THE FILMMAKERS

  The co-directors: Brian Chidester (left) and John Winer (right). Photo by Shervin Lainez.    Brian Chidester  (co-director) has been researching the life and music of Eden Ahbez since 1995. He produced two recent compilation albums of the songwriter's rare music— The Exotic World of Eden Ahbez  (2014) and  Wild Boy: The Lost Songs of Eden Ahbez  (2016)—and also directed of a short documentary on Ahbez for the BBC-TV series  The Secret Map of Hollywood  in 2005. Other multimedia forays by Chidester include the book  Pop Surf Culture: Music, Design, Film, and Fashion from the Bohemian Surf Era  (2008) and regular contributions to publications like  The American Prospect , the  Village Voice , and the  L.A. Weekly . Chidester holds a Master's in Art History from Brooklyn College and currently lives in New York City.   John Winer  (co-director) is an award-winning corporate and indie filmmaker. His nonprofit, Candlewood Media Collective, is producing  reimagiNATION , a feature-length documentary examining the living legacy of the hippie and counterculture movements of the 1960s. Winer's industrial film base includes performing arts, travel, educational, summer camp, and corporate clients. He spent the early part of his career in broadcasting, advertising, and marketing, including stints at Foote, Cone & Belding, an advertising agency headquartered in Chicago, and CBS Television in New York City. Winer holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Southern California and a Master's in Business Administration from New York University, where he served on the faculty of the University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Film, Video, and Broadcasting.

The co-directors: Brian Chidester (left) and John Winer (right). Photo by Shervin Lainez.

Brian Chidester (co-director) has been researching the life and music of Eden Ahbez since 1995. He produced two recent compilation albums of the songwriter's rare music—The Exotic World of Eden Ahbez (2014) and Wild Boy: The Lost Songs of Eden Ahbez (2016)—and also directed of a short documentary on Ahbez for the BBC-TV series The Secret Map of Hollywood in 2005. Other multimedia forays by Chidester include the book Pop Surf Culture: Music, Design, Film, and Fashion from the Bohemian Surf Era (2008) and regular contributions to publications like The American Prospect, the Village Voice, and the L.A. Weekly. Chidester holds a Master's in Art History from Brooklyn College and currently lives in New York City.

John Winer (co-director) is an award-winning corporate and indie filmmaker. His nonprofit, Candlewood Media Collective, is producing reimagiNATION, a feature-length documentary examining the living legacy of the hippie and counterculture movements of the 1960s. Winer's industrial film base includes performing arts, travel, educational, summer camp, and corporate clients. He spent the early part of his career in broadcasting, advertising, and marketing, including stints at Foote, Cone & Belding, an advertising agency headquartered in Chicago, and CBS Television in New York City. Winer holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Southern California and a Master's in Business Administration from New York University, where he served on the faculty of the University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Film, Video, and Broadcasting.

THE INTERVIEWS

  Roy Behrens  had a three-year pen-pal relationship with Eden Ahbez from 1960-63 which he chronicled in the short book/pamphlet  On Eden Ahbez: Nature boy spelled backwards; an essay  (2002). Ahbez, who had just released his lone solo album  Eden's Island  when the young Behrens first wrote to him, found an interested party where the LP was otherwise ignored. (It sold just 100 copies in 1960.) Behrens, then just a teenager, also painted Ahbez's portrait on canvas and sent it to him in the mail, which the songwriter kept with him until his death in 1995. The filmmakers caught up with Behrens in Cedar Falls, Iowa, where he has been a long-time professor of Graphic Design.

Roy Behrens had a three-year pen-pal relationship with Eden Ahbez from 1960-63 which he chronicled in the short book/pamphlet On Eden Ahbez: Nature boy spelled backwards; an essay (2002). Ahbez, who had just released his lone solo album Eden's Island when the young Behrens first wrote to him, found an interested party where the LP was otherwise ignored. (It sold just 100 copies in 1960.) Behrens, then just a teenager, also painted Ahbez's portrait on canvas and sent it to him in the mail, which the songwriter kept with him until his death in 1995. The filmmakers caught up with Behrens in Cedar Falls, Iowa, where he has been a long-time professor of Graphic Design.

  Dave De La Vega  collaborated with Eden Ahbez in the early 1970s, co-producing two songs—“Divine Melody” and “Richard Milhous”—which De La Vega released on his indie label Elefunt Records. (They also recorded “The Clam Man” together which saw release on the 2016 Ahbez compilation  Wild Boy .) At the time, De La Vega was an engineer at several studios in Hollywood and worked with Jan Berry (of Jan & Dean) and Brian Wilson (of the Beach Boys), among others. The filmmakers interviewed De La Vega at his home in Sacramento, CA, where he still records strange and wonderful new artists and holds weekly jam sessions.

