The Beatles fault.