Thursday, April 27, 2006

Chris Parker & Me - Part II

So, where was I? Oh yeah, I was in Chris Parker's hotel room. For the whole night. Just the two of us. And what a night it was...yes, I remember it well...

To be continued...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

American Idol

I am sitting here finishing up my screenplay with American Idol playing on my TV in the background. So, I'm typing away and I hear Elliot Yamin mention Donny Hathaway. I start paying attention when I hear the word 'honor' and he points out that Hathaway's daughter is one of the Idol back-up singers. Rewind the Tivo. Elliot says, "I'm going to sing 'A Song For You' by Donny Hathaway." He went on to say he's been waiting his whole life to "sing this song on a stage like this," and that he wanted to honor Donny Hathaway's music.

Shock. I had no idea Donny Hathaway was dead. I shot him and didn't know that he died way back in 1979. I only have a couple of neg strips on him. I shot him backstage but those look too thin to print. A couple of the live shots look like they might be okay. Donny Hathaway had a sweet voice. He was an American Idol. And I will pay tribute to him in my book.

Note to self: Go through all my pictures and google every last one of the musicians I shot. And after that's done, post a new Dearly Departed list.

Brothers Gibb

A special welcome to those of you visiting from Gibb Service International
and thanks to Marion for linking me. Check out the "Classic" post in the archives and enter the Robin Gibb photo caption contest. It's still open and you can win an original photo of the Bee Gees or any other group I've shot.

In honor of your visit, here's another never-before-seen photo of the Bee Gees:Thanks again for visiting and I hope you'll stick around. Your feedback is appreciated.

For those new to the site, please do not copy anything or download any of the images without my written permission.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Blue Oyster Cult

I was going to post the rest of my Chris Parker story but I've been working on my script all day as well as three movie poster comps so I'm burned out. And the CP thing is kind of sensitive and requires my emotional presence, so it will have to wait until tomorrow.

In the meanwhile, I did mention Blue Oyster Cult in yesterday's post which compelled me into opening the slide box marked B.O.C. I knew that BOC still had a huge following with the current generation of teenagers. When I started the book, I looked up a lot of the bands to see who was alive and who was dead. Yeah, I'm morbid. What I didn't realize was that the original guys are not in the band. That struck me as strange. Anyway, I shot the original guys.

I wasn't into the heavy metal scene, but hey, I must have had a good time because I invited them over to my house. Looking at the pictures tonight, I really wondered, "What was I thinking?" I mean, check out the shirtless guy with the suspendered hot pants and the glittery socks. What was HE thinking? And Joe Bouchard in his Dracula cape. They were also really into the fog effect.

I know the first picture is Joe Bouchard. I can't remember the rest of them. Feel free to show your BOC allegiance by identifying the players in the comment page.

So, how did I get the whole band to my house on their off day? I have no idea. We were all backstage and they were trying to figure out what there was to do in Vancouver. Silly me. I opened my mouth and out popped, "You can come to my house. I have a pool." They seemed up for that, so I wrote down the directions and my phone number. (Oops, I just totally contradicted what I wrote yesterday about not trading numbers.) Not in a million years did I expect them to show up.

You're probably thinking I had some ritzy pad in the upper class part of town. They were probably thinking that too. But I was living in Richmond, BC, which at that time was in the middle of nowhere, between the city and the airport. I had a room in a house with five guys. One worked at a record company in sales. Another was a butcher. And the only other one I remember was a mechanic of something. The great thing about the house was I had a little darkroom in the attic. BTW, the pool was, one of those big above the ground things. We were surrounded on three sides by farmland. My point being, there was nothing fancy about the place.

I don't think I told the roommates that I had invited Blue Oyster Cult over. But I do remember how shocked they were when the band showed up. The afternoon was filled with a lot of cannonballs and screaming in the pool. But what I remember most was one of the guys brought his high end, state-of-the-art tape recorder. He had a thing for recording sounds everywhere he went. He didn't go swimming. He was too busy trying to get the cows on the other side of our fence to moo into his microphone. He was a happy camper.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Then and Now (Chris Parker & Me - Part I)

I have always been nomadic. Maybe that's what attracted me to shooting live concerts. The musicians were nomads too. They'd come to town for a day or two and then be gone. Then a new group would show up. It was the perfect liaison. More intimate than sex. Through the lens of my camera. I could get close enough for my creative fix without the responsibilty of sustaining an ongoing relationship. Just enough time to make a real connection, but not enough time to be disappointed. No trading phone numbers. No letters to write. Just a "see ya." I liked it that way.

