filmcriticdoc’s review published on Letterboxd :
Billy Yeager The Ineffable Enigma (2016)
Premiere Screening July 23, 2016 / Malibu Beach, California.
‘Billy Yeager / The Ineffable Enigma’ ushers in an artistic revolution.
Billy Yeager believes in the power of film and music and everything he is doing he is doing in many dimensions at the same time; he is not just smashing guitars and setting pianos on fire, he is breaking with tradition, he is breaking with the vanities of the world.
Every step of the way we watch and marvel at his talents. Whether he becomes Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys, Pat Metheny, Jimi Hendrix or a 124 piece orchestra, Yeager proves his point, the matrix, the illusion, and it is a slow and painful process.
Billy Yeager is a musician, singer-songwriter, filmmaker, activist, humanitarian and an all around living breathing performance artist. He has written and recorded over 2400 songs, and produced 6 films, yet most of his works are extremely hard to find and are considered to be very valuable by serious collectors, but if it can't change the world, the artist wants no part of it.
"Everyone can be bought, name your price, one million, one billion? You can't buy me, I don’t need and I don't want your money or acceptance, all I care about is becoming truth, creating truth and changing the world", says Billy Yeager sitting by his 1967 Chevy van parked out someone in the middle of the Death Valley desert.
Yeager is not just making films and music, his work contains a message and a warning for humanity, and the promises that may lie ahead, but only if today’s artists heed the call of an obligation to society.
It may be hard for some to understand his ways and his artistry. Billy goes to the extreme to become that "voice in the wilderness”, calling our attention to the absurdities of the world.
Billy states boldly: “Where’s your righteous anger? Jesus turned over the money tables, it was obvious he was pissed off, there is so much injustice and suffering in the world, and we go on just entertaining ourselves to death? I can’t do that.”
A sympathizer of Huxley’s and Orwell’s ideas, he doesn't care whether you like him or not, he would rather take his music to the desert to play for cactus and lizards (literally) than to succumb to the audiences of our fickle society that praise every 4-chord song sung by an ‘American Idol’ contestant.
Yeager sees the future being threatened by corporations and the music and film industry who are creating "mind controlling entertainment” for the masses.
When Yeager made his first feature film ‘A Perfect Song’ he attacked one of his favorite rock bands, Led Zeppelin; this was when they had just licensed the song ‘Rock ’n’ Roll’ to Cadillac automobiles to be used in their television commercials. It pissed Yeager off. "Music used to stand for something, but now Led Zeppelin is selling Cadillacs," says Lloyd, “ Rock ’n’ Roll used to say “fuck the establishment!”, but we all sold out like whores."
The character he plays “Lloyd” is a type of musical prophet, challenging himself and other musicians to discover the world’s perfect song; there is a great shot when he submerges himself underwater to find the notes to play on his guitar.
Although there are snippets of some of Yeager's diverse styles of music featured in the film, what stands out the most is the soundtrack music, that expresses a haunting and mysterious melancholy, that reflects the beauty of the remote desert, and evokes a warm, sympathetic response to a flood of poetical emotions.
Who would take 1200 recordings and throw them into a dumpster? One collector featured in the film says, “It is sad,” but that’s not the way I see it.
Sure Yeager is an amazing musician and songwriter, but what is most impressive is his willingness to depart from the past. Most people live in their past, they live so attached to their achievements and possessions, Yeager’s concern is about creating music that can change the world.
And what artist would be so bold to propose a legislative bill that would ban those "low frequency noises" from our public highways?
Did Yeager really believe his legislative bill to "ban low frequency rap music from all public places" would be passed? Or was it just the chance to be able to say what many would love to say but don't have the guts, “rhyming words by using a rhyming dictionary to sampled drums is NOT music”?
He knows it is an unpopular topic and that most artists would rather "play it safe", but Yeager doesn't care how it will reflect on his persona or pocketbook, that’s just what makes Billy Yeager a force to be reckoned with, he is on a mission.
Yeager is taking responsible action challenging all artists to take stock of our collective consciousness, and consider the meaning and purpose of the work they create.
For me the Enigma in the story is that Billy Yeager is not just a musician, filmmaker or actor, he is a prophet of our times.
“Everywhere I look, there is no one to look up to, and I must be that example.” states Billy Yeager