David Myers, Elvis Cinematographer, Dies

Cinematographer David Myers of Mill Valley - whose five decade career included being behind the camera for the directing debut of fellow Marin resident George Lucas - died Thursday at a Mill Valley hospital. He was 90. The cause of death was not available. Besides the feature films on his resume, Myers also shot numerous music documentaries, including Woodstock, Elvis on Tour, The Grateful Dead Movie and The Last Waltz, directed by another fledgling filmmaker named Martin Scorsese. In addition to "Elvis On Tour" and "Woodstock," the Oscar-winning 1970 film about the legendary outdoor rock festival, Mr. Myers shot a string of music and concert movies, including "Mad Dogs & Englishmen," "Let the Good Times Roll," "Wattstax," "Johnny Cash: Live at San Quentin," "Cracked Actor: A Film About David Bowie," Bob Dylan's "Hard Rain" and Joni Mitchell's "Shadows and Light." He was not very positive on Elvis, he was much more impressed by Jimi Hendrix's performance than Presley's. Myers recalled that Presley was "so drugged" by 1972, when the concert tour was filmed, that performing "was sort of an old trick for him." according to the obituary from the Arizona Republic newspaper.
Source: Various / Updated: Sep 6, 2004 
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mfbinc (profilecontact) wrote on Oct 1, 2004report abuse
There's no doubt that Jimi Hendrix is one of the most important and influential rock stars of all time. Elvis was simply head and shoulders above any other rock star. There are alot of so called "experts" in rock history who love to discount Elvis simply because it makes them sound like they know something that other rock fans don't. Elvis Presley is simply the greatest rock star of all time. Why some people refuse to accept this is beyond my comprehension.
I had a chance to see Elvis in Pittsburgh in 1976 but my parents passed because they had "better thing to do on New Year's Eve", but all the people I've talked to who where at that show tell me that it's one of the greatest musical moments they've ever had. And that includes non- Elvis fans.
There is a reason that Elvis is the #1 recording artist of all time. Because he simply is better than any other recording artist! (including jimi hendrix)
James2774 (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 12, 2004report abuse
First of all, I'm a life-long BIG fan of both Hendrix and Presley. I have collected both artist's work for 15 years, acquiring 100s of concert performances of both men. Reading many, many books, and watching/listening for an eternity. It is seldom I have to read such totally ludicrous and insane comments about Jimi Hendrix. His Woodstock appearance, while not among his very best, is a legendary performance which is part of the most important musical moments in popular music history. The Star Spangled Banner and all that followed it in that concert, IS earth-shattering. Anyone calling this weak is deaf and dumb. NO ONE playes like Jimi, or ever will. Machine Gun (Fillmore East '70), Hear My Train A Comin' Berkeley '70), Red House (San Diego '69). Listen and weap fur such beauty and emotion. Rolling Stone voted him NUMBER 1 of all time for a very good reason.
Comparing Hendrix to Clapton/Beck/Page etc. is like comparing Elvis to Tom Jones or Engelbert Humperdinck. These other guys are also great singers and performers but cannot compare to Elvis the artist, the cultural phenomenon. Can you imagine listening to take after take of Jones rehearsing in the studio??
It is a common misconception to think Hendrix was wasted in 1969-1970. In fact he created some of his most enduring and brilliant music during that period, including the Band Of Gypsies shows (blending rock and funk in a unique way), some of his First Rays material, his brilliant spring tour of '70 (including the Berkeley 30/5/70 gigs).
He was a brilliant musician first, first-class showman second. Of course, if you are deaf and blind, you can't see nor hear this. I understand. Hendrix reinvented the electric guitar in '66 and created whole new sounds from it, far surpassing anything anyone has ever created on that instrument.
Just ask Miles Davis, read his autobiography. Like DJC would say: read and learn. Jimi's '67 Monterey performance belongs in the top 5 of best rock concerts of all time, he was TECHNICALLY and EMOTIONALLY easily the greatest guitar player of all time.
The Who were so terribly afraid of him in Monterey, Pete Townshend said: WE are not gonna follow you on, and that's the end of it. Hendrix said: well...if I'm gonna follow you on, I'm gonna pull ALL the stops. And so he did, and he tore the hippie audience apart with his fast riffs, incredible solos, delicate rhythm work, amazing feedback sound effects and dazzling showmanship. The Who? Who?
Ask Clapton, Beck, Townshend and Page, they have all repeatedly gone to lengths in explaining in interviews from the 60s up til now, they consider him the best of them all. They were always grateful and humble when they were allowed his presence. Jimi jammed with 2 of them (also well documented) and blew them all out of the water. Hendrix in Latin: Primus Inter Pares.