Sometimes, the connections I made were fun and crazy. Like the time I invited Blue Oyster Cult to my house for a swim and they actually showed up. And sometimes the connections were more profound. Like the day I met Chris Parker at a sound check.
Sound Check

He was the drummer for Paul Butterfield Better Days. We had some kind of instant 'I get who you are' connection. Maybe it was because we were the youngest people there. We still had our innocence. We should have been in college, not in the demonic world of rock and roll.

After the show, we ended up in his hotel room. (Finally, a juicy, kiss and tell story? I mean, what else could it be but sex, drugs and rock'n'roll?) I'm not sure which one of us instigated the rendezvous, but I think we both knew that we weren't done hanging out. So, there we were. Two innocent kids in a hotel room. Both painfully shy. (Yes, there's a reason I liked to have a camera between me and my 'prey') But it was okay, because our shyness was overshadowed by a sense that we were kindred spirits. We stayed up all night long. (I hope my mother is not reading this) We did this:
"Me" photographed by Chris Parker

"Chris Parker" photographed by Me
And we did..., I'm too tired to finish this story tonight. Sorry.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

And The Winner Is...

David Chamness
Portland, Oregon

David swooped in from Kill Ugly Radio earlier this week and in a mere half hour unravelled the mystery of the backstage photo pictured above. He identified Lowell George, Mo Ostin and Lowell's son. To be truthful, I don't know which son he is but since David named all three of his sons - Jeb, Luke and Forrest - I have to give it to him. And he not only identified the venue as the L.A. Lakers locker room at the Forum, he also came up with the date of the show - December 19, 1975. He then went on to identify the great John Sebastian as the other person in the extra clue photo.
When I asked him how he got the answers, he wrote:
"Well, there's no mistaking Lowell, he was always cool and charismatic. And, being a huge fan of the Lowell-era Little Feat, as well as other artists in the Warner Bros. family (Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, J. D. Souther, etc.), I've seen a lot of pictures of Mo Ostin. His love of music, and his signing and nurturing of talented artists are what made Warner Bros. so great back then, and (more importantly) allowed the artists to produce such wonderful music. I was glad to see him get inducted to the R&R HoF...(now, if we could only get Lowell inducted :-) ). The only problem I had with the kid in the middle was which one of Lowell's sons it was. I know Inara was only an infant when Lowell died, so she might not even have been born yet, so it had to be one of the boys. I remembered seeing their names in an obituary for Lowell (sigh...) that I had come across and saved quite a while ago. So, out of the three, I remembered Forrest's name coming up a few times in either Bill Payne's or Fred Tackett's touring emails to a Little Feat listserver I was subscribed to. If Forrest was correct, it was just a lucky guess. Now, the location was difficult in the first picture. It was obviously in a sports dressing room, but I couldn't make out the names on the lockers. The second picture made it too easy. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is right there in big bold letters, so it had to be the Forum. Next, a quick trip to, and a quick search for shows in the 74-76 timeframe (an educated guess by Lowell's appearance) showed that Little Feat played the Forum on 12-19-75, (exactly one week after I saw them live for the first time, at SIU in Carbondale, IL, BTW). All in all, it took me about 1/2 hour, including setting up the blogger account so i could leave my email addy."

I'm happy the prizes are going to a truly dedicated fan. In addition to a signed book (when it's published), and his name in the thank you section (because he's so cool), I will be sending David one of my photographs of Lowell George in concert. Since he's letting me pick, it will be a shot that has not been seen before (well, of course I've seen it, oh and Lowell George saw it too) that I am planning to put in the book. So, David, keep it under wraps and don't let me see it on ebay.

For all of you who missed out on this one, you still have a chance to win in the Robin Gibb Caption contest. It requires no research, no special abilities - you just have to post a caption in the comments section of my "Classic" post. Check it out.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Taste of Frank

In appreciation of the folks visiting from Kill Ugly Radio and, of course, my regular readers, here is a never-before-seen photo of Frank Zappa.

The guy on the left is Mark Wilson, the rep from Warner Bros. records. Why do they always try to impress the artist with a gift? If you can't tell how much he loved the drawing from the thrilled look on his face, check out the positioning he chose for his right hand.

Monday, April 17, 2006

What's On My Plate?

I have deadlines. And I love deadlines because they make me get things done. Except my current deadlines are more deadly than usual. My deadlines are the end of this month. That's just twelve days.

