A bit of Christmas and New Year Kiss...
Plus the first pictures trying out my new D3s. Miss Hill plus Bibendum, the old Michelin tyre factory. I was tempted to buy a huge old school map of Asia they had on sale, written in French - Indochina was spelt Indochine.
Am in the East - not Shoreditch or Canning Town - The Far East...
Well it's warmer here. Shot some of the twilight over the Ukraine. I watched the route map on the way here, it seemed to take forever to get over Russia until I figured out the map had frozen. I'm staying at the Shangri-La which (apart from the one in Dubai) all tend to be quite average.
I'm trying to finish three books at the moment, my travel book which will come out in 2010 as a deluxe edition, a Metallica book which will have 80% pictures that haven't been published and the super deluxe Jimmy Page book (to be fair Dave Brolan is doing a lot of the work) - all coming soon.
People keep writing to me about Jimmy Page's new super duper expensive Les Paul Number Two Gibson guitar, complaining about the fact they can't get one. Pay attention to the following points:
A. What's it got to do with me?
B. Do you really think I care?
C. Do I write to you saying "find me this record or poster?"
D. All I did was take a photo of Jimmy with it - don't come to me with your problems.
Been playing Rock City by Riot. Plus randomly on my ipod Bad Company's Can't Get Enough, Black Sabbath's Thrill Of It All, Kiss' Hotter Than Hell, Loudon Wainwright III's Black Uncle Remus.
Sandy Slavin (Riot's drummer) got in touch out of the blue a couple of days ago...
Christmas, it would be nice if it was cancelled... It's okay if you are say five.
Watched City Of Life And Death, which was sobering, plus Chaser (Korean film) which was about a serial killer. Tried to watch Citizen Kane which I found boring. Abba The Movie was on TV - that was dire.
I'd recorded Rod Stewart's tv special to sell his new Soul cd. It was embarrassingly awful. Bear in mind the best front man I have ever seen is Rod - on his own and with The Faces no one could touch him. Even when he walked on stage for two songs with Jeff Beck in LA this year I thought he still has that X ingredient - he oozes charisma. This show would have put you off him for life. It was just bland, with guest stars The Sterophonics! A crime against music.
Got asked what shows I liked this year. For me Mott was tops, just for the good feeling they created. Kings Of Leon, for a newish band they write great rock radio songs. Kiss for the sheer fun and excitement, you really feel you are at a rock show. Prodigy at Download. Metallica 'cos lets face it people like them. I tend to judge a Metallica show on how good my pictures are... Metallica in Madrid was a good show. Also Journey at Download were rocking.
Went to London to look around the sales. Bond Street must have had every Asian woman in London queuing at Gucci and Prada. Selfridges was like being in shopping hell, it was as if it was the last day on earth so spend it while you can. I could not deal with Oxford Street at all.
Got a couple of nice books from my other half. Los Angeles A Portrait Of A City from Taschen. And the The Sea, An Anthology Of Maritime Photography, a French book published by Flammarion.
I got the new Nikon D3s plus a new bag, 70-200mm lens, flash gun - not that I really use one. I lost two just leaving them around in venues and hotels. I'd gone to a Nikon lecture at Fixation where two helpful Nikon reps explained what the big differences were. A couple of people there were amateur photography wankers. Honestly that's the best word to describe them, like the fans that write on forums and the people that spend all day commenting. They wanted to know about the VIDEO capabilities then kept arguing and challenging the Nikon reps, trying to catch them out. They went on and on and on. At one point I told them if they don't like "The Video Capabilities" go and buy a video camera. It's a CAMERA... but they still kept on. I waited till it finished then asked a couple of questions and bought my cameras.The other two bought nothing but kept making notes, no doubt to post on a forum.People like this are a waste of their fathers semen - like fans on forums...
Been playing cds I have that I don't often listen to.
Elton John, I know most of the songs and can never remember the titles.
Rory Gallagher, Irish Tour '74, particularly Walk On Hot Coals.
Taste, Blister On The Moon, from Taste.
A Turkish Prog cd by a band called Nekkorsi titled Mi Kubbesi - they opened for Page And Plant in Istanbul and were a lot more interesting and far less pretentious than P&P.
Jethro Tull, Wind Up In Dallas, sounds a bit like it was recorded at the back of the hall - they still play well and it's the best period Jethro Tull.
Deep Purple, Boston 1973 - better than Made In Japan.
Chris Cornell, Scream, which no one seems to like but me
The Doors, Live In New York Box set, which I haven't got round to playing... and my son is trying to steal from me.
I even went in the HMV shop in Oxford street but couldn't deal with it at all, a mad house of people pushing and shoving.
Watched I Come With The Rain by the director Tran Anh Hung. Well filmed but hard to understand people speaking English including the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, Tran Nu Yen Khe. I would love to photograph her... or marry her.
