I’m a huge Maynard fan.
Unfortunately, while my fandom for Reznor, Cantrell, and Cornell have taken me all over the place for shows….Maynard has been as elusive to me, personally, as he has been to the media. I’ve had conflicts galore, family emergencies, all sorts of things prevent me from ever seeing him much. Result: 1 Tool show, 1 Puscifer show, and 1 Whole Foods bottle signing. Considering the things his voice does to me, those are low numbers for me.
I had been anticipating this documentary forever. Luckily I snatched up a ticket as soon as it was announced, because it did sell out.
The night before the screening, I went to see Echotone. In an odd case of serendipity, the filmmakers of Blood Into Wine happened to sit next to me at the screening. Of course, they tried to conceal that fact as they asked me what I’d heard about the film. Sneaky, sneaky.
Viz Cinema is a really cool new space. It seats about 150, and the walls are filled with long, bare fluorescent bulbs to give it a slight industrial vibe. The audience was peppered with Tool shirt-wearing movie goers.
Blood Into Wine is a film of many layers, just like any great film should be. First, it tells the story from inception to present of Maynard’s winery- Caduceus Cellars. Then, it speaks to the development of Arizona as a wine region, and the challenges associated with that. It is constructed around the yearly cycle of winemaking- so that you learn about the process in a way that they can’t teach you when you take one of those Napa tours. And lastly, it’s a music film that shows you Maynard’s life in a way that’s never been captured before.
One thing I thought about while watching the scenes where Maynard is working in the vineyard or showing the fermentation process is how much of himself is in the wine. He’s literally had his hands in what we are drinking out of those bottles, unlike other musicians who’ve slapped their names on the labels of consumables. So I’m thinking about the spiritual effects his voice has on me when the sound enters my ears, and then the intoxicating effects of tasting his wine….Maynard is truly a multi-sensory musician. As a fan, this is something truly unique in terms of the way that you can experience an artist’s creations. Considering the religious ties to wine, when a fan says ‘Maynard is God’ (which they tend to say a lot), it takes the statement to a different level.
Without giving too much away, I’ll share some of my highlights. The most immediate thing that comes to mind is Maynard talking about his mother, Judith, for whom he named one of his wine’s after. Second would be Eric Glomski- Maynard’s mentor and partner in winemaking- describing how working in winemaking has developed his sense of smell. I also like how the film interwove supporting characters into the story- many of whom are truly characters in their own right.
Another thing that caught my eye were the shirts people wore in the film- at one point Maynard wears a Free Frances Bean shirt, and a writer for Wine Spectator wears a polo with a pot leaf on it.
Puscifer music is all throughout the film, as well as some great live footage, which is impossible to come by on youtube. So I finally got to see the country night (I saw them on the religious night), which featured quite a few shots of Jeff Friedl drumming in drag.
Afterward, all I wanted to do was go open one of my bottles of Chupacabra, listen to a mixture of Tool, APC, and Puscifer, and plan a pilgrimage to Jerome, AZ that would make a great piece for HRC. Stay tuned for that.