by James Fletcher

It’s hard to specify that elusive quality which elevates a movie into the category of cult film. Is it a successful indie film that penetrates the mainstream like Rocky; a fearless commitment to the absurd such as Flying High or Blazing Saddles; perhaps it’s the ability to reinvent and affect the cinematic zeitgeist as Star Wars or The Shining has? Or maybe, as with the quasi-obscure rock-comedy Adventures of Power, it comes down to a film’s persistence, timing and ability to exploit itself for a greater good.

Released in 2008, Adventures of Power was met with a warm welcome throughout the festival circuit (taking the Grand prize at the San Antonio Film Fest and garnering Official Selection at Sundance), where its infectious positivity and rock infused soundtrack generated a viable hype. However, as often the case, the quirky comedy fell short of its potential thanks to a badly conceived distribution plan.

The brainchild of multi award-winning director Ari Gold (The Song of Sway Lake), Adventures of Power chronicles the rise of air-drum enthusiast Power, a small-town boy with big dreams.

Gold not only wrote and directed the indie comedy, he also stepped up as the film’s titular hero, and in the process scored the Guinness World Record for the longest air drum solo, an honour that remains with the director to this day.

With the film fading from the public eye, Gold took it upon himself in 2020 to retcon the film’s release strategy, placing the feature on YouTube, where it slowly began connecting with a new audience, many of whom gravitated toward the film’s hard rock comedy aspects. Realising the potential of Power’s growing cult status, and in honour of his friend, mentor and cameoed co-star Neil Peart (lyricist and drummer of the legendary rock band Rush, who passed away in 2020), Gold began hosting watch-parties online for fans in hopes of raising funds for MusiCares, a non-profit charity organsiation that assists ailing musicians with their mental health, addiction recovery and other vital social needs.

“Me and my team…” explains a jet-lagged Gold. “Well, the couple of people that I have around me, decided that the re-release should support MusiCares, who have been helping out artists in tough times. And COVID was, or is, depending on your perspective, a tough time for artists who couldn’t tour.

“It just seemed a nice synthesis of ideas to put out this movie again. Adventures of Power is about coming together, and about making something out of nothing. It’s about the power of rock… and using it as a way to actually support an organisation that does that… But also having fun, and just talking about music, talking about drumming, and talking about Neil Peart.

“A lot of the people that I’ve talked with on my show so far have either met him – actually, a lot of them hadn’t met him, but they all were hugely influenced by him. So that became a major subject as well.”

The people who Gold has spoken with, as he humbly refers to them, have so far included drummers from some of the biggest rock acts on the planet, including the likes of Korn, Styx, Anthrax, Suicidal Tendencies, FuMancu, Halestorm, Lit and Seether, with the watch parties not only elevating the film’s profile, but ingraining its cultural impact with a well-deserved legitimacy and an undeniable sense of philanthropy.

“Well, actually, I was getting the rights back before the pandemic hit,” elaborates Gold on the origins of his watch parties. “And was hoping to do something with Neil Peart, who had wanted to do a live performance of the Canada Hockey Theme with me dressed as Power. And then when he died, I decided that the re-release should be in his honour.

“And as I was starting to plan all that, the pandemic hit and I thought, ‘Okay, this is an opportunity to get people who are stuck in their apartments or whatever, give them a chance to watch the movie, to hear about the movie. And also reach out to bands that were stuck and couldn’t tour, to do something fun for an afternoon. Talk about the movie and use it as an opportunity to promote whatever they were recording, or whatever they were doing in their closets during lockdown.”

The online initiative has proven an overwhelming success that continues to fuel a growing community, allowing Gold to launch his own podcast in early February 2022, aptly named Hot Sticks Drum Show. But Gold admits that scoring screen time with some of music’s biggest icons wasn’t the easiest get, crediting his friendship with Peart as a way of getting his foot in the door.


“I mean, if you get through, you can usually get to a ‘yes’,” muses Gold about his ability to book guests. “I think having had Neil appear in the movie and having met Lars Ulrich [of Metallica fame] who said some nice things about the movie, they were certain entry points that made it easier.

“But the fact that Neil was so supportive of the movie, I think really helped. And then once we started getting people, we started getting more people. I mean, it’s the ‘Stone Soup’. I don’t know if you know the children’s story, Stone Soup? But soldiers go around with a big, empty tub of water because they’re hungry and nobody has food to give them. But they put a stone in it and say, ‘Oh, do you have some cabbage?’ And then someone says, ‘Oh, stone soup. Okay, I’ll put in some cabbage’. And everyone puts in a little bit.

