10 must-see rockumentaries
7th Aug 2013 | 14:50
Equal parts pathos and schadenfreude, director Sacha Gervasi’s 2008 sleeper hit trails thrash-metal’s aging coulda-beens as they bicker, bungle tour arrangements, sleep rough, remortgage their homes, disappoint their loved ones and play to tumbleweed at Transylvanian metal festivals. Warning: this film may make you reconsider your proposed career in rock ’n’ roll.
Hail! Hail! Rock 'N' Roll
The stars turned out for this 1987 circle-jerk to Chuck Berry, as the rock ’n’ roll pioneer toasts his 60th with two concerts in St Louis. Chuck doesn’t come across too well (all right, he’s a petulant, hair-splitting old goat), but it’s worth watching for Keith Richards shooting him down in rehearsals.
Pre-Parklife, Blur were art-school lushes within a whisker of being dropped. This 1993 doc doesn’t spare their blushes, with Damon Albarn vomiting inches from the lens, Graham Coxon going missing at a festival and the band playing so badly they make The Libertines sound like the G3 boys.
This semi-banned Stones tour film from 1972 is so animalistic it should have been directed by David Attenborough. Keef’s TV-toss off a hotel balcony is the pick of the debauchery, but it’s the Stones’ best line-up tearing into Midnight Rambler that makes it worth hunting down on YouTube.
In 1991, Nirvana recorded Nevermind at LA’s Sound City, and two decades later, first-time director Dave Grohl turns out his little black book to help him ponder why a defunct, down-at-heel analogue dump managed to spit out so many classics. Not as geeky as it sounds...
Commandeering a Panzer tank, guesting with Metallica, hammering JD at the Rainbow Bar & Grill – all in a day’s work for Motörhead’s deathless berserker. The cherry on top is the revelation that Lemmy shares girlfriends with his son.
BB King: The Life Of Riley
While heavyweight talking heads from Joe Bonamassa to Carlos Santana praise King’s legendary “one note” touch on his Lucille 355, Bono recalls the bluesman’s Achilles heel while recording When Love Comes To Town: “He says, ‘Gentlemen, I don’t do chords...’”
Lord Don't Slow Me Down
No surprise, Noel Gallagher is the star of Oasis’s 2007 travelogue, butting heads with clueless yank DJs, partying with dwarves, sniping at Charlotte Church’s entourage and dealing out the best one- liners. “One day, Liam will go bald,” he considers of the band’s touring lifespan, “and that will be it.”
Some Kind Of Monster
As Metallica polish 2002’s career-stalling St Anger, they hire ‘performance coach’ Phil Towle to referee the toxic bromance between Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield. In the classic scene, the furious drummer paces the room, before going nose-to-nose with his frontman and screaming, ‘F**k!’
It Might Get Loud
So, here's the pitch: lock three pan-generational guitar titans in a warehouse and let riffage commence. The highlight of Davis Guggenheim’s 2009 doc is Jimmy Page rolling out the Whole Lotta Love riff while Jack White and The Edge gape like schoolboys – and the most baffling moment is The White Stripes man being shadowed by his own prepubescent doppelgänger.