“The American Bowie,” “The True Fairy of Rock & Roll,” “Hype of the Year.” Known as the first openly gay rock star, Jobriath’s reign was brief, lasting less than two years and two albums. Done in by a over-hyped publicity machine, shunned by the gay community, and dismissed by most critics as all flash, no substance, Jobriath was excommunicated from the music business and retreated to the Chelsea Hotel, where he died forgotten in 1983 at the age of 37, one of the earliest casualties of AIDS. However, in the years since his death, new generations of fans have discovered his music through acts as diverse as The Pet Shop Boys, Gary Numan, Joe Elliott of Def Leppard, and Morrissey, all of whom have cited Jobriath as an influence. Through interviews, archival material and animation, experience the heartbreaking, unbelievable story of the one, the only, Jobriath.
Reviews & Ratings for
Jobriath A.D. From IMDbPro »
Can't wait for more
Author: (porgiamor) from Canada
26 May 2012
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Clearly Jobriath was ahead of his time and he influenced so many artists (Scissor Sisters, Morrissey, Def Leppard, Pet Shop Boys) after his death. This beautiful documentary captures the tumultuous times he shared with Jerry Brandt, and if what Jerry prophesied in the movie was true, then the public will see a Jobriath musical, book, movie, etc. Personally I cannot wait to see more of what comes of this 1st chapter of the resurrection of Jobraith into the mainstream. Unfortunately I saw this movie at The Inside Out Film Festival in Toronto, and it was not well attended. I was disappointed to see so few in the audience. Jobriath: A tragic life that left a powerful and controversial artistic legacy. A beautiful testament to an artistic ideal and the spectre of commercial greed existing amidst a sea of influential power brokers and conservative media in the rock music scene of the 1970's. Jobriath's battle for fame and artistic acceptance was too great for him and Jerry Brandt to win over. The forces of homophobia in the 1970's by the media critics and negative attitude of record companies was too great to overcome. This movie touched my heart, punched me in the guts and grabbed my balls. And made my spirit soar.
Well-made Documentary. Worth watching!
Author: GormanBechard from New Haven, CT
18 June 2012
Would I have ever listened to Jobriath's music? Probably not. But that said, I caught this film at the always amazing NXNE festival in Toronto this past weekend, and must say it was probably the best rock doc I've seen on the fest circuit since Last Days Here.
Well made, perfectly structured, edited by someone who actually knows how to tell a story (unlike about half the rock docs out there), with excellent vintage footage as well as solid interviews, this is a fascinating tale of talent and ego run wild.
The synopsis tells you what it's about. I'm here to tell you take the time to watch it. Even if you'd also never buy one of his records, it's a very good film about a hauntingly tragic story.
A declaration of true self unheard by the masses...
Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
15 February 2016
Kieran Turner's fascinating documentary of doomed early 1970s glam-rock singer Jobriath, arguably the first openly-gay celebrity in post-Stonewall America. Several years before Elton John admitted in a print interview that he was bisexual, Jobriath released two non-charting albums before slowly, painfully realizing the country wasn't ready for an in-your-face effeminate rock star. Born Bruce Wayne Campbell in Philadelphia in 1946, the gifted young man from a broken home began to paint and write music at an early age. A featured performer in the L.A. touring company of "Hair", the self-christened Jobriath Boone eventually came in contact with music manager Jerry Brandt, a maestro of hype with money and connections (and a yearning for celebrity himself), who entered into a 50-50 split with the singer (patterned after Elvis' pact with Colonel Tom Parker). Jobriath wrote and recorded his songs for Elektra while Brandt saturated east coast media with publicity on the heretofore unknown singer, a plan that backfired when the public turned out to be completely indifferent to Jobriath's complicated musical arrangements and Ziggy Stardust-like persona. Looking back, maybe all Jobriath needed in these early stages was a hit single. Unfortunately, his records, in a glam rock-meets-opera groove, weren't catchy or commercial. This story of a desire for fame in the modern age, narrated by Henry Rollins and featuring a host of interviews from people who were there, turns out to be a paint-by-numbers free fall to Earth, but an intriguing and devastating one. Jobriath was ahead of his time, certainly...and yet one wonders, will the times ever catch up with Jobriath? *** from ****
Truth is stranger than fiction
Author: Nozz from Israel
6 November 2013
Coincidentally, I was reading in the paper today that Ringo Starr says he'll never write an autobiography because eight years of his life are all that interest the public, whereas he'd already lived enough for five volumes of autobiography even before he joined the Beatles. In the case of Jobriath, you'd expect even a shorter interesting period. If the public remembers him at all, it's as a failed novelty act, and his career was over almost before it began. But this documentary makes his earlier life, and his later life, just as interesting as his brief publicity splash if not more so. First of all, he wasn't just a nobody who met a Svengali; he was an unusually talented composer, and we hear flashes of originality, sadly enough, not in the music of his that was promoted but in other compositions that happen to have been picked up on home recordings. And surprisingly, although dispirited by his commercial failure, he managed afterward to open a chapter 2 of his life. The movie presents the whole arc in an elegantly structured way, and if it were a novel you might here and there complain that the story is just too good to be believable. I did catch myself wondering whether the movie was part fact and part hoax. But I guess it's just that truth is stranger than fiction.
