Mick Rock interviewed by Anton Newcombe

Mick Rock. Anton Newcombe, Interview, La Maison Rebelle, art gallery, Los Angeles, Fien art photography
Mick Rock. Anton Newcombe, Interview, La Maison Rebelle, art gallery, Los Angeles, Fien art photography

Hello is this Mick?

This is Mick. Is this Anton?

Yeah it’s been quite awhile; it’s been since the 90’s actually.

Yeah must have been the late 90’s after my heart bypass surgery in ’96, around ‘98.

13 books. Am I correct you have 13 books out?

I think that’s what it is if I add them up. Yeah, obviously the latest one is this Bowie book I did with Taschen and David signed a limited edition and, of course, not long afterwards he died, unfortunately. The same thing happened with Lou Reed, about when was it, 3 years ago I did a beautiful book with a company called Genesis Publications and we actually went around and did some promotions together. It was 3 or 4 months after that he died. I’m not taking the blame for the deaths of any of my friends but never the less a bit spooky.

Right. Yeah. It’s been a rough year, or for quite awhile. I mean I knew that would happen when I was a little kid watching the old classic cartoons it dawned on me, like wow all these iconic people in the bugs bunny cartoons, these movie stars, I’m gonna live longer than them. This is weird you know but it’s part of life.

Well you’re in good shape love.

Oh I am. Living in Europe it’s good. Everything is great. I wanted to do was back up a little bit. Were you born in the UK?

Born in London lad. Yes in deed. I was born in Hammersmith Hospital.

Cool. What got you started in photography? What was your first access to photography? Let’s say, as a medium.

LSD. I picked up a friend’s camera while I was on an acid trip and started to play with it and got very excited about it. I think partly it was just the clicking which gave all these kind of explosive things that happened and the other thing was looking at people. I could look at one person and see the entire history of mankind from the beginning to the end of time. This kind of experience, I mean in fact there was no film in the camera as it turns out but it got me interested in it. I mean what was I, I was a student at Cambridge so what was I doing you know, a lot of lying around getting stoned.

What about your first access to processing the film cause you make decisions about the type of color, or the printing, blah, blah, blah…lenses.

Well I did in the early days I mean I never printed color or processed it. But a lot of the early stuff of Syd Barrett, Lou, Iggy, David those guys in particular, I did process myself. And sometimes you can see it in the imperfection around the sprocket holes on the edges. But yeah I did and I did my own printing in those days, which I haven’t done in a long time.

David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed, Dorchester Hotel, London 1972, By Mick Rock. La Maison Rebelle

Yeah well what do you thin about then verses now? Imagine whether using large format or it could be anything. You only have a certain number of frames you can blow off in a roll and only so many rolls on you and only so much time verses now you can use a camera and shoot like it’s film and have an infinite number of frames. And then edit them in Photoshop or whatever. What do you think that does?

I’d like to be honest with you. I’m mean I’m not a purist. If it weren’t for rock n roll I wouldn’t have been a photographer, that’s for sure. And so those are the circumstances. You can only shoot and I didn’t have much money back in those days. Just out of college so in fact, not quite for the very earliest picture I took. But by the time I got to Lou and David and Iggy, I was. The thing I like about digital is that you can shoot as much as you want, it’s easy to edit and you can fuck around with it much more, obviously. I like that. I mean I’m glad that the pictures of mine that people, well I mean the reality is that some of the stuff is worth millions of dollars now days. Stuff that I made only 25 quid for, you know 45 years ago. I mean what was it worth? Not very much, I mean it got 25 quid there, 50 quid there, 100 pounds for the Transformer cover, 200 dollars for the Iggy Raw Power cover. The Queen cover, The Queen II, the first one I did for them, with the image they copied for Bohemian Rhapsody I think I got 300 pounds for that and I conceived of it, I shot it, I art directed it and I even did the paste up mechanical. So yes 300 pounds was worth more back then but you could certainly have a good time with a young lady and get stoned for a long period of time My Bowie book, they were all shot on film. Like I got some Syd Barrett pictures that I took, why I kept them I don’t know, I think because I could see a glimmer of something on the film. To the naked eye and to an unsuited eye some of the pictures are almost pitch black and I was able to take them to my tech guy and pull up all kinds of details. Yes they look a little bit interesting in the color in fact, in a way they look more like paintings but I love this. I hear a lot of purists get weird about it but I don’t give a fuck. I just want pictures. It’s like music all the different things you can do with music now days. Not withstanding the fact that Buddy Holly maybe recorded "Peggy Sue" on a two track and you can’t do it any better today. It doesn’t obviate all the advances and all the additional creativity that you can bring to music. I know you like to fuck around. That is part of your instinctive nature.