1. I have four movie posters to design. And they are all presell, which means I start with nada. No pictures provided, no stars to sell...just a title and a loose idea of a synopsis. Wait, I forgot...three of them don't even have titles yet. I call this making something from nothing. Sometimes it's easier that way, but sometimes it gets really frustrating. The client might have an idea in their head that isn't articulated (and is usually impossible to render anyway) and when I don't give them what's in their head, we go round and round...well, use your imagination. Also, within this deadline the posters have to be printed. And then at the last minute, I'll get calls from other clients saying they just acquired a new movie and could I please create something by the end of the week. Whatever I'm getting paid, it isn't enough. You can see some of my somethings from nothing HERE. If anybody out there can create this stuff as good or better than me, please let me know. I have work for you.

2. My latest screenplay. The first 75 pages are written and rewritten. My total page count in the file is 94. Some of those 19 pages have written scenes and some have notes or snippets of scenes. I expect the final page count to around 110. I know everything that happens but it has to be flushed out (of my brain) and then I have to go back and make sure it's all there and working. After that, I have to find a few willing colleagues to read it and have a day or two left over to fix what's broken. I also have to write a synopsis for the screenplay (yuck). Since blogdom types all seem to love coming up with song lists...I'm looking for song suggestions for this script. The songs have to have been written and charted prior to March/April, 1967. The story is about two 14 year-old girls who run away from home (Canada) to start a rock band in California. The girls will sing one of the songs at a club's talent night. I've already used California Dreamin', To Sir With Love, Happy Jack and Yesterday in other parts of the script.

3. I also want to catch up on this blog to where I'm at with the book so I can move forward in real time by May. What's coming...a re-connection with a musician from my past who played with one of the guys in the book, a ghost story and a few stories about the musicians I've already scanned.

4. Get the last 5 or so entries I need on the Robin Gibb photo caption contest so I can send it to my panel of independent judges and declare a winner. If you haven't participated - go for it. If you have - tell a friend to go for it.

5. The last thing on my plate: I have a sore throat. My fourth one in the last two months. I think I have to stop writing at Starbucks where they like to keep the thermostat at 65. The deadline for my sore throat to go away is NOW!

What's on your plate?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Happy Easter

Earlier this week I met a fellow writer and blogger for lunch. We talked about our various projects and then I asked him the same questions I posed on the blog earlier this week. Could I combine photographs of all these musicians with my personal stories? Would it tie together?

Much to my delight, he answered, "Yes." But before I had even a moment to enjoy the validation, he said something else. Something I hadn't thought about in relation to this book. Something I don't like to address in any of my writing - at least not on a conscious level. As a matter of fact, I think of it as a dirty word.

Of course, he wasn't aware of my disdain for the word. He's very polite. I'm sure he wouldn't have said it, had he known. The worst part was, not only did he say it but the evil word rolled off his tongue like water off a duck's back. As if it was no big deal. He said that sweet little word, "Yes," but then he followed it with, "as long as you write to your theme."

THEME. How could he say it so easily? The word that sends chills up my spine. I'm not kidding. If we're playing word association and you say THEME, I'll say INSTANT PARALYSIS.

I know everything I write has a theme. It's just not something I'm good at defining. Which means I don't generally address it in concrete terms, especially prior to writing a story. I deal with it in the abstract. Subconsciously. And that's where I like to keep it. If I don't, it makes me crazy because, like I said, I'm not good at defining it.

As long as I write to my THEME. Fuck. I'm just putting together a nice little picture book of some dead rock stars I shot and telling a few personal stories. Why do I have to think about something I can't even grok? But, there it was, on the table. Right next to my California Burger. My nemesis. THEME. Staring me in the face. Laughing at me.

I had no choice. I had to deal with it. So, I did what any THEME-hater would do. I asked my fellow writer what he thought my THEME was. I'm sure he knew, but he wouldn't tell me. The only thing he offered was that my title was really good, but it was my hook, not my THEME. Fine. I'll figure it out on my own. Maybe later. Surely it will come to me in the writing process. I'll be going now. Thanks for having lunch with me. The California Burger was yummy - really deserved its #6 ranking on GQ's list of the twenty burgers you have to eat before you die.

I thought I left THEME on the table with my empty plate but, no. It followed me out of the restaurtant. It shadowed me into the bookstore. It infiltrated my brain as I got in my car. It made me rubberneck the accident that just happened on the 405 at Sunset Blvd. It made me stare at the woman with the glazed look on her face and the blood trickling down her cheek.

