I actually worked today! Got up and shot Stonefield, a new girl group (all sisters) from Melbourne. And did a filmed interview about photography and shooting them.
Went to the airport and flew Virgin Australia to Sydney (very good, it was so much better than Quantas). I was met by my friend Rossco who checked me into the Sheraton on Hyde Park, into a room that is so big I could fit half of South London in here with me. Drove out to the Anchor Bar in Bondi, which has a load of my prints on the wall, to do a filmed interview for the Australian News Channel 10 which is on TV tonight at 10pm.
It’s now 7.30pm here or 8.30am in London I’m trying to stay up and not fall asleep - and the weather is fantastic...
Some flying today - London to Melbourne, via Bangkok. Arrived to a sunny hot Bangkok at dawn. I walked to my connecting gate which was one end of the terminal to the other - it took forty minutes. Then we got on a bus and drove the whole way back to get on the plane! Where’s the private jet when you need one? It felt longer than the flight… Then thought I’d shoot the skies over Asia except it was bland and overcast above Indonesia. Looked at the route map over Christmas Island except you couldn’t see an island, just blue sea.
Read the Yes issue of Prog Magazine. It’s funny reading about Prog by writers who weren't there in the day. I saw Yes a few times - the cover story was plain boring plus they could have done more on Roger Dean who did the cover. I enjoyed the Martin Barre feature, he's one of the most underrated guitarists ever. Martin’s work on say the first four Jethro Tull LPs is very overlooked. The solo he plays on My God (on Aqualung) is outstanding. Unfortunately the photos are just DULL. Whoever shot them needs a few camera lessons - looking at it all the photographers in that mag need camera lessons, the photos are just bad. I like to think I try to make people look interesting. Plus people in the world of “Prog” dress badly. In the day Yes, Jethro Tull, The Nice, ELP, they all looked cool, now the up and coming bands have no style whatsoever. The Prog lot are bald or fat, it’s like looking at a magazine full of bank clerks and I’m being kind…
What I am looking forward to is a day at Vicious Sloth in Melbourne, seeing Peter, Glenn and Ange. The great thing about them is their knowledge. When a record comes out, the pressing, the covers, you name it and they know it. I got a mint Australian Close To The Edge there last year, a special pressing for the Yes Australian Tour of 1974, that made my trip.
Shot black and white of the desert and the early evening clouds over Western Australia. It is like nothing for hundreds of miles. Now, I did get the idea of this while looking at the Yes bit on Roger Dean and I promise to try to make my clouds look interesting.
Got into Melbourne at 10pm where there are signs telling you that they are filming a new series of Border Security, my favourite Aussie TV show! I was actually slightly hoping they’d stop me and film me...
On my way, London to Australia
The Queens Of The Stone Age at Wembley Arena. Hard to shoot but in a good way. They have a good light show and it was a great set list. GREAT band...
Been playing the first Steve Miller LP, Your Saving Grace, on vinyl - better than I expected. Got a Queen box set at the Olympia record fair, a bootleg called The Lost BBC Sessions. Now I’m not a big fan of Queen, but this is great. They were originally a rock band and this shows it, very raw and very good. Led Zeppelin bootleg on splatted vinyl from the Electric Magic Show, Nov 21st 1971, which I went to. It sounds good - I’d only bought it for the cover.
I’d also got a sealed Atlantic LP of Mott The Hoople, the first LP. I got home to find I already have five copies and I still didn’t regret buying it! Funny, Jimmy Page said to me how much he likes Ian Hunter and what a stand up guy he is. Ian told me he'd worked in a Wimpy Bar in Whitechapel in the East End. He said every time he went to the freezer there was a big rat waiting. He had an agreement with it, "you don’t bite me and I’ll ignore you"… I still like a Wimpy.
Last LP of my night was Chuck Berry, One Dozen Berrys. In-Go is interesting, I’ve never heard it before.
The Temperance Movement at the Koko, a fantastic band - go and see them...
Mott The Hoople at the 02 Arena. I wasted half the day by going to shoot Ian Hunter at 2pm then finding out everything was running late, so off back home - across London to the South West from the South East.
Home for a couple of hours then off again for a long drive - collected James Patrick Page first so it was Cheam, Kensington, Chelsea, Elephant And Castle, The Old Kent Road, Deptford, New Cross, Greenwich and finally the 02. We got there before the band, amazingly!
