Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
A Wellington cultural institution for longer than the Film Festival, The Windy City Strugglers finally get their close-up in Costa Botes’ funny, affectionate music documentary. First appearing in 1968, when The Stones were the world’s most famous blues band, The Strugglers were founded by Australian draft-dodger Bill Lake, and emulated the gentler blues of Memphis jug bands. Lake’s flatmate and friend Rick Bryant would soon join the band. As other groups rose and fell around him, Bryant would always come back to The Strugglers. Covering songs they loved, they eventually evolved into first-rate songwriters themselves. Botes talks to Strugglers past and present, draws colourful anecdotage from such reliable witnesses as Simon Morris, Graham Brazier and Midge Marsden – and whips in a few music industry types to reveal the limitations of the commercial world. The saga Botes traces here is such a distinctively Kiwi one, with a shy guy at the heart of it. Stoically self-effacing offstage, Lake gently asserts the value of changing only enough to stay true to the stuff you love.