Excellent, beautifully done and sad
Author: naq-1 from United States
11 February 2014
One of the better docs about music that has appeared in the last couple of years (and that includes "Sound City" and "20 Feet From Stardom"). Although this movie has almost no budget for effects and hype as the others do, it manages to do something that most other music docs cannot achieve: it makes you feel compassion towards the single protagonist, a musician who might not have been a musical genius, but was a first-rate performer, who was decades ahead of his time.
Jobriath, although a Bowie knock-off, was one of the few original artists of his day. Looking backwards through glitter-encrusted glasses, any time we see Lady Gaga emerging from an egg or Pink flying around on a trapeze, we are seeing the humble beginnings of their Las Vegas-type routines in the staging of Jobriath's fantasy sets -- his concept of a stage act in which he scales a replica of the Empire State Building which become a giant phallus is almost a precursor to many of the stage sets of today.
All of the hype surrounding Jobriath's moment of fame holds our interest mostly because it explores the transition when rock and roll went from being "outsider" and turned into "mainstream" -- when a public who had been weaned on multi-platinum acts like Peter Frampton and the poseur band Kiss, suddenly had to accept the likes of a performer who was not only gay, but undeniably proud of it. He was an enigma even while David Bowie had broken down the door to a blurred sexual identity. In Jobriath, there was a moment when "homo superior" had meaning.
Jobriath's ending was a particularly appropriate one, and left us with a sense of loss, not so much for his musical talent, but more of a "What if?" kind of mystery: had Jobriath never gotten infected with HIV and died, would his musical ability have improved, and would he have gone on to be a recognized talent? Unfortunately, the documentary misses this last point -- had this been a big-budget production, the filmmaker might have had the kind of ending that would dramatize this, and instead of just an animated segment, we might have seen a fully staged example of just what could have been.
Overall, a terrible loss to the world but a fascinating documentary.
Jobriath Boone and Creatures of Street
Author: chris-sutton-711-629839 from United States
13 June 2013
Jobriath played 1970's, Oakland, "The Boarding House"-this straight boy from Seattle caught show-double bill, with "Mable Rounds"-1920's stripper act. Aisle down middle of theatre split 2 crowds-Mable Rounds followers dressed like lumberjacks, Jobriath jet setters , flown in from L.A. dressed like 14th century royalty-plummed collars-sleeves, pointed hats and toes, leggings, painted faces and "beauty marks". ...scene...spotlight hit stage-Jobriath, folded on floor, white hair...black tight uniform with lightning bolt down middle...and triangular mirror around neck, as band, ("Creatures of the Street") began with "Lighten Up", sung to all us straights in crowd, as Jobriath directed focus of spotlight, on triangular mirror, upon those of us in crowd...band was incredible, Jobriath consummate showman, and after 2nd act, both acts began bleeding over into one another...GREAT. Had to go back next night to make sure I had actually (windowpane- sprinkled throughout theatre) experienced this...(hatcheck girls "remembered"-more windowpane)...I am soooo glad to see someone do this story. Jobriath ventured show tune glam, combined with original rock, harpsichord-classical piano...and backup band of studio musicians extraordinaire....still have both albums...but would love to purchase "Jobriath a.d.", the movie...but how??
I write a bit, had this story on back burner over several years...and what a story it is....
An Ironic Documentary
Author: clive-398-407459 from United States
15 June 2012
As a documentary, this is a satisfying journey back into a time, a person who attempted to gain fame but alas, it was not to be. This is most certainly a Valentine to Jobriath, but it reveals something quite unexpected: it lets us see exactly why Jobriath never made it. Time will apparently treat us kindly through the lens of blame as an antagonist is always good on film. And here, we have Jerry Brandt to blame. The film explores their relationship without condemning but certainly leaning towards revealing Jerry Brandt as the single person responsible for the demise of Mr. Salisbury and his goal of stardom. There have been many reviews suggesting that homophobia was partly to blame, but the truth is, a certain David Bowie was the forerunner of this androgynous kind of performer. And the world loved it. Elektra records spent a fortune promoting Jobriath, but there was one problem: no one was interested. And the irony is that in this documentary, we understand why: he wasn't very good. His songs were not particularly memorable and his performances, many included in this documentary, were also not great. If Jobriath was ahead of his time, it was more in a Cirque de Soleil fashion, then someone ready to crash the walls of rock and roll stardom. That said, this is a good documentary in its intimate look at a performer, especially in the relationship of mother and son. We get that Jerry Brandy was selfish promoter and still is, as in many ways he is the central figure in this drama, albeit for often all the wrong reasons.