The name Hammerjacks is still recognized by rock fans around the world, even though the storied concert hall closed in 1997. The venue captured "lightning in a bottle", and we are determined to document the spirit of abandon...and community...that made Hammerjacks legendary.
Mission StatementAt Varla Dogwood Films, we make movies about music. Featuring a team of ex-Hammerjacks employees and fans, we can tell the story of the iconic music venue from a behind-the-scenes perspective. We need your support to capture the stories and spirit that made Hammerjacks a rock-and-roll landmark.
About The Project
You had to be there.
In the '70s, Hammerjacks opened as a ballsy rock-and-roll bar in an otherwise quiet Baltimore neighborhood. With lines down the street, Hammerjacks quickly outgrew its humble beginnings. Eventually moving into a concert hall space, Hammerjacks established itself as a world-class rock venue that would dominate the Baltimore music scene throughout the '80s and '90s. Although the concert hall closed its doors in 1997, the name of Hammerjacks still strikes a chord with musicians and fans alike.
It seems that every rock fan of a certain age in the Washington, DC / Baltimore area has a story about Hammerjacks. Musicans and fans all have memories of packed shows, favorite bartenders, and meeting rock stars.
Mark Slaughter shows off the Hammerjacks-specific Slaughter concert shirt
We are no different. I was an intern at WHFS, and later a regional rep for Mammoth Records. I spent many nights at Hammerjacks, and I have stories to tell. My Co-Executive producer, Ann-Marie, worked as a bartender at Hammerjacks from 1988 - 1995.
As the years go by, we are unfortunately losing friends that had memories of the club. While filming, we were able to gather footage from Jeff LaBar of Cinderella and David Utter from Face Dancer. Both of these amazing human beings have since passed, as have other staff members, concert-goers, and musicians that helped create the legacy and mystique of this legendary club.
Steve and Dale interview Cinderella's Jeff LaBar
Part of being a documentary filmmaker is preserving history. Hammerjacks was a product of its time and captured lightning in a bottle. The energy, hair, spectacle, and community of Hammerjacks were extraordinary, and this is the time to gather memories and celebrate our youth. Help us pay tribute to our beloved Hammerjacks, even if mere words can't express the feeling of walking into that space in its heyday.
Inside the Concert Hall
This story can't be told without: great music...and lots of it; archival video; and archival photography. Your support will help us secure these elements and compensate intellectual property owners. Some of the artists with music in the film include KIX, DC Star, Jeff LaBar of Cinderella, Wrathchild America, Trixter, and Mona Lisa.
In addition, the musicians and staff of Hammerjacks that made Hammerjacks special are located across the country and further. Your support will help us hire crews to film final interviews in New York and Los Angeles.
Interview in Los Angeles with Jeff Pilson of Dokken / Dio / Foreigner
Hammerjacks was all about family and community. Hundreds of people have already helped to make this film a reality, and we are inviting you to join us as we hit the stage with a film that is a love letter to our Hammerjacks friends and family.
You had to be there....and you still can be. Help us finish a film that gives a glimpse into the venue that was our world:
FOLLOW OUR CAMPAIGN - Hit the "Follow Project" button our Seed&Spark page above and follow us on our Facebook page.
PLEDGE/CONTRIBUTE - If you are able, you can support us by choosing an incentive or wishlist item listed on this page.
SPREAD THE WORD - You can also support us by sharing your excitement for this project. Link this campaign page and/or tag us @HammerjacksTheRockumentary on your social networks.
Thank you so much for your interest in Hammerjacks: The Rockumentary!
Steve Nerangis, Executive Producer/Editor
For a partial list of people featured in the film, click HERE.
Use the WishList to pledge cash and loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an incentive directly.
About This Team
Andrea Kilcup, Dale Jackson and Steve Nerangis met while producing The White Label Lounge, a music television show featured on the Roku station Zom-Bee TV.