Yeah. I’m into conceptual art though. I’m into the two different things live verses conceptual art. I just like to create things and then it lives or dies in front of people. We just made sort of a dogma rules film about our tech guy in Paris and we shot it all with this digital camera then we processed it kind of like Anton Corbin only black and white and used super gloss high def. It is amazing, no external lights no external microphone just to make a movie about one day in the life of this guys job as an abstract way of seeing us but anyways enough about that.

But you can do that today, that’s the interesting thing, because of digital cameras. You can do that. You can do anything just about that you can think of.

My point being though, every single frame of this film, like when we are playing at Le Trianon, is like a fine arts picture. So that’s what’s wild. Like if you gave these cameras to monkeys and they just swung them around their head they would get an infinite amount of frames. You know what I mean?

I do know what you mean. I always talk, like when I do give lectures, these people introduce me to do on occasion, so I always say, “ The beauty in the modern world is that a monkey can take a great photograph.” There is in existence some pictures taken, self portraits they are, I think it’s some kind of baboon taken maybe 3 or 4 years ago.

I remember that.

There is an interesting claim, as they kind of became public domain because the baboons took pictures of themselves. But the photographer whose camera he swiped and used made some claims too. I don’t think there was a lawyer there representing the baboons specifically but I love the whole thing.

Monkey business. So now I'm going backwards I guess this leads me to, you found yourself in a position of access to some people, was Syd the first guy as far as iconic stuff? I guess he was really popular but as far as icons.

He was. He was, certainly in London, in England.

I know his status. I know his status quite well. Brian Jones was icon in the 60's already. He was in Jazz magazine. Syd not so much, Syd was like the leader of the underground, you know.

I remember hanging out with Mick’s brother Chris. My first year at Cambridge, which was ’67, we went to something called the Technicolor Dream. The Floyd played, and Soft Machine, and The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and various others. In the morning we woke up in some kind of park and there was a Rolls Royce and out stepped Brian Jones wearing a pearly outfit. Do you know what pearly king or pearly queens were? They had these outfits and all kind of pearls. Your average American wouldn’t but you’ve probably spent enough time in London. And I remember that’s when he was introduced to Brain Jones and he did look like a little prince. But he had the look; he had the better look with the big hair than Mick and the cape.

Bowie was trying to be him! You know?

Well obviously there was something gong on there. Yes, the name of your band.

How did you get access to Syd?

I met him through friends of mine while I was at Cambridge. Before I actually picked up a camera. He played, must have been my first term there. He had attended Cambridge Arts College. He had gone to London and came back to play this Christmas party. And it was unbelievable. I remember the impression it made on me. And obviously the light show was totally unique in England. Although this guy Peter Wilson had been to San Francisco and had picked up the idea of little bits of glass that you put in a projector and stuffed a bit of paint and wiggled them around.

The dishes, the colors, the oil.

But the effect in that moment in time, which was God knows, maybe 50 years ago, was unbelievable. And then there was Syd and then there was the music. Well there were certain figures I came across early a lot, and Iggy was another one. The music didn’t sounds like anything you have ever heard. And of course The Velvet Underground were another example.

You met Syd first before the The Velvet Underground?

I meet him first because I went out after the show we all went back to his mom’s house in Cambridge. We went to the basement, which even though he wasn’t living there anymore. By then he was living in a place called Earlham Street, which was right near Lester Square. I remember that and we used to go visit him there. I didn’t pick up a camera till after he left Floyd. Obviously some of my earliest photos are of the Madcap Sessions. I had shot a little bit before then.

I love those and I still thank you. You gave me an outtake even in the 90’s, a beautiful picture where the floor isn’t painted. I’ve seen it around online now but you know where he’s changing the record.

