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Ride Through Charlotte’s Rock & Roll History with Documentary 'Live From The Double Door Inn'

Apr 25, 2018 07:04PM ● By Melanie Heisinger
The Double Door Inn opened in 1973 was a blues music venue in the Charlotte area and at one point was one of the most notable venues in the country. In January 2017, The Double Door Inn closed its doors for good, saying goodbye to thousands of fans and leaving behind a legacy. 

A group of their fans, that also happen to be filmmakers, got together and created a documentary, Live From The Double Door Inn: The Amazing True Story of the Legendary Music Club, which chronicles the story of the Double Door Inn, its tireless and legendary live music promoter Nick Karres, its fans, the music, and everything in between. It was all shot during The Double Door Inn's final 6 months.

In order to create the film, the entire budget was crowdfunded and the team raised about $24K.

Kim Brattain's most memorable moment: "Lenny Federal and Steve Stoeckel [kissing me]… I was in heaven."

"In addition to Indiegogo, we benefitted from a CD sale and musician meet and greet in the parking lot of the club," Jay Ahuja, executive producer of the documentary, said. "It really was a community effort. Bill Miller and his band donated $2,500, essentially their take from a performance at TDDI. Randy Franklin wrote an original song, which he allowed us to use as a reward in the crowdfunding effort. We also used it as our soundtrack as the credits rolled at the end of the film. Billy Rollings donated hours of video footage that he took in the 80s and 90s."

The efforts put on by not only the filmmakers but the community are directly reflected in the way everyone got together to create this documentary. It's a testament to the 43 years of good times and better music that The Double Door Inn provided.

"While The Double Door Inn started out as a rock & roll club, it quickly became known as the home of the Blues in Charlotte," Rick Fitts, Editor of the film, said. "In fact the club when it closed was recognized as the 2nd oldest Blues Club in the US and the oldest Blues Club to operate under continuous ownership."

Many nationally known blues artists played the club over the years. The Nighthawks, Eric Clapton, JJ Kale, Shemekia Copeland, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The DIxie Dregs, Long John Hunter, The Blue Dogs, TInsley Ellis, Jimmy Thakery, Skip Castro, Elvin Bishop, Buddy Miles, Gigi Dover, Bob Margolin, and the Monday Night Allstars played there every Monday night for over 20 years. "This list of bands only scratches the surface of who all played this renowned Club," Fitts told us. 

Did we mention that they were huge fans? 

Kim Brattain of Kim Brattain Media, who was an integral part in the production of the film, said of the crew, "The Ahujadaddy Partners, Rick Fitts, Chuck Bludsworth, Jay Ahuja and I all loved the club throughout the years, and since together we had the skills to preserve it’s history through film, we went for it."

They all worked collaboratively as a team to make the film happen, Ahuja as the executive producer lining up all the interviews, Bludsworth as their photographer, and Fitts as the editor. All received incredibly high praise from Brattain, who was also an interviewer and writer for the film. "It was by far my most enjoyable documentary project. I’m urging the partners now to find another project— but I don’t know we’ll find one we love as much as the Double Door."

Live From The Double Door Inn is essentially 40 hours of interviews edited into about a half hour of interesting, historic rock and roll, as well as the rock and rollers themselves. Expect music and plenty of candid, unfiltered interviews. "The film has no script or narrator," Ahuja  said. "It’s told through the words of the people who worked there, played there and went there for 43 years. Producing a documentary without a narrator is very difficult, but Rick, Kim and Chelsea worked very hard to make it happen."

The documentary had a limited edition blue-ray printing and it sold out, much to the surprise and delight of the crew that worked tirelessly to create it. "Chuck not only shot the vast majority of the footage, he also designed the packaging and was in charge of Blu-Ray production," Ahuja told us. "His experience was invaluable to our project."

Since it was so successful, they decided to make more, and those are now available through Amazon.

"The doc is interesting in that it documents a time in our society where people enjoyed listening to live music in a friendly small environment," Brattain said. "We interviewed a historian who says nowadays, people prefer giant stadiums and big screens to the intimacy of a tight club."
The Blu-Ray has two bonus features, each about 8 minutes long. The first is from an interview Ahuja did with Karres. The second is from various interviews with musicians thanking Karres for all he did for them and the Charlotte music scene. The Blu-Ray and a few remaining DVDS can be purchased via Amazon.

Live from The Double Door Inn will give you a ride through Charlotte’s rock and roll history, and insight into the man, Nick Karres, who inadvertently became one of the biggest promoters of live music on the east coast of the US. Brattain claims, "He simply loved music... and had great taste."  

All the Ahujadaddy Partners were giant fans of both Nick Karres and the club. Brattain recalls sneaking into the club with a fake ID, "It was the best." She always found mesh of all kinds of people, a variety of music, with one goal- to have fun. 

"My bottom line is this: We need to realize the gems in our midst and appreciate them," said Brattain. "Life zooms by, but there are some really wonderful things we need to cherish before they’re gone. The Double Door was a freakin’ cool place. I miss it."

You can learn more about the production and purchase the documentary here

Official Trailer of the Documentary

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