The new documentary film, Shot! The Psycho Spiritual Mantra of Rock, is about legendary music photographer and videographer Mick Rock, best known for his iconic images of David Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Queen, Blondie, Joan Jett and countless others. Mick Rock shot the covers of dozens of classic album covers (Space Oddity, Transformer, Raw Power, Queen II, End of the Century). And he partied with all of his subjects, integrating himself into the snapshot of society at the time.
In a documentary with rock-n-roll as its subject, Mick Rock guides us through his psychedelic, cool and often chaotic first-hand experiences as the visual record-keeper of the myths and legends of the 60s and 70s. (Though he continues to work to this day, it’s when he first burst onto the scene that’s made the most indelible impression.)
Shot! The Psycho Spiritual Mantra of Rock is directed by Barnaby Clay, who’s married to Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. He has directed videos for his wife’s band as well as TV on the Radio and Gnarls Barkley, and made a number of short films. Shot! is his feature debut and it’s an accomplished effort. Made with the subject’s participation, it gives us a glimpse into the Mick Rock pre-photog days, tells how he got started, and touches on his insider status. There’s a bit about his devotion to kundalini yoga, and a lot about the drug scene.
It’s not preachy and it’s not condoning – it just is what it is, as Mick Rock talks about how he fell into the clutches of addiction and how it almost cost him his life. A good portion of the film is made up of hallucinogenic flashbacks and dream sequences of a younger Mick Rock in the hospital in the 80s, clinging to life – the milieu is reminiscent of the same themes of Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz.
From the glam rock sparkle of London to the punk rock snarl of New York city, and deep into the new millennium, we see some of the coolest fashions and hear from Mick Rock about how he incorporated the stylistic looks of bygone icons into the news ones. For instance, he says that when he shot Freddie Mercury, Blondie and Joan Jett, he thought of Marlena Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis Presley respectively.
The dozens and dozens of stills and video footage reveal so much silk, satin, snakeskin, shimmer and safety pins – it’s a true feast for fashionistas! But a picture is worth a thousand words, so check out some of Mick Rock’s amazing images and keep your eyes peeled for screenings and streamings as the documentary is rolled out across various platforms in the months to come.
Images from the Mick Rock Doc Shot! The Psycho Spiritual Mantra of Rock
New Mick Rock Doc ‘Shot! The Psycho Spiritual Mantra of Rock’
by Staci Layne Wilson