The Mighty Priest come on after midnight and it's cold and windy. They kick off with The Prophecy, which the whole crowd seem to know. Rob told the crowd 'Last time we played this song you guys blew the roof off!' Rob pauses, looks at the field then adds, 'You would have done this time if there was a roof!' Highlight of the night was undoubtedly The Sinner, with Pete and most of Tesla singing along.
We leave at 2.30am. As we drive out (and I'm not making this up) I see Jeff Keith sitting on his own by his bus stroking the grass in the field. Pete asks 'Is he really doing that?' Time to get home to sunny England.
Home at midday, sit in the garden with Pete playing the whole of the Judas Priest catalogue. He plays Sinner at least five times. I am looking forward to him going home tonight...
Ugh... got to bed at 2am. Have to get up at 5.30am to get to Graspop in Dressel - the middle of nowhere in Beligum. I wake Peter and Nori - snoring peacefully together. They even shower together as we're late...
Fly out of Heathrow on an nice empty flight. I like empty airports. We are met by Fritz Gheller, Brian Wheat's chum from the Fatherland. Fritz is okay for a German, he was helpful and sped us across the vast wastes of sunny Belgium. And it is sunny and hot today. I ask Fritz if anyone is called Adolf in Germany, he even smiles 'I don't think so anymore.' Fritz tells Peter and I his all time favourite band are Whitesnake, particularly with Doug Aldrich on guitar. Fritz thinks all other guitar players can't touch the great man. As Fritz is driving we stay silent. I mean, Pete and I don't want to end up walking across the fields of Beligum.
I go to pick up our passes at the Graspop media office. The people doing the guest list may as well have been the Gestapo. I hand them an email with our details etc. 'We need to see everyone in front of us, how do we know this email isn't a forgery or stolen?' I am standing in line with a load of metal fans picking up tickets. I look around look back at the idiot in front of her laptop and say, 'I'm fifty years old, what do you think I did, sneak into someone's house, open their computer, find out the secret password and print this out? Do I look like a fan? Are you people stupid?' In fact, they are. They remind me of the very stupid Ninke Klope (we are on the Dutch border). We all have to line up and are given wristbands that don't get you near the bands. I ring Rod McSween, booking agent for Priest, Whitesnake, Leppard, Kiss etc. He calls back and sorts it out in two minutes.
Get in just in time to see Tesla, who are coming at you live on the main stage. I spend most of the set shooting out from behind the band. Jeff Keith spends the set idiot dancing and looking into my lens. As Tesla finish Charles William from Testament is headbanging and making signs of the devil. The slighty retarded Jeff Keith jumps on Chuck Billy for a photo, pulling what he thinks are cool poses. We retire to Tesla's dressing room, next to Yngwie Malmsteen's, out of which is blasting a guitar playing loads of boring scales over and over. I see Tim "Ripper" Owens who is screaming with Yngwie. I suggest doing a photo, Tim says sure, goes to see Yngwie and then says sorry 'NO' Banned by Yngwie - alright!
Biff Byford is also there, have a chat, haven't spoken to Biff about Heavy Metal Thunder in at least twenty-six years. He's a good man and a true "Crusader". As I take photos the caterers deliver a huge platter of food to Yngwie's dressing room - it is ONLY for Yngwie.I so regret not taking a photo of them struggling to carry all this food. His door finally opens, a large belly appears first, followed by the rest of the torso a couple of minutes later. Pete said 'It's Bernie Marsden dressed up as Wolverine.' He's dressed from the 80s, tight leather with a body that hasn't seen a gym or a treadmill in twenty years.
Watch Saxon, Biff whistles at full volume playing Heavy Metal Thunder. After Saxon come off to Denim And Leather it starts to rain, just as Def Leppard arrive, who were stuck in traffic for hours. Within ten minutes Leppard are on. I walk to the stage with Phil and Joe, the tour manager stops me. 'Are you taking photos today?' 'Yes.' 'Can you NOT point a camera at Rick Allen?' 'No problem, I didn't point one at him last night.' Rick had been all smiles five minutes before - the fickle world I work in. The drummer's ego has landed (in a field!). Towards the end of the set it starts pouring down. Joe's mike stops working so they abandon the last song. It wasen't as bad as Mannheim in '86, which was a monsoon. Felt bad for Joe.
Peter and I go to the Royal Enclosure to visit David Coverdale who was enthusing about British Rail. I think he's loosing his marbles until it dawns on me he's talking about Eurostar. David pours me some Fernet Branca to settle my stomach. He's being pulled all over by everyone - still, always a pleasure, never a bore with DC. Doug Aldrich introduces himself, he is so nice and humble I feel guilty. Maybe Fritz is a little right, but only a little. Doug seems a very nice guy. The sun comes out for David, he conducts the crowd like Sir Benjamin Britten. He can do no wrong. He offers me what I think is a beer between songs, I reach up and take it. It turns out to be finest aged whisky. Must go on tour with David - beats Aerosmith any day...
