“I was a gay record executive,” Michael Alago says, right off the bat. Unapologetic. “I loved heavy metal [and] that concerts were 99% guys!”
This film, directed by Drew Stone, and previewed at Nitehawk relays the wild and riotous youth and career of Michael Alago, a young gay Puerto Rican from Brooklyn who – through his love and zealous appetite for music, good music, Great Music, became what they call a “New York City icon.”
From his early underaged days schmoozing with bigwigs at CBGB to being a “19 year-old talent booker at the Ritz” during the “rock ‘n’ roll renaissance” to being an A&R executive at 24 who signed Metallica, this film shows it all. It speaks to his character, too, when Cherry Vanilla says, “As cute and as sweet and as friendly and enthusiastic as he was, he was also pretty seriously aggressive,” which goes to show, despite any teddy-bear preconceptions, Alago was unwavering and intent on making his mark and showing the world Great Music.
The story, as told by Alago and the artists/musicians he’s come to know and work with – such as Metallica, White Zombie, Cyndi Lauper, Nina Simone, John Lydon, Metal Church, Tracy Chapman, Alan Vega, Misfits, Dokken, Flotsam And Jetsam and Swans – tells of his ups and downs; the high-flying tizzy, the extravagant rollercoaster and the grim realities of a musical life in New York, back in the day.