If he’d been named Mick Classical, things might not have gone so swimmingly. But photographer Mick Rock was blessed with the good fortune of a good name that made taking photographs of rock icons a natural fit.
“If I had been born 20 years earlier, the name Mick Rock wouldn’t have had resonance,” he cracks. “That’s my gimmick.”
Many of Rock’s “greatest hits,” including photographs of David Bowie, Queen, and Debbie Harry, are at the Gallery at Soho Grand through the end of January, in an exhibit called “Rock n’ Roll Eye.” Many have become part of the fabric of pop culture—like the image of a topless, possessed-looking Iggy Pop bathed in red light that graced the cover of Raw Power. At the opening party last Wednesday night at the Grand, Yeah Yeah Yeah Nick Zinner (and later, Miss Guy) spun for a crowd including super-gorge model Sophie Dahl, Trinity-ette Aimee Phillips, door doll Spiky Phil, actor Adam Goldberg, Heatherette‘s Richie Rich and Traver Rains, and Smith Johnny Marr, while Rock sat in the far corner furiously scribbling autographs, and yes, having his photo taken and taking photos with his own digicam. Not surprisingly, there also were more photographers than usual (including my pal Nikola Tamindzic from Gawker and lastnightsparty.com shutterbug Merlin Bronques), and it was easy to be blinded by the light, as Goldberg was. (The Dazed and Confused actor admitted that after all this time in the limelight, he hadn’t perfected his “photo face.” For shame!)
Rock’s photos prove that while everyone can take a picture, not everyone’s a photographer. Perhaps that’s hard to remember in this age of digital cameras, blogs, and camera phones, when we’re all constantly chasing the moment and as a result, sometimes missing it entirely. Rock calls the proliferation of cameras and online photography “fantastic,” attributing renewed interest in his own work to photography’s newfound popularity. Still, he gives himself credit where credit is due: “No one has control of the zeitgeist. You either connect with it, or you don’t. Most people don’t.”
Afterward I headed down to Fat Baby on Rivington. Proof positive that I’d been swallowed by some kind of zeitgeist—Larry Tee was on the decks, I was flanked by two-thirds of the Trinity (Mack Dugan and Drew Elliott), Mike Nouveau was hosting, Trash’s cutie Jess was making the rounds, and apropos of nothing, there was a blackfaced Jesus wearing the American flag. Max Brennan came out of his cave at Lit, the Brooklyn Vegan revealed his true identity (hint: he looks like he’s a vegan from Brooklyn), and Merlin and Mark “The Cobra Snake” Hunter had a hipster photographer face-off. The Cobra Snake probably won, because at the end of the night, he snapped four people, including Drew (who wisely kept his face out of the picture) and Mack fake-typing on their Sidekicks. I was excluded because I have a Treo, which means I am uncool. After he snapped the shot, I said, “Congratulations. You guys just landed yourselves a spot on Blue States Lose!” (Blue States Lose, which perfectly compiles photos of every hipster moron in the country, is posted every Friday on Gawker and is written by Joey Arak, who deserves a gold medal for his contribution to society. I live for it.)
The night wasn’t all fun and texting, though: There was also tragic news that Stefan Lockdown (who recently won a Best New DJ award with Spencer Product at the Paper mag Nightlife Awards) had overdosed sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon, after his and Product’s party We Bite at Happy Ending. His longtime DJ partner wrote: “It’s just another example of an amazing person with all the potential and love in the world [getting] mixed up. He was one of my favorites; we worked so well together and I’ll always be thankful for having known him. I miss that fucker so much already!” R.I.P. Stefan.