DANNY FIELDS' job description changed as quickly as the musical trends that surrounded him during the '60s and '70s. He was an editor at Datebook, the American teen magazine that reprinted John Lennon's "bigger than Jesus" quote (originally published in a UK newspaper without incident), thus precipitating a huge controversy. He was press agent for Elektra Records in the late '60s, helping that label sign MC5 and the Stooges. He hosted a radio show on WFMU and managed bands such as the Ramones and the Modern Lovers.
Inextricably linked to New York's downtown scene for decades, Fields was part of Andy Warhol's Factory crew, was present at CBGB for epoch-defining punk shows, and introduced Iggy Pop to David Bowie at Max's Kansas City. Named after the Ramones song, Danny Says screens as part of the Hollywood Theatre's new Sonic Cinema series of music documentaries, and it's a scattershot, reasonably interesting film that jams together disparate primary sources to tell Fields' story—including too much conversational narration in which he's interrupted by other people in the room.
There are some great historical artifacts documented in Danny Says, though—like a tape-recorded conversation between Fields and Lou Reed, when Fields plays Reed the Ramones for the first time. (Reed flips out and loves them.) And there's a phone call Fields made to Nico, presumably before she made 1968's The Marble Index—a brief-but-amazing conversation that couches Nico's smoky moroseness within the banality of everyday pleasantries. (Left unexplained: where this tape came from. Did Fields record all of his phone conversations?)
Fields' own personality seems mutable, which made him the perfect agent for the larger-than-life musicians that surrounded him. Danny Says feels like a collection of dinner-party conversations—not quite a movie, but entertaining nevertheless.