To say he was always strung out on drugs is like saying Elvis never performed sober on stage and couldn't put on a good show. Hendrix sometimes used drugs to escape the pressures of super-stardom, just like any other rock star from any period in history up until this day, but he certainly was not a regular user. He never drank, just like Presley. He didn't do heroine, he was afraid of needles. He did occasionaly do LSD, cocaine and weed. Just like all rock and pop stars then and now.
He died because of an accident: he emptied two bottles of red wine after a meal and later took some sleeping tablets to get a good nights rest. Normally he could always take more than other people because of his unique physical constitution.
He was happy and looking forward to recording again and getting together with Chas Chandler and Eddie Kramer to finalize his new album. An accident, just like Jim Morrison's heart attack. Now, Janis is another case, she took heroine the night she died. Don't confuse them with each other. Use your head.
Some of you people just talk rubbish, and have absolutely no idea what you're ranting about. Just to protect Elvis, who doesn't need lies to defend himself.
It's true Jimi appreciated Elvis, he was one of his earliest rock 'n' roll influences. He thought that Elvis should have gone back to his roots during Elvis' 60s movie years, and he was right about that. And Elvis did go back to his roots in '67-'69. Elvis and Jimi, two of the greatest artists of all time!
I am Buffalo-Horn! (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 10, 2004report abuse
Well done everyone for the comments re David Myles & Elvis. Jimmy Hendrix does have one good R'nR' pedigree though – for a short time he was a member of Little Richard's backing group. Jimmy never talked about this. Unfortunately he was fired for lethargy & poor timekeeping, which may have something to do with his silence!
Another key figure who never talks about his Elvis connection, is of course Martin Scorcese. Exactly what he did to earn his "Montage Supervisor" credit in "On Tour" is something he just won't discuss. I think it refers to the still picture sequences, which are beautifully done, but he may also have had input into the multiscreen elements, which I personally also like. They work very well in the cinema, being "cut to the beat". However, has anyone seen anything that Scorcese has said about his work on the film? It's a great shame he seems ashamed of his work on this film. And yes, the film should now be re-examined & recut – what else have we got left?
Carl (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 8, 2004report abuse
A deluxe edition DVD of ELVIS ON TOUR would be great. That is a great music documentary/concert film and won a Golden Globe as you noted. Martin Scorsese worked on it. It presents Elvis in a really good light when he was at the top of his form.
What I don't like about Myles' comments is that they are a falsification of the facts, they are a lie. Hendrix' performance at Woodstock was horrible. He sounded horrid. Jimi was great in 1967 but by 1969 he was wasted on drugs. He didn't have anything new to offer musically. The Star Spangled Banner was pretty lame. It was just about creating a media sensation and hype. Just like in 1967 when Jimi was scared shitless of The Who. Jimi was so scared of the Who that he set his guitar on fire. Why did he do it? Because he thought The Who was better than him so he wanted to create a big sensation. He was afraid he would be topped by the Who. But instead of beating the Who musically, he sets his guitar on fire because he knows he can't compete with the Who as musicians. It was a pretty insane stunt. Jimi could have been electrocuted. But he didn't care, just so long as he made a sensation. But Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, George Harrison, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, and Pete Townshend were all better and more influential guitarists of the 60s. Jimi was all hype and over-amplification. But by 1969, he had very little to offer.
Why didn't Myles see this? Of course, all these people who hype Jimi are people that don't know anything about the guitar. They should know that is all about the clothes and the hype and the Marshall amps and the drugs. Give me a break.
There is nothing special about Jimi's performance. It was sad and pathetic. He looked totally gone on drugs. He couldn't really get that sound he had in 1967 because all the drugs were messing up his playing. But of course Myles misses all of this.
People should get the Elvis on Tour DVD when it comes out and compare Elvis' performance to Jimi's and make their own conclusions.
CD King (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 8, 2004report abuse
It is quite obvious that this cinematographer must be a Hendrix fan. I think he's most probably so drugged himself that he can't see how great Elvis was during the 1972 period because the Elvis Presley of ELVIS ON TOUR was superb and real awesome! I hope MGM/Warner will not delay anymore but quickly bring out a 3 DVD box-set of this magnificent Golden Globe Award Winning movie soon. It will be a best seller for sure! Thousand of fans are waiting.