Tesla. See more...
Judas Priest. See more...
Michael Schenker. See more...
Here's a picture of me taken at Wembley last night, sent by Andrew,
Off to shoot Def Leppard and Whitesnake at Wembley. I hate driving to Wembley so a friend, Ian White, kindly drove. I even got there earlyish. Ran straight into a sunburned Phil Collen and Joooooooe Elliott. We stood in the backstage hallway and were being quite "Evil" about another 80s metal band from the North. David Coverdale came over and said I was giving out "Negative energy". ME? What about Jooooooe? He'll go to hell before me...
Jimmy Page came with Richie Sambora. Richie said hello - I asked him 'Does Jon allow you to speak to someone who's banned?' 'I have no idea why that is and I'm going to find out', he said. Seemed genuine - maybe JBJ will fire him for asking.
Went into to see David, got a shot of David, Joe, Richie and Jimmy. We then went to Def Leppard's hospitality room and took some more photos of Jimmy with Joe, Richie, Phil, and everyone else who came in. I thought Jimmy was very tolerant. Def Leppard's irritatingly over-enthusiastic tour photographer cornered him and got Rick Allen to take some of him and Jimmy - I could see JP starting to get pissed off, but he did a good job of smiling.
Shot Whitesnake nice lights, DC had a great rapport with the crowd. Stood with Jimmy and Peter Makowski before Def Leppard came on, Jimmy was getting hassled by nearly everyone with a backstage pass. The three of us hid in the corner until Leppard went on. Def Leppard were, as Pete said, "Professional ". Tight, good lights, again they entertained, and Pete thought Joe's voice was brilliant. Joe even mentioned me and Geoff Barton to the crowd. I was called 'Legendary' and 'Still Alive, he's not dead yet,' said Joe.
Pete told me Jimmy thought David's dressing room was impressive. 'It must have taken longer to set up than the stage,' and there were no negative vibes, at least until Pete and I went in....
Driving home was hell as Nori had got a bass from Rick Savage, drumheads and anything else he could take off the wall. Me, Pete and Nori and all his goodies, all squeezed into the back of Ian's car. I wanted to throw Nori out and tell the little shit to walk...
Here's an email from my old friend, the writer Peter Makowski...
Pictures of Bilbao, a rather feeble attempt by me. I like the statutes by Juan Munoz, the hills are the view from backstage.
Lars rang me today looking for Pete Makowski, he was on a tour bus in Europe - a tour bus!!!! Shitttttt, times must be hard, what about the jet? It can't get any tougher than this.
Got Man Live at the Padget Rooms, Penarth, uncut full show on cd. One of the "Greatest" live records of all time. I bought it, and still have it on vinyl - it was 50 pence in 1972. Deke Leonard's sleeve notes are fantastic, he writes with candour and fluency. I wish I could.
Finished my travel book and am trying to write an intro. Tom Jerman, who's laying it out, pointed out it's late and at the printers. I can't seem to write something without it sounding pompous - must get to it.
Pete called to say he and Lars are now best friends. Pete then tells me he's off to see Queensryche except he can't get past the fact Geoff Tate sounds like a bad Bruce Dickinson. This is highly unfair. I love my Queensyche. Pete then tells me the new Alice Cooper album is great. Pete was the only person I know who thought Guns N' Roses were good after coming on four hours late at Hammersmith.
Back to my travel book...
And here's a nice email from Christian, one of Paul Stanley's French fans,
Some more of The Mighty Priest in Spain. See more...
And some more
Tesla. See more...
I haven't put any magazines up for a while, so here are some with spreads I like...
It is running late. Kiss play at 1.20am and come off at 3.20. "Rock And Roll All Nite" - really... And Paul Stanley did tell me who says on Kiss Alive "You Wanted The Best You Got The Best!"
At 8am see a tired Michael Schenker and Tigertailz at Bilbao airport. The Nikki Sixx lookalike, who is still drinking when we land, comes up at Gatwick to tell me how it's all right for me etc. He seems to think I don't have to do anything and live in a big house made of gold bars from the millions I've made from doing nothing. He's starting to sound like Nikki Sixx, or Gene Simmons...
Michael Schenker. See more...
Sunny Sunday. Get home to see the new issue of Classic Rock with another dreadful, over-designed cover on Southern Rock. It's saving grace this month is a huge Metallica live review by me (great photos of course), and a feature on UFO which has some nice, never seen photos by Bubi Heilemann.
