Music and marriage equality: Marco Collins on his tell-all documentary

Music and marriage equality: Marco Collins on his tell-all documentary

Acclaimed radio DJ and man-about-town Marco Collins helped launch the careers of some of the Puget Sound's most notable artists, from Nirvana and Pearl Jam to Death Cab for Cutie. But his own path, which was often mired in elements often associated with rock 'n roll (drugs, mostly), was more winding.

Now, he's hoping to tell the story -- about the music of the 1990s, his own addiction and life as a closeted gay man -- through documentary film. Collins and the crew have turned to Kickstarter to fund the film, but, he says, they're running out of time. 

"We have until the end of the day Friday," says Collins, admitting that at that moment, he was on a ferry, furiously sending emails to friends asking for last-minute donations.

"I'm kind of freaking out right now." 

Collins, who was the voice of 107.7 THE END just as Seattle's rock scene was hitting its stride, is a piece of Seattle music history himself. But that doesn't make it any less bizarre to be the center of a documentary film -- and one of the principal fundraisers for it. 

"It's super weird," he explains, adding that "if I wasn't behind this film 100%, then whatever, I would let it be. If it's going to be about me, I want it to be good."

But, says Collins, it's not a navel-gazing piece by him, about him. "The Glamour and the Squalor" is a documentary, which looks at the music and the social undercurrents of Seattle both then and now.

"I certainly don't have final say in it. I just want them to be able to have the funds to make the film they want to make," he said of the production crew, which includes Emmy award-winning director Mark Evans, SIFF boardmember Michelle Quisenberry, and producer Andy Mininger .

The documentary, which is slated for tentative release in time for next year's festival season, is a tell-all, which Collins admits makes him a little nervous. And, he says, it's both personal and political, dealing heavily with a contentious ballot issue that Washington State citizens voted on last  November.

"There are kind of three threads throughout the movie, " he explains, "there's the 90s music thread, then there's the addiction thread, then there's the Referendum 74 thread, because I was on the board to get marriage equality passed."

"I'm kind of a personal person," Collins confessed, "and I've gone through a lot of trying times. So for me, I am nervous about this. I'm nervous about it because I talk about things I've never talked about before. There are a lot of memories that I don't always feel good about revisiting."

Collins even reached out to his father, because, he says, he "wanted him to know that I was going to be talking about some really personal stuff."

"I just wanted to give him a complete heads up that when the film comes out, there are no secrets."

And Kickstarter, says Collins, seemed like the perfect fit for a film that he wanted to make sure was made perfectly.

"Seattle has always had a really strong DIY effort, " he noted, "We didn't want some company to come in and try to change it. We want to have ultimate control over this movie."

But why make a film about something like Seattle music, which has had yards of column space and miles of film dedicated to it? Collins says that, in addition to using it as a platform to launch new, up-and-coming bands (which are definitely a key aspect to the film), it's more personal than just the music.

"To me, there's a lot of really great things that can come out of it. I continually come back to the Ref. 74 thread of the film. For me, being a closeted gay man for so many years, and now to get emails from other gay men all the time saying 'I didn't know. I'd have come out a long time ago if I knew,' it just makes me think, like, 'Wow, I really should have done this sooner. This can help people.'"

"This marriage equality thing is something that should've happened a long time ago. If there's one thing that I hope can come out of this, it's the positive reinforcement for the gay community and Ref 74. It's a civil rights thing, as far as I'm concerned."

For more information on the film, visit the Kickstarter page.