Sunday, August 5, 2012


This combination is not as unusual as you might think. Lots of young men can chant, scream or otherwise outrageously deliver a rock song lyric that – for totally unknown reasons – suddenly connects with millions of people.
Despite infinite research projects, nobody can predict when this will happen. Back in 1970, Liebling was just another skinny kid with long hair and a crazed attitude who could jump onstage with a rock band, grab a microphone and seem to be channeling the Devil itself.
Kids always love this stuff. The band heightened this effect by taking the name Pentagram. A cult following began to form. Columbia Records caught the scent of more money and brought Pentagram into the studio.
Alas, that did not go well. Liebling, a nervous perfectionist, drove the studio technicians crazy with his demands and Columbia quickly lost interest.
But now Liebling was convinced he had world class rock star talent, albeit unrecognized. A handful of true believers in the Pentagram cult agreed.
Those drug addictions quickly followed as Liebling took to his parents’ sub-basement, waiting for the knock of fame on his door. His well-intentioned parents became enablers of Liebling’s weaknesses, willing to let him become increasingly helpless while sincerely believing they were trying to help.
Enter a superfan named Sean “Pellet” Pelletier from Philadelphia in the year 2000, a onetime indie-record-label employee who was determined to be the guy who “discovered” the feeble Liebling and set the singer back on his delayed path to rock ’n’ roll fame and fortune.
Once film documentarians Don Argott and Demian Fenton (“The Art of the Steal,” “Rock School”) got involved, the story focused on Pelletier’s determined efforts to save Liebling from himself.
Seen from this lens, the audience gets a little distance from the singer’s suffering while coming to appreciate more the devotion of Pelletier to this lost cause. Somehow the filmmakers acquired some rough footage of the Liebling of a few years ago showing the decades-old ravages of his deep addiction.
“Last Days Here” then becomes a tense race to see if Pelletier can get the singer clean and clear of drugs, strong enough to carry the emotion that still burned behind his cadaverous face. Right up until the last few scenes, the decision is in doubt.
But on this journey we are equally awed by the power of rock ’n’ roll to destroy one life while energizing another one.

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