Mick Rock

Photographer — New York

Name
Mick Rock

Where are you from?
London. Born in Hammersmith.

Describe your style in three words?
Attitude is style.

Why you love what you do?
It's very therapeutic for me. It cleans out a lot of those knots and tensions in my skull. Plus it started giving me money.

Of all the artists you've shot - who connected?
If you get in front of my camera, for that period of time I'm madly in love with you. Of course the next day I might be off with someone else.

Obviously, there were certain people that I worked with a lot, whether it was Freddie or David or Lou, Iggy, Debbie Harry - even Syd. Certainly, the thing with David and Lou is they were highly articulate. They were up for a good chat while we were shooting. It wasn't like working with a bit of wood that's for sure.

The track that really turned me on to David was 'Life On Mars'. I did the video for it, and David gave me the copyright.

An artist that you would like to have photographed?
There's a guy called Al Wertheimer that did a lot of early Elvis pictures. He did those pictures of Elvis, those very unfiltered photographs before he became huge and they put control on everything. I loved Bob Dylan around the time of 'Like A Rolling Stone'. Or Keith Richards around the time of Altamont, when he looked more like Rock 'n' Roll than anybody ever did.

Another you? What job would you have done?
Because I got a scholarship to King's College Cambridge, my parents always thought that I'd be a lecturer. It wasn't that I didn't love Cambridge, I got up to all sorts of mischief. That's where all the madness started with the LSD, and there's a section about that in the documentary. I could have been a writer maybe, but I hated sitting around. I have written stuff, mostly pieces for my own books, and maybe I would have ended up doing what my parents hoped I'd do, being a lecturer at a university.

Although, I think I did what I was meant to do. I don't think there was ever any other destiny for me.

If you could put one of your images in a time capsule?
It's very hard to distill that down to one image. I know most people would like it to be a Lou or a David or an Iggy, and probably that shot I've got of the three of them, what I called the terrible trio, the unholy trinity.

'Transformer' would be in there. There's a lot to be said for 'Raw Power' too, not just the for cover but also the Iggy back bend shot done on the same night. He can't do it nowadays. Many people might prefer my 'Queen II' album cover that they copied for the Bohemian Rhapsody video, though.


Mick Rock is often described as 'the man who shot the seventies' capturing the spirit of glam and punk. His truly iconic subjects included David Bowie, Syd Barrett, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Queen, Blondie and the Sex Pistols. His credits include over 100 album covers including Lou Reed's 'Transformer' and The Stooges' 'Raw Power' as well as early music videos for David Bowie including 'Space Oddity' and 'Life On Mars'. Mick Rock has lived in New York for the last 35 years where he still works photographing the likes of Karen O, Daft Punk and Queens of The Stone Age.

'SHOT! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra Of Rock' is a new documentary by director Barnaby Clay that tells the Mick Rock story in the photographer's own words, juxtaposed with his photos, now iconic artefacts of rock 'n' roll history in their own right. 

To find out more about the film, and where to see it visit: www.magpictures.com/shot

First song you played on repeat?
I can remember from my childhood, 'Peggy Sue' by Buddy Holly. Much to my parents' annoyance.

What’s the best gig you've ever been to?
There are some contenders, but I remember seeing Bob Marley for three nights in a row at Hammersmith Odeon, and that was like religion. That was definitely a privilege.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
Well, I've always like Warren Zevon's 'Werewolves of London'. I've often had that feeling of being a werewolf. I've often wondered if there's something vampiric about taking people's photographs, sipping on their auras.

One record you would keep forever?
There is a lot to be said for 'Transformer', because of the convergence of David Bowie and Lou Reed, and it should not be forgotten, Mick Ronson. They've just made a documentary about Mick Ronson that does a good job of letting people know just what his contribution was. Much more than I think people realise.

A song that defined the teenage you?
It's probably 'Visions of Johanna'. I loved that period of Bob Dylan. I remember going to see him at the Albert Hall, he came on for the second half with a band and a few people actually booed. He said, "You don't understand, this is American Music". His Lyrical content intrigued me, not that I didn't like 'Jumping Jack Flash' or 'Come Together'.

A song people wouldn't expect you to like?
There are a couple of Opera records, like Pagliacci, but I suppose I better get back to the rock 'n' roll. When I met Phil Lynott, and he played 'Whiskey In The Jar'. I could do a book on Thin Lizzy. He had everything but unfortunately succumbed to a chemical problem. Keith Richards' solo albums I like too. And Sinead O 'Connor 'Nothing Compares to You'.

A favourite album cover that you shot?
Probably some obscure Japanese thing. I've done a lot more work than people know. I did an album called 'Wild Angel' by a guy called Nelson Slater who was an old schoolmate of Lou Reed's, and it's the only time he actually produced anybody else. Look it up - it's an interesting shot for the time. I love the more obvious ones too, like Joan Jett 'I love Rock 'n Roll'.

