SXSW Film Review: Danny Says

Behind-the-scenes rock legend Danny Fields gets his moment

There’s no precise word in the music biz for what Danny Fields does – or did (as the film concludes its look at his amazing career in 1978). Having great taste is a huge part of what made Fields so successful, but pinpointing his activities with a simple job description is no easy task.

Judging by the juiciness of what’s offered up in Danny Says, more books and movies about Fields’ life should be in the offing. Cognoscenti have long noticed that his name and involvements pop up in tangential ways whenever reading about the Warhol crowd, the Doors, Iggy Pop, the Ramones, and so many others. He’s variously been a manager, press agent, teen-magazine editor, the “company freak” at Elektra Records, but his greatest talent is that of being a connector – or a “noodgie” as Fields half-heartedly suggests at one point in the movie. He’s the guy who introduced Nico and Jim Morrison to each other, the one whose brilliant idea it was to have Edgar Winter’s albino-white hair blow sideways on his debut album cover, the editor who caused grief for the Beatles by putting the quote about the band being bigger than Jesus on its cover. Still, this doesn’t nearly capture Fields’ full sway on the music that influenced the world between the mid-Sixties and 1978. Frequently using animation and Fields’ recorded phone messages to expand on filmmaker Brendan Toller’s interviews with his subject, the result is quite illuminating, particularly for viewers who have yet to learn of Fields’ contributions to popular culture. His recorded phone conversation with an uncharacteristically gushing Lou Reed after the rock legend heard the Ramones for the first time practically makes the film required viewing for all music aficionados.

Danny Says

24 Beats Per Second
Saturday, March 21, noon, Alamo Lamar

Keep up with all our SXSW Film coverage at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More SXSW Film
SXSW Film Review: <i>Heavy Trip</I>
Review: Heavy Trip
A future cult classic, this Scandinavian export lacks the killer riffs

Josh Kupecki, March 12, 2018

SXSW Film Review: <i>You Can Choose Your Family</I>
Review: You Can Choose Your Family
Jim Gaffigan nails the lovable and despicable dad role

Ashley Moreno, March 12, 2018

With the Music Lineup Rolling Out, South by Southwest 2022 Finally Feels Real
With the Music Lineup Rolling Out, South by Southwest 2022 Finally Feels Real
Maxo Kream, Monaleo, W.I.T.C.H., and Vitreous Humor highlight drop

Kevin Curtin, Oct. 20, 2021

SXSW Cancellation Not Covered by Insurance
SXSW Cancellation Not Covered by Insurance
Communicable diseases, viruses, and pandemics not part of policy

Kevin Curtin, March 6, 2020

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
Stunning French tale of a woman seeking an abortion is depressingly timely

May 13, 2022

From the Archives: Organizing Outside the System – Deborah Shaffer and <i>The Wobblies</i>
From the Archives: Organizing Outside the System – Deborah Shaffer and The Wobblies
Our 1981 interview with the filmmaker behind the classic doc

May 3, 2022


SXSW Film, SXSW, Danny Says, Danny Fields, the Ramones, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Brendan Toller

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle