Interviews

Published on May 24th, 2022 | by Darren Paltrowitz

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Director Suzanne Joe Kai & Star Ben Fong-Torres On “Like A Rolling Stone: The Life & Times Of Ben Fong-Torres” On Netflix & More

Directed by Suzanne Joe Kai, Like A Rolling Stone: The Life & Times Of Ben Fong-Torres is an insightful, moving and entertaining portrait of the iconic Asian American journalist who was instrumental in the careers of many iconic music legends. It was no secret that every rock/pop/soul music act of the 70’s yearned to be on the cover of the revolutionary Rolling Stone magazine and be interviewed by Fong-Torres. Decades later, Fong-Torres became recognized in the Cameron Crowe film about his own life as a teenage reporter in Almost Famous. Now, there is finally a film about this unsung hero of the 1960s and 1970s American music scene that changed lives forever and still has influence today.

Music journalism aside, Ben Fong-Torres was also very visible within the civil rights movement and the Asian-American movement in San Francisco. The editor of the San Francisco State University campus paper during the time of change and reckoning, he and his brother were also active with the San Francisco Chinatown English language newspaper that galvanized many in the Asian American movement. In turn, from music to politics to cultural and racial change, Fong-Torres was at the forefront as a journalist. Executive produced by Oscar winner Freida Lee Mock, the Oscar-nominated Bryn Mooser, the award-winning Doug Blush, Alvin Lau and the late Tony Hsieh, Like A Rolling Stone: The Life & Times Of Ben Fong-Torres features incredible archival footage and intimate interviews with Fong-Torres, Cameron Crowe, Annie Leibovitz, Carlos Santana, Elton John, Steve Martin, Bob Weir, Quincy Jones, Marvin Gaye, Paul McCartney and plenty of other notables. The film had its world premiere at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, was an official selection at the Heartland International Film Festival (among many other notable film festivals), won an Audience Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival, and was nominated by the Writers Guild of America for “Best Documentary Screenplay.”

On May 23, 2022, I had the pleasure of speaking with both Suzanne Joe Kai and Ben Fong-Torres via Zoom, as embedded below. Beyond Like A Rolling Stone: The Life & Times Of Ben Fong-Torres, we talked about future projects for both of them and, of course, David Lee Roth. More on Like A Rolling Stone: The Life & Times Of Ben Fong-Torres — now streaming via Netflix — can be found here, here and here.


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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal.Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" series, which airs on dozens on television and digital networks. He has also co-authored 2 published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), and co-hosts the world's only known podcast about David Lee Roth, "The DLR Cast."


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