The embalming of rock history continues apace, and some days it seems as if every band that had a following in the 1960s or ’70s is getting a rockumentary of its own. There’s a reason for that, and it’s not just boomer nostalgia: Bands back then were mapping out new territory, whereas contemporary rock seems largely content to stick to the paths. Influences were seen as a stepping stone then; now they’re more of a crutch, and I suppose we can thank postmodernism for that.
Still, a documentary on British glam-rock band Mott the Hoople seemed a bit of a stretch. Compared with David Bowie, T. Rex or Roxy Music, they were a footnote; their biggest hit (“All the Young Dudes”) was even penned by Bowie. The band’s stylistic changes over the years — from fresh-faced Buddy Holly wannabes to hard-rocking proto-punk rhythm and blues then sun-flared West Coast country-folk and finally the full visual excess of glam — suggest a real-life version of Spinal Tap. This feeling is only reinforced by the thigh-high white vinyl platform boots, silver crosses painted over chest hair and stages full of dangling marionettes.