It was just over 10 years ago when Mick Rock, the iconic Rock and Roll photographer, came into my office with a bag full of photos and a DVD to talk about a crazy JT Leroy indie film project we were working together on for Island Records founder Chris Blackwell’s film company, Palm Pictures. By that time, I had known Mick for a few years mostly from attending his very high profile photo exhibits in New York City with my good friend Jane Stuart. These were not photo exhibits for the quiet wine sipping cheese eating art crowd. Mick is rock star! You’d have to do battle with massive crowds at the door through the mounted police because, if you got in, you were likely to bump into Debbie Harry, Keith Richards, Lou Reed or Mick Jagger – all artists Mick has shot over his 4 decade and counting career. At the end of our JT Leroy film meeting, Mick pulls a DVD out from his bag and proceeds to tell me that he thinks there might be something we can do with a bit of footage he shot over the years going back as far as 1972 from his early years photographing Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie).
Naturally, I was more than quite interested in taking a peek. From the flicker of the first frame of grainy b/w footage, I knew he was sitting on a Rock and Roll goldmine. How much of this footage did you say you shot Mick? I ask. Jump to today, just one week from the world premiere of Shot! The Psycho Spiritual Mantra of Rock at The Tribeca Film Festival in NYC. #mickrockdoc #tribecafilmfest
The film is one of the most anticipated of the festival and is already on everyone’s must see list including Rolling Stone. So much transpired over those 10 years a feature film documentary financed and produced the way Mick and I wanted. We had set our sights pretty high for how we wanted the story told, the look, a unique approach. We weren’t going to make another talking heads, isn’t he just great documentary. We wanted to really tell a story. So many meetings, false starts, imploding TV network executives, directional changes, the birth of Netflix streaming, the success of Amazon Prime and, most recently, the deaths of both Lou Reed and David Bowie, two of Mick’s dearest friends. The whole experience is such a New York story because so much of Mick’s professional life has been centered around New York City starting with Lou Reed. Looking back, it was always the City’s unique energy that projected this project forward. So, I’m going to have my own very New York moment this coming Friday when the lights go down and the flicker of the frames appear on the big screen before a sold out, standing room only NYC audience. It’s been an amazing ride so far. I love this crazy town!