Diary
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April 26

Enjoyed my Saturday morning reading some hardcore vitriol by Peter Makowski in the new issue of Classic Rock, which has a wonderful cover shot by me - about time. It has the Velvet Revolver story from both sides, the band camp slightly reticent, Scott not holding back at all.

Dave Ling has done Wishbone Ash which I'm going to read next. Dave's an authority on them or as Mick Box (the Jewish Jimmy Page) says, a sad Crystal Palace fan raising a pint of beer in honour at the band's shows (Dave really does do this) while taping the show to pore over the details later. Do go and talk to him at the next Uriah Heep pub gig. Then again he should know more about Wishbone Ash than anyone as he's OLDER than the four of them put together. On a kinder note I rather like David Ling, he's a true Defender Of The Faith.

Nice day, must get a haircut before I end up with a Dave Ling afro...

Here's a message of support for Dave from the Dave Ling fan club (football is for homosexuals - even Peter Makowski hates it)...

having just returned from a 520 mile trip to hell/hull and back and returning empty handed, i feel that us sad.....and yes probably gay crystal palace fans should stick together
therefore
fuck off dear boy....
gutted is the term we use for travelling such distances to watch our team lose...
i am now going to drink a whole bottle of good red wine, and read young david lings many opus's......
there i was on an april morning.....heading for hull....with nowt but the m62 before me....and a road of my own
kind regards
stephen
maidstone branch cpfc......

April 25

Rock'n'roll John Bionelli kindly sent me this picture...

What were you looking at?

JB

 

Never mind what I was looking at, what was John Bionelli ogling - Paul "The Love Gun" Stanley's bottom?
'Sorry Steven and Joe, I'm off - Kiss await me...'

April 24

While I was on the train to London I read that Sean Body, who owned Helter Skelter, has died of leukaemia. I knew him when the store was going, he was always great to talk to and had a wide range of every kind of music book - fanzines, bound early copies of Rolling Stone, Oz Magazine. Very sad, the passing of Sean and his store.

Bought new glasses, four pairs with my new prescription as I keep losing them - expensive, being old.

 

Had a coffee with Dave Brolan who's looking more like a Paddy with each passing day. Dave may have a book deal for a travel book for me. He sent this picture to me. You can be arrested for taking a picture - is Britain becoming a Stalinist state...?

 

 

Strange weather, baking hot - sunshine then pouring rain. Walking home from the station the sun was shining with huge white clouds over a vibrant blue sky. Shot a bit of them over my house before the rain came again.

April 23

More Dragonforce, this time in the studio for a set up. The singer is meant to be with them but isn't coming as they didn't invite him and neither like him. 'Oh!' is all I can say. Kazuyo is with me. She looks at Herman, 'Lower than dog, worse than a Korean,' she says to his face. He and Sam are not keen on Japan. 'The girls don't speak much English so it's hard to pick them up,' Sam helpfully explains.

Herman tells me there will be no face-pulling or "METAL" posing as they are not a German METAL band and don't want to look like one. 'Make me look hunky and not GAY...' I get Herman to take his shirt off - he looks like an extra in a Derek Jarman film. I use a wind machine so his hair is blown about in an effete manner. Very Romanesque, men will be drooling over this.

Sam refuses to get changed. 'Too fucking GAY,' he explains. And he won't take his cap off, 'I look like a bald cunt.'

Kazuyo goes to get coffee with Herman, he makes her pay and carry everything. I'm getting to like Herman...

Herman and Sam both ask why they have to have guitars. 'As the magazine is called Guitar World don't you think it would be a good idea?' I suggest. 'Why are we shooting with you?' 'Because I am The Master, and I may even make you look good or even GAY, that's why.' Herman seems amused. 'I don't like anyone...'

Kazuyo looks Herman up and down. 'He's a banana, yellow on outside white on inside, been here too long.' I ask her if she likes them. 'They're okay for a couple of queers.' She has a point, I like them in a GAY way...

Here's a drawing I've been sent that I rather like...

well, hello, mr. halfin

thanks for putting up the black crowes shots, love that band -

made a sketch inspired by one them, thought you might wanna have a look

have a nice day,
kerstin

And here's an email I received

Why don't you come to Kokomo, Indiana and photograph these UFO's that have been flying around the past couple of weeks? Very similar to what's going on in Phoenix, Arizona. I have a feeling something may happen in Louisville, Kentucky tonight. Hillbillies near swamps seem to attract them.

"Stone Sober in Kokomo"

April 22

It's Tuesday (and it's a beautiful day), the day I meet DRAGONFORCE. I headed over to the suburbs of brightest Greenford where Herman Li's (the guitarist) castle is, with the dungeon where DRAGONFORCE record their speed-metal classics. It lies hidden from the forces of light in a cul de sac not far from Wembley Stadium - quite handy for when they headline next summer's Speed Metal Dragon Festival.

