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A rare look at the world of rock -

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Tony Mott has built a career photographing some of the world's biggest bands and now a
retrospective of his work is touring the country, providing fans with a rare look into life on the
road.

Transcript

KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: For more than three decades now Australian photographer Tony Mott has had
the job of a lifetime, taking photos of some of the world's biggest bands.

Originally a pastry chef, Mott taught himself the art of photography and through trial and error
mastered his craft.

A 30-year retrospective of his work is now touring the country, giving fans a rare
behind-the-scenes look at life on the road.

Conor Duffy reports.

TONY MOTT, PHOTOGRAPHER: I love music - all sorts of music. But going to see 'em live, you see the
actual raw power of a great live band. So, photographing it is - yeah, it's great capturing that
essence.

CONOR DUFFY, REPORTER: For more than 30 years, Tony Mott has been capturing some of the greatest
moments in rock 'n' roll. But his journey to the pinnacle of his craft had humble beginnings.

TONY MOTT: I started rock 'n' roll photography by complete accident, really, and a very happy
accident. In the early '80s I was a French chef by trade, so I was working at the Piccadilly Hotel
in Kings Cross. Finished work about 11 o'clock. And in the early '80s the Australian pub rock scene
was fantastic. There was no shortage of bands, seven days a week.

CONOR DUFFY: His first published shots were of Sydney rockers The Divinyls, who have become
life-long friends.

TONY MOTT: The Divinyls started their residency at the Piccadilly Hotel and every Monday night I'd
trudge down with my camera and practise the art of rock 'n' roll photography. Luckily, no-one asked
to look at them 'cause they were pretty crap. And then I developed through trial and error. And,
next thing you know the manager asked to look at the photos. He bought one. And so started a great
career.

CONOR DUFFY: Since then he's captured some of the world's biggest bands, but it's only been in the
past month that the public has been able to access his body of work.

TONY MOTT: This is my first exhibition. It's not that I've avoided them, I've just never had the
time to get it together and put it together, and finally, through Tali more than myself, I finally
got it together and did 30 years retrospect.

TALI UDOVICH, BLENDER GALLERY: Tony is definitely the photographer that all the musicians ask for
when they're wanting to do a photoshoot. And he really is seen especially in Australia as the king
of music photography.

CONOR DUFFY: The exhibition will soon tour the country, complete with photographs of rock 'n' roll
royalty like Keith Richards and Mick Jagger.

TONY MOTT: I toured with Mick Jagger solo in 1988, and that started a relationship that's going on
to this day. I've toured with them three times and I've no doubt they'll go back on the road in the
next couple of years, 'cause basically, what else's is Keith gonna do apart from play music? That's
what he does.

CONOR DUFFY: From pop to rock to punk, there's few big names in music that Tony Mott hasn't worked
with over the decades. He's toured with Paul McCartney, captured this emblematic image of Icelandic
singer Bjork and this defining shot of Sex Pistols singer Johnny Rotten.

TONY MOTT: There never used to be mosh pits. Moshing came in with the grunge movement. So the
Johnny Rotten photo that I'm proud of, the difference between taking that today and when it was
taken was there was 10 punks on my head. And so I was fighting 10 punks while taking the
photograph. So I'm proud of it, not only of the photo, but the fact that I survived punks jumping
on my head.

CONOR DUFFY: He's also taken some of the defining photos of recent Australian rock 'n' roll
history. This early shot of Newcastle rockers Silverchair was published all around the world, and
his images of Nick Cave and INXS frontman Michael Hutchence profile two of Australia's most
influential vocalists.

TALI UDOVICH: There's been some great sort of standout shots. The Michael Hutchence that's behind
me is just incredible. It's just so personal and beautiful and at the scale that it is you can
really sort of see the type of person that he probably was at that particular time. The Nick Cave
and Kylie Minogue is one of my favourite shots - so iconic, two really great Australian artists.
They're probably my two picks for the show.

CONOR DUFFY: Spending so much time touring with bands and fans indulging in the rock 'n' roll
lifestyle does have its hazards.

TONY MOTT: I've fallen off stage twice, I've been attacked on stage by Courtney Love once, and once
is enough. Um ... and the mosh pit, watch out for flying bodies coming flying over the top. They're
just hazards.

CONOR DUFFY: But even so, the hunt for the next great band keeps Tony Mott in the game.

TONY MOTT: There's always a new act coming up that you want to photograph, so I'm never short of
new acts, so that's why it doesn't become boring. It's always passionate and it's always good.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Close up and personal in the world of rock through the eyes of Tony Mott. Conor
Duffy with that report.