Oh wow! Yeah wow. Oh man…

That was very nice of you.

At some times, Syd really projected me into the magic of it all. That afternoon that I went and shot him with the floorboards, and of course the picture have a certain painted element to them. Because they were shot on the wrong film and lit by a little bowl and because they were pushed processed which made them very grainy. And of course I found in those early days technical deficiencies actually helped produce some compelling images. A lot of it was the technical deficiency.

I hate these clowns that try to shoot me and they are like, you’ve got mental illness or whatever, and you’re a psychedelic drug guy so we’re going to make this a double exposure or something of you, like this mad genius who fucks up or something. And I always go " Shut up let’s just get in a cab and take some pictures. You sit in the front seat and turn around. You’re boring."

You promoted that idea. You sound like you are in a completely different space now. It’s like Lou; he used to complain to me about, what were peoples problems. There was a lot of talk about kinky sex and drugs and he was always saying "But don’t they listen to my love songs? " I had to say to him " But Lou, in many ways you promulgated that image so you can't entirely blame the journalist for it."

We had no idea that Syd was going to be become, in certain sectors, this icon at the time. He is really valued in many ways. My favorite Syd Barrett quote ever is, someone saw him bicycling in the later years of his life in Cambridge and they go "Hey Syd, where you going? " and he turned around and said “ Much farther than you’ll ever know! ” And just kept riding. Classic. It’s beautiful. That was probably for Harvest, was it? When you shot that cover.

Harvest Records. Yes, Syd got me in to go and shoot it and then Hypnosis. They actually put it together. It should’ve said "Hypnosis and Mick Rock" but I then became part of Hypnosis, so it was just Hypnosis.

Oh yeah, the design people.

The thing was, that wasn’t the shot on the cover that Syd and I wanted. The one that we wanted was with the feet big in the foreground, that’s what we really wanted. And you can see the girl in the background and I think there was an issue with the girl not having any clothes on.

I just used that one on a YouTube, because I just wrote a song called "Playtime" sort of, because every now and then I can nail his style absolutely and every time he crosses my mind how much I love it, I just write something and it’s like evoking absolutely everything, without being derogatory, but it’s like you’re there, almost, you know…

The thing about Syd was, that people because Roger basically took…yes there was this space alien thing but he had all kinds of elements going on.

Oh yeah he did!

It wasn’t just the space thing, but that was what Roger honed in on. And of course that’s what he developed and that became very much the Pink Floyd image. But Syd was experimenting as you clearly know in so many different ways that you could hear and even more so from his solo albums.

Yeah, you hear the Tea Party Jazz from his parents that he obviously heard on the wireless. 

I only took an acid trip one time with Syd and he loved John Coltrane. He was into jazz and the blues and maybe his music was some kind of synthesis of the two. I don’t know. But he was certainly into jazz and John Coltrane. He was obviously highly experimental. He was so far ahead of his time. But all of those characters, I mean he obviously… I knew him a few years before I met Lou. You listen to Syd and Lou, they couldn’t fucking give their records away, those early albums.

The Velvet Underground. Trust me. The Velvet Underground sold nothing.

I think Lou told me that between the four albums he’d thought they maybe sold 30,000 albums. That would have been about seven and a half thousand per album on average.

The Doors that had that one hit. They sold for 700,000, which was giant because "Light My Fire" was giant with the frat boys. But The Doors didn’t even become a major monetary concern until the 80’s.

Well that’s true. The other thing was you could live cheap and certainly live cheap in London and New York. There was plenty of time to gestate if you were to create. You didn’t have to have that instant thing in order to fill your life you know.

We have to move on because I know you’re a busy guy and you’ve done so much. Ok, so you know you also gave me a picture. Nico had already dyed her hair brown, but it was Lou and Nico. It was a black and white print.

Yes I have those great pictures from the mid seventies. Yeah.

So when did you hook up with Lou? Around?

It was just before I shot Transformer, and that sealed things with us from the beginning and then a shot him a lot throughout the seventies.

Because you were the guy.

