How many young American males started playing guitars or drums in the 60’s and then formed rock groups? After seeing the Beatles and the Stones, as well as successful American rock groups, and the responses of girls to the bands, it was almost a natural progression.
Not Fade Away is autobiographical fiction that tells the story of a young man in a rock band in New Jersey in the second half of the 1960’s. From the rehearsals in garages, to the first gigs in basement corners, to meetings with agents, to the eventual journey to the west coast.
Writer/director David Chase was in such a band. The story is not particularly compelling, but Not Fade Away captures the mood and feel of the 60’s with amazing accuracy. Arguments with parents about the Vietnam War and comments from dads about long hair are parts of the 60’s many of us recall.
Of course, the centerpiece of the movie is the music. I loved hearing forgotten 60’s hits like Pretty Ballerina by Left Banke and Itchykoo Park by Small Faces.
Not Fade Away is a period piece that is more about recapturing the feel of those memorable years in Chase’s life than it is about characters and plot. For most baby boomers, especially those who loved the music of the era, Not Fade Away is a fun trip back in time.