BETWEEN DOG & WOLF – The New Model Army Story
Released on DVD on September 14th (via Cadiz Music)
New Model Army have been one of the biggest underground music artists for over a quarter of a century. To their global community of fans they mean everything. Yet mainstream success has eluded them. This film is the story of the band and in particular their charismatic lead singer Justin Sullivan. His refusal to compromise his principles has meant that his audience has stayed loyal and their support has helped the band endure some difficult moments. This is a very human story of a man who began life in a liberal Quaker family, yet turned his back on this and headed to Bradford where he met his muse. He found like-minded musicians and formed the band which connected with the mood and anger in Thatcher’s Britain, and quickly rose to prominence. Then as international success is within their grasp, the relationship with Justin’s songwriting partner founders and he subsequently dies in tragic circumstances. But it is when the band loses their studio and all their equipment, that Justin finally comes to terms with the ghosts in his past and pursues the new radical approach to making music which results in what many consider the band’s finest album.
Following the film’s successful European and North American premieres, Cadiz Music (“Oil City Confidential”, I Need a Dodge”) release the DVD of “Between Dog & Wolf” on September 14th. The DVD is released as a limited edition steel box with 3 postcards and full booklet with contributions from Dom Joly, writer David Sinclair, Director Matt Reid and producer Jonathan Green. The DVD will feature over 60 minutes of previously unseen additional extra footage.
The documentary features fascinating footage for fans and non-fans alike, twinned with dry, wry commentary from the band, fans, and associates. We get to see their one and only (yet legendary) Top Of The Pops performance and experience the full disconnect of such an experience. We see Sullivan meeting ex-producer Glyn Johns with the wonderful sparring between them. Its also worth nothing that the film doesn’t shy away from divisive subjects such as the way in which many fans feel about the role of Sullivan’s partner/muse Joolz Denby and the fraught relationships between her and other band members).
It’s a fine, authoritative piece of work that, much like NMA, doesn’t stick to the rules.
Director Matt Reid wrote to Justin Sullivan asking if he could make a documentary thinking he would never hear anything back, given Sullivan’s avoidance of mainstream media exposure. But Justin did say yes and the film evolved into a life story of one of Britain’s unsung geniuses. It is painfully honest and has a sense of tragedy as he looks back in a career where there have been casualties along the way. Yet through determination and self belief the band emerge stronger as they experience a creative rebirth. This is an ultimately uplifting film with an inspiring denouement.
Matt Reid has made a number of documentary and comedy programmes for British and American TV and has won and been nominated for awards from The Royal Television Society. Among his best known work are the landmark BBC series with unique access to the Royal Family “The Queens Castle” (2005) and “Monarchy” (2007) as well as the hugely successful ITV SERIES “The Savoy” (2010). “Between Dog & Wolf” is his first feature documentary