The new rock documentary "Hired Gun: Out Of The Shadows, Into The Spotlight" received a one-night showing on June 29 at several hundred North American locations through Fathom Events. The film chronicles the story of world-renowned musicians who are not household names, but are instead the session and backup musicians who have performed at concerts and on countless recordings with huge stars yet remain largely unknown to the public.
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH guitarist Jason Hook, who came up as a session musician himself through stints with Mandy Moore, Hilary Duff, Vince Neil and Alice Cooper, teamed with filmmaker Fran Strine to make the film happen.
During a recent appearance on "The Morning Blend" on Las Vegas ABC affiliate KTNV, Hook stated about "Hired Gun" (see video below): "Basically, the movie focuses on musicians that are hired to play for celebrity artists. I used to do hired-gun work before I got into FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, so I had my own story to tell. But I also know so many musicians myself that I could call up for their story. So right away I knew I could get my hands on some good content."
Hook said that he wanted the film to be an accurate depiction of both the glamorous side of being a sideman and the lifestyle's considerable downsides — such as the pay, which can often be minuscule, and the fact that you can be as disposable as toilet paper.
"My experience was that, growing up, I was, like, 'I wanna be a rock star. I wanna be famous. I wanna be on the big stage under the lights,'" he said. "So I found myself in that situation playing… I was with Hilary Duff, Alice Cooper — these big gigs — but then I started thinking, 'This really has nothing to do with me, and I'm replaceable.' So I'm, like, 'I get the feeling, but it's shallow. It's not the deep feeling. There's no satisfaction.'"
Hook also talked about the "sheer-terror" moment when he realized it could all be taken away from him in an instant.
"What happens is you can make some good money being a hired gun," he said. "So you start to see this income. I'm, like, 'Well, I have never had money. So now I wanna have nice things. I wanna have a car and a house, and I'm gonna grow up now.' But the thing is, at any given moment, they can just shut the gig off. And I learned that the hard way. I had these major bills, and all of sudden I read the e-mail that says, 'Nothing personal, but we're taking the artist's career in a different direction, and thank you. Best of luck.' And I'm, like, 'No no no no no. This can't happen. I just bought this place. I have this massive mortgage payment.'"
The documentary goes behind the scenes and explores the personalities and creativity of the best session players and backup musicians in the world. Among the artists interviewed are JOHN MELLENCAMP drummer Kenny Aronoff, former OZZY OSBOURNE bassist Rudy Sarzo, ex-METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted, KISS drummer Eric Singer, guitarist John 5 from Rob Zombie's band, TOTO axeman Steve Lukather, ALICE COOPER guitarist Nita Strauss and many more.
Hook told The Pulse Of Radio about the common theme that runs through the movie. "Everybody we talked to had like one 'holy cow' story — some good and some horrific — about their experience playing their instrument for some artist," he said. "And so what we found was that if we strung all these 'holy cow' moments together, we ended up with a 'holy cow' movie."