“And so, it’s a little bit like that. The stone was, ‘Okay, we want to do this thing, but we don’t have anything’. And it’s like a wonderful trick in a positive sense. A trick in that you tell people, ‘Hey, I’m making a soup, no matter what. So do you want to join in?’ Then people just started hearing about it and started being part of it.

“And working also with Modern Drummer magazine has helped a lot, too, because they’ve had access to a different rolodex than I’ve had. And some of the guests came through me, and some of them came through contacts they had.

“There was one episode, I had three guys on at the same time, that was amazing. It was Alex Skolnick from Testament and Ra Díaz from, at that time Suicidal Tendencies, but now he’s in Korn. And we also talked with Ray Luzier from Korn. And… oh my God, who was the third? They play as a trio. Oh, maybe it was Ray Luzier at that time. No, no, he was at a different one. Anyway, it’s a bit of a jumble, but… No, was Ray in that one? No, Ray was on one with his producer in Tennessee. A lot of these guys know each other, so now I’m getting confused as to who was on at the same time.

“Oh, maybe that one was with Charlie Benante from Anthrax, I think, with them. Anyway, that was an amazing trio. I think it was the three of them, because they had played Rush… They had done some recordings together during the pandemic playing Rush covers, and some other things. But they did some Rush covers as a trio, that’s what it was.”

As Gold continues to utilise his little film that could for a greater good, Adventures of Power, in and of itself is a film that continues to expand its audience, not just due to its praise of all things rock’n’roll, but as a genuinely funny and uplifting film experience. Co-starring Adrian Grenier (Entourage), Nick Kroll (Big Mouth), Jane Lynch (Glee) and Michael McKean (This is Spinal Tap), Gold has proven himself an affecting and effective filmmaker with a panache for finely balancing comedy and heart and delivering accessible content.

While the Adventures of Power slowly settles into its cult film status, Gold has no allusions that the film’s initial release, and subsequent failure to launch, was nothing more than a string of Hollywood misfires and a little bad timing.

“Well, I mean, part of it was just logistical,” Gold explains “In the sense that it was held by a company that didn’t do much with it, then went bankrupt, and then got absorbed by another company.

“I was wanting to actually have some fun with the movie for a long time. Because when I finished it and took it to Sundance, it was actually well received by audiences. We got some audience awards at some festivals, but the critical public response was very negative. But with a cast of this caliber, and music of this caliber, you wouldn’t have thought so. But that’s the perils of independent distribution.

“But then over the years I found that people started to really gravitate to the movie, and they were finding it on YouTube and places like that, and really loving it. We have a decent Facebook fan base, but which I can’t reach because of the Zuckerberg algorithm. A lot of the people who should know about the movie, whether it’s Rush fans or whatever, when they hear about the movie, they’re like, ‘Holy shit. Where was this, and why didn’t I know about this?’ I get that a lot.

“And I think there was a cultural shift where the heartfelt sweetness of a movie about an air drummer started to really appeal to people. Whereas when it came out, people thought, ‘Oh, this movie doesn’t have the kind of ‘mean’ comedy’, which was trendy at the time.

“I was heartbroken when the movie was thrown into the trash by the business. I thought it deserved to be released properly. And when that didn’t happen and it was kind of attacked, I really took that personally. I went and I left the country. I couldn’t work for a while, I was really messed up.

“It was a couple years later, I put the movie on YouTube. I was like, ‘Well, at least people can find it if it’s on YouTube’.

“Then one night I was on my bicycle out in Brooklyn and decided to start watching it. So, I’m biking unsafely, middle of the night, and put on the movie. And five minutes in, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I need to pull over’. So, I pulled over into a stoop, and I watched the whole movie in a stoop; my movie. And I watched it as though I hadn’t made it, you know?

“And the whole time I’m thinking, ‘This is fucking amazing, and they’re wrong’. And they were fucking wrong, the world was wrong. This is amazing. And so, I came back to the movie and thought, ‘Okay, I need to give this the proper reception that I didn’t get’. And it’s been really nice to find that fans of these bands, are hearing about and finding the movie. It’s still hard to get in some countries, and the mechanics of distribution are still difficult, but so many more people have now found the movie. It’s actually a very sweet movie. And that that’s really appealing to people more and more nowadays. I think people want that positivity in their world now. And that’s a lovely thing.

For information on upcoming and previous watch-parties, or to watch the feature film, Adventures of Power head to

Tune into, and subscribe to Ari Gold’s newest podcast Hot Sticks


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