Listening: Featured Musician Denny Tedesco
Producer, Director, Documentary Filmmaker
Born: Burbank, California
Resides in: Woodland Hills, California
Favorite Food: Pesto
Favorite Book: Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
Favorite Song: “Political Science” by Randy Newman
Favorite Movie: Diner
Relationship Status/Children: Married with two children
Your documentary film The Wrecking Crew is about the anonymous first call session musicians in Los Angeles in the late 60’s. Your dad, the legendary guitarist Tommy Tedesco, was a member of this elite group of the same name. When he left the house every morning, what did you think he did for a living? I always knew that dad played a guitar for a living but never thought it was that different. I’m sure other kids probably did. That’s all I knew. When he went to work, he left like any other father. But he had a classical guitar, a Telecaster, a 12-string, a mandolin, and an acoustic guitar with an amp in the trunk of his car.
The Wrecking Crew created soundtracks for bands such as the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Sonny and Cher, The Monkees, The Carpenters, The 5th Dimension and Tijuana Brass, among many others. Was there music they weren’t involved with during those years? If it was done in Los Angeles in the early ’60’s, most likely The Wrecking Crew had something to do with it. Some groups would do their own after they got going, but the producers wanted to hedge their bets and get a hit out the door. Mr. Tambourine Man by the Byrds was a perfect example.
The Wrecking Crew was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2007, how many of the musicians were able to reunite and attend the ceremony? There were about 8 of them. It was in Nashville so it was hard to get folks out there. I'm glad they were honored.
The documentary was a family labor of love that began when your dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Has its making helped to deal with the loss of your dad? If you were a therapist, you might say I'm not letting this thing die so I can keep his memory alive. But the truth is, he really has never left me. I was always around him in his later years when he was doing seminars and concerts. So we were very close. Fought like cats and dogs sometimes, but we loved each other tremendously. He was my hero and I think he knew that.
The Wrecking Crew will be screened at the Napa Valley Opera House on Tuesday, March 5. Visit nvoh.org for more information.