Then, it made me put the pieces of the puzzle together. All the things I'd already been thinking. Okay, THEME, I'll play. The title of my book is, Everybody I Shot Is Dead. And I know the title is true to the subject(s) of my book, but it's not what the book is about. I always mention that my pictures have never been seen before. I was a professional photographer and I got paid to shoot the bands but I didn't sell or market the live shots. I kept them in boxes all these years. I haven't seen most of them since the day I developed them. And I always mention what an amazing experience it is to see them again. The memories flood back. It's sad but it's also joyful. The pictures make me smile. Wow. I talk about my pictures as if they were entombed.

As I crested the top of the 405 and began my descent into the San Fernando Valley, it hit me. I had my 'ah ha' moment. I'm bringing these wonderful musicians back to life again. My book isn't about dead people. It's about life. It's one more encore for all of us who miss them, and an introduction for those who never knew them.

In a word, my THEME is RESURRECTION. Happy Easter.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday

Aren't all Fridays good?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Win-Win Situation

As promised, here is another backstage shot to help with one of the "It's A Contest" answers. Scroll down to "It's A Contest" and "Is It Too Hard?" to see what it's all about, then play!
Also, don't forget to create a caption for this photo in the "Classic" post comments section:
Happy Passover to all who celebrate and even those who don't.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Jefferson Starship

Shortly after launching the blog I received an email from Lauren at Joey Covington's website asking if I had any photos of him when he played drums with Hot Tuna and Jefferson Airplane. I pulled out my Jefferson Starship negs and scanned them just in case. Unfortunately, Joey wasn't on that tour but here are a few of the photos from the Starship show. These have never been published before. Enjoy.
Craig Chiquico and Grace Slick onstage.

Grace Slick backstage.
I was shooting to catch the "star" in her right eye.
You can see it if you click on the photo
and view
the large size.

Grace Slick doing my job.

Marty Balin and Pete Sears trying to figure out what Pete's holding.
If you know who Flag Boy is, do-tell.

Pete Sears

Paul Kantner backstage.

Marty Balin

Johny Barbata

This is another email I received from Joey Covington:

After a sold out show in Santa Monica on February 25th (a recommended GO in
the L.A Weekly)......we're going out again!!!

Jefferson Airplane's
JOEY COVINGTON and friends
featuring Andy Walo (Jr. Wells), Tony Sales (Iggy Pop/David Bowie), Burke Wallace & introducing LAuren
Saturday night April 22, 2006
11pm - 1am

Molly Malones
575 S. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

$10.00 at the door
For more info contact Molly Malones 323-935-1577
or email

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Calling All Writers and Non-writers

I love the responses in the Robin Gibb caption contest. Very entertaining. And I want more.

So, I'm going to keep it going through Sunday or until I get a minimum of 25 entries. Then I'll put them in front of a panel of independent judges (no bribes accepted) without the names attached and a winner will be selected.

The winner will choose an original signed print of any musician/group I have shot.

Thanks for playing!

Your 2 Sense

As you know, I am in the process of creating my book. I have a lot of great photographs (yes, I know you'll be the judge of that) and I have a lot of great stories (including my own). And being that creating anything is a process, the ideas I have for the book are in constant flux and basically bouncing off the walls of my brain.

In a moment of brilliance, or weakness (I'm not sure which, yet), I decided to throw the 'making of' out into Blogdom Come. Not sure if I was looking for a way to market the book or validate it, or what. But now that it's out here, I've decided to make my creative process democratic and let every voice be heard.

So, here are a few of my questions to start:
1. Should it be a traditional coffee table photography book full of pictures with minimal captions?
2. Should it be #1 with biographies of the musicians?
3. Should it be #1 with my personal stories (how personal should they be?) and short biography sidebars?
4. Do you think it's even possible to step outside the box and present a hybrid coffee table book to the publishing house?
5. What would you call it? A Photomoir (photography + memoir)? Any ideas?

I'm hoping to start a lively discussion here. Like a writers room. Help me create a book that you want to have on your coffee table (and open repeatedly).

Thank you!

Monday, April 10, 2006


It's the end of the day. Monday. I promised myself that I would post every single day. And I had two different topics to choose from for today's post, but, alas, the day got away from me and I am way too tired to write. Lucky me. I'm a photographer. And as they, a picture is worth a thousand words.

If that's true, I gotta say, this one's worth at least two thousand. So, I'm giving each of you an assignment. Write a caption for the picture and post it in the comment section. Be creative. Go crazy. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Your choice. Then, maybe we'll take a vote on the best caption and I'll send the winner a gift.

