Reviewed: Ticket to Write: The Golden Age of Rock Music Journalism

Every once in a while a rock-doc comes along that seemingly speaks directly to you, and that means that if it seems to speak to me, and you’re a regular reader of what I write, it’s going to be of interest to you! “Ticket To Write” is exactly that film.  If “Almost Famous” was the fictional, yet semi-autobiographical movie that dealt with the stardom of being a rock journalist, Ticket is the non-fictional flip side of the coin.

The film documents the rise and fall of rock music journalism through from the 1960’s through to it’s eventual demise in the 1980’s.  All the great moments of writing and the people who created the stories are covered here, from the formation of Rolling Stone, to Gloria Stavers and the creation of the teen idol, Creem, Trouser Press, Crawdaddy, and all the other notable print publications from the 60’s and 70’s.  All the great writers are covered here, way too many to list.

“Ticket to Write” also lays threadbare the perceptions many have about how illustrious it was to have been a rock journalist, something that still holds true today. Detailed are the paltry sums many were paid for some big-ticket interviews, and the perks that went along with the pay.  How else do you think so many of us audiophiles obtained so many records?

If this film had not been titled “Ticket To Write”, they could have used “Rock journalism is people who can’t write, interviewing people who have nothing to say, for people who can’t read!” a quote famously attributed to Frank Zappa, a guy who at best had an ambiguous relationship with the media. The doc explores the often maligned relationship that Rolling Stone has had with the industry it started out glorifying, and then corporatizing. Rolling Stone’s founder Jan Wenner is not painted in the most gratifying light, one of many theories about rock journalism covered here.  The film quite correctly identifies and explores some of the most omnipresent theories about the downfall of the genre and rock music itself.

There are a lot of hilarious anecdotes about some of the biggest bands of the era (The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath). In short, if you’re a fan of rock music and you were born in the 50’s or 60’s, then you must put this documentary on your must-see list.  Ticket perfectly documents the formation of rock journalism, something that is as much a part of music as the music itself.   I watch many music-related films, this one has to be near the top of my list.

The film is currently available on Amazon

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