NOW ON VOD! Prepare for tales of midnight adventures from those who weathered the neon storm in Colin J. Felger’s zippy rock documentary Falling Higher: The Story of Ampage. Standing tall after remaining active for an impressive 45 years, the hard rock band Ampage is still a band few have heard of. This is despite opening for Def Leppard, Eric Clapton, and Blue Oyster Cult back in the day. Founded and maintained by Mark Mason, who has worn many hats in the band (mostly cowboy ones), they hit Hollywood at the dawn of the 1980s and became staples on the Sunset Strip. They even wrote songs about going to the famed Rainbow Bar, L.A.’s temple of hair metal.
In interviews, drummer Mark London talks about how he was never into metal, as he was devoted to more classic rock like Mott the Hoople. However, one night they were approached by Mitch Mitchell of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, who was blown away by their set. London’s reaction to the memory of them doing coke all night is priceless. Mitchell ended up producing Ampage’s debut album, Champagne and Caviar, released in 1988. It features misspelled credits thanking Happening Harry, the one-time road manager and professional party animal who is also interviewed. Harry is a dime-store Dionysus who has some charming stories about the powder white good times.
“…remaining active for an impressive 45 years, the hard rock band Ampage is still a band few have heard of.”
Soon the good times catch up, and Mason and London are getting high non-stop in seedy motels, disappearing for months. Mason cleans up his act and starts doing triathlons. Soon Ampage is putting out new albums and making music videos with Jeff Conway. With band members like Earl Slick, who played with John Lennon and David Bowie, as well as John Easedale of Dramarama, Mason keeps Ampage alive and evolving, having good times.
Rock docs are a lot like pizzas. Everybody loves them, but only if they have their favorite toppings. Sometimes pizzas have toppings very few people have tasted, like potato or corn. Ampage is an untasted topping that many may hesitate to try. This goes double for anyone who views glam metal as their own personal anchovy. The main reason I gave it a go is it is narrated by Jake Busey. And now I am here to tell you that Falling Higher: The Story of Ampage is one of the tastiest f*****g pizzas I have watched in a while. The secret is the rocket sauce it is slathered in as the plot flies fast.