Dave De La Vega collaborated with Eden Ahbez in the early 1970s, co-producing two songs—“Divine Melody” and “Richard Milhous”—which De La Vega released on his indie label Elefunt Records. (They also recorded “The Clam Man” together which saw release on the 2016 Ahbez compilation Wild Boy.) At the time, De La Vega was an engineer at several studios in Hollywood and worked with Jan Berry (of Jan & Dean) and Brian Wilson (of the Beach Boys), among others. The filmmakers interviewed De La Vega at his home in Sacramento, CA, where he still records strange and wonderful new artists and holds weekly jam sessions.

  John Harris  recorded the vocals of two songs written by Eden Ahbez in 1963: “Monterey” and “Overcomers of the World.” These were unreleased in their time (though recently reissued on the  Wild Boy  LP) and Harris quickly moved on to other gigs—as a backup singer for Nat “King” Cole's touring band and later for Ann-Margaret and Johnny Mathis. Somewhat surreptitiously, Harris moved to Monterey, CA, in the late sixties and has remained there ever since. In the early seventies he opened the Dream Theater, near Cannery Row, and produced a number of films about the vanishing bohemia in the area. The filmmakers interviewed Harris in Monterey and also captured a special live performance of him playing Ahbez's “Monterey” fifty-four years after its original recording.

John Harris recorded the vocals of two songs written by Eden Ahbez in 1963: “Monterey” and “Overcomers of the World.” These were unreleased in their time (though recently reissued on the Wild Boy LP) and Harris quickly moved on to other gigs—as a backup singer for Nat “King” Cole's touring band and later for Ann-Margaret and Johnny Mathis. Somewhat surreptitiously, Harris moved to Monterey, CA, in the late sixties and has remained there ever since. In the early seventies he opened the Dream Theater, near Cannery Row, and produced a number of films about the vanishing bohemia in the area. The filmmakers interviewed Harris in Monterey and also captured a special live performance of him playing Ahbez's “Monterey” fifty-four years after its original recording.

  Gordon Kennedy  is the foremost historian of the California Nature Boys, having written the book  Children of the Sun  in 1999, which traced the history of the pre-hippie movement from late 19th century Germany to the deserts of Southern California in the early 20th century. This is where Eden Ahbez and the other California Nature Boys first came in contact with the nature-centric lifestyle and with each other. Kennedy is also an organic farmer in the Coachella Valley which is where the filmmakers caught up with him to conduct his interview for  As the Wind .

Gordon Kennedy is the foremost historian of the California Nature Boys, having written the book Children of the Sun in 1999, which traced the history of the pre-hippie movement from late 19th century Germany to the deserts of Southern California in the early 20th century. This is where Eden Ahbez and the other California Nature Boys first came in contact with the nature-centric lifestyle and with each other. Kennedy is also an organic farmer in the Coachella Valley which is where the filmmakers caught up with him to conduct his interview for As the Wind.

  Dale Ockerman  worked with Eden Ahbez in 1980 on a re-recording of the song “Nature Boy” in which the latter changed his lyrics to say: “The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love, just love.” For several years, Ahbez and Ockerman hung out together, ate soup, and talked philosophy. Ockerman later joined the Doobie Brothers band as a pianist, from 1986-88, and today fronts the White Album Ensemble, playing the difficult arrangements of the later Beatles albums. The filmmakers caught up with Ockerman in Santa Cruz, CA, for some insight into an almost completely unknown period in Ahbez's life: the 1980s.

Dale Ockerman worked with Eden Ahbez in 1980 on a re-recording of the song “Nature Boy” in which the latter changed his lyrics to say: “The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love, just love.” For several years, Ahbez and Ockerman hung out together, ate soup, and talked philosophy. Ockerman later joined the Doobie Brothers band as a pianist, from 1986-88, and today fronts the White Album Ensemble, playing the difficult arrangements of the later Beatles albums. The filmmakers caught up with Ockerman in Santa Cruz, CA, for some insight into an almost completely unknown period in Ahbez's life: the 1980s.

  Domenic Priore  is a pop culture historian who wrote the liner notes to the 1995 CD reissue of  Eden's Island —the first-ever attempt at a biography of the enigmatic songwriter. Priore went on to chronicle the beatnik and folk-rock nightclubs of Los Angeles during the early-to-mid-1960s in his book  Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock 'n' Roll's Last Stand in Hollywood  (Jawbone Press). During his research Priore came across an advertisement for a live show that Eden Ahbez performed at a coffeehouse called the Insomniac Cafe, in 1965, in Hermosa Beach, CA. His insights into Ahbez's place in the larger counter-culture of L.A. was captured in a series of recent interviews by the filmmakers for  As the Wind .

Domenic Priore is a pop culture historian who wrote the liner notes to the 1995 CD reissue of Eden's Island—the first-ever attempt at a biography of the enigmatic songwriter. Priore went on to chronicle the beatnik and folk-rock nightclubs of Los Angeles during the early-to-mid-1960s in his book Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock 'n' Roll's Last Stand in Hollywood (Jawbone Press). During his research Priore came across an advertisement for a live show that Eden Ahbez performed at a coffeehouse called the Insomniac Cafe, in 1965, in Hermosa Beach, CA. His insights into Ahbez's place in the larger counter-culture of L.A. was captured in a series of recent interviews by the filmmakers for As the Wind.

