Chronicling The Origins Of Desert Rock: Get a Taste of "The Whole Enchilada"

The Whole Enchilada Trailer from R&R Press on Vimeo.

This weekend's Tucson Film & Music Festival will include the premiere of The Whole Enchilada, a documentary that explores Tucson’s music scene from the late 1970s through the mid-’90s.

Local filmmaker Maggie Smith captures the origins of desert rock through the words and sometimes fuzzy recollections of those who survived. The fertile scene arose from cross pollination between country, rock and punk, with the growth “largely fueled by the drug trade,” recalls George Hawke (The Dusty Chaps, Los Lasers).

click to enlarge Howe Gelb - CURTIS ENDICOTT
Curtis Endicott
Howe Gelb

The story unfolds in a series of exclusive interviews and never-before-seen footage with local luminaries: Country rockers Bob Meighan, Ned Sutton (The Rabbits), and George Hawke, alt-rock legends Dan Stuart (Green on Red), Howe Gelb (Giant Sand), Bill Sedlmayr (The Pedestrians, Giant Sandworms), Robin Johnson (The Pills, Gentlemen Afterdark), David Slutes (Sidewinders, Sand Rubies), Van Christian (Naked Prey), “wild child” Suzie Caruze and others. 

Maggie Smith became involved in the project about a year ago when her husband (and Tucson Weekly columnist) Brian Smith met with executive producer of The Whole Enchilada Rich Hopkins.



“Brian is the editor of the liner notes/book of essays that accompanies the [companion] 3 LP set Whole Enchilada and I pitched the idea to Rich of directing an accompanying film,” Maggie Smith said.    

Maggie Smith said she was already planning screenings at this weekend's premiere.

“We are planning to submit to other festivals, and to screen the film in Phoenix and again in Tucson at Hotel Congress to coincide with the box set release in March 2022," Maggie Smith said. "All people who purchase the box set will receive a code to watch the documentary via streaming."   


The Whole Enchilada (San Jacinto Records, USA/2021/28 min.), makes its world premiere at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, as part of the Tucson Film & Music Festival’s Documentary Short Film Program at The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St. Q&A with director Maggie Smith to follow. Details: (520) 882-0204.

More on the Tucson Film & Music Festival here.