REVIEW: Who the F**k is That Guy? The Fabulous Journey of Michael Alago (2017)

whothefisthatguy

Get ready to find out as the title indicates, “Who the F**k is That Guy”, as we get to meet one of the most iconic A&R executives of the 1980’s and 1990’s. A man by the name of Michael Alago.

Michael Alago has always loved music. Since listening to radio in his Brooklyn railroad apartment with his mother and sister, the openly gay Puerto Rican music lover would travel to Manhattan as often as possible in the late 1970’s and go to clubs like CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City to see the punk rock movement in full swing. This would lead him to take a chance to become an assistant to Jerry Brandt, the owner of the Ritz Theater. Alago moved up the ranks to become the Ritz’s booker and was somewhat responsible for the renowned 1981 riot caused during a “performance” by John Lydon’s Public Image Ltd.

In 1983, Alago got a job at Elektra Records as their A&R executive. He would go on to sign groups like Metallica and Metal Church and sign singers such as Cyndi Lauper. Leaving Elektra for Geffen, Alago would be responsible for bringing White Zombie to mainstream audiences as well as do something no other executive could have done: sign the legendary singer Nina Simone and help her release what would be her final album in 1993. After a downward spiral, Alago continues to strive in both the music world and has set off on a second career path: professional photographer.

This riveting documentary meshes archive footage and photographs along with interviews with some of the people Alago helped during his heyday. They include the likes of John Lydon, Cherry Vanilla, Cyndi Lauper, Rob Zombie and Sean Yseult of White Zombie, Kurdt Vanderhoof of Metal Church, and Kirk Hammett of Metallica. The audience gets to know briefly about Michael’s beginnings from his sister Cheryl as well as the man himself, who gives us a brief tour of the places he frequented, which have now been closed and/or became something else, which gives the audience a nostalgic trip back in 1970’s New York City.

There are also interviews with former music executives who have at one point or another, worked with Alago and have nothing but the utmost respect for him. There is not even one bad word that is said about him because this is truly a man who had a dream, went for it, lived it and ran with it. There is a piece of the documentary in which we learn about Alago’s downward spiral, in which he had good and bad days. However, those who he helped didn’t see Alago as just an executive. They clearly saw a friend in need and they were there for him whether or not he needed the support just to show they care about their friend. Finally, we see Alago today continuing his dream of music as well as his second passion of photography.

If you look at album covers and see the name Michael Alago and ask yourself, Who the F**k is That Guy?, then this is the documentary for you to see who exactly he is. If you are a music lover, then you have to see this film hands down. This is one fabulous journey you will want to take.

WFG RATING: A

Rugged Entertainment and XLrator Media present a Stone Films NYC production. Director: Drew Stone. Producers: Michael Alex and Drew Stone. Writer: Drew Stone. Cinematography: Drew Stone. Editing: Drew Stone and Alan Dubin.

Cast: Michael Alago, John Lydon, Cherry Vanilla, Kirk Hammett, Kurdt Vanderhoof, Cheryl Alago, Rob Zombie, Sean Yseult, Cyndi Lauper.

XLrator Media and Rugged Entertainment will release the film in select theaters on July 21, followed by a VOD and iTunes release on July 25.

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