Herman greets me and looks annoyed as I don't take off my trainers (a heinous crime usually punishable by death). He commands me to do so. I am taken into the inner sanctum where the Metal Classics are created. This turns out to be the front room. It consists of two computers, a few guitars and loads of cds and games plus a single bed next to the wall, which has two gold albums hanging on it.

Sam is the other guitarist, he's from New Zealand and is rather "feral", as they say in the southern hemisphere. I even wonder if he went to school.

Herman starts telling me what to do and I point out sarcastically that I have done this once or twice before. I ask them what bands they like, 'Nothing,' they both answer. I get Sam to sit cross-legged on the bed (this is where he sleeps). Herman is not happy, 'It looks GAY!' In fact both are primarily concerned with not looking GAY. This from a Chinese man with hair longer and more well kept than Gong Li - at least you can see Sam's will have fallen out in the next year...

I suggest we go outside the Castle grounds to shoot in the street. Herman is now worried that the kid across the road might see the guitars and realise they are not mortals but METAL GODS and knock on Herman's front door - sorry, I mean try to attempt to scale the castle walls. I get them to pose in Herman's dad's flower bed. 'Is this looking GAY?' They are both worried.

Sam tells me they played New Zealand but hated it because he couldn't swear as his mum and dad were in the audience. A thirty-four year old man worried about his dad knowing he swears? Both say cunt and fuck a lot. It must be so they don't get confused with being "GAY".

We end up in the street posing with guitars for the mere mortals of this world. I tell them it's okay, the kid will be at school and won't see them looking "GAY". I ask Herman how old he is? 'Thirty-one but I say twenty-four so it's easier to pick up girls.' I'm fifty and I don't have any difficulty! And thank goodness I didn't make them both look "GAY''.

As I head to the lands of the south west it occurs to me they wouldn't know "GAY" if they met one and, hey, they don't exist in the lands of the metal gods. What was that hit of 1977, "Sing If You're Glad To Be Gay...'

Peter Makowski called to say 'Don't worry about missing David Coverdale on Loose Women (a UK tv show), you can see it on youtube.' It occurs to me David must have been in London last week, and did Peter and I get invited for dinner at Marco Pierre White's restaurant? Nope,but all is forgiven as I have a nice thank on the new Whitesnake opus and it's out on vinyl...

And here's a message from the great man...

Ross, ol' flower...I didn't have the time to get over to see MP meself...all work, Matey...I had a modest list of who I wanted to call...including you...& never had the time to call anyone...I had very quick, snatched...OOO-ER...lunches at Harrods Oyster Bar...which I always beat a path too...& luckily, it was across the street from the MO...& then it was on to Sweden, then home for me wedding anniversary...Sorry, Snapper...another time, Mon Amis...By the way...I still wanna shag my new gate-fold vinyl...it's too fucking sexy...
Love von Tahoe

As it's such a nice day today here are some pictures of my garden in early April.

 

 

Velvet Revolver, 25/26 March 2008, Brixton Academy, London, and Dubai. See more...

 

April 21

The Who. See more...

 

April 18

More of The Black Crowes. See more...

 

April 17

Spent yesterday seeing editors. Had lunch with Phil Alexander (Mojo), who told me he was going to do Gene Simmons for the Mojo interview but has decided not to as he quite rightly feels the readers didn't need to read Gene boring the world with his rhetoric on why Kiss are bigger than the Beatles and Led Zeppelin and how much money he has. I told Phil he should do Paul Stanley and a feature on Humble Pie.

Saw Paul Rees (Q Magazine) as well, we arranged a lunch as he's about to become a dad again. He tells me his son will be called Paul "Bono" Rees. We walk out the lift together and are both greeted by a smell of alcohol and a rotund figure holding a large bag of chips and a steaming kebab covered in onions and chilli. It's Paul Brannigan (Kerrang - teen-pop magazine) swaying on his feet, 'Top Of The Morning Danny,' I say. He looks at me blankly trying to focus his eyes, 'Just picked up a light lunch,'and staggers past us into the lift, walking into the wall. Nice to see Paul's enjoying life.

Also had a sarcastic text from Scott Rowley (Classic Rock) about my website - nice to see he reads it and likes it so much, and spoke to Brad Tolinski (Guitar World) in New York.

As the weather was beautiful I spent today walking on Box Hill. Found the grave of a Captain from 1800 buried on the top, head pointing downwards towards hell...

As I've started reading Brian "Head" Welch's book, Save Me From Myself (How I found God and kicked drugs, quit Korn etc...). Maybe Brian should be buried upside down for playing in Korn.