Phil Mogg shows why he is still a bitter person when Geoff Barton asks why they never made it and are under appreciated by the public. 'Am I bothered?' says Phil, twice, while drinking a can of Stella first thing in the morning. Well, really he is bothered. Phil should look in the mirror and take a lesson from Michael. Funny, Brian Wheat told me last night how awful Pete Way is looking and acting and Pete is Brian's hero.
Going to read all about who Phil blames later. Off to play the Best Of Tesla and Kiss Alive...
Tesla. See more...
Finished the UFO story, Phil comes over okay. It is quite enjoyable until you read all the rubbish Pete Way says about drugs. Look, it isn't cool to boast you shoot up in your groin. I know enough real junkies who are embarrassed by what they did. Pete Way is not a junkie, just some twit who thinks he sounds cool like a teenager showing off in the school playground. Pete is just sad, or as Brian Wheat said, pathetic...
Nori, my Man Friday, found some negs of Metallica I've never printed from the Palladium in LA, when Metallica opened for Armoured Saint. Nori thinks 1984 - I think must be '85. Really, I don't know...
Priest go on stage at 12.15am. The same set as Download but this time with lights. Eric Singer is my assistant in the photo pit. KK Downing is amazing during Sinner and Glen Tipton's solo on Painkiller takes you to the land of the metal gods. Good show, I get nice pictures of Judas Priest. Kiss stay for the whole set. Gene thought the crowd reaction couldn't be better. We leave as Priest finish.
I'm supposed to meet Brian Wheat from Tesla - he calls and is still driving across France at 2.30am. Have a quick drink with Tommy Thayer and head to bed. It's 3am and Slayer are just going onstage...
Get up to early, but then I'm not one to sleep all day. I feel the day is wasted. See Glen Tipton at breakfast heading off to Holland. Sleep for a bit on the roof terrace - wake up to find myself surrounded by a wedding party in full swing. I thought I'd dreamt it.
Meet up with Brian Wheat, then with the rest of Tesla. We walk around the old town to shoot group shots for their new album cover. We are followed by fans - lots of them, and they won't go away. It's kind of like the pied piper, there are at least fifty of them. After an hour of this we head up into the hills for the festival. Shoot more there then see Michael Schenker, who I didn't know was playing. As Brian and I are talking to Michael a horrible noise is coming off the main stage, it sounds like bad Iron Maiden with a large animal of some kind grunting. It is Arch Enemy - godawful, bring back Machine Head asap, please...
The Kirk Hammett fan club is also there, known as Death Angel. They are drunk, annoying drunk. I shoot Tesla live, at the side of the stage are Death Angel playing air guitar and headbanging. Tesla play an hour of radio hits which I know most of and so do the crowd. Frank Hannon has morphed into Gary Rossington. He used to be a Jimmy Page clone now he's gone "South", even in his dreadful clothes. Still, Frank does play well, as does Dave Rude. They compliment each other well and they wipe the floor with that idiot Tommy Skeoch. Jeff Keith tries animal impressions between each song and Tesla finish with Modern Day Cowgirl, his ode to his "large" female fans.
I spend the evening with Tesla. Brian and I see a hungover Tigertailz (Welsh supergroup) who I'd seen last night so drunk they couldn't string two sentences together. I felt a bit sorry for them as they had to play as the gates were opening, and sober they are okay.
Shoot Michael Schenker with Brian, now carrying my cameras. Frank follows so he can watch Michael from the stage front and steal some ideas. One of the idiots in Death Angel arrives and will not go away. He copies Frank, who's now headbanging and playing Michael's solos. Brian said 'It's as if Michael's been in a coma for thirty years and has re-learnt to play, he is amazing,' and he was playing Into The Arena/Doctor Doctor/Rock Bottom - all perfect.
I see an unhappy Herr Schenker. 'That was embarrassing, the band are under rehearsed.' He is pissed off. I tell him he played great, so does Brian but he is not having any of it. As we commiserate the singer of Death Angel keeps shaking Michael's hand. He is so drunk he is going nowhere - Michael looks irritated, but is polite and leaves. Brian then tries to talk to Doc McGhee and the singer of Death Angel does exactly the same. Older children shouldn't drink...
I see Paul Stanley (a sober, sane person), he's with drummer Chris Slade. It turns out they go way back. Kiss opened for Savoy Brown and Manfred Mann's Earth Band (who Chris was the drummer for, and before that Tom Jones in the 60s). Paul remembers Chris played on Tom Jones Live In Las Vegas (Paul is like John Bionelli, a musical encyclopedia). Paul sums up opening on the early tours like this, 'We wanted to play anywhere, so we came, we played, they hated us and we blew the place up and left.'
Bilbao, nice and warm. Shoot the Guggenheim early evening and the statues outside, beautiful light.
