Photos by G.
On July 28, 2012 as part of the Newfest Film Festival, “Jobriath A.D.” made its official New York premiere. For all fans of music, and especially for fans of Glam Rock, this is a documentary that is not to be missed. The story of singer Jobriath might just be one of the greatest rock and roll mysteries of all time.
Towards the end of the 1960s, the musically gifted and extremely flamboyant singer Jobriath Salisbury made a splash in the music world starring in a stage production of “Hair.” This lead to getting ‘discovered’ by uber-producer Jerry Brandt. With an unprecedented amount of publicity, Jobriath was destined to become rock and roll’s next superstar. He certainly had the talent, he certainly had the look and he certainly had the promotion. Even though the world accepted the androgyny of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona, the world was obviously not ready for an openly gay and in-your-face singer. As a result, Jobriath’s career tanked.
Jobriath was reduced to playing piano bars and prostitution to make ends meet until his premature death at age 36 from AIDS. Without Jobriath there would be no Lady Gaga. Without Jobriath, there would be no Morrissey. With amazing archival footage and interviews with many of Jobriath’s associates and influences, “Jobriath A.D.” remembers the life and times of an extremely talented singer who has tragically been forgotten by the world.
Jobriath AD film maker Kieran Turner (on right)
After the screening, “Jobriath A.D.” film maker Kieran Turner took questions from the audience. One of the burning questions was “why isn’t there any interview footage of Morrissey?” For those who do not know, Morrissey bought the rights to Jobriath’s catalog and because of Moz, his music is available to be heard once again. Unfortunately, Morrissey refused to be interviewed despite many requests. “Jobriath A.D.” has been receiving positive reviews from festivals across the globe and finally in 2012, Jobriath is getting his long overdue moment in the sun.
Without Jobriath there would be no Lady Gaga. Without Jobriath there would be no Morrissey. The question on your lips right now is undoubtedly, who in the hell is Jobriath? Kieran Turner’s new documentary “Jobriath A.D.” explores the life and times of one of the most influential and one of the most forgotten musicians of all time, Jobriath Boone. Jobriath’s musical career began in the late 1960s, as he performed in the stage production of “Hair.” He caught the eye of the svengali-like manager Jerry Brandt and the pair set out to set the music world on fire. Jobriath had it all – great looks, tremendous musical talent (including writing, arranging, singing and playing multiple instruments), a major promotional campaign and a unique gimmick that had never been done before in pop music – being openly and flamboyantly gay.
It seemed there was no way they could lose and yet, Jobriath’s career went nowhere. The world was just not ready to accept an out and proud icon. Interviews with close friends, associates and musical peers in “Jobriath A.D.” help fill in the tragic story of a man who seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, time and time again throughout his life. The end of his life saw him reduced to playing piano bars and pimping himself to survive before his death at age 36 from AIDS.
Though he was never able to see the effects of his influence or see financial success in his lifetime, Jobriath should be considered the dynamite that broke down a barrier for creative individuals who think and act outside the box and are uncompromising in their artistic beliefs. Fans of Jobriath such as Morrissey and Def Leppard, helped get his music out there to a new generation of fans and nearly 25 years after his death, Jobriath’s career is finally starting to gain the momentum he initially set out to build.
As of press time, a release date for “Jobriath A.D.” is still being worked out. You will definitely want to see this film as it is absolutely tragic (but necessary) to see how a person’s sexuality can ruin their life due to the small-minded society we live in. I learned so much about the life of an extraordinary individual who was so far ahead of his time. Unfortunately, the world did not enjoy the tremendous gift of Jobriath while he was alive and it is our responsibility to make sure this does not happen again. On a personal note, I am extremely honored that a photo I took of Scissor Sisters lead singer Jake Shears appears in the film and I would like to thank Kieran Turner for including it in his great film.