“It was sex, drugs and rock. It lasted until the age of 50. Not bad, huh?”, great phrases by Joaquín Sabina in the documentary by Fernando León

He appears on screen smoking. Much. Also drinking. Whiskey, cava, tequila, cocktails… Elements that enhance the sly and roguish speech of Joaquín Sabina (Úbeda, Jaén, 73 years old). The director Fernando León (Madrid, 54 years old) has been the shadow of the musician for 14 years. The result of this coexistence is Feeling it a lot, a two-hour documentary about the artist that has been screened this Friday at the San Sebastián film festival and that still does not have a commercial release date. There are 120 minutes of exaltation of the figure of the singer, who in his reflections addresses issues that have marked his career. These are some examples. Beware, the text that follows contains spoilers of the plot (that is, spoilers).

– ABOUT STAGE FEAR. A constant theme in the documentary. León takes his time to describe the sensations of the singer minutes before going on stage. “It’s good that you’re scared” Sabine says. Although later he feels overwhelmed: he vomits half an hour before a recital. “It seems incredible that with 40 years of profession this happens to me. Get the bull out now! When I go out the fear goes away”, he affirms comparing the sensations prior to the direct with those of a bullfight.

The singer and Fernando León, during the recording of the documentary. www.fernandomarrero.com

– THE STIMULANTS. In one of the most hilarious moments of the documentary, Sabina appears getting ready before a recital, sitting at a table. To the side, you can see a small plate that houses a small white mountain. “This is salt, don’t go thinking, huh”, he laughs Then he adds: “Salt to salivate”. He later talks about his publicized drug use: “It was sex, drugs and Rock And Roll. It lasted until the age of 50. Not bad, huh?” She reveals when she left him and how she feels about it now: “I quit coke 20 years ago. And I left him without hospitalization and those things that people do. For me they were happy experiences. And when they stopped being, I just left it.” And adds: “What if I miss them? Yes. What if I fall again? Nope”.

– HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH SERRAT. Sabina and Serrat have been touring for several years in a show as nostalgic as it is engaging. The two share a manager and a core of followers. In the documentary, priceless images of the duo are seen planning a concert and their different personalities are appreciated: the methodical Serrat and the chaotic Sabina. “We are totally different. Serrat is the very organized guy. He has a charming side, and a stiff, crooked side.” points out the jiennense, who by valuing his partner the dates skate him: he assures that Serrat recorded Mediterranean when I was 19 years old. In reality, the Catalan had 27.

– WHERE THE SONGS OF SABINA COME FROM. It is widely spoken in Feeling it a lot of the creative process of the protagonist. Are the songs of Jaén autobiographical? This is how he explains it: “I have little imagination. I would be incapable of inventing a story that doesn’t have much to do with me or someone I’ve seen. For example, gentlemen’s agreement, It was not as I tell it, but it was stolen and returned to me, and that happened twice in one week. Then I exaggerate the ending.”

Sabina at the train station in Úbeda, Jaén, where she was born.
Sabina at the train station in Úbeda, Jaén, where she was born. www.fernandomarrero.com

– LOVE AS A CREATIVE ENGINE. The singer clarifies that he does not write about love, but rather about lack of love: “The love of what they now call toxic gives some great songs. All the songs that I like are heartbreak. It’s a song you do so that that son of a bitch who has left you stranded can’t save herself from hearing it over and over again”.

AND SABINA GETS EXCITED. One of the moments of greatest emotional tension of Feeling it a lot It is when the singer visits Úbeda, the city where he was born, for a tribute. There he rescues some writings from his father and reads them aloud for the documentary. He gets a lump in his throat. “One of the clouds that I almost never tell about and that I carry in my soul is that when I started playing in big places, my father had Alzheimer’s and my mother was very ill. They died right away. They did not enjoy the success of the child, they would have enjoyed it like crazy.

– THEIR MUSICAL INFLUENCES. Sabina talks little about rock in the documentary. Yes indeed, name Bob Dylan. “I wanted to be like Dylan, to electrify myself,” he says to justify his transfer from the singer-songwriters’ dens to put together a band and find success. She plays another trick on his memory when she claims that Dylan performed at the festival in Woodstock in 1968. But she didn’t. It declares “in love with mariachis” and of Jose Alfredo Jimenez “the one that has best dealt with the subject of heartbreak”. And he praises tango: “It has everything that I like: the suburbs, the knives, the whores…”.

The musician Leiva appears in the final section of 'Sintarlo mucho'. Here he converses with Leon.
The musician Leiva appears in the final section of ‘Sintarlo mucho’. Here he converses with Leon.

– WORSHIP FOR THE BULLS. If someone likes Sabina but she hates bullfighting, she may have a conflict when dealing with the character. The party is very important in the documentary. His father took him to the bulls when he was little. He “surreptitiously touched the suit of the bullfighters. And it made me very emotional. I am from the last generation in which we children played bullfighting instead of football”it states. The images of his friend José Tomás in a bullfight in Mexico where he almost lost his life due to a goring They are a documentary in themselves. Beautiful and terrible at the same time. The face and feelings of José Tomás before going out into the ring could give a lot of footage.

– CAN SABINA STILL COMPOSE ANY MEMORABLE SONG? The last album of the singer is from 2017, I deny everything. It is not among the best of the artist for his followers. In his recent interview with The weekly country He states that he will surely enter to record another album this fall. In the documentary he says: “The great works, with some wonderful exceptions like Kant or Borges, are written by drunks, drug addicts and brawlers, people with very bad lives. It’s about exploring murky places.” Then it gets deep when assessing whether what remains of Sabina can overcome what is already there: “I am not able to improve old songs that I have made. I consider myself incapable of improving them. To me, the Dylan albums that I like the most are the first ones. I don’t think it’s going to improve songs like With you, and yet either I get off at Atocha. I do not think so”. The end of the documentary is a good example of these doubts. To know what happens, better watch it.

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“It was sex, drugs and rock. It lasted until the age of 50. Not bad, huh?”, great phrases by Joaquín Sabina in the documentary by Fernando León