Have dinner with Paul Stanley, Doc McGhee, Tommy Thayer and Danny Francis. When in Spain why eat Spanish when you can eat average Italian - earlier in the day my friend David Fried took me for traditional tapas in the old town which was fantastic. We leave Gene Simmons happily eating a meat and mustard sandwich in the hotel coffee shop.
All reconvene at 11pm, Gene, Eric,Tommy and I all head out to see Judas Priest at the Kobetasonik Festival in the hills over Bilbao.
A message from John Bionelli's cousin, and some more of The Gods Of Thunder.
Kiss destroy Paris, See more...
Read an interview with Mr Paparazzi, Darryn Lyons. He made one very true point about American Magazines. "The difference between me and Vogue is that I'm photographing reality, and they're selling a lie. I mean, Liz Hurley does not look like that. And that, to me, is selling bullshit". Darryn, I'm with you. You look at a US magazine and no one has any blemishes or natural facial features. All magazines do it to some degree - Q re-touched out the UFO logo from Lars' t-shirt...
Off to Bilbao tomorrow - I'm hoping it will be sunny...
Some Rush from Los Angeles last month. I'd forgotten about them then found the file, so thought I'd put them up.
Have some food and hang out with Kiss at their very posh hotel, Le Maurice. Paul thought he had a day off today until it was pointed out he has a show in Stuttgart...
Spent the morning and early afternoon walking around a sunny warm Paris. Found a record store full of old LPs which of course was closed for lunch. I was sad to leave, must come back soon to see it properly. People say London is expensive but Paris is ridiculously expensive - my hotel charged 25 euros for a coffee and a small orange juice.
I get stopped by the French police at Gare Du Nord passport control. They are trying to be threatening, and doing a good job. 'What are you looking for?' I ask, thinking fuck 'em. 'Drugs and drug money, do you have 10,000 or more euros?' 'No, I spent it having a wonderful time in Paris - do I look like a drug dealer or money launderer?' I now have five cops around me they all say 'YES.' After opening my bag of cameras they reluctantly allow me on the train...
Arrive at Saint Pancras and meet up with Jimmy Page. We go with Gordon for some dinner. Jimmy gives Gordon some advice on playing the guitar, he tells him James Hetfield has a really good right hand technique - whatever that means.
Read the Evening Standard on the train - it says Gong Li is in London making a film. Perhaps she'll hire me and see the light - true love will prevail.
I don't get home until 11pm. It's been a long day I'm tired from doing... nothing.
Jimmy and JPJ at the Mojo awards. See more...
Off to Paris on the train and it is baking hot - in London and in Paris. Arrive late afternoon and it takes an hour to get to the hotel due to a demonstration - workers marching about more time off. Gordon Gheller, who I'm with, points out 'Fuck them, they get fifty days off a year - only the French.' Gordon works for a French company.
It is John Bionelli's fifty-fourth birthday today. Last year he was here with Aerosmith, now he's in dreary old Boston when he could be eating oysters, quaffing champagne and seeing the Gods Of Thunder! I speak to him - he is so upset he can hardly talk without his voice breaking. I can't decide if he's upset at being so old or missing Kiss - I think missing Kiss...
I get to the Bercy and run straight into Kiss going to a meet and greet, which I shoot a bit of. There is a fan made up like Gene Simmons - except it could be Lars in make up. Paul Stanley, being a kind human being, phones John Bionelli and sings happy birthday down the phone. John at first thought it was a joke with Jim Servis (guitar tec for Tommy Thayer and Joe Perry) putting on Paul's voice. John then calls me back singing the whole of I Was Made For Loving You down the phone. It confirms for me that John is truly homosexual.
Good to shoot Kiss indoors. The lights are more dense and rich, I get more of Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer and a couple of "Great" ones of Paul jumping (I know I overuse the word but it's true). Enjoy the show, Kiss are fun and not many people can match them at what they do, and nothing for me beats a good band with a good light show.
The Mojo Awards. Same place as last year, The Brewery in the City of London. I was not in the mood for this. It started with no vibe, My Bloody Valentine walked in and were just a dour bunch of boring, long-faced "Paddies". The first few awards were just... dull to shoot. Alex Turner looking like his dog's just been run over. I like young Alex, 'Come on you, it's not that bad up north,' I tried. 'I'm a miserable Northerner,' he said. Seasick Steve, who was a stupid old man last year and is just as stupid this year, presented them. 'Do you want me to give him (meaning me) a black eye.' 'Try it Grandad!' I replied. He was a bore last year and threatened to 'Kick my ass'. The reality is he's just an old drunk.