April 16

More of The Black Crowes. See more...

 

Read THE CAVEMAN'S diary. I do like him - a little bit...

THE CAVEMAN'S producing/mixing THE GODFATHERS OF HEAVY METAL. It can only be THE MIGHTY JUDAS PRIEST. I didn't know he knew them, still, nice to see THE CAVEMAN mix a real metal band, and THE MIGHTY PRIEST are undoubtable THE GODFATHERS. Now THE CAVEMAN can learn what a true metal riff is all about...

I watched a dvd I picked up in America called Winter Soldier, a film made in Detroit, filmed January 31st 1971. It is truly disturbing and as relevant today with what's going on in the world. It is upsetting but should be seen. Go and find it.

Here's a nice message from THE CAVEMAN...

and i love you too........

todays mix: Iron Maiden's the hunt for red october two hours and twenty minutes of twiddling guitars, with russian men singing in the chorus out in red vinyl in time for the UK Tour.

better than "about a boy" or "the kite runner"

off to run 50 miles xx

April 15

The picture of Chris Robinson making the peace sign is the best picture I've taken this year. I usually think I could have done better, but I love this photo. It has everything I want to capture in a show.

 

 

The Black Crowes, Amsterdam and London.

The Who at the Teenage Cancer Trust concert at the Albert Hall. See more...

 

Had a few emails about the usual, how can I get started as a music photographer etc? So, I will give you an example of how things work - or don't work. Last week Sian Llewelyn called asking if I would shoot Dave Grohl for a cover of Classic Rock. Could I go to either LA the next day or Japan this week? Sian also asked if I could speak to management as Anton Brookes, Foo Fighters PR and a man "FAMOUS" for never returning phone calls, was messing her around. I forwarded an email from Sian to Gaby at the Foos office. Gaby looks after Dave Grohl. My email said 'Is this likely?' She never replied.

I called Anton three times and got him once, he stuttered 'I can't talk, I'm on a train.' I never heard from him again. I spoke to Brad Merrett this morning, who designs Classic Rock. I remembered the cover shoot, 'What happened with it?' 'Oh, we got a Japanese photographer to do it.'

Nice what I do, isn't it? People are always your friends until they've got what they want...

April 13

Went to shoot for The Who at the Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall. Saw Roger before the show who came up and was very friendly, and Pete who came over and said hello as he came in. They opened with Let's See Action, Behind Blue Eyes, Mike Post (which Roger sang amazingly), Won't Get Fooled Again and finished with Tea And Theatre. Pete told some morons who kept shouting for Baba O'Reily to fuck off... They were great - of course. The Who, still the greatest rock'n'roll band in the world. Nice when a band makes you feel like a teenager again.

April 12

My phone rings at 2am it is Chris, 'Hey, I don't see you for nine years and you insult me by not coming to my room for drinks!' I get out of bed and head up to Chris' room. It is full of friends and Steve and Luther having a good time. Chris to annoy me tells me Jerry Garcia was the greatest guitarist ever. Jerry Garcia was the fattest and most boring guitar player ever. Chris then tries to lecture me on Humble Pie, 'What do you know etc, etc?' I put young Christopher straight when I "TELL HIM" I saw them in Hyde Park opening for Grand Funk in 1971. This sort of thing goes on until I head to bed at 4am.

At 8am I'm tired - the band all left at 5.30. I had a good time. Flew home at lunch time and am still tired at 10pm.

Lately I've had a good run of doing bands from my past - Sex Pistols, Megadeth, Black Crowes, even seeing Lars and David Coverdale. Each has made me realise why I liked my job in the first place...

April 11

Spent last night in Amsterdam with various Black Crowes in the smallest pub in the world. It was tiny, blasting out Lynyrd Skynyrd and Aerosmith. A couple of drunk Dutchmen were singing along at the top of their lungs. I told them to stop - they were going to harm me until they saw Steve Gorman. We finished the night at a kebab shop, with Steve, Luther and Rich ordering a doner with everything on top. People from the south like a bit of meat.

Rich wakes me in the morning and says 'let's go for a wander the sun is shining.' Had coffee with him overlooking the canals. We kept running into various band members wandering around. It was a beautiful day. Lunched with Steve in the Smallest Pancake House In The World - it was like being in a dolls house. As we leave, Chris is outside drinking...

All leave for sound check at 3.30 at the Amsterdam Music Hall. I got Chris to add Descending and they do Joe Cockers' Mad Dogs And Englishmen with an encore of Let's Go Get Stoned/Give Peace A Chance/Space Captain. It was hard to shoot as the stage was high, good lights again though. Did a session with Luther and Rich, onstage and around the hall, plus Chris getting "Stoned".

