Mott the Hoople was a force of rock & roll without direction, and while this documentary arrives loaded with flaws, it threads a narrative through the British band's numerous twists and turns in the early Seventies. Even if The Ballad of... never allows its footage to speak for itself, what's revealed is a band propelled by the outrageousness of the stage. Focusing heavily on interviews with the core members – Ian Hunter, Mick Ralphs, Verden Allen, Pete Watts, Dale Buffin Griffin, and late addition Ariel Bender – there's little nostalgia for or even anecdotal recounting of the chaos that surrounded the band, to the point that they look back on the experience as trying. The crazed influence of producer Guy Stevens gets heavy due, from wrangling the group together in 1968 to the stylistic schizophrenia of its first four albums, but neither David Bowie (responsible for Mott's successful turn to glam) nor many of the band's contemporaries make appearances to provide context or praise. Informative and rewarding for fans, the documentary ultimately provides little for Mott the Hoople's legacy.
Copyright © 2017 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.