Marshall Crenshaw Mounts Kickstarter Campaign for Tom Wilson Doc


Only 11 more days to go. Pitch in, punters.

By Fred Mills

Music geeks certainly know the name Tom Wilson – it appeared on the back of scores of key records back in the day, including albums by Sun Ra, Frank Zappa, Eric Burdon, Simon & Garfunkel, and a little old NYC garage combo called the Velvet Underground. What about the general public, though? Do they even know their Tom Wilsons from their Charlie Wilsons?

Marshall Crenshaw – you may have heard of him too – has obviously pondered that same question so he’s decided to make a documentary about the producer, and in the process is mounting a Kickstarter campaign to help get the thing funded. At the pledge page, Crenshaw duly notes, of his progress on the project thus far:

One question that I got asked a lot when I first got started on this project was, “Is there any film footage of Tom Wilson? Any audio? Will people be able to see, hear, and get a sense of this person when they see the movie about him?”. As of now I know the answer to be a big fat YES! We’ve discovered that there’s tons of still-unseen film footage of him in his element and in his heyday, AND we know of lots of places to look for more; the ongoing process of discovery has already begun.

There’s lots and lots of audio material too, beginning of course with the 40 one-hour “Music Factory” syndicated radio shows that Wilson produced and hosted during the late ’60s wherein he interviews people like Tim Buckley, The Velvet Underground, The Cowsills, fellow legendary-producers Teddy Reig and Artie Ripp, Dave Van Ronk, Sam the Sham, Frank Zappa, Johnny Tillotson (!!), many more.. And of course there are (still-unreleased) illuminating moments, conversations contained on unedited master tapes; later this month I’m going to a private listening session to check out some of that stuff. The movie that we want to make will bring a lot of incredible archive material to light for the first time, will be a feast for the eyes, ears, and souls of music fans.

That, for yours truly, is kind of the proverbial “holy shit” moment when it comes to piquing my interest in an archival release or documentary film. As of this writing Crenshaw has raised a little over $5k, with 11 days to go to reach a goal of $24,475. Let us go on record as saying this is the kind of film that has GOT to be made, folks, so head over to that pledge page where you can see the pitch trailer along with Crenshaw’s written updates.


Worth noting is that this Saturday night (Feb. 27) Crenshaw will be on the radio with a re-airing of an earlier installment of his show that’s pretty relevant to this Wilson discussion. Notes Crenshaw, “[The show is] The Bottomless Pit, WFUV and, Saturdays @ 10PM EST, [of one] I did back in Oct. 2013, right after Irwin Chusid’s website was launched ( After doing the shows, I wanted more. There’s a huge gap in the Historical Record of Popular Music where Wilson’s story, in detail and depth, should be. Anyway, these radio shows were the start of Me being pulled down into this rabbit-hole.”

As with us all, Marshall.

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