By Tim Parsons
Lake Tahoe Action
Independent filmmaker Murray Wasylnuk is making a documentary about Sammy Hagar fans who are proud to call themselves Redheads.
Some bands’ fans are extra fanatical.
The Grateful Dead didn’t have great mainstream success, but they had the most devout fans of any rock group. Tens of thousands of them each went to several hundred shows. The Deadhead moniker for the fans of certain bands has extended to Parrotheads for Jimmy Buffet, Phish Heads for Phish and Redheads for Sammy Hagar, the Red Rocker.
Redheads come out en masse to follow Hagar, especially at Cabo San Lucas, the Bay Area, St. Louis and Lake Tahoe, wheresince opening a “Tahoe Wabo” Cantina he has performed every year during the week of Cinco de Mayo.
“It doesn’t matter to me if I make one new fan,” Hagar once told Lake Tahoe Action. “My goal is to not ever lose one because they are the best people on the planet.”
Unabashed Redhead, Murray Wasylnuk, also is an independent filmmaker who is making a full-length documentary.
A Vancouver, British Columbia resident, Wasylnuk met Hagar after a 2009 show in Canada.
“He was kind of taken aback because there were a few fans hanging around he was signing autographs for and hereIamstanding therewith amovie proposal,” Wasylnuk said. Hagar’s manager said a documen- tarywas already in the works, but Wasylnuk is undaunted.
“I made it clear this was a fan one,” he said. “Produced by a fan, produced about the fans. … “It will be called ‘The United States of Cabo.’ It’s just a cool, interesting lifestyle being a Redhead.”
Wasylnuk began filming at last summer’s Chickenfoot concert when Hagar’ssupergroup with Joe Satriani played at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys. He is back this weekend for Hagar’s two shows and a fans’ beach party Saturday.
Redheads arefamous and sometimes infamous for their affection for “Fans, sure they like to drink and have a good time, but they’ve got great stories,” Wasylnuk said. “I want to capture the whole essence of what it is to be a Redhead. I’m going to try to be as positive as I can and not show just one side. I want to show a little bit of everything.”
Wasylnuk, 38, is relatively new to filmmaking, starting a little more than two years ago.
“I sort of had a dream and never really followed it,” he said. “I lost my mom to cancer a few years ago and it was one of those moments where you realize just how shortyour life is, and that was what pushed me to New York. I took a leave from work and took an intensive course and never looked back.”
His company is Murmur Films, which he jokes is “me and my MacBook Pro and my camera.” He has produced a handful of shortfilms, two music videos and a commercial. The Chickenfoot concert led to an idea for a music series called “Behind the Rock.” Davy Knowles, the young gunslinger opened for Chickenfoot, is one of the bands featured in the series.
“I always enjoyed backstage inter- views,” he said. “I always thought it would be a neat idea to take a fan backstage and let a fan interview a band and then cut into some live footage.”
Wasylnuk is most enthused about his documentary about Hagar’s fans. “I’m out to prove I can make a cool little film, and I want to take it to film festivals, somewhere where his stuff has never gone before,” he said.