Paper Bag dvd's
We have gone to the videotape (tip of the hat to Warner Wolf) since Bag #6 in 1983. From a few of the early years we have tape from 3 or 4 different camera angles. I also have tapes of "the Paper Bag as Seen by Bill Mason." There is some hysterical footage from the "Tell Your Story Here Booth." Most Bags are 6 hours long, 3 vhs tapes. In all there are over 200 hours of live video from the Paper Bag. It is all different, but it is all the same. The quality improves as time goes on.
In the beginning, it was Bill Stephens, former owner of Chelsea's in Huntington, who was our director. For two bags, we were the beneficiary of "no-charge rentals" of complete video rigs (cameras, effects generators, switches, monitors, cables, the works) from Sam Ash. My brother Phil took over the console for these bags. Beginning with Bag #11 at the Salty Dog the videotaping was done by George Walden and Rainbow Video who kept at it for 11 years. Finally, good old George came up to me and told me he was tired and couldn't take it anymore and he was moving to Pennsylvania. During Bag #22 we had our only video disaster. Un-named Company (name omitted to protect the incompetent) failed to insure that the audio signal was clean. The audio is on the recording has overload distortion. Then… look … up in the sky … is it a bird? … is it a plane? … it's EKO Productions! Yes, Ralph and Ralph and Steve have recorded the bag ever since. It tuns out that Ralph and Ralph had worked for Rainbow and Un-named Idiot and have now been taping the Bag for over 20 years. They were rewarded with MVP Awards at Bag #29.
You must realize that taping a Paper Bag is nuts. 6 hour show, no break, live show, can't really hear the intercom to communicate, do all post production work on the fly, no chance for error (see Un-named Idiot above). Every year the dvd I get from EKO is more and more impressive.
Finally, de eye in de sky don't lie. It's live entertainment. Sometimes we sing out of tune (or in the wrong key), ocassionally we crash and burn, I pitch a hissy fit here and there … it's all on there - along with the songs where we kick butt and are without a doubt the coolest rock band there ever was.