Ian Hunter apologised for earlier - it shows what a gentleman he is. So I got a great photo shoot of Ian with his Iron Cross guitar and Jimmy with him for good measure. It was a fantastic show, the crowd enjoyed it which was great after the useless Birmingham audience. Good to shoot although the stage was far too high for no reason. The sound was good as well. Had a bit of a hang afterward in the dressing room with Mick Jones, Brian Wheat, John Squire and Joe Elliott, still drunk from Birmingham. Plus Jimmy who pointed out how good Joe was singing All The Young Dudes. And Mick Ralphs and Overend Watts, a fine pair.
Brian Wheat told me Jimmy was getting mobbed by wankers in the crowd with Led Zeppelin LPs to sign, pestering him and not letting him enjoy the show.…Wheat, who is normally mild-mannered, had to step in and tell them to fuck off. Come on, he's right, do fuck off - there's a time and a place for everything.
A good time was had by all…
Saturday Olympia, a bad day - bought loads. Jimmy page was showing me what rock and roll to get, including the first two Chuck Berry LPs mint, Sonny Boy Williamson Sings Down And Out Blues, Yardbirds Japanese EP on red vinyl, Stones mono Their Satanic Majesties Request all MINT.
A couple of retards would not leave Jimmy alone. At one point we were having a sandwich and this “bore“ from Epsom just came over and was not going away. Another moron came up and said he was a good friend of Peter Makowski. 'Well how come Peter’s never spoken about you if you're such a good friend?' said JP. Dave Lewis was there with his new book which JP signed to him and put edition 666 - he must have been in a good mood...
Sunday back to Olympia where Jimmy and I got more to feed our addiction. I got Wanda Jackson ten inch on Capitol red vinyl plus Gene Vincent ten inch black vinyl both Japanese. One Of These Days promo Pink Floyd Japanese, the first James Brown LP Please Please Please.
In the evening with Makowski and Brian Wheat in tow we all went to see the Temperance Movement at the Koko. It was packed, the band was great apart from the singer over doing his Mick Jagger/Chris Robinson “dancing". He should just stick to singing, he was trying too hard. In fact the Temperance Movement and Blackberry Smoke are my two favourite bands at the moment. They both swing and can play - makes a good change.
Some more pictures from the Classic Rock Awards
The Classic Rock Awards at the Roundhouse. I must say this is a nice venue. Even apart from being in here and hanging with bands I saw play here in my youth (which when I think about it makes it slightly surreal even for jaded old me). I met up with Jimmy Page and his useless assistant for the night, Peter Makowski. It started with Pete not being able to get them in, the security were not having it at all. ONLY Makowski could do this…
I got Alex Lifeson and Jimmy together first, then Ian Hunter with Jimmy. Met The Temperance Movement and Blackberry Smoke, both good new bands, plus the Smokes are alright as they are from the deep south like me. Then I saw another legendary southern act - Thunder. After being rude to them, like you do, it was pointed out by Benny that they have something I don’t called “Friends“! Harry James (the drummer) was wearing a tie like a bank manager. He sadly made a point of identifying this as a Crystal Palace tie. To me it looked very West Ham, oddly enough…
I sat at a table with Jimmy Page, Ian Hunter and Mick Ralphs and I must admit I had a good time. A man looking, to be frank, very very very old was talking to Jimmy. I asked who he was (really, I had no idea), it was Chris Barber from Chris Barber’s Jazz Men who as Jimmy pointed out (and Ian Hunter agreed) started the skiffle and blues boom in the ‘50s. John Mayall, Fish, Rick Wakeman, Steve Hackett, the prog lot were there. Wilco Johnson was a dream to photograph and hugely humble. Pete Makowski shocked him by telling him they had the same girlfriend. Shot some Mott group shots. I have to be honest, I LOVE Mott. My highlight was Sabbath. As I was shooting Ozzy shouted ‘Fucking get on with it, we’re paying for your new house with this!‘
At the end of the night I got Alex Lifeson, Tony Iommi and Jimmy Page, then in walked Ozzy and Geezer so I got them all together - it made my night. Even Alex Lifeson said it was strange standing with two people whose songs he played as a teenager, and Pete Makowski made the final point to Alex and I that they all started as blues bands - Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Rush.
For an awards show it was a fantastic night - here's a selection of pictures and a link for interviews and more coverage
The Road To Birmingham… as Mott The Hoople sang. So instead of driving I thought I’d get the train. I got to Euston Station and it’s nearly a £100 each way. Fuck it, you can fly up for less than that - and it’s under a two hour train ride. I end up on Midlands Railway which costs £22 but stops everywhere on the way, plus the train is like a sauna. It feels like you're being boiled alive.
