Through his time playing in bands, studying film and music at Black Hawk College, and managing Co-Op Records locations, Moline native Mick Gochanour says he wasn’t a major fan of the Rolling Stones.
“I’d always been a fan of the singles. ‘Ruby Tuesday,’ stuff like that, I was crazy about,” he recalled.
But once he began compiling Stones video footage for a full-length concert film, Gochanour said, “I became one.”
“It wasn’t until I started working very intimately on this stuff that I become a true fan,” he added in a telephone interview from New York.
Gochanour is the director of film for Abkco, the company that has the rights to audio and video properties of the Rolling Stones, as well as other British Invasion acts and the late soul singer Sam Cooke.
His most recent, and largest, project is creating a concert movie from footage gathered for the box set “Charlie is My Darling: Ireland 1965,” which was released late in 2012. He said the restoration was targeted to the band’s 50th anniversary.
“We created this concert film out of this footage we discovered,” he said.
In ‘65, Stones manager-producer Andrew Oldham hired filmmaker Peter Whitehead to go with the band on a two-day trip to Ireland.
“He was trying to do a screen test because he wanted to find a vehicle for the Stones that was similar to what The Beatles were doing at the time with ‘(A) Hard Day’s Night,’ ” Gochanour said. “He wanted to see how their personalities would emerge on-screen.”
The footage was never intended to be a film, he said, and the idea was scrapped not long thereafter.
“When they got back to England, the Stones went on to California and stayed focused on their musical career. They let that piece go and they didn’t follow their film careers at that point,” Gochanour said. Years later, “I was going through the (Abkco) vaults and I stumbled across maybe four or five hours more of footage that their guy had shot but didn’t use,” he said. “In fact, they didn’t even process it. It was still in the cans.”
The undeveloped film included performances as well as footage of the band in transit. The original was shot on a 16mm camera while the photographer moved from place to place throughout the theater, which, Gochanour said, was comparable in size to the Capitol Theatre in downtown Davenport.
He called the original more of a cinéma vérité style while his editing is making it more of a narrative.
“I’ve got the narrative lens of 47 years going for me,” he added.
The 1965 performance, he said, reminded him of watching punk bands such as the Sex Pistols or The Clash in the 1970s.
“They were so visceral live. I had never seen these guys live before, except on TV, at that age,” Gochanour said. “These kids were ripping it up there. You don’t get that on TV because it’s all directors and cameras, people telling them to stop and start, and usually playing to a backing track. Here, it’s all really them.”
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Gochanour said he could see that lasting potential in lead singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards.
“What emerges from this is how focused (Jagger) is, even at that age, 22,” he said. “It’s very conspicuous that Keith doesn’t say very much throughout this whole piece. However, I think you feel that he’s pushing the music all the way through.”
The title “Charlie is My Darling” came from an observation someone made that drummer Charlie Watts was the most accessible of the Stones to audiences.
“He had the most endearing, self-effacing attitude and was just the most humble and all that sort of stuff,” Gochanour said. “He was the personality.”
The title is also the name of an Irish folk song, appropriate for a film documenting an Irish concert tour, he said.
While Gochanour worked as a producer on restoring another concert film by the band, “Rolling Stones Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus,” “Charlie” is a completely new release.
“Some people don’t know what happened in terms of locating this footage and how important it was to find it. It was like ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ or finding a Picasso in the attic. It was just astounding,” he said. “To think that this stuff had been sitting in cans for 44 years, nobody even knowing.”
Gochanour, now 60, began the project in February 2011, the time the material’s first official release.
“Even back when I worked at Co-Op Records, I knew all about ‘Charlie is My Darling.’ It was a wonderful bootleg, along with ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus,’ ” he said. “They were staples of the bootleg market for years and years and years but had never been released. I fortunately got to do both of them.”