You Think You Really Know Me: The Gary Wilson Story


Phases & Stages

You Think You Really Know Me: The Gary Wilson Story


Gary Wilson could have been written off as another misunderstood, possibly mentally unstable artist who put out one album and slipped into obscurity. Fortunately, fate often has a way of intervening, and it does so in Michael Wolk's documentary of the eccentric Endicott, New York-bred musician. The vintage 1970s footage of Wilson and his band of outsiders (the Blind Dates) constitutes an incredible find, especially the several "films" they made (included in their entirety on the DVD extras). His music, which one interviewee likens to "Steely Dan on crack," is a more unwieldy subject, veering from jazzy to unhinged in one song, often obsessed with women and sung in third person, but oddly accessible ("6.4 = Make Out" = Beck's "Debra"). Wolk never really investigates what drove Wilson to create the alien music of 1977's You Think You Really Know Me, which is included on CD here. Instead, the majority of the film talks to the people that knew him, tracking Wilson down 25 years later and setting up surreal reunion shows in Endicott and New York City. The irony is that if Wilson was a 24-year-old and making his music today, he'd be famous.

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