Barbara Charone (powerful PR whose clients include Madonna, Keith Richards, REM, Depeche Mode, Aerosmith), came with Neil Diamond and Duffy. She told me she "LOVED" me - always nice to be loved by Barbara. She brings Neil Diamond in, he's professional and a pleasure. Judy Collins is the same. John Martyn as well (he's the size of a house). I upset the PR with Jerry Dammers when I make the Specials all pose together. 'It HAS to be Jerry on his own!'. I remind them I haven't shot them since New York in 1981 - they are easy, even with a whining PR.
Motorhead - a very cordial Lemmy with Rat Scabies, who was a knob while he was having his picture taken, but was charming afterwards. It amazes me how people feel they have to turn it on and off for the camera... Another total plonker was unfunny comedian Al Murray, who turned up with Genesis. He later cornered Jimmy Page and was and even bigger plonker then, if that's possible. John Cooper Clarke and Mark E Smith I was dreading and they were the most fun, pulling faces, posing and having a good time. Paul Weller is always easy (I like him a lot), he made a point to say hello to my son, Oliver. Graham Coxen was with him. John Fogerty, Irma Thomas, and even Genesis were very nice. I started to have a good time. Led Zeppelin - Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones - who I haven't seen since, ummm... last week, and lastly John Lydon, who was entertaining. He came and moaned, declared war on England, did the photos and refused to be in the group shot at the end for reasons I couldn't work out. The group photo was okay in a chaotic way. You get all the subjects with five hundred other people who won't leave looking on.
Sat and had dinner with Jimmy and John Paul Jones and Peter Makowski. Felt a bit sorry for JP and JPJ, everybody in the room thinks they are open game and won't leave them alone. Scott Matthews comes over, then a flood of wankers wanting photos and stuff signed. You start being polite then when you say no they won't leave and get aggressive. Jimmy goes to the party for five minutes, gets mobbed - people outside with guitars, album covers, posters screaming at him. It's the same all night - he gives up and goes home.
Still, I had a good time, once the photos were done.
Check my messages, there are ten from John Bionelli, with things like 'Did they destroy Download?' And even one of him singing 'I'm a Capricorn' and 'Call me! I need an update!'
Paul, Eric and I spend the day at the Imperial War Museum, which I haven't been to in years. See all the tanks, guns, uniforms, and including a Chinese executioners sword (good for chopping off PRs heads), Mein Kampf (Hitler's take on what's wrong with people like me) and a big Holocaust exhibition covering two whole floors. It is sobering. I've been to Auschwitz three times but this is still upsetting. Paul summed it up best, in that you owe it to the people who were there to stay and read and see what happened. People soon forget what the Nazis were about.
Driving back over Vauxhall bridge we see at least five hundred naked people on bikes,it is quite surreal. I only wished I'd had a camera with me. At one point a naked old man with a piercing through his penis got off his bike while his naked boyfriend took a photo of him with London in the background.
Went out to dinner with all of Kiss to Hakkasan (which was my idea). I had forgotten Gene Simmons is a philistine when it comes to food - he wants a hamburger well done - so I got 'What is this, cat's eyes' etc. He wouldn't eat anything. Gene did manage to hold court all night - all about Gene. Eric Singer, who claimed to be a vegetarian, tried ostrich and venison while Gene looked horrified and turned up his nose.
Brian Johnson, singer of ACDC, was there. He came over to the table and told us ACDC had just finished a new record. His accent was so strong I could barely understand him. 'Where's he from, Scotland?' asked Eric. 'Nearly - Newcastle...'
Drove back to the hotel with Paul, Jimmy Page rang me and they had a chat about things guitarists chat about.
Off for a bit more Kiss in Paris next week.
Kiss. See more...
Judas Priest. See more...
The weather at Download was sunny England. Enjoy these things when the weather is good. Backstage run into the mighty Judas Priest with their manager, the very lovely Jayne Andrews. Noriaga (my one-eyed, one-armed, one-eared friend and assistant) is in Heavy Metal Heaven. He loves Judas Priest, Kiss and even Def Leppard. Nori is picking up drum sticks, set lists, guitar picks, even a bit of Donington mud.
Shoot a bit of the Priest before they go on, then go and shoot the show. Good photo pit, I climb up next to Scott Travis to get some shots of the crowd. Great show, you forget (or I forgot) just how good a band Judas Priest are, and hugely understated. They were great. Best part was they played mine and Kirk Hammet's favourite Priest song, Dissident Aggressor. I haven't heard it live since 1979....
Go and hang out with Kiss before they go on. I am cornered by Ninke Klop, a PR who does various bands. She tells me in a huffy voice full of her own self-importance that I'm not shooting the whole Kiss show as it hasn't been cleared with her and I HAVE to sign a contract. I point out that I am doing the show, and why do I have an All Access pass from the band, and why did they fly me with them in their private plane, and why am I hanging around in their dressing room - and I'm not signing a contract.. I then point out on last year's Aerosmith tour (which she worked on) that I didn't need her okay to shoot 'Fuck All'. 'I don't care - I'M IN CHARGE!' she says. I get Doc McGhee (Kiss manager). 'Doc am I shooting the show?' 'Anything you want,' says Doc to a pissed-off looking Ninke... Silly old cow, why is this business rife with people like her?
Kiss were amazing (and I'm not just saying this because I'm with them). They give the crowd everything you want - pyro, bombs, great light show (a photographers dream). Eric Singer gives Kiss a solid sound - I wonder what Def Leppard would sound with someone like him. You get riffs, singalong anthems, guitar solos, posing. The end of the show is spectacular with Gene, Paul and Tommy Thayer right at the front of the stage with what looks like World War III going on around them. Get good photos of Paul smashing his guitar. During, I think, Lick It Up they played Won't Get Fooled Again, Eric doing Keith Moon's drum fill perfectly. I could watch this every day. In fact John Bionelli and I did watch it every day when they toured with Aerosmith.
I fly back to London with them straight after. As we land Doc says 'Nice landing' before we notice the jet isn't stopping and every time the pilot puts on the brakes the jet is turning sideways. The plane then keeps going on and on for about ten minutes around the runway until it finally stops very hard. By this point I am considering if I'd survive if I jumped. 'The hydraulics failed,' says the pilot, 'it is Friday the 13th.'
Spoke to Paul Stanley, who invited me to dinner with Kiss (they had a day off in London). As I'm walking out the door John Bionelli rings, I tell him about dinner, he nearly starts crying, 'Why do I have to work for Aerosmith and not the Gods Of Thunder? CALL ME AFTER DINNER!!!....'
Paul invites me to Donington, or Download, so I'm going up with them tomorrow.
Two pictures of me onstage with my 'Tallica heroes, sent to me by Pekka from from Finland...
In Prague 3rd June me and my friend took pictures of two of our heroes; Ross Halfin and Metallica. Great pictures require hard work, that is evident. It's great to see Metallica look good in pictures again, I was getting a bit tired of the mediocre pics Steffan Chirazi and Jeff take for SoWhat! and other fan publications.
A nice email - in fairness Steffan and Jeff are not photographers, and I haven't seen SoWhat in about ten years...
Some more Foos plus Zep, See more...
Dave had asked me (when I shot the Q magazine cover in LA ) after he'd emptied the bar at The Sunset Marquis of alcohol if I would ask Jimmy Page to play with the Foo Fighters at Wembley. I asked expecting no, but Jimmy said yes, much to my amazment. I sent Dave an email saying 'YOU OWE ME'. Dave suggested playing Train Kept A Rolling. Jimmy said at least play something the crowd will know like Rock And Roll. I said do Communication Breakdown as well, Jimmy was 'maybe' which means 'NO'. They agreed on Rock And Roll and Ramble On, Dave's or Taylor's idea - boring song - but what do I know, I'm only the messenger. Also John Paul Jones had been added so Led Zeppelin and the Foos it is.
Went over to Jimmy's early evening and off we drove to Wembley. Saw Dave just before going on, did some photos of Mr and Mrs Grohl and JP. Watched and photographed the first part of the show from the Royal Box. Went back into the photo pit - ground level stage for the encores. The show was being filmed by at least twenty cameras on tracks/wires and by humans. As I climb up to one of the video ramps to shoot one of the crew goes mental saying 'We've only got one shot at this and you're ruining it!' At this point I turn into the Dr. Jekyll. 'Look, without me this encore wouldn't be happening, so bollocks, you've got eighty fucking cameras so fuck off.'
I'm still blinded by the follow spots as they finish. I climb onto the stage as they take a bow, get them to turn around and face me and get... the photo I want. Walk off the stage with Jimmy and John Paul Jones, stop them on the ramp and take a couple of shots. John says he wished they'd done more, they were just getting going.
After the Foos come off go to the dressing room with Jimmy. We are stopped by the guitarist from Paul McCartney's band who has had so much plastic surgery he looks like Frankenstein. He is also boring and won't go away. Get some photos of Dave, Jimmy and John together and Scarlet Page gets one of me with Jimmy and Dave (I know that's the photo you all want). Jimmy goes to look for Taylor and is cornered by Paul McCartney's keyboard player and his wife with 'I used to work in a pub with your auntie Rita.' Time to get out of here...
The Foos are having a party in Park Lane at the Whiskey Club. I go with Jimmy - walk through the door straight into Paul Brannigan who is holding two drinks and swaying from side to side, 'I didn't know you liked the Pogues,' Paul slurs. 'What?' I say. Paul is convinced this is a party for the Pogues new box set Pogue Mahon. As ACDC blasts from the DJ Paul slurs 'Turn off this shite! Put on some real music like Clodagh Rogers...' We leave him talking to a wall with a poster of a Japanese girl (I'm sure he's in Love).
