While working on Don't Give Up Your Day Job — a documentary exploring the lives of "hidden musicians"— filmmaker Tom Weber met Steve Bodner, of local band The Damaged Pies. "He's a guy who, when his family goes on vacation, he finds the local rock 'n' roll shrine and plays a gig there. And that to me is just fascinating," Weber says. "As soon as I met him I was like, ‘Wow, this guy is perfect.'"
Thursday, at Club Café, The Damaged Pies open for singer-songwriter Peter Case — who happened to be the focus of an earlier Weber documentary, Troubadour Blues. Weber, an Erie native, will be at the show, too, collecting footage of Bodner for Don't Give Up Your Day Job, which is still in production. While Troubadour Blues looked at life on the road from the perspective of a few ramblin' singer-songwriters, Weber's new film focuses on the musicians at home, with families to support and mortgages to pay. "The point I'm kind of after is to showcase where the real talent and the real creativity in music is: outside of the spotlight."
That title is not to imply that his subjects should pack it up. Rather, Weber — who began making Super 8 movies as a kid, and went on to get his master's in radio, TV and film — hopes to give viewers a sense of the un-famous musician's life. Weber began by interviewing musicians from Erie and Pittsburgh. Having promoted Troubadour Blues the way an independent musician promotes a record — by going on a national tour and holding screenings at small music venues — Weber befriended musicians from across the country, many of whom are in the film.
"We never hear about the millions of people who play in bands on the weekends or make a living as a musician [by playing] in four or five bands and teaching lessons," he says. "But I think their stories are, in many ways, more interesting than those of famous musicians."