Movie Review — John Waite: The Hard Way

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The documentary John Waite: The Hard Way came out today, and it takes an intimate and nuanced look at the career of John Waite, the man behind the microphone, and the passion that drives him forward. Read on for my review of this documentary.

John Waite: The Hard Way is described using the following words:

When music is your whole life, and suddenly life gets interrupted… In raw, emotional interviews, 80s rock icon John Waite reflects on his 5-decade career. When performing live is not an option – he’s forced to finally confront himself.

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing John multiple times over the years, and he has always been generous with his time and insights. I’ve seen him perform live in a variety of venues and spent time with him before and after shows. He’s a consummate artist, a kind soul, and a talent like no other.

John Waite: The Hard Way is a compelling and authentic look at one of my favorite musicians of all time. Filmed during the COVID-19, this documentary shows how the pandemic affected artists like John who thrive on the road. Asking someone like John to stop performing is like asking someone on the street to give up water or air. Live music is what sustains him and makes him feel alive. It’s what he’s known for nearly 50 years, and seeing how COVID impacted John was profound.

Hearing about all the ups and downs of his career and how he dealt with them was captivating. All of us are faced with tough decisions in our lives and hindsight is 20/20. We do the best we can at any given point in time with the information we have before us. In The Hard Way, John takes us on a guided journey of his choices and how they resulted in the man he is today.

Several videos I recorded of John performing live in New Hope, Pennsylvania were included in The Hard Way, and I am immensely grateful to be thanked in the credits for my contributions to this great documentary. I had no idea I was going to receive this recognition. Thank you, John! I really appreciate it. That was one hell of a show, and I’m thrilled that my footage has been immortalized through this documentary.

John Waite: The Hard Way exceeded my expectations. It felt like I was interviewing John Waite all over again, while also hearing from those close to him, and seeing excellent live and archival footage. I learned a great deal watching The Hard Way, and my respect and admiration for John increased as a result. He may have lived his life The Hard Way, but he should be proud that he always stayed true to himself and his art because his fans — myself included — wouldn’t have it any other way.

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