Blood, Sweat & Tears venture behind the Iron Curtain in the wild new trailer for the upcoming documentary, What the hell happened to blood, sweat and tears?
As the clip shows early on, Blood, Sweat, & Tears were briefly the biggest band in America – Grammy winners with huge hits like “Spinning Wheel”. But in 1970, at the height of their power and the Vietnam War, the US State Department enlisted the group on a tour of three Soviet-allied countries: Poland, Romania, and the former Yugoslavia. It seems like US government pawns Blood, Sweat & Tears didn’t exactly endear the counterculture that previously embraced them, and their popular status never recovered (the tour landed at No. Rolling stone‘s list of the “Worst Decisions in Music History”).
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The reason they agreed to the tour, guitarist-singer Steve Katz claims in the trailer, was because they were being blackmailed. While the new trailer offers no further details on that part of the story, it does tease the band’s tumultuous, surreal adventures behind the Iron Curtain – a striking mix of excited young fans and violent authoritarianism.
In an email to Rolling stone, director John Scheinfeld explained how he came to tell this story. He said he had always been a big fan of BS&T and had long wondered what the hell happened to them. Only after talking to drummer Bobby Colomby was he finally able to ask, and Colomby’s “answer was so intriguing, so compelling, I just had to make this movie.”
Scheifeld added, “It was absolutely fascinating to me that Blood, Sweat & Tears was a victim of cancellation culture long before we started using this phrase. Political criticism usually comes from one side or the other. But in a unique set of circumstances, BS&T was hammered by the right And left. Even more astonishing, we found that the tape played a role in geopolitical conversations in the Nixon White House and at the highest levels of government in three communist countries.
Colomby also spoke about the tour and its lasting impact on him in an email, saying, “This Eastern European tour has changed our lives. We were sure of one thing, that as bad as the Nixon administration seemed to be and as horrific as the Vietnam War was…we knew that communism, which we experienced first hand, was not a viable political alternative for America… never.”
What the hell happened with blood, sweat and tears contains a wealth of never-before-seen archival material, as well as contemporary interviews with five of the nine members. The film will premiere in New York City and Los Angeles on March 24, before expanding to cinemas in the US and Canada through Abramorama.
The film will also be accompanied by an original soundtrack featuring 10 recently discovered and remastered songs from the BS&T Iron Curtain tour, which will be released on April 21.
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