CULTURE

Documentary elevates shy rock retirees to cult status

Music documentaries may be crowd pleasers, once the crowd actually gets to the theater, but they?re rarely seen outside of the circle of fans for the music or band that they depict. Two notable exceptions from Greece are ?T 4 Trouble? by Dimitris Atheridis on the life of the Greek-American guitarist Terry Papadinas, which was screened at last year?s Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, and ?Lost Bodies? by Yiannis Misouridis, which will be screened at the same event this year (March 11-20) and which focuses on the lives of Thanos Kois and Antonis Papaspyrou, founders of the band with that name.

The alternative rock band emerged in 1988 and had a brief but notable recording career that has now, since they have retired, elevated them to cult status in the Greek underground music scene.

?Yiannis [Misouridis] avoided the usual traps of the musical documentary, which show rockers having a blast and include interviews with music critics,? Kois told Kathimerini at the documentary?s first screening at the Exile Room in Athens in late February, where he appeared along with the filmmaker.

?Rock documentaries tend to be very conventional,? added Misouridis, ?but, my work tells the stories of people. Even when it is about a band, I am more interested in focusing on the people than on the music.?

The idea for the documentary came to Misouridis in 2004 when he was working with a local jewelry designer. A man walked into her store one day dressed in dirty overalls, covered in dust and with plaster in his hair. It was Kois, the lead singer of Lost Bodies, who was working as a shop fitter at the time. Kois recognized him and could not help being intrigued. He asked him if he could make a documentary about the band and Kois agreed on the spot.

Misouridis filmed the two members of the defunct band over the course of seven years, eventually whittling the material down to 33 minutes.

Papaspyrou, did not attend the first screening of the documentary and does not like interviews, just like he doesn?t like performing live. In the documentary he puts the reason down to hating rehearsals and repetition. Kois, however, said at the Exile Room that the reason is because he?s shy. ?Putting a piece together is magic,? said Kois, ?but when you feel the love from the audience, it?s something else. This is something Antonis never experienced,? he added in reference to the fact that his partner never appeared on stage with him.

Papaspyrou was also reluctant to appear in the documentary. The 51-year-old musician lives in Rhodes and not only is he camera-shy but also did not want to come to Athens for the purposes of the documentary.

?A documentary filmmaker is like a talent scout,? said Misouridis. ?These guys have a great sense of humor and they think about things very differently than I do.?

Kois and Papaspyrou grew up nearby in the Athenian neighborhood of Kallithea and have been best friends since 1984. Crazy with collecting and making tapes, they released their first self-produced cassette of music in 1988. Their first live performance came in 1997, when the frontman of the highly popular band Trypes rooted them out and offered them a gig. Yiannis Angelakas also suggested that they compile the music from the tapes onto an album and went on to help them release a best-of album in 2008, which includes some of their most remarkable work.