Still more flying back and forth across America - LA, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlantic City. I don't mind it as long as it's warm, but the airport security is tedious really.
Hung out with my 'Gro, Brian Wheat, and saw Billy Bob Thornton who gave me a signed copy of his new book, which made Kazuyo Horie extremely jealous.
Saw Aerosmith play a good show in Chicago at the United Centre. The last two times I'd been there (with Aerosmith and Depeche Mode) it had been snowing.
Went to Atlantic City which was more upmarket than I was expecting. I even had a five-star meal at 2am then walked around the casino to find it full of the Jersey shore crowd, drunk, loud and chain-smoking. God, it was awful…
Spent a couple of days being cooked - yes, it was hot at the Orion Festival. Bumped into Mike Muir from Suicidal Tendencies who I haven't seen in years, and a bigger surprise was Jeff Cease from the original line up of The Black Crowes. Jeff now plays with country artist Eric Church. Now I DON'T LIKE COUNTRY AT ALL, but Eric Church was rocking. One of the best front men I've seen in years, he totally had the 'X' factor on stage.
And I shot the Arctic Monkeys who won over the crowd as well. My only regret was not getting a festival poster which looked cool, must try to find one.
Some travel photos I like across America
Been flying - Los Angeles to Denver to Minneapolis. On the second flight Kazuyo was taking some photos of the sky when the flight attendant got very heavy handed and demanded she turned off her camera. Which she did. Ten minutes later the purser appeared and started lecturing Kazuyo as if she was an infant. I objected to this and coming to Kaz's defence told the purser in a calm voice she was being stupid. The next thing we know we are threatened with being arrested. And sure enough when we land a policeman comes on with a gun, and off we go to be met by six cops and a plain clothes officer.
I stood my ground and pointed out she was out of order and is working in a service industry. The police were surprisingly okay and one of the officers suggested we make a complaint to United…
A bit of the 'Smiths today, as in the Aerosmiths. First show of the Global Warming Tour. Steven wanted the crowd right up against the stage which made it hard to shoot so I gave up and shot as Steven always harangues me to do - all over the stage.
Here's the local review from the Minneapolis Star Tribune moaning about me - the reviewer forgot about the three video camera men all over the stage as well...
Unfortunately, the appreciation of an otherwise exhilarating concert was diminished by the presence for much of the 100-minute set of an Aerosmith photographer, standing 3 feet from Tyler, all over the stage. At show's end, the singer introduced the shutterbug and called him a pain in the butt but "he gets great shots."
And it was a Rock Royalty Birthday, as in Rock'n'roll John Bionelli. Funny, I once got Paul Stanley, The "LOVE GUN", to sing Happy Birthday down the phone from Paris…
So as we were in sunny Minneapolis it was a Rock'n'roll evening eating, ermmmm, curry, with Tom Hamilton, sexy Kazuyo Horie, and the man of Kaz's dreams "Ma Dodgy" aka Jimmy Eyers. We even had a stretch limo, a real '80s night out. John, after several drinks, finished the evening singing us most of Double Platinum - a very Rock'n'roll Sunday.
A day at Aperture Studios Miami shooting ZZ Top for various things. It was a creative day and they were so easy, it made me love my job. If only most things were like this, then again lately everyone I've photographed has been a pleasure.
Flew to Los Angeles early evening through some huge storm clouds, the kind you only get down here, I loved it. It made me feel like I was walking among the clouds, when the reality was the plane was being thrown all over the place.
London to Miami - flew on Virgin which I don't do often but kind of enjoy. The flight was empty… Super nice, me in the front and Peter Makowski in the back.
Landed late afternoon to 96F sunshine. Got real aggravation at immigration. 'Why are you here are you taking work away from an American citizen?' and on and on, they even asked how I pay my rent. I nearly said 'with great difficulty'. I finally pointed out I'm been coming here with no problem for thirty five years…
Drove up to Fort Lauderdale to stay at the less than wonderful Embassy Suites. The last time I stayed at this hotel chain was in 1980 when they were all over Texas and a favourite of the band UFO.
Off to Hollywood Florida for some ZZ TOP. Always good, great light show - Billy Gibbons messed up Jesus Just Left Chicago posing for me. A lot of the photographers in the pit came and said hello. I got a lot of love which was very cool of them. Had a good day considering I'd been up and working for 24 hours.
Being in Florida is, well, NICE...
Saturday I visited the Somme, also known as Download. The thing that drives me crazy is people asking me for passes like I have a pocket full of them, so I tended to avoid the guest area for that very reason. It was a mud bath from the day before but at least the sun came out so it was kind of bearable. I stayed the night in a place called New Hall built in 1590 with a moat. You tend to forget being blasé that England has some beautiful houses. Looked serene lit at night.
Woke up Sunday and the sun was shining, a good festival day - most of the mud had gone. Saw Dave Mustaine who was in good form, I always connect well with Dave. Matt Cameron asked about doing a photo with Soundgarden and Black Sabbath, which I shot. And Soundgarden played in God's light, the perfect end of day lighting, finishing with Beyond The Wheel.
Black Sabbath were perfect as the twilight came. 120,000 people going, as Ozzy would say, 'Crazy'. I shot from Tony Iommi's side trying to capture the vastness of the event. A good weekend at the office...
As it's Download Weekend and it's already a mud bath - I have to go tomorrow - here's a bit of Download from the past. Sir David Coverdale circa 1981 when it was Donington, sporting a Sunset Marquis T-Shirt.
As it's Tom's Birthday, 51 today - Welcome To Hell...
I managed to avoid the Jubilee by having a Sunday in Paris - arrived 6am after flying in from the Fatherland. I didn't know all the shops are closed on Sunday by French law as it's a family day.
Kazuyo and the General went for Japanese twice. I went to Les Invalides to see the Napoleonic uniforms and weapons which was quite apt after a night of "Die Die Die" in front of 85,000 Germans.
Came home on the plane Monday afternoon. Everyone raves about the train, it is a pain if you have luggage. I'll take a flight any day. Arrived back as the Jubilee concert was on - rubbish like Robbie Williams, and worst of all a very over made up Kylie, terrible, with McCartney who now can't sing at the end. Absolute drivel…
Photographed some skulls which I liked in a Paris shop window
A field near Werchter. This it looks like a path - in fact it's the shadow of an aeroplane wing...
And some Van Halen of mine from a Guitar World Special out in the US
The past couple of weeks I've been travelling - Paris, Warsaw, Paris-Cascais, Lisbon, Madrid, Casis, Lisbon, Werchter, Paris, then London. Off to Rock Am Ring in Nurburgring tomorrow. Last time I was there was with Iron Maiden and it poured down. Funny, I also saw The Who this Saturday 36 years ago, also in the pouring rain, at Charlton with SAHB and I loved it, soaking wet and all - I must have been stupid, or young…
I saw Soundgarden twice in the last week and both times they were good, "HEAVY", and I mean that in a good way. In Paris it was one of the best light shows I've ever seen with simple use of lighting and trust me, I've seen a lot of light shows. Also nice to reconnect with Kim Thayil and Ben Shepherd after 15 years, really good to see them.
Soundgarden in Paris
Soundgarden in Werchter