Sunday, 15 February 2009

Cocksucker Blues

Cocksucker Blues is the legendary suppressed Rolling Stones documentary from 1972. Directed by Robert Frank, this is a fly on the wall cinéma vérité look at the Rolling Stones on the US leg of their Exile on Main Street tour....

The rock n' roll movie as an open sore, capturing the Stones and their entourage in all their excess. The movie shot in raw 16mm black and white (with terrific concert footage in color it must said) features scenes of roadies molesting groupies (egged on by the Stones), groupie fucking, and endless drug taking - smoking, snorting, and injecting - its all here, paraded with wild abandon before Frank's unflinching camera. The flipside of all excess is the way the film chronicles life on the road, the sheer boredom of hanging around back stage or wasting time in hotel rooms which, in at one point results in a TV given a hasty exit through a window. Cocksucker Blues is not an easy film to digest - its rough, made with available sound (dialogue often overlaps into incoherency) and is cut together with a reckless regard for continuity - it sometimes feels like 60's experimental film, so its a fine companion to the Jean-Luc Godard's 1968 film with the Stones, One Plus One/Sympathy for the Devil...


Cocksucker Blues, along with Frederick Wiseman's Titicut Follies is one of the last great underground films. Watching it today, it’s no surprise why the Rolling Stones buried the film so it could never be shown in public. Had the film been released in ’72, it would have destroyed the Stones reputation in America. My copy is sourced from a VHS-rip, so track this one down if you're interested...I would put this up there with Bowie's Cracked Actor, the Monkees’ Head, Zappa's 200 Motels and Metallica's Some Kind of Monster as one of the great rock films. And for Stones fans who need a grungier alternative to Scorsese's Shine A Light concert film, this is required viewing.

2 comments:

  1. I haven't seen this but it sounds amazing. And thank you for including Head as one of the great rock films. I'm a huge fan of the Monkees.

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  2. I really should go back and do somrthing more substantial on this great movie. I can understand the Stones not wanting this released back in the day but the antics of those halycon days of the early 70's are now so part of the rock n' roll mythology that I don't see the film causing any great scandal these days... Oh yeah, I absolutely love Head, and I keep on meaning to get the Criterion Blu but the BBS box it comes in is so damn expensive. Just writing this, I have an itch to go listen to Circle Sky but if I do I'll be singing it all day long...

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