Saw the Mick Ralphs Blues Band at the Jazz Cafe at the weekend with my assistants, Makowski and Page, and my bodyguard, Gus. I enjoyed it apart from Key To The Highway - it's too much like a boring Eric Clapton song. And it was great to see Mick Ralphs. I'd actually got a Bad Company poster the day before, a strange coincidence.
I've been playing a promo Japanese LP I got at Vicious Sloth called Hot Menu '73. It's a mixture of the Atlantic sampler The New Age Of Atlantic plus Warners acts like Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, James Taylor etc. A double LP where a DJ introduces side one and at the end of each side a Japanese voice tells you the tracks in Japanese.
Pete Makowski and I had a coffee with Phil Alexander of Mojo who was raving about the new Scorpions cd, and forgot to bring me a copy. Pete and I ended up looking in FOPP and ran into writer Sandy Robertson who I haven't seen in about 32 years. I found a good movie store that had old posters. Saw one for the Ken Russell film The Devils which said "HELL HAS NO SURPRISES FOR THEM" - I nearly bought it. I was reading the Evening Standard on the train and Ken Russell had died today.
And it's freezing today - I'm missing being in Australia
The Mick Ralphs Blues Band from the Jazz Cafe last weekend...
Alice Cooper picture disc 7inch single with my photo for I'll Bite Your Face Off
Mick Ralphs and James Page, The Jazz Cafe London.
A poster I picked up - I'd shot this show in 1979 for Sounds - March 9th, first night.
A old friend and photographer, George Bodnar, died last week from pancreatic cancer. George had been ill and fighting it for the last two years. I'd seen him for lunch a month or so ago and I'm pleased I did. At lunch he'd signed a photo of me shooting The Who at Shepperton in 1978 which I am now very happy I have.
I'd known George since 1976 when we both used to shoot photos for the NME, Melody Maker and Sounds. I named him "Crazy" George because he was so normal - he loved the name and would call me up and say 'Hello, Crazy calling'. There is a photo of him as a crazy doctor on the Iron Maiden single Can I Play With Madness with the band in straight jackets. I thought it was a great idea, a bit silly now.
George also made the mistake of sharing a room with me at the 1981 Donington Festival. When I realised Crazy was in the shower and hadn't locked the door... I did take a normal portrait of Crazy as well, which is here
Strange not having him around. I'll miss him, and David Atlas, another fine photographer who died in August. They're both off to the "Dark Room" in the sky...
More photos - Darwin to Hong Kong above the Banda Sea
Home landed at 4.30am into a foggy Heathrow-the first flight in. Been going through my Motley Crue File I realised I have so much I could do a book.
Here's some more from sunny Australia
I was here in Melbourne last year on this date. It was Kirk's birthday, funny leaving a year later a day earlier.
Drove out with my mate Ange to the coast yesterday - this time he didn't get lost. Left Geelong for Colac where I stopped to shoot pictures of some cows. I found them quite fascinating except they wouldn't pose, plus they smelled worse than Kazuyo Horie. Also shot the end of the day. Found it humbling to think straight out to sea is the south pole, the rocks looked majestic.
Razorback, a huge cliff jutting out of the sea. London Bridge, where half of the rock has been claimed by the sea. The photos here are on my little Leica - I'll put some real 35mm up later this week.
As I have been here hanging out at Vicious Sloth, the best Record Shop down under. I couldn't help my self - here's a list below of what I got
Alice Cooper - School's Out Aus Only 7" EP PS
James Taylor - Aus Only 7" EP PS
Led Zeppelin - Acoustically Aus Only 7" EP PS (should be in Sac. by now)
Steppenwolf - Born To Be Wild Jpn 7" PS
Motorhead - Orange Vinyl UK 7" PS
Ennio Morricone - For A Few Dollars More Jpn 7" PS
P.I.L. - This Is Not A Love Song UK 7'PS
Lou Reed live in Paris Bootleg EP
T.Rex - A Beard Of Stars - US LP on Blue Thumb w.Bonus 45
LZ - I Aus LP Original unique script back cover
LZ - Presence Aus LP Original
Alice Cooper - Greatest Hits Aus LP Original w.Gatefold Cover
Memphis Slim - Blue Memphis USA LP with Peter Green and John Paul Jones
UFO - Lights Out US LP
Various - Out Came The Blues UK LP on Coral Label
Various - Hot Menu '73 Jpn 2LP Atlantic / WB Label Sampler
Various - Bumpers Greek 2LP Multi Coloured Vinyl Philips Label Diff.Cover to UK
Wishbone Ash - Pilgrimage UK LP Black & Silver MCA Labels
ZZ Top - Tejas - Jpn LP Orig w.Obi & Poster
Tim Buckley - Blue Afternoon - USA LP Straight Label Promo
Yes - Close To The Edge Aus LP Original Textured Cover w.Cool 1973 Tour Sticker
Groupies US LP
Flying home today via Hong Kong. I'm sad to leave, I like Australia except the dollar is so strong it is expensive. I bought a biro, a cheap plastic black one - it was £5!
