Dave Grohl and Joan Jett at Pensacola, Florida
Taylor Hawkins warming up
Pensacola - You can see the De Luna Festival stage on the beach
Spent a day in Sacramento with my 'gro, Brian Wheat. We did manly things like a manicure and pedicure, then I saw Doctor Scott who gave me a cortisone injection in my hip and both my knees as I seem to be falling apart from old age. I even found time to go to the Beat where I got The Sweet Pain LP, a classic which has Phil Collen's all time favourite song Back In LA. The lyrics are amazingly profound. Best find was a white label unplayed promo of The Faces Long Player for $10.
Flew back to LA in the evening. Had an nice view of it all lit up at night. I'd been reading Neil Young's Waging Heavy Peace on the plane which begins with his love of trains. The plane turned over all the train yards just as I put the book down for the landing in LA - which felt a bit odd.
I have had five different people tell me that the name of the band in Pensacola was the Molly Ringwalds - go and see them if you can.
I've been in the Florida 'Hood for the weekend, in Pensacola. Now the last time I was here was in the mid-90s on the Page and Plant tour. When I arrived all my luggage had been gone through and stolen. So this time was a much more pleasant experience. I'm staying at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Hotel which is on a beautiful white sandy beach and the hotel is actually very nice, although overpriced. I was expecting Motel 6 - the rooms were impressive…
The first night was at the De Luna Festival with the Band Of Horses - not bad at all but they had the worst light show ever. And also the Foo Fighters who got Joan Jett up to play Bad Reputation, plus Bob Mould who played on a song I'd never heard of. He wasn't bad considering he looks like a college professor or maybe your grandad. He definitely had something. The Foos did rocking versions of Young Man Blues and Ain't Talking 'Bout Love as well.
The next day was my friend Gus Brandt's wedding to Allison on the beach with the Foo Fighters as best men. It was a fantastic setting, on the beach at dusk with the best cover band I have ever seen, called Molly something - if you're reading this I'm really sorry I can't remember the full name. The singer and bass player, Brian, came and said hello and told me they were huge Def Leppard fans and had my book, plus had seen them in the good old days with Gary Moore and The Jon Butcher Axis.
They really could play anything. I asked for Tom Sawyer which cleared the dance floor and got Taylor Hawkins to grab the mike and announce "I didn't ask for this, it was Ross Halfin so blame him!" Still Taylor loved it. He sang Another One Bites The Dust with Dave Grohl on drums, but the true highlight was Steve Strange, booking agent to the stars, climbing on stage to sing Sister Christian. He was a rock god in the true manner of David Coverdale. It was a great wedding, a big thank you to Gus and Allison.
I attended with my old assistant "UB" Karen Shiota who was falling down and walking into walls by the end of the night.
My journey home was an event. Pensacola was sold out so I had to drive to Mobile Alabama with a cab driver who wouldn't shut up and completely overcharged us, "All Friendly" as they say in the south. Mobile had lots of places to get fried chicken and BBQ - "All Friendly" of course.
The TSA at Mobile was another matter. 'What's in yo' bag it's full of cameras, yo' in the military?' Me, 'No, I'm not.' 'Whut? We cain't understand yo.' I am then surrounded by four TSA Experts who are trying to work out why I have a bag full of cameras. 'I'm a photographer?' I suggest… They take every lens and camera out, studying them before I'm told 'Okay, we'll let y'all off this time.' I say nothing, but let me off from what????? Welcome to the deep south.
I fly to Huston then Los Angeles. LA feels like an advanced civilisation compared to Mobile...
Some more Kiss and the new cover of Guitar World with Green Day
The day Jimi Hendrix died. I always remember this as it was also the first time I saw The Who, Faces and Mott The Hoople play in 1971.
But today it's a press day for Aerosmith at the House Of Blues. It was kind of a long day, the band doing loads of TV interviews while you hang around. Spent the time with Rock'n'roll John Bionelli who told me lots of facts about Kiss including how Peter Criss put his make up on. Yes, it really was a long day...
Here's some of John and his girlfriend Kazuyo, plus a bit of Kiss from last month.
A day photographing Aerosmith. It was baking hot again, like being cooked, especially for Joe Perry as he was in black. I tried to mainly do the shoot in natural light. Steven and Joe looked fantastic, like you want your rock stars to look. Brad Whitford had a cavalry hat which was the "Killgore" look from Apocalypse Now. I shot group shots as well. I intended to take them on the roof of my hotel but by 2pm it was an Inferno up there.
I wrapped up by 4pm and left them to do press. At 7pm John Bionelli started to play Joe's guitar, doing odd jerky poses that stopped and started. 'It's the end of the show in Boston now the bombs will be going off,' as John played and posed his way through Black Diamond. You must realise this is in a room full of make up people and Steven and Joe.
Finished the night going to Sushi Wa with Kazuyo and Steven who bought us dinner. Afterwards I took ST to the Alta Los Cienaga Motel where Jim Morrison lived. Steven talked the manager into letting us into Jim's room to take a few photos. It was a nice night out "Chez Tyler", very nicely low key.
In Los Angeles, it is hot - and I mean nearly Dubai hot. John Bionelli is here and in a bad mood. 'It's too hot and Kiss are playing Boston tomorrow. I'm here with you and missing the Gods Of Thunder, it just ain't right!' Life can be cruel so I upset him more by telling him in detail about the Kiss show…
Aerosmith are in Los Angeles doing press. I went to see Steven and Joe who were lunching on ribs. Steven had them flown in from Memphis for Joe for his birthday. John looks at the huge plateful, 'Shiiiiiiiiiiit, just like in the 'hood,' he says while piling them on a plate. As I try some with a knife and fork Steven is shocked. 'How can you eat ribs like that?' I look up at John whose face is covered in brown and red BBQ sauce, 'All friendly,' he says, nearly in between mouthfuls…
As I lie by the pool relaxing I smell alcohol - looking down at me is Steve Strange, booking agent to the stars. 'Top of the morning,' he says, through blurred eyes. He is completely white. 'Got to go,' he says and goes off to the airport heading to London. I will say Steve is one of the finest humans I have ever met.
Got a copy of the very beautiful Jim Capaldi book from Genesis books. It has all of Jim's lyrics and comes with a red vinyl 7 inch record and is signed by Jim's widow, Steve Winwood and Robert Plant. It is truly beautiful - go and get a copy.
Just got home from Tuscany where I had a full on panic attack on the flight. Luckily I had Pete Makowski next to me who calmed me down. Seriously, I haven't had one like this for a year or so, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Came home to find the new Rival Sons LP in the post - thanks to Dan at Earache Records.
Off to Los Angeles today for a week of shooting photos with the 'Smiths...
Here's the new cover of Mojo with an outtake from the ZZ Top shoot I did for their album cover in Miami. Out soon - I rather like it.
Found this Thin Lizzy cd in FOB with my cover, I'd completely forgotten about it. The Judas Priest single is a present from General Norieiga - it's very rare.
Spent the weekend re-acquainting myself with London. Well, looking at record shops anyway. I did find a Trust, the LP with Antisocial, for £3.00 but best of all I got Howlin' Wolf Moaning In The Moonlight for nothing and I've seen a tatty copy for £400 in Spitalfields market. Mine is mint and on the black Chess label. Plus Pantera Live from Holland 1998 which is handy if you want to annoy the neighbours. And in FOB I found Brian Eno's Apollo soundtrack for a Sunday morning type of record.
Now I have to deal with getting a new passport visa which is not that bad, just tedious.
Some photos from my Leica flying home