Perseverance is a trait of any star, no matter their passion. To get to the top, they have had to compromise on many things to ensure that they perfect their craft. It never is an overnight success despite what the media likes to present. While many people would say that after several years if you haven’t taken off, it might be time to hang it up. But one man, Jon Mikl Thor has been striving to achieve rock stardom for 40 years now, and with I AM THOR, we are witness to his Odyssey, his long, turmoil filled road.
Starting out as a young kid that would routinely dress up as Superman, Jon Mikl was living a fairly quiet life in Vancouver, BC. But he ached to be a superhero. Following his brother, he took on body building, and quickly began winning awards at the age of 14. But despite looking the part, something was missing for Mikl. To get pumped up during workouts, Mikl would listen to Led Zeppelin and the harder Beatles stuff. This inspired him to create a band, Body Rock, with fellow meat-heads. After a disastrous falling out, Body Rock collapsed, but Mikl didn’t give up.
After a stint as a Naked Waiter on stage in Hawaii, Mikl returned to the mainland inspired to take the next step towards his super hero self, creating his version of Thor. Starting Thor and The Imps, Mikl became Jon Mikl Thor, the god of Thunder and Lightning backed up by a band of demonic Imps. His stage acts, inspired by Alice Cooper and other theatrical acts, took on a bigger role than the music itself did. He had mock battles on stage, amidst strong man feats of strength, such as bending steel with his teeth and blowing up hot water bottles like a balloon until they explode. These acts led to a Las Vegas show, and Thor was soon playing on The Merv Griffin Show. For many bands, this would be it! A hit performance and then off to the stratosphere, but the Rock Gods had other things in mind.
What followed was a comedy of errors, calamity and mishaps that would make Job weep. Band turmoil, physical and psychological issues, hell, even a kidnapping is thrown into the mix. For every step forward Thor took, he took several backward. Despite all of this, you can’t fall for the guy. His spirit, sense of humor and candor is contagious. You want to believe in the power of the Thunderhawk!
The documentary does a great job of utilizing archival footage, interviews and newer footage to lead us along the Sisyphean path that Mikl Thor walks. It is masterfully edited to take you on a roller coaster peak just in time to plummet your heart back down again. But while you want to cry, you can’t help but laugh at all involved. Mikl Thor, long time band mates Mike Favata and Steve Price, his biggest fan Thundergeek (with his band The Ass Boys) will all make you laugh. But the biggest laugh I got from the whole thing centered around Thor’s manager, Steve Scott. I’ll save the reason for that for you to find out, but again, this stuff is worthy of a sitcom.
The film also is filled with Thor’s music, from start to finish. And in snippets that you get, it is hard to see if the man really has what it takes. Sure, you get to see all the stage antics, but you really don’t get the full experience of Thor as video seems to be synced with album recordings, rather than full live performances. Having gone and listened to the albums (all available on Apple Music), I can say that he is a decent songsmith if not a little clichéd. The band does an admirable job with the NWOBHM style of power metal, has a good groove with plenty of Norse mythology thrown in.
Again, despite the stage show, the music, the muscles, and the effects of aging, Jon Mikl Thor pushes forward. With his nose and hammer to the grindstone, he doesn’t give up, cracking jokes the whole while. His spirit alone has earned him a hallowed throne in Valhalla.
The film I AM THOR hits theaters and VOD like a lightning bolt on November 20th, 2015, with special showing/concert events.
Friday, November 20 – Philadelphia, PA
531 North 12th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Sunday, November 22 – Brooklyn, NY
Saint Vitus Bar
1120 Manhattan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11222