He was a wild character. He was a very interesting man in so many different ways. Probably of all of them he might have been the most interesting on a personal level. He was also the craziest and the wildest. He introduced me to thieves, priests, criminals and he had all of these characters in a group. I was like a babe in the woods when I used to hang out with Lou.

Lou Reed And Nico, Blakes Hotel London 1975, By Mick Rock. La Maison Rebelle

 The full spectrum of human emotions!

Yeah well he really did. He was infinitely curious about people, infinitely.

I always had a minor beef with him. Do you know what it is? Because I love him so much I have one small beef with him. He let his parents give him two series of electro shock treatments. I would kill them. I would kill my parents.

I don’t know if he let them. They were worried about this whole gay thing.

So what? I would murder my parents if they did that to me.

Well he didn’t murder his parents!

But I mean that’s the kind of person I am. I would feel so emotionally violated.

Well he did. He was very intensely negative about his parents for many, many years. Towards the end I think he did warm up to his mother. She was still alive. He even left some money for her not that she only outlived him by that many months, but he even left money for her in his will to look after her for the rest of her life. He did have an attitude towards his parents. You have to remember that even after The Velvet Underground had folded he was out on Long Island working for his father who was an accountant.


There was a period of time when he was really. And even that first album on RCA which I love, the one with that interesting illustration on the front. That didn’t sell many records. In fact they were talking about dropping him after that album. Because obviously he’d done all these records with The Velvets and then he did this and he still couldn't sell any records. But then David was in the RCA camp and David’s star was starting to rise, but remember it was only with "Starman" that he clearly started to, which was the single from "Ziggy Stardust." 

David Bowie Haddon Hall Reflection, UK 1972, By Mick Rock. La Maison Rebelle

The second time they released it. See because there’s original version where the videos are. The original videos, where it’s just acoustic guitar and then there’s a full-blown version. They tried that twice. You know there’s the video of "Love Me Till Tuesday" with " When I’m Five I catch a butterfly and I eat it" with the girl in the band and they are all sitting there. It’s all in white. Did you shoot that? I know you directed some David Bowie stuff.

I did the "The Jean Genie" and "John, I’m Only Dancing."

This is before that. There is one before "Space Oddity". You can look it up on YouTube where he is doing the mime stuff.

You’re talking about the "Space Oddity" right? That was released first in 1969, and it was something of a top ten hit in England and it even won a couple of awards at festivals in Europe. But after that he had no success for a period of time and after "The Man Who Sold The World" hit it as it was then, dropped it. The interesting thing about David that summer of 72, not only was he breaking out, but he produced Mott The Hoople, they had just been dropped from Island records because they couldn’t sell records. He produced Transformer. He himself had not had much success. And of course he didn’t produce…actually you will see the first pressings of Raw Power, there is no producer credit on it. Now in later versions of course Iggy gave him credit.

I know about this record though. There is more than one version of it. There’s Rough Power too. I was a business partner with Greg Shaw and the first one they turned into Elektra scared the shit out of them and they said record it again.

I remember actually meeting Greg Shaw with you when I came out for that shoot.

There are various records of that. There’s the demos, then there’s this attempt at recording it and then there’s the mix I guess.

The first mix that David did and later in the 90’s Iggy remixed it. That is the official version now and he (David Bowie) also gets his producer credit.

Let’s back up on David though. When did you bump into David? Was it through a record company or did you meet him in another context?

By then it was 72 and I had been out of college for a couple of years and I’d done some album covers. I did album covers for Rory Gallagher believe it, actually his first three albums. The first one was under the aegis of Hypnosis and the later versions are unaccredited. The Second one was Deuce and the third one was Live In Europe. I art directed the album covers too. But I was always writing little bits and pieces. I faxed one of the first pieces I ever wrote, was for Rolling Stone. It was like half a page. It was ’71, the last interview obviously because Syd was my friend… that it was the last interview he ever did. It’s where the quote is like “I’m full of dust and guitars” comes from, one of his most famous quotes. That was the last one he ever did. So onto David. Someone had given me a record company press copy of Hunky Dory. Which I really wasn’t aware of until they gave it to me and well, "Life On Mars?" Interestingly enough I’m about to do a new edit of "Life On Mars?" because they have done a remix of it that they are going to put out next year on David’s birthday. And I also did with the director of the documentary some things for this traveling show called The Creators Project. It would have been about four years ago. You can go online and look up "Life On Mars Revisited" it should come up as a four-screen version that we did. So that has been around my life forever. Now I’ve sprung some of the prints and some stills while I was directing and shooting a second camera. I’m sure you understand from your own early recordings. There was no money around for everything. Back then there weren’t even any videos really. I mean they obviously had The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

David Bowie Make Up Circle Mirror, Scotland 1973, By Mick Rock. La Maison Rebelle

Promotional films.

