While retrieving an old hard drive featuring many of the negatives from my film camera days. I notice an image that was somewhat foreign to my eyes. One that captured my imagination while dialing back to my days of living in the storied NYC neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen. At the time, I was going out to see bands two to three times a week. Although I went to clubs and bars throughout the tristate area. CBGB’s and The Continental were more or less, second and third homes for me.This particular image caught my eye, perhaps due to my often lamenting, wishing I had taken more time to photograph the attendees and personalities that often hung outside the clubs. Upon close investigation. I came to the conclusion that it was The Continental, a downtown, east village bar on 3rd avenue, just off St. Marks place. My other guess is, due to the ethnicity of the woman filming the action. That it might have been the Asian/Female fronted punk band Yellow Scab. As much as I’m guesstimating. Finding an image I don’t remember taking or seeing, was cooler than an eskimo sitting by a campfire. Though the picture was taken some twenty five years ago. Noticing it for the first time gave it a new shine.
Category: Rock Photography
Experimenting with Music Photography
It’s safe to say, my interest in photography was born out of necessity. As a teenager in love with hardcore punk and going to Sunday matinees, I started a fanzine which needed pictures to go with my interviews and show reviews. Admittedly, my pictures were terrible. I really knew nothing about composition or camera settings. When I think about it, I didn’t even own a film SLR until I was twenty four. by then I was more interested in documenting my new surroundings in a neighborhood known as Hell’s Kitchen. While I was still going to shows regularly. and taking much better photos, I eventually got bored, which started my focus on experimentation with light and movement. Ultimately, is was within the shadows, movement and darkness, that I found my love. The more I learned about composition and waiting for the right moment, the more my images stood out. While it wasn’t alway pretty, I felt that I was finally capturing the energy, raw emotion, and elements that capture the essence, and intimacy that smaller venues offer.
Fast, Loud Still Rules
In a little less than a month. I hope to attend a friends band play what seems to be a small, intimate venue in Richmond. Due entirely to health and my inability to maintain any sense of balance. I haven’t been to a music event since 2017. Considering my love for music, going to events and capturing moments through photography. The event and the chance to see a really good band that hasn’t performed remotely close to my residence. The excitement can be compared to the feelings I often experienced as a much younger show attendee. With a new camera and being years removed from shooting live music. I have a lot of relearning to do.
For Those Who Shall Remain Nameless
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.
United By… Getting Close With (Holy City Zoo)
United By… (The Crowd)
Over time, I began to include a few pictures of the crowds expressions, participation and overall reaction to particular acts, sets and song. For as long as I’ve attended shows and gone to concerts, every act with little to no exception, had a particular song that the audience knew every word, hook and breakdown. While it was always a great opportunity to capture the moment when a singer reaches his emotional halcyon or time the moment when the guitarist launches in the air. It might also be the perfect opportunity to catch the reaction to the crowd. The images to your right were captured about eight years apart. The above captures the crowd at a Revelation Records showcase at CBGB’s. While the one below shows the emotion of the crowd during a set by the band Thursday at Atlantic City’s House of Blues.
United By… (The Doughboys)
The first time I traveled to Maxwells to see Canada’s The Doughboys, I had a full-blown seizure outside the club and missed the entire show. The second time, which, if memory serves, wasn’t that far apart. I returned to Maxwells and thoroughly enjoyed watching the Doughboys leave their mark on Hoboken and everyone that came to see them that night. Adding to the excitement, I even cornered Kastner long enough to answer some questions for a fanzine I was working one at the time. Enormous thanks go to my old friend Tim. For if it wasn’t for hanging out with him, I might have never gotten the chance to enjoy those early Doughboys classics.The images below were taken by yours truly, at that second appearance at Maxwells, If you gt a chance, head over to discogs where you can find more information about the band and their releases.
United By… Name that Band… Christie Front Drive?
Having gone to so many shows in the ’90s and perhaps not having a way to file all the negatives and prints I had adequately. I would sometimes lose track of what band was featured in some of the images I had. And though I’m convinced the picture posted is of Christie Front Drive frontman Eric Richter. Though I exhausted numerous channels to confirm that, yes, it was indeed the band you mentioned, my inquiries were often answered with, “I don’t know. I never saw them live.” or “I don’t know. We never played a show with them.” Still, I always loved this image and the ones I had taken that day at ABC No Rio. So until someone says otherwise, denies or confirms, I will continue to believe this is none other than Christie Front Drive.
United By… (Bivouac)
Bivouac were a band from Derby, England who had an excellent album called ‘Tuber’ on Elemental in 1993. On that album was an acoustic jam called ‘Dead End Friend’ which featured a verse “Daren’t go to the dentist…for fear of being (pause) fucked while you’re asleep.” It was a great song and I played the fuck out of it. When the time came for them to tour, they stopped in New York City to play CBGB’s. I was able to set up an interview with which was conducted outside the club guitarist, vocalist (pictured below) Paul Yeardon, in which we talked about touring, the bands reactions to being in New York City for the first time, and of course, our mutual fears of the dentist. I highly recommend checking out the band and learning more about their music.
United By… (Big Drill Car)
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.