Steal Away: A (Sort Of) Rock N’ Roll Fantasy

 

What does it mean to be a rock n’ roll star? Nick Neizpadziani and the boys in Yacht Rock Revue (the world’s most successful cover band) have some rather unique insight. Nick and his bandmates’ strange experience of sold-out crowds, quasi-fame, and life on eleven in an increasingly popular touring act is the subject of Chorus Films’ feature “Steal Away: A Yachtumentary”.  

Director, Troy Bieser and Writer, Jonathan Schmitt initially decided to document the unlikely success of the band in a short-doc three years ago.  “Since we began,” Bieser explains “their success just kept … going. Much to their surprise. What was to be just a short-form began unfurling into a three-year process of capturing the boys’ continued rise.”  Schmitt elaborates: “What they do, to me, has attained a heroic level of performance art. Add in the nostalgia fetishism that feeds into their continued ascent, and you have the makings of a Rock Doc altogether unique.”

Executive Producer, Judith Hoffman and Producer, Meagan Massa have had to help navigate the often last-minute demands of a documentary that hop-scotches all over the U.S. — from travel, to permits, to endless releases.  But the process has been satisfying in many ways. “The Tabernacle shoot was a high point for both Chorus and the band,” states Massa.  “Ten cameras, filming a live three-hour set with a positively rabid audience … it took work but was quite the event.”  Hoffman adds; “From cruise ships to venues, from fans to the paragons of the Yacht Rock genre itself, we’ve been able to capture it all.”

The third act of the film sees the band putting their strange and meteoric success at risk by committing the cardinal sin of writing, recording, and releasing an album of original music.  “I’m half prepared for people to simply not give a shit, be annoyed, or to dismiss it out of hand,” says Niezpodzani.  “But what is life without risk? I don’t want to look back on my time and regret not taking the swing.”  He continues: “That said: having that process documented is a little terrifying. We’re kind of opening ourselves up for mockery as an easy target.”

For Bieser, the film becomes about the transcendence of music, and the guts it takes to stand on your own merits. “The boys’ are incredibly self-aware,” he explains. “They aren’t under any illusions as to the easy critical swipes that will be taken at them for wanting to be a real band. Hell, the film itself could be utterly panned as garbage. But like them, Jon and I like the challenge of telling an unlikely story and finding something unexpected.”

“Many of us wear a costume of some sort, “Bieser insists.  “A lawyer. A goth. A punk. A day-trader. An insurance salesman. A hardass. Even a filmmaker. Seeking to be something beyond ourselves is a universal story.”  Schmitt picks up the sentiment: “I respect Nick and the guys a ton for aspiring to be more. I think people will be surprised by them and this film.”

Check out the extended trailer here: