If you read ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ you might recall that I digitized all of my photos and threw the pictures and albums out. Aside from creating a lot of room. Having all those pictures to play around with and put memory has been a lot of fun. Though there were certainly a few that saw new life with minor adjustments in Photoshop and Lightroom. It was the countless show photos I took at clubs, bars and halls that presented a very different challenge. That of remembering the bands names and methods of operation.
Funny, but I remember being at this show, taking this shot and standing on the side of that storied CBGB’s stage. I remember my friend Brendan working the door. while I can’t remember the band name or that of the guitarist. I remember they were the third band out of the five that played that day, I recall when the guitar string broke and how it led to the uncontrollable bleeding that followed. Undaunted, he finished the song and even the set before wrapping a rag around the cut and wiping down his guitar until all the blood was gone. It was the 90’s and CBGB’s was still the things of legend. Independent rock & roll was hanging on to its last threads of danger. Men were men. Sheep were scared and bands finished their sets, no matter what.
Though we lived just blocks away within the same neighborhood, I never did see or hear much from my grandma Sherry. Though it might seem strange to some, it never really phased me or made me feel incomplete in any way. My Dad’s mom and my grandmother were also close by, and the loving attention she gave me was more than anyone would ever need. What I did learn about my mother’s side of the family, most of whom I never met, came in small samplings over the years. Grandma Sherry, who I would get to know a little better in my mid-twenties, was an aspiring musician who recorded and toured with her country act the Melody Maids in the late thirties until the early forties. She also had a radio show in Milwaukee during that time. Though still alive at the ripe old age of ninety-five. She left me with what would best connect us, Her 1939 C-Series Martin Guitar, case, harmonica, and tuner. What amazed most was the pristine condition with which it was kept. In the years I possessed it, I was able to photograph it along with some of the models I worked with as well as have a few musician friends take it for a test drive. Special thanks to my friend Tory for teaching me how to keep it hydrated. Eventually, as planned, I sold the guitar to someone who would appreciate it as both a piece of work and a historical artifact.
I fondly remember listening to records while hanging out at my friend Tim’s House. Along with our love for our mutual love for the Descendants, All and others, we both reveled in the joy that was ‘Album Type Thing’ by California’s Big Drill Car. Along with the Doughboys, Big Drill Car was perhaps the two bands I listened at the time. Though I was immediately hooked on songs such as ’16 Lines’, “No Need,’ ‘In Green Fields,’ ‘Diamond Earrings’, and their cover of Cheap Trick’s ‘Surrender.’ In retrospect, I think it took me a while to remember the name Big Drill Car. For reasons unknown to me now, the name just seemed odd and even outlandish. Still, I was so psyched when they came out east and played Maxwells. Though I can’t recall who they played with. I remember the room being packed and the energy from both the band and the crowd being paramount. ‘Til this day, I still listen to the bands’ recorded output and have both compact disc and vinyl versions of everything the band released. Below is a link to Discogs to view all their releases.
How I wound up in a car headed to Connecticut with a Hare Krisna band is a conversation for another day having forged a friendship with one of the ban’s bass player just days before was enough to secure a seat and a round trip ride with the band Baby Gopal. After a stop at a Brooklyn Krishna temple and dropping by Sri’s in-laws (Ray Cappo’s parents) home, we headed to Connecticut’s Tune Inn, where Baby Gopal and a host of other bands, most notable for me, Samuel were to perform. Below are a couple of images I captured of the group.
The bands ‘Lives of Insects’ ep on Art Monk Construction still sits in my record collection today, receiving regular play. There are a couple of other singles out there, including a split with New York’s Texas is the Reason, also released by Art Monk Construction. Check them out Here
Here’s another photo from that Staten Island VFW show. Though I could be wrong, I believe this be the Aaron Lazausk of the Rockville, Connecticut emo/noise-core band Cable. Like I said in my earlier post featuring an image of Three Steps Up, there were some really amazing bands on this bill. At the time, the band had a split ‘7 inch with Staten Island’s Malcom’s Lost (also on the bill) and were just about to release ‘Variable Speed Drive’ on Doghouse records. An eight song powerhouse that I would come to know the band best for. When I think of all the now highly regarded bands I saw in basements, cavernous clubs and VFW halls, it gives me somewhat of a rush. Almost as if I was on to something long before all the squares got a hold of it.
Though some of my negatives haven’t stood the test of time, my memories have remarkably held up pretty well. At the time this image of New York City’s The Candy Snatchers was taken at 3rd avenues The Continental. I had just begun dating my future wife and working nights at a record store a few doors down. At the time, the Continental was hosting a lot of great bands that seemed to fit into the cities punk rock revival. During a relatively short time, I got to see bands with names like The Deviators, The Turbo AC’s, The Suicide King (Featuring Nick Marden of the legendary Stimulators, The Snake Charmers and (pictured here) the Candy Snatchers. The Continental was tiny with the bar on the left and the stage in the back. Like most of Manhattan, the Continental and the adjacent St. Marks Street bare little or no resemblance to the once edgy character it was once known. The last time I visited the area, The Continental was a yuppie bar, and St. Marks was lined with trendy restaurants and frozen yogurt chains. What I liked most about this particular band was that element of danger tthey always seemed to carry. That kind of Stooges vibe. Being in my twenties at the time. I liked the element of anything can happen at any time. A stark contrast to today, where so many people at shows are more engaged with their phones and social media, than the actual event.
Though I only saw the band once. Boundbrook, New Jersey’s One Nature left a lasting impression on me. With an incendiary live set, the first double ‘7-inch ep I’d ever seen and a sound that reminded me of the band Ignition as well as the many great Dischord Record acts of the’80’s. Though I never did hear from or see the band live again, I still own that double ‘7-inch and play it regularly. Thanks to an old friend for unintentionally reminding me of all the bands that, while I only had the chance to see once, left a lasting impression that still holds today.
Due in large to the recent calls for social distancing and the fact many states have called for a primary lockdown, I’ve had more free time than I know what to do with. I’ve regularly found myself going through images I took of bands I went out to see in basements, bars, venues, and concert halls. In doing so, I’ve come to the conclusion that I might not ever be able to do much with more with them than I already have. So instead of just calling it a day and closing the door on that chapter in my life,
I can take some of my favorites and use them to start an addition to my blog. Being that I took my first music image at my sixteenth birthday party and have worked in film, chrome, and digital with numerous cameras and lenses over the years. Finding enough photos to post might keep me busy while refreshing my memories regarding the shows I attended and just why I decided to bring a camera. The hardest part thus far was deciding whether to post images chronologically or in some sort of spirited randomness. In the end, I decided to randomly post pictures and stories from the two or so decades I was actively shooting. Considering the number of shows I’ve attended and acts I’ve photographed, I’ve got plenty of ammunition to keep things going. Along with the images and anecdotes, I hope to include links where, if interested, you can find more information about the artists. Until then.
I’ve started to gather pictures for a book I hope to publish before the earth or yours truly goes “Kaboom!” It’s one of two projects I’ve had in mind for some time. The working title is “Bystander” which will focus on my years photographing and interacting with bands, musicians and artists within punk, hardcore and indie rock over the years. It will hopefully include anecdotes about the artists , as well as various quotes from the many interviews I’ve done over the years. I’ve already got someone to write the foreword and ideas as to which photos for the front, back cover and inlet will be. I’ve been posting about four pictures a day in one of my facebook folders. Allowing you to see new material on an almost daily basis. I’m posting a link below and welcome you to both visit and comment whenever you see fit.
After seeing several of my images used without permission, notification or credit on separate platforms in recent weeks, I’m seriously considering watermarking anything I share or post in the future. For quite some time now, I’ve been frustrated by the fact that individuals see no fault in taking and using someone’s work or personal property without at the very least, asking. For whatever reason, this has always been a music related issue for me. Bands, record labels, magazines and the what not perhaps thinking that someone else’s work is public domain. While it was a personal friend and professional photographer who, years ago, convinced me to stop watermarking my work, it was another who upon relaying my frustrations, asked me, why on earth I wasn’t.
Upon sharing some new watermarks with a friend and my ideas with my wife, I was told that someone might crop out my watermark if it was perhaps placed incorrectly, or that I might consider sharing small, grainy ones instead. Needless to say, it’s frustrating. While this could take some time, I feel that with some time and patient research, I’ll be using more watermarks to both protect my work and piss off the mother fuckers who take without asking. Below are some links to my recent discoveries.