Also watched Thirst, a strange Korean vampire film and City Of Death, a film for Christmas about the rape of Nanking - when Kazuyo saw I had it she got very excited, 'Lend me it! It shows my daddy having a good time in the war.' Peter Makowski got me a dvd of It Might Get Loud, which I'll probably not watch.
Spending this morning working on Jimmy Page's autobiographical photo book with Dave Brolan. See the January 2010 issue of Mojo to find out. It has a cover story on it. It is also the biggest book Genesis Books have ever done. Some Italian has written to me about the Hendrix Genesis book - just like a saddo on a forum. In fact he informed me that he has a Hendrix site and this is his life and passion and he pointed out there is a mistake! The copy is wrong in one place - look, I didn't write it, I collated the photos. He is fuming with anger. The Jimmy book will have to wait, I'm off to hang myself in the garage...
Snow - one thing I dislike even more than various members of bands is snow. Got caught out last night driving in it, picking up my "cidered" girlfriend who thought British Rail would run to her intoxicated timetable. The best was watching her have to get up the next day and freeze on her way to work not feeling too "flush"
Been home all day freezing but at least it's sunny. Strange to think that Rina, my model friend from Bali who lives in Dubai, has never seen snow. Off to warmer pastures soonish...
Did an interview with a journalist about Tommy Lee. 'Have you ever met him?' was question one. Then all about what people want to know - sex, sex, sex, and more sex. I just said he's an underrated drummer. What was "funny" in the 80s sounds stupid now, talking about a fifty year old acting like a teenager.
Peter Makowski called to say he'd posted me the new Stray Dog cd - 'Sounds good but the sleeve notes by Malcolm Dome are horrible. He spoke to Les Samson (drummer) and it just sounds like Malcolm going on and on - Snuffy knew nothing about the cd. Dome's sleeve notes upset me.' Stupid that they get Malcolm when Pete really did know the band well. Pete says he's going to wallop Malcolm if he runs into him - the wrath of the Pole...
Have a few jobs in January and they all clash at the same time.
It's Friday and I have no enthusiasm for Christmas or going away. I must liven up a bit...
Some vintage ACDC. See more...
Plus some more Megadeth I forgot to put up shot earlier this year. See more...
Since Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer and Metallica have announced some European shows I've had at least five magazines asking if I can shoot them all together - that's twenty people on a cover. Now, anyone can figure out that it is going to look crap (unless you are a bit dim). The other one is "can you get James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine together?" One magazine suggested arm wrestling. 'What a great idea!' People want them to hate each other - it's just not true....
I could always shoot Lars kissing Dave - that would make a good Valentines Day cover...
The Hammersmith HMV (really the Odeon) had the premier for It Might Get Loud tonight. It was sold to the public at £10 a ticket - not exactly five star and typical of the people that made it, all done on the cheap. It was full of saddos carrying stuff to get signed - LPs etc.
It was also freezing inside. The strange part was watching a film here. I've only ever been to shows, it was just odd. Odder still was the people clapping when the Jimmy Page bit played, like he was really going to strap on a guitar and play - it was the strangest film thing I have been to...
Here's some vintage Megadeth. See more...
Plus Led Zeppelin '80 - I like the minimalist graphics and The PinkFairies from 1972 with Robert Crumb artwork-I'll dig out some more
More from Australia. See more...
Went out to wander London as it was sunny and cold and Christmas-like. Not that I like it at all. Took Man Friday Noriega to carry all the shopping.
Met Jimmy Page in DKNY and had the worst lunch ever. Bad service, the order was wrong, and for three sandwiches and a bit of cake it £118 plus 12% service. I don't mind paying for stuff but this was the sort of thing you get in New York with a shitty attitude. Then again it was DKNY and that's a NY store.
Grant McPherson turned up with his elf, Bill, who looked like a troll who hasn't changed his clothes or washed this year. Bill was carrying a large sack for Grant. I was thinking it was presents from Grant for Christmas - nope, couldn't have been more wrong. It was a Led Zeppelin this and a Led Zeppelin that which Grant placed under Jimmy's nose with notes with people's names. The best bit was when Grant asked Jimmy to sign a dvd to his sons who are three and four years old (they must be at home with the stereo on full playing Achilles Last Stand). I looked up and said 'just get it signed to you.' Jimmy told us he was asked to sign a guitar for someone's son, 'How old?' he asked. 'Eighteen months.'
'Any mores surprises today?' said an irritated Jimmy, and at that point Dave Brolan arrived dressed in green to meet any ladies. We left Grant and Bill struggling with the sack full of Led Zeppelin goodies (heading straight to ebay no doubt) and followed Dave to the Scream gallery to look at the Robert Crumb exhibit. I thought the drawings were okay at best - William Stout is better, Crumb is cruder. Most of the stuff was a bargain at around £100,000 a go...
Dave headed off to an Irish pub for a singalong and we then looked in the Paul Smith home store, then ended up in Liberties buying candles to worship various things. Found all the candles I like in Maxfield in Los Angeles at half the price...
