[February 2003 – PRESENT]
OVERVIEW AND HISTORY:
In 2003, I had the wild idea to make a documentary about Walt Mink, a band from the Twin Cities that formed at Macalester College in 1989 and disbanded in New York City in 1997. As was the custom in the era before Soundcloud, Spotify, and the Internet, I’d been turned onto them by word of mouth. A feverish pitch, a cassette tape pressed into my hands. “Listen to this!”
At the time, I was enjoying the tumultuous emotional ride of my post college years in New York City, working as a paralegal and trying to keep my head out of my ass. I was a bit of a wreck, trying to figure things out and get out of my own way. I listened to those tapes in my shitty little car, but that was it.
While barely keeping my shit together toward the end of 1997, the same friend called and insisted that I come to Mercury Lounge on Saturday night, November the 1st. Walt Mink were breaking up and playing their last show ever. I’d never seen them perform. It was my last chance. As luck would have it, I was one of the people in the room that night when they ripped the paint off the walls and quit being a band.
Some years later, when my mind had stopped attacking itself, I had the idea to tell their story and get them back on stage. I was in no position to make a feature length documentary. I had no experience, no money, no clue. I thin my American Express was in collection, my motorcycle had been repossessed. I was barely making rent. But I was out of my mind with intention, utterly consumed by the idea of making a movie and changing the course of my life.
The making of the film is inextricably entangled with my efforts to battle anxiety, depression, my bad habits, and lack of faith in myself. The entire undertaking was defined by pendulous emotional swings from crushing self doubt and despair at one extreme to unshakeable confidence and boundless ambition at the other.
I succeeded. We brought the band back to Minneapolis for a pair of sold out shows, which we filmed on four 16mm cameras and recorded masterfully.
I failed. In the years following the concerts, I continually lost my way, restarted, lost my way again. Today, in 2020, four hundred and fifty thousand years later, the film is not done.
This page is on the internet because I have never stopped thinking about this project and how to finish it. It remains top of mind. Of all the things I need to complete, this film project remains at the top of the list. This page is on internet as a public pledge that I will complete the work.
This project is massive. I will update below as time permits and try to account for progress on my blog, being mindful that updating about the work is less important than the work itself.
12 thoughts on “Walt Mink”
Perhaps one day, someone will make a documentary about your decades long adventures in making the Walt Mink film. 🙂 Hang in there!
– waiting patiently
I think about this project too and am really excited to hear it is still top on your list. I too have battled anxiety and depression and know of the swings. Would love to do whatever I can to support!
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Keep going! Heard about this back in 2005. I’ve been working on a project that started 10/11 years ago & close to the finishing line. It’s a lonely, often humiliating process – but it should be noted that Rome wasn’t in a day and it took just under 4.543 billion years before some called Newton worked out gravity. You’ll figure it out. An edit is like a puzzle full of undrawn pieces. Which piece goes where & what image goes on which piece. Looking forward to this project
Please please please finish this! If you need help, I can offer my skills in any way shape or form, I love WM and they have shaped my tastes as I venture into the world of music composition and film making!
When I decided to try and create a graphic novel, I said to myself “At the end of my life, do I want to look back and see that I have created a book, or not?” And the answer was that I wanted to create it, so I didn’t let anything stop me until I did. Just a bit of personal inspiration. And I love Walt Mink. If you want any illustrations for the film, check out my website: mattonti.com
Please finish this if you have the means. The world needs to know about Walt Mink. Those recorded performances must sound amazing. If nothing else release it as a concert film. And do it soon before I’m dead. Thanks.
I’ve been following this since it started and great to hear that you’re still working on it. Walt Mink is one of my all-time favorite bands – can’t wait to see what you’ve put together, stay with it!
Still rooting for you, sir! You gave me the gift of two reunion shows that I managed to attend, and I know that you will eventually make this film happen.
Butla, we crossed paths when you first started on this endeavor, as I had been writing a zine at the time 94-96ish and my fanboy ravings about this trio were over the top. Every once in a while I look you up as I know this project will come to fruition in time. And holy shit, this band. Still. I wiished you well then, wish you well now.
Chris! Found this site just now after my brother sent me a YT Walt Mink clip last night and it got me thinking about you and this project. I was a WM fan back in the day and made it to one of the reunion shows. I even mailed you one or two cassette bootlegs I had. Like everyone else, it is thrilling to hear you still think about the project and dream about one day getting it done. Let me add my encouragement and support to what already has been said. I understand it is a struggle and it sounds like you have a lot going on. We are rooting for you. Cheers and love. Don in St. Paul.
As you find your way through this project, I’d love to link you to this mind-blowing 1996 performance that was recently posted to YouTube. Maybe it has a place somewhere in your edit. Long Live Mink!