They really didn’t have much out to showcase them. Where are you going to show them?

It was later. 

There was no budget. So all that stuff I made for very little money. But I own them. David never had paid for work. Nobody thought that it would be important. But in the late nineties David gave me the copyright to those videos. It was so kind of him. I never got paid anything and he always recognized that.

Amazing. David touched me so early in my life, the connection that I had…I will tell you when he passed away I was affected profoundly for like three days. I mean I was very sad, just thinking that I wouldn’t have that air to breathe anymore.

He was a very cool guy, David. Although, he would be the first to tell you he wasn’t cool at all. He was somebody. He wasn’t like most people. He treated everybody the same. He didn’t act like a princess.<

He held the torch high for others to see. When he figured out how to sell Bowie bonds and all that stuff, he didn’t need to work.

He did need to work. Not financially but he needed it for himself.

Until the very end he interacted in culturally relevant ways setting an example. I can’t say the same thing about, we’ll just pick on Mick and Keith.

They are more sophisticated about it. They have basically been playing the set. There’s no crime in that, playing the same music for fifty years and they do it incredibly well.

I can’t figure out why though.

David was always experimenting.

That’s a beautiful thing though. Because I think artists if they choose to, there should be no qualms about them carrying on doing what they love. He loved to do a great many things. That’s a beautiful example to set for others.

Yes, he was infinitely curious. He always wanted to know about different things. You could say something to him and he would absorb it. I remember saying some things to him and he made…nothing it was just a conversation. It would interest him, and he would incorporate it. He was a very, very, very quick read. Then he would read and he would float about Wittgenstein and Schopenhauer too. For someone who left school at fifteen and didn’t go to Art College…I was educated at Cambridge University but he was, he knew so much more than any of these Cambridge educated people. He was incredibly self-educated. Well it was like my mother, she left school at fifteen.<

Me too.

She read a huge amount. Me I don’t read so much, probably the visual side of my life takes over so much…it’s hard to find time. But David somehow would find it and would email something he read in Schopenhauer. I’ve tried reading that stuff…very, very dense stuff. Not an easy read in any universe. He would just read it. He was a brilliant man, no doubt about it.

Aly (LA MAISON REBELLE) wanted me to ask you about rebellion. To me living your own life and carrying on is the ultimate form of rebellion, like making it work. What do you think about that?

I do. To me it’s about psychological freedom. I mean in my life. I’ve never had a real agent, never, never in my life. I mean I’ve had people that work with me. People would say, “ Don’t you want to be a fashion photographer?" And I’d be going “Bugger off!” I wouldn’t have been a photographer. Yeah I’ve taken a bit over the years here and there but then I’d say " We’re going to do it my way. " It was also part of the spirit of that period when you were born, which you were born into a period of rejection of the status quo. You were born in the high year of hippy. Hippy was well it wasn’t important.

I have all those ingredients you know. The west coast thing that you got from the old people is so different than the European thing because in Europe if you weren’t born with it, you’re not likely to get it in this really funny way. In America especially on the west coast they have this pioneering spirit of going to get it. These immigrants and cowboys thing is just ingrained into you and you can fail forty times and it doesn’t matter, it’s that you’re going to go for it if you have an idea.

You had the wide-open spaces that obviously Europe doesn’t have, certainly not in England in the 50’s and 60’s. For my money one of the most interesting characters to come out of the 60’s in California of course was Arthur Lee and Love. 

Love him.

