In The Last Waltz, Martin Scorsese’s 1978 film about The Band’s infamous final concert, the focus is all on guitarist Robbie Robertson. Now Band drummer/singer Levon Helm, who passed away earlier this year (and for the record, wasn’t amused by Scorcese’s little film), is getting his due credit with a documentary of his own, set to screen in theaters nationwide next year.
Titled Ain’t in It for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm, the film chronicles Helm’s late-2000s comeback of sorts, marked by his 2007 album Dirt Farmer, 2009 Grammy-winning album Electric Dirt and his Midnight Ramble concert series. Director Jacob Hatley shot the film over a period of more than two years, spending much time on location at Helm’s Woodstock, N.Y. home.
Though it’s never screened in theaters as it will in 2012, the documentary was first released in 2010 and is available on Netflix (not on streaming, however). The film’s description on the site reads: ”Candid interviews and backstage footage reveal Helm’s battles with drugs, cancer, the death of his bandmates and financial ruin, as well as the drive that led to his Grammy-winning return.”
Helm has been celebrated widely following his death on April 19 at age 71, after a battle with throat cancer that dates back to the late 1990s. Artists like the Black Keys and John Fogerty covered The Band in concert in the days and weeks following his passing. Earlier this month, a star-studded lineup of artists including Roger Waters, Joe Walsh and John Mayer gathered at East Rutherford, NJ’s Izod Center for the “Love For Levon” tribute/benefit concert.
- Jillian Mapes, CBS Local