  Anne Rainwater  is a blood relative of Eden Ahbez (née George Alexander Aberle). As a graduate student studying classical piano, she became interested in her family history, searching for any previous members who might've shown some musical talent. To her surprise, she found that she was related to Ahbez, who'd been given up for adoption at the age of eight, in 1917, whereafter the Aberle family lost all connection. The filmmakers not only interviewed Rainwater from her home in Oakland, CA, but also gave her a copy of the sheet music to “Pastoral Prayer,” Ahbez's earliest-known composition, written in 1938, which she plays for us on-camera.

Anne Rainwater is a blood relative of Eden Ahbez (née George Alexander Aberle). As a graduate student studying classical piano, she became interested in her family history, searching for any previous members who might've shown some musical talent. To her surprise, she found that she was related to Ahbez, who'd been given up for adoption at the age of eight, in 1917, whereafter the Aberle family lost all connection. The filmmakers not only interviewed Rainwater from her home in Oakland, CA, but also gave her a copy of the sheet music to “Pastoral Prayer,” Ahbez's earliest-known composition, written in 1938, which she plays for us on-camera.

  Emil Richards  is the foremost melodic percussionist in popular music, having played marimba, vibraphone, and a host of other exotic percussion instruments on thousands of albums and soundtracks, including ones by Frank Sinatra, Ravi Shankar, and (most important for our film)  Eden's Island , the 1960 solo album by Eden Ahbez. Richards recorded this LP with Ahbez in two brief sessions, in 1959 and early 1960, and was able to recount the friendship and musical camaraderie the two men shared for our filmmakers from his home in Toluca Lake, CA.

Emil Richards is the foremost melodic percussionist in popular music, having played marimba, vibraphone, and a host of other exotic percussion instruments on thousands of albums and soundtracks, including ones by Frank Sinatra, Ravi Shankar, and (most important for our film) Eden's Island, the 1960 solo album by Eden Ahbez. Richards recorded this LP with Ahbez in two brief sessions, in 1959 and early 1960, and was able to recount the friendship and musical camaraderie the two men shared for our filmmakers from his home in Toluca Lake, CA.

  Joe Romersa  worked with Eden Ahbez longer and more intimately than any of his other collaborators. From roughly 1987-1995, when Ahbez passed away, the two men had toiled away on a series of recordings that comprise the  Scriptures of the Golden Age , Ahbez's last project. The elderly nature boy also stored his master tapes and many belongings with Romersa who has retained the massive archive to this day. He graciously shared it, as well as his memories, with the filmmakers in a series of insightful interviews.

Joe Romersa worked with Eden Ahbez longer and more intimately than any of his other collaborators. From roughly 1987-1995, when Ahbez passed away, the two men had toiled away on a series of recordings that comprise the Scriptures of the Golden Age, Ahbez's last project. The elderly nature boy also stored his master tapes and many belongings with Romersa who has retained the massive archive to this day. He graciously shared it, as well as his memories, with the filmmakers in a series of insightful interviews.

  Youngbear Roth  was an informal student of Eden Ahbez during the early-to-mid-seventies and remained a companion for nearly twenty years thereafter. Roth, who'd had trouble with the law in his late teens/early twenties, found in Ahbez a father figure and spiritual guide. Roth later became a yoga therapist, a poet, and a journalist of content on healthy living and spirituality. He lives in Valley Village, CA, where the filmmakers caught up with him for an in-depth interview about his old teacher and friend.

Youngbear Roth was an informal student of Eden Ahbez during the early-to-mid-seventies and remained a companion for nearly twenty years thereafter. Roth, who'd had trouble with the law in his late teens/early twenties, found in Ahbez a father figure and spiritual guide. Roth later became a yoga therapist, a poet, and a journalist of content on healthy living and spirituality. He lives in Valley Village, CA, where the filmmakers caught up with him for an in-depth interview about his old teacher and friend.

  Mort Weiss  is the self-proclaimed “greatest clarinetist in the world.” In 1959, however, he recorded saxophone for the first and only time—on Eden Ahbez's composition “Wild Boy” (Sierra Records). It has since become a cult item having been compiled on half-a-dozen albums of early rock 'n' roll and novelty tunes. Afterwards, Weiss became a serious jazz musician, having recorded a number of highly-lauded albums in recent decades. The filmmakers interviewed him at his home near Washington D.C. where he agreed to play a previously-unrecorded Ahbez tune titled “A Boy and a Melody.”

Mort Weiss is the self-proclaimed “greatest clarinetist in the world.” In 1959, however, he recorded saxophone for the first and only time—on Eden Ahbez's composition “Wild Boy” (Sierra Records). It has since become a cult item having been compiled on half-a-dozen albums of early rock 'n' roll and novelty tunes. Afterwards, Weiss became a serious jazz musician, having recorded a number of highly-lauded albums in recent decades. The filmmakers interviewed him at his home near Washington D.C. where he agreed to play a previously-unrecorded Ahbez tune titled “A Boy and a Melody.”