It is funny how they start, no big announcement, no intro tape, the lights go down and they play, and they are good. Could watch them all the time and something would always be new.

April 9

Went to see The Black Crowes at Brixton. Strange seeing them - I haven't seen them since 1999 at the Greek Theatre. Nice vibe (that's the best way of putting it, everybody was getting on) in the dressing room. Chris asked me about Hustler - the band not the magazine. I always liked the song Get Out Of My House. Nice to shoot, good lights, nice and bright. I sang or mumbled along to By My Side, Wiser Time and Thorn In My Pride, which featured a drum solo. The new guitarist, Luther, and keyboard player, Adam, give them a freshness. I told Chris and Rich I enjoyed them, plus I hung out with Steve Gorman. Might go off to see them again in Amsterdam on Friday...

Here's some more Velvet Revolver. See more...

April 8

Logan Plant with the Sons of Albion...

...and Velvet Revolver from Brixton, March 26. See more...

April 7

I have been digging through negs from the past (a bit like gardening - you never know what you'll find). Iron Maiden Hammersmith, Rainbow '80, Metallica Black album and now, all for my Mexico exhibition opening, which I think is going to be on April 30.

Wee Grumpy - Jack Bruce

Peter Makowski charms yet another beautiful woman...

 

 

April 6

Wake up to snow, a lot of it - so much I even take a photo...

Peter Makowski sent me There Will Be Blood. Watched it last night, it was awful. Boring, the acting leaden, Daniel Day Useless playing the same role as he always does - a bad take off of Robert Newton in Treasure Island. The music/score was by the bloke in Radiohead, horrible, lots of screeching and way too loud. It was bad.

April and it's snowing. Jesus, help us. He won't of course, he doesn't exist...

April 3

It is surprising mild in London, and warm.

Had to shoot Jack Bruce today, Peter Makowski had arranged it. Went to the Intercontinental Park Lane carrying my own cameras on the train. Just like the 70's and 80's before assistants. I arrive and am accosted in the lobby by an Australian concierge looking down her nose at me - I mean, how can any Australian look down their nose at you? They're all descended from convicts. I get escorted to a suite by PR Mark Powell.

Jack is sitting down in sunglasses with a face like thunder. 'I'm in a bad mood,' he says. 'It's not my fault you're Scottish,' I say back. He looks at me with an "I can't believe you just said that." look. 'What is the interview for?' Jack grumbles. I tell him I'm a photographer, I'm not here to interview him. He has a shocked look like he's just found out the world is flat. 'I'm not doing photos,' he says curtly. His PR now joins in with 'This was NEVER AGREED'. At this point I've had enough. 'I'm not here for a pissing match, do you want to do this or I'm leaving - I don't frankly care!' 'Make it quick,' moans Jack. Jack informs me he won't take off his sunglasses - I get two quick rolls. Fuck it, I'm off... Mark Powell is now saying in a loud voice 'We MUST have photo approval.' Sure, call the magazine...

I speak to Pete who tells me 'They knew full well you were coming'. Wee Jack was having an old age tantrum...

April 2

Some of the latest Magazines

 

April 1

Back home, shot the clouds and sky as I was landing at dawn this morning. British summer time is here so two clouds from Los Angeles and dawn over London.

 

 

It turned into a nice warm day in London. I started to sort out negs then got bored with it...

Been reading Storms by Carol Ann Harris which I picked up second hand. It tells of Carol's terrible hard life as Lindsey Buckingham's girlfriend, where she has to snort pounds of cocaine, flies everywhere in a private jet until she dumps Lindsey, and then finds herself (she reminds me a bit of Kevin Shirley). Life is tough-tough-tough but now she has inner peace and maybe a Bible - just like Kevin.

Saw the new cover of Classic Rock which is probably the worst magazine cover I've seen in years. Brad and Scott think it is a true work of art, they really do. It's just so amateur. They can be slightly forgiven - one is from the West Country, the other is Northern, which kind of says it all. The issue also has a grovelling review of Iron Maiden by the publisher, who happens to be one of Rod Smallwood's drinking buddies. The only saving grace is a photo of The Who from '75 from Manchester that I've never seen. I'm going back to Carol Ann and booze, pills, and powder.

I've been playing Church Of Misery's Master Of Brutality, it's, ermmm...heavy.
Black Sabbath Zero The Hero.
Both the Baby Animals CDs
Argus Deluxe Edition - look, I grew up in the '70s
Free, Fire And Water Deluxe Edition, which is stretching it over two CDs

Dawn over London

 

John Lydon

 

Velvet Revolver, Brixton, London, Dubai, March 2008. See more...