We then retired to a eatery Jimmy knew in Soho. It was so bad he looked at his dish, took a bite 'Like fairground food,' and didn't eat it. We then did what we should have done all along - Pizza Express, an American with extra anchovies. But what we really should have done was get a nice KFC bucket...
Been listening to the Flower Travellin Band, a cd called Satori parts 1-5 . It's the Japanese Led Zeppelin. You can see their final ever show on youtube in black and white 8mm. I also played Warrior Fighting For The Earth and watched Ratt on youtube as well - best is Wanted Man. I must dig out Kingdom Come.
Noriega gave me an early present, a Judas Priest 7inch of Exciter from 1978...
More from Australia - not bad what you can find down under...
Photos from Australia last October - I thought I'd put them up before I forget. See more...
This is more like what I should be shooting - and if anyone knows her I'd like her for Christmas, just like this...
Spent the day with Jimmy Page and my posse of Kazuyo and Man Friday Noriega (who's over to sort out my file and serve The Master), plus the professional paddy, Dave Brolan.
Been working on something with him for the past couple of years which will be out in February or March next year - I think. Had to have a break in our day and rush off to Marble Arch to shoot Alice Cooper in his hotel in which I'd set up a studio. And it went well. Alice turned up on time, did what was asked, signed some cds for Noriega and could not have been nicer.
Rushed back to Jimmy's in the rain, finished up a longish day and James took us all out to dinner... It was a productive day and when things work they work well.
Here's some bits of the new issue of Classic Rock I like - at leas they appreciate how hard I work...
More Kiss destroying Los Angeles - Anaheim and Fresno. See more...
Chris Cornell from Los Angeles last week.
And the view from my room at dawn.I know I've shot it before but the light is different in winter and I like it.
New covers and inside of So What magazine, shot in Denmark and Mexico.
New covers of Classic Rock I shot last month, out next week. I like the minimalist look to the BW cover
Dave Grohl from Mojo - I like the look of the layout, and the new cover of Guitar World with Dimebag, shot by me in London in the 90s.
Got this from photographer Gene Kirkland...
"it was really nice shooting next too you again. I’m sorry to say that Everyone that seemed to have just purchased a camera or whatever was able to shoot. I got some nice images but could have gotten a lot more if I didn’t spend half the time tripping over people that shouldn’t have been there."
Which describes what is wrong with photography. The trick is to show how much better you are - the PROBLEM is most artists expect it for free because people will give it away. The "ART", if that is the right word, has gone, at least from shooting live.
Speaking of Art and the pretentious world of "ART". I got Who Shot Rock And Roll by Gail Buckland which is a photo book of a travelling exhibition. Gail was not really at all interested in me being in the book but she had no choice as she wanted "Good" Metallica and her elitist photographer friends don't "LOWER" themselves to shoot them. It has some nice photographs but overall it's far to trendy for is own good. Gail phoned me a couple of times and was truly condescending, telling me this is for a museum. Oh yeah, then why is she doing a book? Her assistant called and wanted me to sign away the rights to my shot of Metallica for free. I'm thinking Bollocks but then they came back and said they'd only pay $100 as "It's a museum book". I ended up taking $500 - I should have asked for $5,000. I know that's stupid but so was the way I was treated by the book people.
I've always had a real snobbery against me. When I started the only two English photographers who didn't look down their noses at me were Chris Walter and Pennie Smith. The rest were up their own arses.
Pennie, who I love, once said 'A lot of people have a thing about you and your photos, your name brings up UGH and I don't understand why.' Thank you Pennie. I'm surprised she has photos in here. Another thing was Gered Mankowitz pulling a face when William Nash brought my name up. I had never spoken to Gered in my life at that point. Will asked what his problem was and he couldn't give Will a reason why, maybe I'm just not posh enough - to be a REAL photographer.
I just did an interview about what I do (I won't say photography as some people think I'm not a photographer) while in Los Angeles. If you want to read it look at www.straycat-blues.blogspot.com It's by Michelle Berry.
I went to Ryuichi Sakamoto at the Cadogan Hall last night. I sort of liked it, he played for two hours and about an hour of it was good. Shot a bit of soundcheck and a portrait. Kazuyo was in awe and shaking, 'He's a national treasure.' The audience complained our shutters were ruining the show. The reality was the people coming in late were ruining the show, banging doors etc. I sat in the lobby and asked the Scottish promoter rep if he knew where Peter Mackay was, the tour manager and a friend of mine. He started talking to me as if I'm a moron telling me I've ruined the show. I turned on him and gave him a "Tune up", as my old mate Rangi would say. I've been doing this since when he was about ten plus I KNOW what I'm doing and he was looking for a row, plus just because of his job he thought he was justified in talking to me like I'm a child - what a knob.
Wolfmother in Los Angeles