Dave arrives and tells very funny stories of Chaka Khan and Little Richard. We leave after an hour as Jimmy is getting pestered by drunks with mobile phones wanting photos.
Did have a good time - always a treat seeing Paul Brannigan...
Foo Fighters at Wembley Stadium, See more...
At 2.30am Metallica are still onstage. As they finish I shoot James and Kirk holding up a Metallica banner but I'm too cold to be into it at all. After they finish we drive an hour to Cascais on the coast - beautiful hotel but I'm leaving in three hours and the show was four minutes from the airport. Travelling can be a lot of fun - this isn't...
Wake up to a hot 90 degree day with only a two and a half hour drive back through morning rush hour traffic to Lisbon. I'm leaving as the Foo Fighters are playing Wembley tonight. Thought Lisbon airport was well organised compared to Heathrow. Lots of people moving like ants, except here the security are nice, polite, even friendly, makes a big difference. If you object in the UK or USA you get 'I'm having you arrested on suspicion of being a terrorist.'
Fly home, then off to Wembley in Friday rush hour traffic. See Dave Grohl and band, shoot him just as he goes onstage. It is a nightmare to shoot, high stage in the round with the spotlights blinding you from all angles. As the stage is in the round, if you are ground level you cannot see the band at all. They should sack the idiots who designed this, no thought for the fans at all, unless you are half way back you see nothing. The video screen is also round and looks super trendy. In fact it's rubbish. The Foo Fighters can't seem to decide if they want the set to be Metallica or Madonna - and Metallica's is way better (at least they have a big screen you can see)
Foo Fighters at Wembley Stadium, See more...
Northolt to Lisbon, our little jet (I know it sounds terrible) is dwarfed by a huge G5 (big private jet). Lars reads the tail number and realises it's the jet Metallica had two tours ago. It has a huge painting on the tail of Mary J Blige with MJB in big letters on the nose.
Off we go. The German crew (who don't hide their disdain in serving us during the flight) tell us we have sushi on the way. They get more bent out of shape when Stevenstein shows them he's ordered Nobu take out. On the last flight our Captain refused to microwave some steak as it was only one and a half hours. Lars did tell him to fucking circle while he ate, (he was joking), 'This is not possible,' cried the Captain.
Lisbon is hosting the Rock In Rio Festival. The crowd is on a huge hill - it looks stunning. Good stage, nice and low (easy to shoot), well organised. I am doing a photo shoot for an hour and there is nowhere to shoot - too many people and Kirk and Robert are late. Lars suggests doing a shot of Machine Head and Metallica which I do except Machine Head won't leave and hang around like gaping fans. I mean Machine Head are nice, but time is not on my side. I do an average group thing. It looks okay, but it's nothing I'm really pleased with...
By 9pm it is freezing here. Metallica go on at 11.45pm in English winter temperatures. It is so cold the smoke dissipates, making the lighting thin - no vibe at all to the lights. Everything looks too contrasty and flat.
Off to Prague with Lars and Stevenstein. We are flying from Northolt which is an RAF Base, so we must take off on time. Lars is late so we sit on the runway waiting forever for another takeoff slot. 'It doesn't get any harder,' whinges the Little Prince, looking forlorn in his Dior sunglasses. 'Try telling that to a miner,' I say. 'Fuck the miners, there's no coal in Denmark.' He then falls alseep dreaming of the new Anvil movie.We discussed it the other night and Lars told me what he thinks is wrong with it which I hadn't thought about, and he's is right.
We fly through a huge grey thunderstorm which isn't fun.
Land and find a camera crew waiting. 'Are you looking forward to playing in Prague?' The little Prince puts on his most sincere face, 'It will be the greatest rock show ever...'
We now sit in rush hour traffic for two hours, right through the centre of Prague, to get to the venue, the Slavia Stadion Eden. It's only been open a week, it is like being in a giant brand new kitchen centre, bright white. I like it for shooting. James hated the lighting - too bright. Started shooting Lars and James when Lars gave James a loving peck on the cheek. I showed this photo to the Legendary Robb Flynn who looked worried - maybe in case I come up with the idea of a photo spread "Machine Head In Love". James surprised THE KIDS when he went out to the t-shirt stall and stood with the merchandise - the crowd didn't realise it was him.
The stage was about two hundred feet high, with a 200mm lens I could see James head. I feel bad for THE KIDS - you stand in line all day, get crushed and then you see the top of someone's head. Stood for most of the show onstage, got good stuff with the crowd.
Straight off after the show and onto the Lars Express to London or Luton...
Lars with the Legendary Robb Flynn of Machinehead...
