(I’ve seen a couple of good movies lately and want pass on some recommendations. These movies are in keeping with our theme here at NatieRel. So, here is the first.)
Chilly Gonzales, funny to think that the Universe spewed forth this gentleman! But, I will not give the U all the credit. “Gonzo” is a man who invented himself. The documentary, “Shut Up and Play The Piano”, wonderfully captures that process of self-invention. The movie and its main character are both very interesting.
For me, it was utterly significant that I knew of Chilly’s recorded music before I saw this film. Wow, did I have the wrong impression. Such quiet and contemplative music is his early releases Solo Piano (2006), Solo Piano II (2012) and Chambers (2015), and this from such a volcanic personality! This music is a fusion of jazz and classical and its creator is all talent, experimentation, sweat, sexuality and personality. And I thought the music was from some politely trained but slightly rogue classical musician. Wrong.
“Shut Up” explains that Chilly was not even born “Chilly Gonzales”, but he was born to a family of great talents and wealth. He took that privilege and went to obscure places to find “who he was” and “what he wanted.” New Music was that answer. Starting with classical piano training from an uncle, to leader of a rock band in his youth in Toronto, to the Berlin performance art and Techno Punk-Rap scene in the late 90’s, his search was on the extreme edge.
That process was intensely self-reflective. “Who is Chilly Gonzales?” he asks repeatedly. And it is “ALL about him”. How would a “megalomaniac” begin a piece of music? he asks and then convincingly shows us. “He has so much to give” explains a friend and fellow musician. In deed, Chilly does have a massive genius. He is a presence in which ‘the world’ is enveloped and then spit back out to behold itself.
So, who is Chilly Gonzo? Stay tuned. He and his alter egos are still working at it, but this movie is a good place to start.