RUMBLE: The Indians who Rocked the World

RUMBLE-one-sheet Nov-28-13

Themes and Key Words:
Biography, Music
Running Time:
Rezolution Pictures, in co-production with ARTE
Catherine Bainbridge & Co-Director Alfonso Maiorana


RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World brings to light a profound and missing chapter in the history of American music: the Indigenous influence. Featuring music icons Charley Patton, Mildred Bailey, Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix, Jesse Ed Davis, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Robbie Robertson, Randy Castillo, and Taboo, RUMBLE shows how these pioneering Native musicians helped shape the soundtracks of our lives.


In RUMBLE, for the first time a film reveals a fascinating, and until now unknown, influence on the formation of rock and roll… The music that has become a part of who we are.

We are so honoured to be able to tell this story about the influence of iconic Native American musicians like Link Wray, Charley Patton, Mildred Bailey, Robbie Robertson, Jimi Hendrix, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Jesse Ed Davis, Redbone, Randy Castillo and Taboo.

We are excited by the incredible access we were granted to some of the world’s greatest rock stars who tell this important piece in the story of rock and roll. When you hear Slash, Stevie Van Zandt, Buddy Guy, or Steven Tyler speak about how these icons were an influence, you listen!

Native American music – born of this land – was violently suppressed for many years as both American and Canadian governments outlawed Native ceremonies and rituals in a deliberate attempt to break the people.

As a result, the music was forced underground and found its expression in alternative ways. Is it any wonder that one of the most powerful songs in the history of rock music – the song that helped start the revolution – was by a Shawnee Indian named Link Wray, and it had no lyrics? Just raw, powerful, distorted guitar. A powerful yell.

Legend has it Link Wray created the sound for RUMBLE by punching out holes in old speakers creating the revolutionary sound, which would become one of the most important songs in rock history.

Iggy Pop, Slash, Dan Auerbach, Wayne Kramer, Taylor Hawkins and Marky Ramone all tell us about the influence RUMBLE had on the evolution of rock. It was what made heavy metal and punk even possible. It is cited as an influence on The Kinks, The Who, and Jimmy Page among others. Pete Townshend said “He is the king; if it hadn’t been for Link Wray and RUMBLE,’ I would have never picked up a guitar.”

But most of us have never even heard of Link Wray.

It is important to note that the primary drivers in the creation of blues and jazz and therefore rock were African Americans, but Native Americans, like Europeans, also played a part.

Take the creation of the Blues itself where the trauma of slavery, genocide and continuous violent oppression brought Native American and African American survivors together in many different ways. In those violent and frightening times – music was a healing balm, a clandestine protest and cry for freedom. All of the ingredients that helped make American music.

In North America, each corner, on each piece of land that we tread, where Indigenous people lived and thrived long before most of our ancestors did, lies a musical history that is precious.

We feel that it is important for everyone, and especially Native youth who have so few pop culture role models, to have proof, through the icons we feature and the famous people that give our story credibility, that Indigenous cultures were an integral part of the evolution of popular music.

The truth that we want to expose in RUMBLE is that the attempted erasure of Native American people, their culture, and their music, didn’t work.  As Robbie Robertson said in one of our interviews with him “you wouldn’t let me talk about it before, well now I’m going to talk real loud.”

Catherine Bainbridge, Director and Executive Producer

Alfonso Maiorana, Co-Director and Director of Photography


Catherine Bainbridge, Director / Writer / Executive Producer / Producer, on RUMBLE, and Co-founder of Rezolution Pictures, has an accomplished career in media.  She has brought her signature enthusiasm and passion for storytelling to countless documentary, drama, comedy, and interactive media projects, notably the Peabody award-winning documentary “Reel Injun”, about Native stereotypes in Hollywood films.  Her role as Director on RUMBLE encapsulates her love and devotion to music, history, politics, and bringing important Indigenous stories to the mainstream.

Alfonso Maiorana is Co-director and Director of Photography on RUMBLE. Based in Montreal, Alfonso’s DP experience on Hollywood films, Independent features, MOWs, and television series brings a distinctive look and feel to the films he shoots. His directing credits include The Big World which premiered at the Montreal International Film festival. Passionate about music history and inspired by filmmakers like Jarmusch, Truffaut and Coppola, Alfonso’s combination of visual style and storytelling come together in RUMBLE.


2017 Sundance Film Festival, USA
Won World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Masterful Storytelling

2017 Boulder International Film Festival, USA
Won Best Music Documentary Award

2017 Hot Docs International Film Festival, Canada
Won Audience Award for Best Canadian Documentary

2017 Illuminate Film Festival, USA
Won Audience Award

2017 Albuquerque Film and Music Festival, USA
Won Best Documentary Award

2017 Biografilm Festival Music Section, Italy
Won Audience Award

2017 History Film Festival, Croatia
Won Best Independent Documentary Award
Won Best Production Award

2017 UNERHÖRT! / Reeperbahn Festival Music Film Contest, Germany
Won Best Music Documentary Award

2017 Festival Ciné Alter’Natif, France
Won Audience Award

2017 Doc’n Roll Film Festival, UK
Won Best Music Documentary Film Award

2017 Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, Greece

2017 DFI Music Doc Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark

2017 Titanic Film Festival, Budapest, Hungary

2017 DOK.fest, Munich, Germany

2017 Planete Doc Review, Warsaw, Poland

2017 Sydney International Film Festival, Australia

2017 New Zealand Film Festival, Wellington


The influence of Native Americans on nearly a century of popular music is eloquently demonstrated in this engaging documentary.

“Rumble reveals surprising roots of rock.”