Director: Danny Clinch, Sam Lee
Combining shuddering, groove-laden funky soul and folky, handcrafted acoustics, singer-songwriter Ben Harper has cultivated a cult following in the past decade. A native of California, he grew up on blues, folk, soul, R&B and reggae. Playing guitar as a child, as an adolescent he picked up acoustic slide guitar, which would eventually become his signature instrument. After steady gigging in the LA area, he scored a deal with Virgin Records in 1992, from there moving from success to success.
For a year rock photographer Danny Clinch followed Harper on tour throughout the United States and Europe, also travelling to Harper's childhood home where he interviewed his parents, grandmother and other people he grew up with. Alongside illuminating concert material - mixing gigs as far field as Texas and Paris - Clinch scooped precious material of Harper interacting with his family: at one point Ben sings Bob Dylans 'Tomorrow is a Long Time' with his mother. Cutting from this scene to the mother-son duo singing the song onstage at New York's Roseland, the film provides a rich behind-the-scenes tapestry of emotions, anecdotes and... most importantly, music.
Danny Clinch is known for his music photography. His work appears on album covers and liner art for artists as diverse as Johnny Cash, Foo Fighters, The Roots, Afghan Whigs and Ben Harper. He has documented the Tibetan Freedom Concert since its inception in 1996. Pleasure and Pain is his debut film.