Who did these incredible albums but of course the issue with him was he wouldn’t play outside of California. That actually popped up I believe as the same time as The Doors who were willing to do whatever they had to do, very original. You can listen to his music today. There’s a little bit of Byrds in some of it. You can hear certain elements but other soul music you can’t hear any of that at all, very unique. Of course he was some kind of racial hybrid. He had black, white, Hispanic and Red Indian in him. I did finally meet him. It was a lady who still to this day massages me in London. She’s in her sixties but great. I mean I’m addicted to massage therapists. In fact I’m going to see her when I go to London on the 6th. Probably will see her every day for the ten days that I’m there. She would talk to me about him. She was his girlfriend. She said he was an absolute crackpot. He was crazy with guns and drugs.

Coke and guns.

At the end of his life he came to Europe and he finally got the recognition he deserved.

Mick listen to me. We played with him and supported him. We played the same size venues as him.

That was when I met him at that festival. You took me backstage to see him, I was very happy.

We supported him.

Oh wonderful!

I’ve loved him my whole life and I had talked to him a couple times before that and my friends actually built his band with the Swedish back up string orchestra for him, Baby Lemonade.

Are you taking about his Arthur Lee band or the original Love band?

No when he came back and got all that recognition. When we played with him, it wasn’t the first time I had talked to him. I pulled him aside and said “Arthur I don’t want to bother you, but…” and before I could even finish that he said “Well don’t then!” I was like ok then. Right after that he canned his band that got him off his ass and you know what, it was really sad to see him have his moment and just right before he died he turned out to be such a cunt.

I mean he was fine when I met him. She said he wasn’t exactly clean at the end either. That’s what she said.

He went to jail over bullshit too.

Whatever he was, he was obviously; he had this sever self-destructive thing going on. He still was a unique and original talent.

Amazing! It’s absolutely amazing. He’s absolutely amazing. So let’s move it along to the next thing. I know your time is tight. Ok, of course Deborah Harry.

Rebels, you want to talk about rebels? How do you be a rebel today? That’s a tough one for you I’m sure.

I know how you do it. I know exactly how to be a rebel.

You’re very unique it’s hard to compare to anybody. The amazing thing with you probably, that you’re still going! I think a lot of people who are aware of you say “That motherfucker is still alive?” He simply must be because I’ve seen his tweets. I’m happy you are love! Let me give you my email. You know the picture that has been in a couple books of mine. You know the one with the angel wings.

I hate that photo but send it anyways.

You were a bit like “What the fuck is this about mate?” but I love those pictures. I’ll send you some others too.

Mick I was kicking smack that day and it wasn’t very fun. It sucked.

I knew what you were up to. A couple of the guys kept fucking disappearing and we had to go drag them out of the bathroom.

It sucked.

I know it was a crazy shoot. What I especially like are my solo pictures of you. Yeah it didn’t matter whatever, I was clean by then because I was a couple years away from bypass surgery, but I didn’t give a fuck about someone being on it. I’ve been around it for as long as I can remember. But I do remember with the band we had to keep going and grabbing them. The ones I like best are the ones I took of you solo. There were a lot of you I really liked but of course you were such a crazy bunch of motherfuckers then. I don’t even know quite what happened with the pictures. I know they were some promo pictures but they were just of you and the band. For me the best ones were the ones of you alone.

That’s cool because I canned everybody mostly besides Joel anyways!

Ah yes Joel yes!

He’s great.

Is he back in? I did see a few years ago that documentary that some lady made about you.

Fuck yes.

At the end of it he was gone apparently.

You know what they say; it’s not even reality. This billionaire chick that I know, her grandfather started Pepsi cola or whatever.

Is that the one that made the video? The doc?

No I’m talking about the one who bankrolled it. So anyways we had spy cameras so I took over, this creative artist at William Morris hooked me up with this chick doing a documentary about ten bands in LA, all their fake bands with the Guitar Center guys.

The Dandy Warhols. It was you and The Dandy Warhols.

No they didn’t know about The Dandy Warhols, I told her “Look I’m going to take over this movie all of your bands are going to break up." She’s goes “How did you know that, six of them already have.” I’m like “Duh because it’s all manufactured stuff. Let me introduce you to this band, The Dandy Warhols, tell me you’ve never heard of them.” She goes “I’ve never heard of them.” Bingo. I go “They’re going to get a deal, watch now and I’m going to give you access to everybody.” They opened up for us. Capital signed them. That day we had it all the way through and my whole thing since the beginning is I said “ I’m not going to sign any of these record deals, I’m going to say no and watch me get more popular and make a lot of records.”