Carl (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 8, 2004report abuse
The ironic thing is that Hendrix was probably one of the greatest Elvis fans ever. I have seen drawings Hendrix made in his youth of Elvis. He was obsessed with Elvis. Hendrix actually recorded versions of HEARTBREAK HOTEL, BLUE SUEDE SHOES, and TROUBLE (which appeared on the Midnight Lightning album). But the people who run the Hendrix machine, have not released them under the proper title. They appear as one song: BLUE SUEDE SHOES. In fact, Jimi does three Elvis songs. One of the last songs Jimi performed in 1970 was BLUE SUEDE SHOES. So Hendrix definitely regarded Elvis as one of his greatest influences. But the Jimi propaganda machine has covered-up this fact making it appear that Jimi was influenced by black stars. But in fact, Elvis was one of Jimi's greatest influences. Just like with Bob Dylan. People "forget" that Dylan regarded Elvis as one of his greatest influences.

But factually, Jimi was not making a musical impact by 1969.He was just too drugged out. He did his best work in 68 and 69. SO I don't see how this Myles character can see anything special in Hendrix's performance. It was sad, actually, to see what cocaine and heroin had done to Jimi. Just a few months later, Jimi would choke to death on his own vomit because he was so full of drugs. What a sad way to die. What a pathetic waste. Jimi is a cautionary tale. But remember how Lenny Bruce died: Naked in his bathroom with a coke needle sticking in his arm. These folks were way drugged out! Elvis does not belong in this group of coke heads and druggies. Only a fool doesn't see the difference here.

But give me a break. Jimi chokes to death on his own vomit and these freaks at Rolling Stone pretend like nothing happened! But this was all due to tha fact that he was a coke head and a drugged out horse addict. But they pretend like it didn't even happen. Yeah, right! Same with Lenny Bruce. These were messed up people on some serious drugs. They are the "drugged out" ones!
Clambake67 (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 7, 2004report abuse
What a moron he is to say such things. To compare Elvis to Hendrix is like comparing apples to oranges. Hendrix was almost always strung out. I hate when people bash Elvis and others when they know basically nothing about them and the lives they have lead.
Carl (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 7, 2004report abuse
Speaking of "drugged out", has anyone ever seen Hendrix's performance at Woodstock? My opinion is that Hendrix was already 75% dead at Woodstock! I mean look at the film footage Myles shot of Jimi? Jimi is so wasted on drugs that you can't really see his eyes or eyeballs. He was abusing cocaine and heroin big time by then. I mean even his playing sounded god awful because he was just so messed up on drugs! Also, doing a song by Francis Scott Key was really a little weird. Jimi had dried up as a talent by 1969 and was doing Francis Scott Key anthems by then.
Same thing with Janis Joplin. She was so drugged out that she was cut from the movie! S I don't know where Myles is coming from.
I think he is just projecting Hendrix's and Joplin's drugged out states onto Elvis. It is projection. Because if anyone ever saw Hendrix's drugged out show at Woodstock, he would know what I mean. I mean Jimi looked much worse than Kurt Cobain (who also was so drugged out that he looked like he was sleeing on stage). Jimi was about three fourths dead at Woodstock already. One foot was already in the grave with Jimi. So this is a very bizarre accusation. But it is entirely misplaced.
But it is really these drugged out Rolling Stone mag types having a go at Elvis. But they should look in the mirror. Or they should watch Joplin's performance at Woodstock or Jimi's too. Who are the drugged out ones?
Chris C (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 7, 2004report abuse
Thanks for supporting Elvis, Bernard. I saw twelve Elvis shows at Vegas in August 72 and there was nothing whatosever that could have made anyone comment as this photographer did. Elvis was clearly sad, but could be very humorous, sang perfectly, and made me think over and over that he never seemed that beautiful in the movies, and that I was seeing something uplifting and incredibly exceptional. The version of Fever he did in Aug 72 was magical - so funny, so understated, so marvellous. It's high time more people spoke of the extraordinary human being and performer Elvis was, instead of constantly falling back on the negative stereotypes.
I am Buffalo-Horn! (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 6, 2004report abuse
On Tour is a great film, but it's a pity about the cameraman's comments. I have a feeling David Myles masy have been the cameraman who caused Elvis to turn round & say "Sneaking up on me, man" during the 'odds & sods' montage in Elvis On Tour!! You never really know what hidden agenda or axes to grind cause people to settle scores with derogatory comments.
Incidentally, talking of comparing Elvis with Hendrix, a college friend of mine took the very last still photos of Jimmy Hendrix just before he died– & believe me, from what he told us, there was a genuine "So drugged" case!

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