From the fans which grew with the band to modern pop culture, and just about everyone in between, we’ve all experienced Mott The Hoople, chances are, you never even knew it.
The Ballad of Mott The Hoople is a journey of glam, rock, early punk, and turmoil. Directors Chris Hall and Mike Kerry take us inside the lives of arguably one of the most important, yet forgotten bands in music history. Beginning with the Guy Stevens days, where someone who knew so little about the production of music, built a “boy band” of the time by piecing together five guys from England. Then we are immediately dropped into the personal, often brutally honest life of what would become Mott. Mixing interviews with band members, to producers, to even fans, this is one documentary that bleeds honesty. The journey of the band is well plotted out throughout the film; from their first days touring, making money off US pawn shops, to the historical conversation with Mr. Ziggy Stardust himself, and to the ultimate disbanding of the original Mott. This is not your typical “Rock Doc,” because what the documentary lacked in big name interviews, (no offense Roger Taylor) it made up for in sit downs with the people that really had a part in the evolution of this musical juggernaut. As tales of a band that was far grander live than it would be on album, we’re given a definitive timeline which is incredibly fascinating and enlightening all at once. It didn’t need to tote the reminiscent alcoholic ramblings of aging musicians because the essence of what made the band isn’t in tour buddies and hotel thrashings, it is within the music and the people who made it. It was a great treat to see that there wasn’t a half hour spent on the conversation between Ian Hunter and David Bowie about declining “Suffragette City” for “Dudes,” instead it was more about where that conversation took them. Granted the infectious track has been featured in Juno and covered by World Party for Clueless, just to name a few, but the lasting relevance of Mott The Hoople is profoundly more than just one song and The Ballad proves that.
To add the proverbial icing on the cake, the DVD comes with a 12 page booklet and letter from Morrissey. Between that and the extras, it is a treasure trove for audiophiles everywhere. For fans of music, true music, this 101 minute documentary is an entertaining, well thought out and very real look into how Mott The Hoople didn’t simply make the music, they lived the music. Mott became transcendent of a generation without fully taking the spotlight. This documentary nods its head to the backbone of musical relevancy and the gents who made it happen.