Arrived in Birmingham and went to the Symphony Hall which reminds me of the Fairfield Halls in Croydon. The first person I saw was Joe Elliott who is in “HEAVEN“ because his heroes are playing. And he is also happily lubricated. I send him in to organise a group shot before Mott go on.
Strange show, the lightshow went out in the second number, so you got Rock And Roll Queen and One Of The Boys in darkness with Mick Ralphs looking at me shaking his head. Compared to the Hammersmith shows the crowd were limp. Wanting to watch it as if it was a tv show. The crowd on Mick Ralphs' side were mainly sitting down and on Overend Watts' side standing, it was odd. It had a weird soulless vibe in part of the hall - they could be just as miserable at home, why bring it to a show? The last couple of shows I’d seen in Birmingham were Sabbath and Soundgarden and the crowd were going wild.
But it did have it’s glory moments like Sucker and Walking With A Mountain - hey, I love Mott...
I spent Saturday evening watching Japanese guitarist Hotei at the Shepherds Bush Empire. Although if I'm honest I spent most of the time looking at the Japanese female crowd. Hotei was a good guitarist, somewhat ruined by bringing on one of Jesus Jones, who I vaguely remember shooting in the 90s for EMI. I did meet his wife Miki Imai who was so beautiful she stopped the room in its tracks.
Sunday I was going to have a lazy day, but as it was so sunny I drove to Reading where I went record shopping. Went a bit crazy this time on singles - Deep Purple Woman From Tokyo and Hush on Parlophone from New Zealand 1968, Boston, Fleetwood Mac, Steppenwolf, Roxy Music, Grand Funk, Chris Farlowe, and my favourite find, Mott The Hoople Rock And Roll Queen their first single on pink Island.
Ended the day with Jimmy Page having Sunday dinner in Kensington discussing records…
Some more pictures of Vintage Trouble from the Kiss Cruise.
Here's the new issue of LID with an interview with me and Lars Ulrich by Steffan Chirazi http://lidmagazine.net/shop.html
And here's a bit more Kiss...
... and a bit of travel
Home after being in some very sunny places and I'm shocked by the cold as it's become winter. Here's some Kiss from last week - somewhere on the deep blue sea...
As I'm cruising I've been reading a lot. I still like to buy hard back books but they're a pain to carry. Here's a few I'm reading at the moment.
What Do You Want Is In The Limo - Michael Walker. A great book on touring the USA in the early 1970s. The thing I was impressed by was that the photos were all correctly dated. There's good stuff on Zeppelin, The Who, and Alice Cooper.
Willin': TheStory Of Little Feat - Ben Fong Torres
I Feel So Good, The Life And Times Of Big Bill Broonzy - Bob Riesman. I got this because I have a load of his old 45s and know nothing about him.
Time Of Grief. Mourning Poems. If you're feeling maudlin like I do flying…
Empires Of The Dead - David Crane about how the WWI war graves were built to grieve for the dead.
Alex - Pierre Lemaitre. A detective thriller. Not the usual thing I'd read but entertaining.
Here are a few more photos from Miami and while cruising, Miami at dawn, Vintage Trouble in bw, and me trying to grow a beard. I'll put a load of Kiss up next week when the wi-fi is better…
I've been in Florida and the Bahamas on the Kiss Cruise, my first time ever on a cruise ship. My accommodation was rather nice in a private bit with the band at the top of the ship which I must thank Paul Stanley for. We left Miami, which I found odd - doing customs there and not getting on a plane. It was spectacular leaving port at sunset looking down at a blue sea with Miami fading in the distance.
Woke up in Key West where I went for lunch in the homosexual capital of the south and I now realise is where most of the Tesla fan base is from. There was even a bar called Tony's which they'd built around a lynching tree - welcome to the south…
The Gods Of Thunder put on a good show, playing a set list selected by fans - Ladies In Waiting, The Oath, Let Me Know etc. Strange to see Kiss on a low stage with no pyro, no explosions, no blood, but they played great. If you see Kiss live you can't not like them. It was a strange sensation watching Kiss and feeling the ship list from side to side in a ballroom. I was having visions of the Posidon Adventure. The first time I have ever watched a band play with the stage rocking like a seesaw.
Vintage Trouble played three times, a band with loads of energy, and also Night Ranger, very tight but very 80's.
Had a day on a private island which I thought 'fantastic, I'll go lie in the sun and sleep'. Unfortunately the whole island had Kiss music pumping all day through a PA system - listening to Psycho Circus at full volume at 10am was not my idea of paradise. I gave up and went back to the ship.
I write this on Halloween, a night with a ship full of painted faces - don't know if this is fun or hell...