In case you don't know, the guy without the shirt is Robin Gibb from the Bee Gees. I'm pretty sure the guy behind him was a local record exec in Vancouver. Oh, and that's a cigarette he's holding. Feel free to use it. And, as usual, please do not download or copy this or any other photograph on my site. Thanks!

Note to Robin: I apologize in advance. And I'm really sorry I didn't take you up on your invite that night, but isn't that a gold band on your left ring finger? No worries. I still love you.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Is It Too Hard?

This goes back to my "It's A Contest" post on Thursday.

While I was chatting online with a friend on Friday night, he was checking out my blog. He got to the contest post and this conversation ensued (real typos and time log included):

HIM: hey ahs any one even come close on your contest?
8:50 PM
ME: no one has tried...why don't you start it off with a guess
HIM: david gilmour
ME: you gotta know at least one
ME: u sure you worked at (network he used to work at that is music-oriented)?
ME: (re his joking David Gilmour guess) shit, you're right...he's the little one
HIM: (re place he worked) oh puh-leeease, like that had or has anythign to do with music or knowledge there-of
HIM: the huge, record exec, egoyan, etyoan
HIM: etoyan
HIM: ahmed
HIM: either that or jim henson
ME: you're thinking ahmet ertegen
HIM: thx
HIM: and its noit him anyway
ME: (re ahmet) wrong
HIM: i have no idea who these people are
ME: you don't know the guy on the right?
HIM: teh guy on the right pulls at my brain sten like crasy
HIM: stem
HIM: super young,.......
ME: how about where they are?
8:55 PM
ME: i'm really shocked...
ME: I thought you were all that in the music biz, since you know how to burn on the guitar
ME: why don't you email the link to friend Mike....maybe he can help
HIM: you are silly
HIM: like i'm supposed to be able to tell where that is? i see hangers in the background
HIM: is that bob seger?
HIM: a very young bob seger
ME: hahaha
ME: maybe it's Jack Black and I took it last week
HIM: i think not
HIM: ??
ME: i can't tell...that would be cheating
ME: I thought this one was really easy
ME: I think you are going to be in my post tomorrow
ME: yup...I'm writing it in my head right now
9:00 PM
ME: don't worry, it will be short and sweet
HIM: oy
ME: something for you to look eorward to
HIM: eyorward
HIM: terry kath??
9:05 PM
ME: are you still on the picture?
HIM: it's buggn me
ME: you looked at the list and still can't figure it out?
HIM: he looks so familiar
ME: He's famous
ME: at least with musicians and fans
ME: turn the picture around...his name is on the back of his robe
HIM: thanks
ME: you are cracking me up
ME: don't you have a "life line" you can send the link to? Or maybe you can ask the audience
ME: or try 50-50
HIM: cheating
9:10 PM
ME: I'm hungry...going to the kitchen for a snack
HIM: k
ME: Let me know when you figure it out...I'll be at the Motion Picture Rest Home
ME: by then

When I came back with my snack five minutes later, "(first name) fucking (last name)" was on the screen. He finally got the guy on the right.

Come on, people. If you figure out the guy on the right (which shouldn't be too hard if you pick up the clues through some of my other posts, including this one), with a little bit of creative research - like emailing people associated with the guy on the right - you should easily be able to figure out when it was taken, which should help you realize where it was taken and all that should help you identify the exectutive-looking guy, and the other person should be a given. Think of it like a treasure hunt you went on when you were a kid.

To sweeten the prize pot, in addition to a copy of the book or print of the contest photo, I'm going to also include a print of your (the winner's) choice. It can be a live shot of any musician I have photographed (living or dead). It can even be one that will be in the book that no one else will see until the book is released. And if you're a really cool person (which you will be if you win the contest) I will even put your name in the "Special thanks" section in the back of the book. Now, that's got to be worth something.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Sun Dawn

I believe this is the 7th day of my fledgling blog and I want to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has stopped by for a visit and especially those of you who are regulars. My readership has been growing steadily and I hope that means that you are finding the posts interesting. Please feel free to comment or email and let me know if there's something you want to hear about.

I especially want to give props to Dawn Eden over at Dawn Patrol for recommending my blog. All I can say is, "Thanks for the traffic." If you arrived here from her blog, "Welcome" and I hope you'll continue to stop by. Those who don't know Dawn, check her out. I have no idea how to create a link under a word to get you there, this is her blog address:

If someone can tell how to do that, I would be a happy blogger. Also need to learn how to create the RSS feed thing. Wow, now you know what a techno genius I am. Not.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Going To New York - Book Expo 2005

In March of last year I decided to go to the Book Expo that was taking place in New York the beginning of June. I had been working on a non-fiction novel with someone else and thought we could make a deal if we showed up to the Expo. A few days before getting on the plane I realized it would be a good idea to take more than one project - you know, not put all my eggs in one basket.