Looked in the bookshop at the airport and as I'm traveling for twenty-seven hours thought I'd get something thoughtful and deep. I ended up buying Ace Frehley, No Regrets A Rock'n'roll Memoir... I'm sure you can read in five minutes and don't tell me he doesn't regret NOT being in Kiss now. Plus Dirty Deeds by Mark Evans, the original bassist of ACDC who I knew when he was in LA in the band Heaven and I remember as a nice guy.
Flew over a mostly cloudy Australia then just before Darwin the clouds opened up. I spent the next two hours looking out the window which was difficult as Cathay Pacifics seats are sideways on this flight to Hong Kong - drove me crazy.
Over the Banda Sea the view looked as if William Blake was still painting. One of those views I dream of seeing, electric tropical clouds over vast seas. I looked until the sky turned into night...
I also finished The Ace Frehley book which was a long rant against Gene Simmons with Ace being clean and serene by the end. The Mark Evans book was okay, it was a lot of going to get the "Turps" a bit too often. Still Mark was honest, and it's a good aeroplane read.
I'm now halfway through a book I got at Vicious, Sloth Gone Crazy And Back Again by Robert Sam Anson about the rise and fall of the Rolling Stone Generation. It's from 1975 and has a big chapter on the Groupies issue of Rolling Stone telling how it was Baron Wollman's idea and became it's biggest selling issue. The author does get it wrong, calling Jimmy Page a "Singer" and quoting Jimmy talking about groupies in Chicago which I can't imagine him doing.
Atom Heart Mother.....
The Kings Of Leon, Melbourne - third show at the Rod Laver Arena.
A few photos of Melbourne shot with my Leica
The Kings Of Leon from the second show in Melbourne. I do enjoy the light show.
The excellent Kings Of Leon from the first night of three shows at the Rod Laver Arena
Here's an email sent to me by Baron Wolman
Thank you sooooo much for the great introduction, Ross! Brought a tear to me eye... A pity you won't be around a bit longer while I'm here. I'll be in San Francisco from the 1-6th, then LA from the 7-11th if you're planning on hitting any of those towns on your way home from down under. Once again, man, couldn't have done it without you last night. Much appreciated, as I'm sure you know. Big Baron Bear hugs to you; bon voyage down under. -bw
Been flying London to Hong Kong and on to Melbourne where I'm joining the Kings Of Leon. I flew Cathay Pacific which I haven't flown on long haul since 1985. Got upgraded to First. The seat was amazing, it turned into a double bed. Arrived into Hong Kong at dawn. A cool airport, I like airports, there is a vibe which the traveller in me loves. HK airport had a buzz, far more so than Heathrow Terminal 3 which is just a mess. Plus I fell in love with most of the women there.
Now, after the front of the plane, Business on Cathay was dire. It had the seats where you fly sideways and have to strain to look out of the window - drove me crazy.
I flew on to Melbourne over Cebu with massive anvil clouds in the sky. I love flying over this part of the world, it has something. I sort of feel like I'm on a magic carpet or maybe it was the percodan I'd taken...
Got into Melbourne at midnight to find one of my bags has gone to Manila - ah, the joys of travel.
New cover of Rocks from Germany
The Classic Rock Awards
Here's the new issue of Classic Rock with my Jeff Beck cover and lots inside
In Sacramento, working. Did a shoot with Phuong Tran and Monique Wheat. I used a ring flash which is something I haven't shot with for a few years. Odd that I instantly knew what I wanted to get with it, and lately I've been very pro available light photography.
Been record shopping - in America you can get cut-outs, returned LPs still sealed for $5.00. Got Warren Zevon, Excitable Boy with my new favourite song Lawyers, Guns and Money. Kiss, Love Gun - it had the cardboard "Love Gun" inside, Grand Funk, All The Girls In The World Beware, The Clash, first LP with the promo 7-inch single.
A couple of photos of Miss Phuong Tran
Foo Fighters at the old Arco Arena, now called the Power Balance Arena. Last time I was here was with Metallica on the Black album in '91. Strange, I actually remembered it when I got here. The dressing rooms and corridors are brightly lit and clean looking to shoot in. Made Dave and co do some group shots. After shooting the whole show for three hours I got stopped by one security man at the side of the stage telling me you can't shoot pictures, only the first three songs. Bear in mind the band had just been playing for three hours and I'd been shooting the show. I just looked at him, and this was as they were finishing the last song, incredible how people cannot use their brain. This is probably the best production I've seen this year. The light show is phenomenal.
Dave Grohl serenaded me to the crowd with Blackbird by The Beatles knowing how much I hate them. 'I'm serenading Ross Halfin, the greatest rock'n'roll photographer in the world. I've known him for 20 years - I'm not saying I like him..." See lots more...
Just launched my official Facebook fan page. It's going to have slightly different content from the diary, I'll be updating it frequently and interacting as much as I can with everyone.
Click here to like it: http://www.facebook.com/rosshalfinofficial
New Deep Purple and Slash DVDs shot by me over the summer....