After filming an episode of The White Label Lounge with KIX guitarist Brian Forsythe, the team was invited to film the band as they recorded a new studio record. As a result, the team produced the feature-length documentary CAN'T STOP THE SHOW: THE RETURN OF KIX, and Varla Dogwood Films was born.
Varla Dogwood Films produces music-related films. After the KIX documentary, Varla Dogwood produced several award-winning shorts, including the recent mockumentary THE MAKING OF PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME PLAY PIANO MAN.
ANDREA KILCUP Director, Editor, Camera
An intergral part of the production with Zom-Bee TV, The White Label Lounge and the KIX documentary, Andrea took the lead in the early days of production on HAMMERJACKS: THE ROCKUMENTARY. As is the case with independent directors, Andrea also served as everything from Director of Photography on the majority of shooting days to the social media lead for several years. While she was born too late to actually go to Hammerjacks, she is a regular concert goer and music fan that has the concert shirts to prove that she should have grown up in the '70s and '80s. Plus she has spent time with members of KIX, Wrathchild America and Child's Play, so it is almost like she went to Hammerjacks anyway.
STEVE NERANGIS Executive Producer, Second Unit Director, Editor, Soundtrack Superviser
Steve experienced Hammerjacks both in professional and personal capacities. As an intern at WHFS and with Mammoth Records, Steve attended and worked at shows featuring Jellyfish, Big Audio Dynamite, Blind Melon, and many more. Steve even attended a wedding at Hammerjacks, and shares a love of the band Zebra with Ann-Marie Yesko.
ANN-MARIE YESKO Executive Producer
Ann-Marie has the deepest connection to the venue. From 1988 - 1996, Ann-Marie was a bartender at Hammerjacks. She started at the Balcony bar, then moved to Concert Game 2 (upstairs stage right). Ann-Marie's friendships with the staff and musicians that played the club made most of the interviews for the film possible, Although working for the first time on a Varla Dogwood Films project, Ann-Marie also produced the 2017 feature film DAYS OF POWER starring Eric Roberts.
DALE JACKSON Producer, Editor, Camera
As founder of Zom-Bee TV and the director of the award-winning feature film MAXWELL STEIN, Dale paved the way for the creation of Varla Dogwood Films. It is also worth mentioned that he owns most of the gear and tends to be the person that can figure out how to fix problems at a shoot or in the editing room. All roads lead to Dale.
CAMERA PEOPLE EVERYWHERE! Due to the wide geographic range of interview locations and the sheer volume of filming, over ten different people have filmed portions of this documentary...and that isn't counting the archival footage, largely supplied by Fil Sibley and his crew at ROCKLIVE TV.
Some footage was supplied by:
Will Stockwell: A filmmaker and music video director based in LA, Will shot interviews with Nuno Bettencourt and Jeff Pilson for this film. He also has travelled with (and documented tours for) Eagles of Death Metal and Awolnation. Will also shot an interview with Jaime St. James of Black N' Blue for the KIX documentary.
Michael Kyne: A Maryland-based director known for his genre films (including the upcoming Zombinatrix), Michael filmed interviews with members of Vixen, Skid Row, and Enuff Z'Nuff. Parts of the Vixen and Enuff Z'Nuff interviews were also in the KIX doc, as was Michael's filming of SiriusXM DJ Luc Carl.
Stephen French: A recent college graduate, Stephen both helped film several interviews, including interviews with Jimmy Chalfant and Mark Schenker of KIX. An extremely talented filmmaker, Stephen is also a graphic designer and designed the poster and DVD/Blu Ray packaging for HAMMERJACKS: THE ROCKUMENTARY.
Will Sidaros: Will filmed interviews with Steve Whiteman of KIX and members of Great White before going to work on the TV series THE WALKING DEAD: WORLD BEYOND, SWAGGER, and M. Night Shyamalan's SERVANT.
And no list of our team would be complete without a mention of our friend, frequent advisor, film professor, soundtrack supervisor and Zom-Bee TV producer Paul DiFranco.
If you have read this far, you might want to see a full list of cast and crew on our IMDB page.