Name
Mick Rock

Where are you from?
London. Born in Hammersmith.

Describe your style in three words?
Attitude is style.

Why you love what you do?
It's very therapeutic for me. It cleans out a lot of those knots and tensions in my skull. Plus it started giving me money.

Of all the artists you've shot - who connected?
If you get in front of my camera, for that period of time I'm madly in love with you. Of course the next day I might be off with someone else.

Obviously, there were certain people that I worked with a lot, whether it was Freddie or David or Lou, Iggy, Debbie Harry - even Syd. Certainly, the thing with David and Lou is they were highly articulate. They were up for a good chat while we were shooting. It wasn't like working with a bit of wood that's for sure.

The track that really turned me on to David was 'Life On Mars'. I did the video for it, and David gave me the copyright.

An artist that you would like to have photographed?
There's a guy called Al Wertheimer that did a lot of early Elvis pictures. He did those pictures of Elvis, those very unfiltered photographs before he became huge and they put control on everything. I loved Bob Dylan around the time of 'Like A Rolling Stone'. Or Keith Richards around the time of Altamont, when he looked more like Rock 'n' Roll than anybody ever did.

Another you? What job would you have done?
Because I got a scholarship to King's College Cambridge, my parents always thought that I'd be a lecturer. It wasn't that I didn't love Cambridge, I got up to all sorts of mischief. That's where all the madness started with the LSD, and there's a section about that in the documentary. I could have been a writer maybe, but I hated sitting around. I have written stuff, mostly pieces for my own books, and maybe I would have ended up doing what my parents hoped I'd do, being a lecturer at a university.

Although, I think I did what I was meant to do. I don't think there was ever any other destiny for me.

If you could put one of your images in a time capsule?
It's very hard to distill that down to one image. I know most people would like it to be a Lou or a David or an Iggy, and probably that shot I've got of the three of them, what I called the terrible trio, the unholy trinity.

'Transformer' would be in there. There's a lot to be said for 'Raw Power' too, not just the for cover but also the Iggy back bend shot done on the same night. He can't do it nowadays. Many people might prefer my 'Queen II' album cover that they copied for the Bohemian Rhapsody video, though.


Mick Rock is often described as 'the man who shot the seventies' capturing the spirit of glam and punk. His truly iconic subjects included David Bowie, Syd Barrett, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Queen, Blondie and the Sex Pistols. His credits include over 100 album covers including Lou Reed's 'Transformer' and The Stooges' 'Raw Power' as well as early music videos for David Bowie including 'Space Oddity' and 'Life On Mars'. Mick Rock has lived in New York for the last 35 years where he still works photographing the likes of Karen O, Daft Punk and Queens of The Stone Age.

'SHOT! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra Of Rock' is a new documentary by director Barnaby Clay that tells the Mick Rock story in the photographer's own words, juxtaposed with his photos, now iconic artefacts of rock 'n' roll history in their own right. 

To find out more about the film, and where to see it visit: www.magpictures.com/shot

First song you played on repeat?
I can remember from my childhood, 'Peggy Sue' by Buddy Holly. Much to my parents' annoyance.

What’s the best gig you've ever been to?
There are some contenders, but I remember seeing Bob Marley for three nights in a row at Hammersmith Odeon, and that was like religion. That was definitely a privilege.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
Well, I've always like Warren Zevon's 'Werewolves of London'. I've often had that feeling of being a werewolf. I've often wondered if there's something vampiric about taking people's photographs, sipping on their auras.

One record you would keep forever?
There is a lot to be said for 'Transformer', because of the convergence of David Bowie and Lou Reed, and it should not be forgotten, Mick Ronson. They've just made a documentary about Mick Ronson that does a good job of letting people know just what his contribution was. Much more than I think people realise.

A song that defined the teenage you?
It's probably 'Visions of Johanna'. I loved that period of Bob Dylan. I remember going to see him at the Albert Hall, he came on for the second half with a band and a few people actually booed. He said, "You don't understand, this is American Music". His Lyrical content intrigued me, not that I didn't like 'Jumping Jack Flash' or 'Come Together'.

A song people wouldn't expect you to like?
There are a couple of Opera records, like Pagliacci, but I suppose I better get back to the rock 'n' roll. When I met Phil Lynott, and he played 'Whiskey In The Jar'. I could do a book on Thin Lizzy. He had everything but unfortunately succumbed to a chemical problem. Keith Richards' solo albums I like too. And Sinead O 'Connor 'Nothing Compares to You'.

A favourite album cover that you shot?
Probably some obscure Japanese thing. I've done a lot more work than people know. I did an album called 'Wild Angel' by a guy called Nelson Slater who was an old schoolmate of Lou Reed's, and it's the only time he actually produced anybody else. Look it up - it's an interesting shot for the time. I love the more obvious ones too, like Joan Jett 'I love Rock 'n Roll'.

Mick Rock - SHOT!

SHOT! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra Of Rock - Official Trailer

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