Since rock’n’roll first appeared on the scene–kicking and screaming–around 1956 or so, there have been a long string of movies that have tried to capture its intrinsic raw power. Some, by incorporating the music into a corny story like “The Girl Can’t Help It” or by going the documentary route–as in “Don’t Look Back” and “Gimme Shelter”. In “Rock Opera” we get a little of both with a mix of fiction and live performance footage.
The basic story involves the trials and tribulations of a bunch of Texas musicians. There are a whole lot of drugs deals and ultimately, bloodshed. The film shakes down as a gritty portrait of a bunch of fringe f**k ups clinging to the dark underbelly of the rock’n’roll lifestyle.
The real attraction here is the music of punk-metal heroes Nashville P***y. Lead by the beautiful and brilliant Ruyter Suys on lead guitar, they blaze through a version of their redneck opus “Fried Chicken & Coffee” which features an eye-popping lesbian smooch between Suys and (the now-departed) Corey Parks. Bassist Parks also chips in with a Gene Simmons style display of fire breathing. A good, old-fashioned a*s kickin’ rock’n’roll spectacle that really gives the film some punch.
Director Bob Ray does a fine job of relating the down-trodden, harrowing lives of many aspiring rockers, while also documenting some first rate performances. “Rock Opera” is a top flight rock’n’roll drama.