published Friday, June 15th, 2012

Back Row film series profiles Hampton in ‘Basically Frightened’


What: “Basically Frightened: The Musical Madness of Colonel Bruce Hampton.”

When: 6 p.m. Thursday.

Where: Chattanooga Theatre Centre, 400 River St.

Admission: $10.

Phone: 267-1218.

Bruce Hampton is sort of like everyone’s crazy uncle, said Arts & Education Council of Chattanooga program director Laurel Eldridge.

The Southern musician, who despite not being a household name has influence throughout the music industry, is the subject of the second of four offerings in the Arts & Education Council’s Back Row Film Series.

“Basically Frightened: The Musical Madness of Colonel Bruce Hampton,” a film about Hampton with interviews with many of the well-known people he has influenced, will be shown Thursday at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre.

A 6 p.m. reception will precede the 6:30 p.m. film screening. A question-and-answer session with Atlanta filmmaker Michael Koepenik will follow at 7:45 p.m.

“[Hampton] has his own technique and sound,” said Eldridge. “The best way to categorize him is a jam-band-type musician.”

Bands such as Widespread Panic, Phish and Blues Traveler look up to him, she said. They value his performance style and the dedication to that style he’s kept throughout his career, she said.

“He’s out there,” Eldridge said. “He’s very weird, but he has so much respect in the industry. His music is very, very good. If you like that type, you could sit and listen to it forever.”

The film includes interviews with Hampton’s friends and bandmates such as Billy Bob Thornton, Dave Matthews, Peter Buck and members of the Grateful Dead.

Hampton, 65, who formed his first band in 1963, portrayed Morris, the band manager, in Thornton’s 1996 film “Sling Blade”; was the voice of Warren, a talking potted shrubbery, in a 1998 episode of the TV show “Space Ghost Coast to Coast”; and appeared in the 2001 film “Outside Out.”

Dennis Palmer, a member of the Chattanooga-based Shaking Ray Levis duo, may be seen in the film, according to Eldridge, as he plays with Hampton’s band in footage shot locally at Barking Legs Theater.

The film premiered at the Atlanta Film Festival on March 30.

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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