Jam Band Meets SoCal Punk – Discussions on Music and Friendship

One of the things I like about the work I do is meeting cool people. I was fortunate to meet Dr. Julien Meyer Jr., although only briefly. He requested DVD copies of a video I did for an awards banquet at which he was being honored. In return he gave me a copy of his son Jeff’s coffee table book of portraits, The Art of Discovery, and connected the two of us. Jeff and I exchanged a couple of e-mails over the next year but I didn’t get to meet him until he was in Roanoke in June 2017. Unfortunately he was here because of his father’s failing health. He contacted me to see if we could go through the footage I shot for the awards ceremony video to edit together a memorial. It was a serendipitous meeting because during our edit his father passed away.

We met at my studio and spent the next two days going through the footage I had shot, doing two more interviews, and adding archival 8mm and Super 8mm family footage to the video. Jeff shared his family memories, his current day thoughts, ideas, and experiences, and projects. I shared with him my own family history, creative ideas, movie favorites, music favorites…

Music favs…

Grateful Dead.
Grateful Dead.

Ok, things were going great, then we started talking about music. I was always taught that at family get togethers, holidays, and dinners you NEVER bring up religion, politics, or sex (never mind that someone ALWAYS does). I need to add music to the list. Actually Jeff was the one who brought it up when he saw a Grateful Dead sticker on my car. I can’t remember how it worked its way into our conversation. It was getting late. We were neck deep into the edit. He said something like “I had my doubts about you when I saw the Dead sticker…” I interrupted and asked him what he listened to…Punk. MDC, The Dead Kennedys, T.S.O.L.

Pretty much the opposite of what I listen to…Grateful Dead, Allman Brother Band, Los Lobos, David Lindley, White Denim, Social Distortion, The Who, Jimi Hendrix,…

Wait a minute. Hendrix? Ok, we connected.

The Who? Pete Townshend was basically the God Father of Punk Rock. Social D? There’s two more!

I redeemed myself!


Music is a powerful thing. People are very passionate about it because it can evoke intense feelings, even without lyrics, that cannot be put into words. It makes people FEEL something.

Filmmaking does the same thing. Stories can connect people, divide people, bring up nostalgic  feelings, or ones you never want to feel again. When you can do that, you have made a human connection. Powerful shit.

We continued to swap artists and discovered that we shared some more musical interests.

I had bookmarked pictures in his book The Art Of Discovery, that I had used about a month prior, as reference shots for a client of mine. He said most of the ones I marked were some of his favorites.

Jeff finished the thought I had interrupted earlier, “I thought to myself, I had to get over the sticker…because you’re a pretty cool guy”.

It was more than I expected…a friendship was started.

The Art of Discovery, Hollywood Stars Reveal Their Inspirations - Photographs by Jeff Vespa.
The Art of Discovery, Hollywood Stars Reveal Their Inspirations – Photographs by Jeff Vespa.