REELZ announces REELZFest Music Documentary Festival

New original stories about Michael Jackson and Jim Morrison headline

REELZ has announced its August 2021 premieres highlighted by REELZFest celebrating the music, mayhem and mojo of Jim Morrison, Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Whitesnake, Alice Cooper, Metallica and AC/DC in a massive lineup of new music themed stories. REELZFest also includes the REELZ premieres of music documentaries Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey and Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage.

“With a staggering lineup of music themed shows, REELZFest taps into the phenomenon of rock music celebrating its fandom, the wild lives of rock stars and the real stories about why the music stops,” shares Steve Cheskin, SVP of Programming at REELZ. “And REELZFest isn’t all blistering guitar riffs, big hair and bandmate squabbles as our Michael Jackson and Jim Morrison original documentaries give viewers an insightful look into the real lives of two enduring music legends and their contributions to culture and complicated personalities that spawned their genius and their troubles.”

A look at the remarkable life of a true comedy giant leads August 2021 premieres with Autopsy: The Last Hours of…“Jerry Lewis” on Sunday, August 1st at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT. His trademark physical humor inspired generations of comedians and earned him the nickname the “King of Comedy” but behind his image as a benevolent clown who raised billions for charity there were rumors of a different Lewis. Was there a secret hiding behind the funny façade Lewis so successfully perfected over the years and did his signature pratfall comedy style play a role in what eventually took his life?

Kicking off REELZFest programming on Saturday, August 14th at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT is Jim Morrison: Rider on the Storm exploring the mercurial journey of The Doors frontman whose electrifying performances, rebel spirit and provocative lyrics changed rock music. But behind his mysterious rock star poet persona was a troubled and restless soul trapped in a life damaged by heavy substance abuse and eventually mired in controversy after he became the first ever rock star arrested on stage during a live performance. Now in rare archive interviews hear Morrison in his own words discuss fame, becoming a sex symbol and how he pushed back against any label. While Morrison symbolized the psychedelic rock star of the ‘60s the band with the mind-bending sound was Pink Floyd.

On Sunday, August 15th at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT Pink Floyd: Breaking the Band examines the rapid ascent and trickling breakup of the wildly successful group that sold more than 250 million albums. But before Pink Floyd took off their lead singer and co-founder was ousted from the band for excessive and debilitating drug use. The band would not derail and with the release of their iconic The Dark Side of the Moon album everything changed. Huge money, global fame and power struggles chipped away at Pink Floyd but what exactly made this unique mega selling band finally fall apart? Meteoric success, toxic jealousy and creative rivalries are also pillars in the story of progressive rock juggernaut Genesis.

On Sunday, August 15th at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT Genesis: Breaking the Band former lead guitarist Steve Hackett shares his first-hand experiences of the band’s incredible success, the story behind his departure and witnessing the clashes between singer Peter Gabriel and drummer Phil Collins that would spawn their remarkable solo careers.

Then on Saturday, August 21st at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT it’s the REELZ premiere of music documentary Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey exploring heavy metal music as a cultural phenomenon with its legends Tony Iommi, Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie among others giving their take on the genre, its global fanbase and wild stories from decades of performing. Within the heavy metal music family is a branch of glam metal epitomized by the band Whitesnake with its lead singer David Coverdale’s big voice, searing guitar riffs, tight leather pants and big hair.

On Sunday, August 22nd at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT Whitesnake: Breaking the Band see the band that emerged from English badlands hungry to conquer the world but to hone the sound that would rock America it would take 10 years and a constantly changing lineup. With more than 15 million albums sold, Whitesnake was a success but it was all built on Coverdale’s ruthless and singular ambition and at height of their power he threw it all away.

The pantheon of hard rock is not complete without Alice Cooper. Dubbed “The Godfather of Shock Rock” Alice Cooper’s signature brand of heavy metal included a wild and often controversial stage show that involved pyrotechnics, live animals and fake blood. Before its lead singer legally changed his name to Alice Cooper, the name was for a rock band that achieved huge success in record time but the pressure to keep performing turned toxic. In Alice Cooper: Breaking the Band on Sunday, August 22nd at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT see the story of the legendary group whose story went from a party to a horror show.

As possibly the most fascinating, successful and troubled superstars of all time Michael Jackson was a singular talent who captivated crowds and stirred strong reactions among fans and observers. Alongside the remarkable performances and die hard fans was a deeply damaged man. In Michael Jackson: Inside His Mind on Thursday, August 26th at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT psychiatrist Dr. Bob Johnson psychologically profiles the complex mind of the pop icon from his abusive childhood to his insatiable need for attention and the origins for compulsions that drove his often erratic behavior.

On Saturday, August 28th at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage makes its REELZ premiere with the story of the Canadian rock band power trio exploring their 40 years of rock and roll success, setbacks and soaring popularity. From the Rush’s working class roots and struggle to land a record deal to globetrotting tours with legends including KISS this is the complete inside story of one of the most influential bands of all time.

Closing out REELZFest on Sunday, August 29th are the back-to-back premieres of Metallica: Breaking the Band at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT and AC/DC: Breaking the Band at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT about the fabled bands who share stories of pushing through heartbreaking tragedies on their way to making music history. Metallica is the highest selling heavy metal bands in history with five consecutive chart-topping albums along with 1,600 shows and nearly $1.5 billion in gross sales. But their massive musical success came with destructive excess and intra-band rivalries led to mayhem with extreme personalities battling for the spotlight. But as the young band ascended to its lofty status tragedy struck when bassist Cliff Burton dies after the band’s motorhome crashes. The death would reverberate through Metallica for years and it would take hundreds of thousands of dollars in therapy to get the band back on track. Selling more than 200 million records and playing more than 2,500 concerts worldwide explosive Australian rockers AC/DC blew away everything in front of them. The band’s two founding brothers Malcolm and Angus Young had a relentless drive to succeed that would leave carnage in its wake and splinter the band. Former bassist Mark Evans shares his experiences from the legendary in-studio guitar solo by Angus that literally lit the studio on fire to his fallout with Angus that led to Evans leaving the band.

REELZ is available in 70 million homes on DIRECTV channel 238, DISH Network channel 299, Verizon FiOS TV channel 692HD, AT&T U-verse channels 799/1799HD and cable systems nationwide.

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Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.
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