Here's my favourite picture of Aerosmith, Reading Festival 1977. I normally print it as a black and white, this is a lithprint. Thought it worked well. A friend of mine who bought a print of it asked Steven Tyler to sign it at a meet and greet that he'd paid $3,000 for himself and his wife and daughter to go to. Steven signed it then was pissed off, 'Why don't I own it?' It's always good to own the copyright...
The new cover of Rolling Stone, the Jimmy Page photo shot by me last month in London. Don't know what John Mayer is doing on the cover - a guitar hero? The poster boy for little girls, I mean, he'll be gone at some point, just like Bush with Gavin Rossdale. Where's Slash, say, or Glenn Tipton, or Brad Tolinski's homosexual dream, Zakk Wylde with his mouth open screaming. Or, come to think of it, Tony iommi, Joe Perry or the Love Gun, Paul Stanley!
Notice the two token negro (oops, sorry - I mean African-American) bluesmen just so they can show that everyone at the magazine loves the blues. Still, I thought they did a good job, Jimmy looks like he really was there.
Spent the weekend Metallicing, so to speak. Friday morning left to meet Lars at Luton airport to fly to Laandgraf (the middle of nowhere in southern Holland). The traffic was so bad on the M25 motorway I missed the flight. Sooooooooooo the day turned into the journey from hell, had to drive all the way back around to Heathrow airport and fly to Brussels then drive another two hours to the Pink Pop Festival. I'd left home at 11am and arrived at 9pm for what should have been a forty-five minute journey.
Get there just as they go on to lots of 'What, did you come by limo?' and 'Nice of you to turn up.' Shot the show onstage, high stage and it was raining - didn't fancy enjoying the mud.
Afterwards we drove another hour to Liege then flew two and a half hours to Madrid. Arrived in the early hours of Saturday morning in pouring rain - we check in at 4am. James looks at the sky, 'Nice festival weather...'
Woke up a couple of hours later to sunny skies - and it's warm.
The show is in a huge field next to a military base. While having a coffee in catering see a dvd of Queensryche live. Quite enjoy it, I realise an hour later there is a second stage and Queensryche were playing on it. Go over and say hello. I have a good talk with Geoff Tate, Scott and Michael Wiltern. I don't think I've shot them since 1991.
Back in Metallicaland I get a photo of Lars and the "Legendary Robb Flynn" of Machinehead. Lars is truly humbled with Robb, the man who put the word MOTHERFUCKER back in metal.
It turns into a long day. Metallica don't play until 11.30pm and then they're on for two hours. Javier Bardem is backstage, he loves a bit of 'Tallica. Get photos of him with those minor celebs in Metallica and a stunning portrait of "Stevenstein Wiig", actor-PA and man about Europe. Stevenstein even gets a photo of me and Javier as we're now best friends. Nori wants a photo with him. After taking a couple Nori says 'Who is he...?'
It was cold when they finally go on - June 1st in Madrid and it's damp and freezing. When they finish we all do a runner and drive 45 minutes to an airport only to find out it's the wrong one. We eventually end up at an airport at 3.30am. I look at Nori, 'Where are my bags?' 'Oh...' is all he offers. I have no laptop, no cameras, no luggage, just a one-armed, one-eyed assistant looking at the floor. I fly home with Lars, Stevenstein and Nori (who I'm not talking to). I stick Nori in the hold with the bags to teach him a lesson.
Lars is sulking (he's good at it). The Little Prince tells me he's missed the party of the year tonight in Copenhagen, his new best china is Frederick, Crown Prince of Denmark, the future King. Fred had invited Lars over to the palace for a few light ales as Fred likes a drink or ten. 'Everyone is going,' whinges the Little Prince, opening a bottle of the finest Dom Perignon vintage champagne. He pours himself a pint (without offering Stevenstein or I any). 'I couldn't let the kids down, Fred didn't really understand.'
While Stevenstein and I share a can of warm lager the Little Prince guzzles down several bottles of Dom. As he's getting intoxicated he reveals he wants to call the new album "THE PRESIDENTS OF METAL" and the cover will be a copy of In Rock by Deep Purple with 'Tallica's heads in rock. And he's trying to convince the band to do a metal cover of The King And I as a tribute to his new drinking buddy, Fred. Now kids, this is only a rumour so don't start putting it up on your fan sites - it could be the Dom making the Little Prince talk wildly.
I shoot the dawn over the channel, as we land the Prince is trying to focus his eyes on a few celebrity texts on his iphone. He makes me promise not to say who they are (I'm writing a diary for Metallica's magazine, So What, I'll tell all in there). But I will tell that one was from the Legendary Robb Flynn - Motherfucker...
And here's some more Jimmy in black and white
A picture of me onstage at Irvine, sent to me by my friend, Peyman.