That’s what you’ve done.

Yeah but I have a recording studio. It’s not a commercial studio I produce people and do remixes. I do soundtracks; I do all kinds of stuff.

Is this in Paris or in France?

No I live in Berlin.

Ah yes Berlin! Of course yes. I haven’t been there for a few years but went around 2006, 2007 or 2008 that I realized what Berlin that because of East Berlin, because of cheap real estate, artists could actually cement there.

I have two places so think about that. Who could do that?

That’s great I mean I’m very happy for you.

What I was going to say is that we used spy cameras and you know the mafia in the biz, they were sending Swiss hookers with coke. You know when Seymour Stein was trying to sign us, you know just like with Blondie the chicks show up. You know what I’m saying. “Hey let’s go to this party, let’s make our own party, we want to sign you.” kind of shit and we were filming it all. They did that for seven years. Meanwhile The Dandy Warhols are saying they have David Lachapelle doing a video spending 500 grand to make the video and he’s putting 250 grand in on it.

 What happened to them? I haven’t heard about them for years?

Exactly, you end up owing millions of dollars for them to break your band. They’re still playing. They got a couple good commercials so that paid for some really nice real estate. You know I got the theme song to Boardwalk Empire.

Really? That was yours was it?

That was recorded on a cassette tape in 1996. One day of work! Mastered from a cassette!

One day of work, on the other hand it was also your whole life that went before that one day.

Yeah but still it’s like those copyrights. It’s like you taking a snap in the 60’s.

Did you control your copyright to the song?

Since the beginning I knew about all this stuff. I own everything.

It took me a long time to realize how to protect my copyright from my side of work because when the people started talking to me about copyrighting photography I thought they were fucking nuts. What do you mean intellectual property? Now people offer me millions for my collections and I understand. But I didn’t for many years; it was into the 80’s before I started to even get a think about that. I was working in a realm where everything was so disposable.

I want to stop you one second to interject something. It’s so brilliant that you’re so bright and the lights are on. Do you know what I’m talking about? You were born in ’48 and you’re still cooking with gas, which is great. Do you know what I mean?

Yeah I’m up to a lot of mischief. If you go to my website, I mean people, we all get pigeonholed and I get “The Man Who Shot the 70’s’ shit” and for ages I hated it. Now it’s ok because it works for museums. And of course my prints are worth a lot of money. For ages, it’s like all I want to do is get back to the present. If you go to my website you’ll see a lot of my photo art, you’ll see my Kabuki theater pictures, you’ll see other stuff. I mean it all comes out very rock and roll but a lot of stuff I shot, including album covers, which doesn't feature the artist at all. Obscure stuff like, obscure Japanese bands and stuff like that where I was able to do whatever the fuck I wanted to do. One gets, obviously, as even right now we’ve been talking about is Syd, David, Lou, Iggy, we haven’t got to Debbie and the Ramones or Ferry or even Motley Crue! Who I did some great work with.

Iggy Pop, La Scala London 1972, By Mick Rock. La Maison Rebelle

I’m looking at the big list right now and I’m curious about what you thought of Peaches? What about her? She kicks some ass, she’s got attitude.

Oh yeah, she’s had some fucking balls on her. I haven’t heard much about her. Then again I live in the states and you live in Europe.

She lives in Berlin.

I’m coming over twice this year. I’m coming over in a couple weeks for London and then I’ve got to go back in October when they show the documentary at the London Film Festival. I haven’t been to Berlin in a while or Paris.

You were in Stockholm. You were at Richie my friends told me. Franz told me.

Somewhere my friend Dina has photos of you and me at Lollapalooza from a few years ago, it could be a decade ago. Hanging about in one of those tents talking.

That was a great day.

That is right in there somewhere. I bet that’s worth looking at.

That was a great day. I liked it. I don’t have time to go to big concerts with loads of people because I’ve got so much else going on.<

Ah shit, Ah shit, ah shit...(at this point Anton's phone dies...)

Special thanks to Anton Newcombe and Mick Rock!