Gravitas Ventures, an Anthem Sports & Entertainment Company, is proud to announce the upcoming release of JOHN WAITE – THE HARD WAY, an intimate documentary film of the 80s rock icon John Waite as he reflects on his storied five-decade career. Through raw, emotional, and very personal interviews during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, the film explores the idea of what happens when your whole life revolves around live music, and suddenly life gets interrupted.
With a multi-platform launch date of Tuesday, December 6, 2022, JOHN WAITE – THE HARD WAY will be available across all major streaming services including Apple TV, Amazon, Roku, and Google Chromecast, among others. DVD and BluRay Discs will also be available for purchase on Amazon.com. Watch the official trailer HERE.
From pioneer rock-video band The Babys in the 1970s to his breakthrough as a solo artist and one of the first stars of the MTV era, to his time fronting supergroup Bad English, to touring with Ringo Starr, Waite recounts his struggles inside the commercialized world of the music business and his independent pursuits as a self-powered solo, live music artist. Producing more than a dozen Top 40 and rock hits throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s, with total sales of approximately 10M copies, Waite is known for his iconic No. 1 hits including “Missing You” and “When I See You Smile.”
More of a narrative about the struggles of an artist than a typical “music documentary,” JOHN WAITE – THE HARD WAY was captured during the COVID-19 pandemic and discovers a triumph in the shared experience of music at a time in our world when live music was not possible. For the past 30 years Waite’s “do it yourself” approach to touring and live performances around the world have been his way to survive in life and financially, and as he comes to terms with it in the film… emotionally. When performing live is suddenly not an option – he’s forced to finally confront himself.
“Opening the front door at the crack of dawn in my boxers to a film crew signified how the documentary would go,” said Waite. “It’s an unvarnished take on my life, just the cold hard truth.”
Best known for his work on hit music documentaries ZAPPA, Echo in the Canyon, and The Play at Shea, JOHN WAITE – THE HARD WAY is directed, written, and co-produced by Mike J. Nichols. Nichols said, “The underscore of The Hard Way is about ‘shared experiences or, more specifically, the ‘lack’ of shared experiences due to our recent times. To have something so human, raw, and beautiful come from such an ugly situation makes me so proud to finally be sharing this film with audiences. You don’t need to be a John Waite fan to enjoy this film, but I bet you’ll be one by the final credits.”
Producer Scott Wright (aka “Shadow Steele”), a former NY & LA radio personality, conceived and launched the project. He first met Waite when interviewing him on his radio show at Z-100 in New York in 1984, when “Missing You” was on its way to No. 1. Wright explains, “I stayed in touch with John over the years and as I got to know him, found him to be a fascinating character, and thought his story and multi-decade DIY career would make a compelling film.”
JOHN WAITE – THE HARD WAY is also produced by award-winning producer Michele Farinola (Linda Ronstadt: The Sound Of My Voice, David Crosby: Remember My Name). Farinola said, “We are so excited that Gravitas Ventures saw The Hard Way as more than just a typical music documentary. They saw the long-tail experience of the viewer becoming more emotionally invested beyond the standard bio-pic filmmaking. You can’t help but root for John Waite in his quest for artistic integrity and creative independence.”
Featuring lost and rare archival music videos and photos, the film includes candid interviews with multi-award-winning songwriter Diane Warren, hit songwriter/guitarist Neil Giraldo, and many others, in addition to feature footage from Waite’s tour with Ringo Starr and his collaboration with country superstar Alison Krauss.
Waite’s new album Singles, a collection of his 18 greatest hits, and Anything, a new four-song EP was recently released on his label No Brakes Records. Both are available nationally at all Target retailers, streaming services, and his website. He is currently on tour across the U.S. (concert dates and ticketing links can be found here).
Gravitas Ventures acquired the U.S. and Canadian distribution rights for the film in 2022. Additional Gravitas Ventures’ recent releases include Michael Lembeck’s Queen Bees; Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Our Friend, starring Casey Affleck, Dakota Johnson, and Jason Segel; Vanguard, directed by Stanley Tong and starring Jackie Chan; and Andy Tennant’s The Secret: Dare to Dream, starring Katie Holmes.
Runtime: 91 minutes
TV Rating: TV-MA
VOD, DVD, & BD Release Date: December 6, 2022
VOD distribution by Gravitas Ventures.
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