I decided to go with Everybody I Shot Is Dead. That meant picking out, scanning and printing four or five sample photos and writing a book proposal. Anyone who has written a book proposal knows what a pain in the ass it can be. You have to write a synopsis, an about the author page, something on how you plan to do your marketing and promotion, what already-published books are your competion and why your book is better than theirs. You're also supposed to include at least one sample chapter but at the time I was thinking all pictures and a few little anecdotes so I skipped that part. Besides, there was no time and I was just taking this project as an afterthought.

Somehow, I managed to put five or ten of the proposals together. I put the photographs in clear-view plastic sleeves and printed the proposal pages on nice white linen paper and bound everything into white folders. I felt like a proud little kid putting my dead rock star book report together for Show and Tell.

The Book Expo took up multiple floors of the Javitz Center in NYC. There were acres of books. There were big companies, little companies and many people dressed up in crazy costumes flogging their wares. And there were miles of aisles to walk. I don't usually like these kinds of things; too many people and too much information avalanching into little brain at once. But this one was fun because I got tons of free books. And a blinking Harry Potter pen. And there were celebrities. I saw Bill Maher. He was there to sign his new book. Actually, it looked more like a pamphet. I didn't get my pamphlet signed because I wasn't willing to stand in the line. Anyway, I'd already met him at someone's birthday party at the Chateau Marmont and he just didn't do it for me.

Tab Hunter was there signing his new biography. He was a hot teen idol in the 50s. I spent some time around him when I was young and riding horses in Calgary. He came up from California with his horse for the summer show circuit. His boyfriend was my trainer at the time. I would have waited in line to say hi to him but he was already gone by the time I realized he had been there.

I did meet a high-end PR person at one of the conferences and pitched her the books. She really liked them and decided to put them up for discussion at her firm. If you don't have knowledge of what it takes to get a book published, I can tell you this - IT"S HARD. You send a query to agents and they get back to you eventually (somewhere between a few weeks to a year or never) and if they like your query they ask for a proposal. You send that in and you might hear back in a couple of months or a year or never. Then, if they decide to rep you, the cycle starts all over again with the publishers. UNLESS, YOU KNOW SOMEONE. I write screenplays too and it's a similar scenario. So, I figured this heavy-weight PR firm knew all the right people in the right places and I'd easily get a deal on the non-fiction book, being that it was the kind of thing that Oprah would like.

She cleared it with her "people' and they agreed to send it to a couple of agents they knew. I had also given them the Everybody I Shot proposal - not to send out, but just so they would know I wasn't a one-trick pony. Then, after I bought a new suitcase to carry my hundred or so new books, I happily returned home. A week or two later I got an email from the PR lady saying she'd sent both proposals to a BIG AGENT. Both proposals? You weren't supposed to send out both proposals. That was July 6th.

On July 22nd I got an email from the agent's assistant about the proposals:
"While they were all of interest, only one really grabbed our attention. That was Everybody I Shot is Dead. We would like to see more of what you plan for this book, especially some writing samples. Though the photographs would be a large part of the book, the writing is what will really carry it. We look forward to seeing more! Please send it directly to us at the physical address below." An even bigger surpise. Only problem was I hadn't done any writing on the book. Hadn't even thought about it.

By August 18th I had five and a half double-spaced pages on John Bonham of Led Zeppelin and sent it off. Just for fun, I'm going to give you a little taste of what I wrote. I don't know if this is exactly the way it will run in the book. Please let me know what you think. This is the first paragraph + two sentences:

"Led Zeppelin II was the first hard rock album that I ever bought. I ran home (too young to drive) and threw it on the crappy little stereo I had in my room. With headphones on, I cranked it up and went insane. The first song was Whole Lotta Love -- Jimmy Page’s screaming guitar and Robert Plant’s orgasmic wails blasted in one ear, traveled through my brain, went out the other ear and then back again. The throbbing rhythm of John Bonham’s drums and John Paul Jones’ bass took hold of my gut and didn’t let go. I’d never heard anything like it. Not that I understood the sexuality of the song at the time – I hadn’t had sex yet – but that didn’t stop Led Zeppelin from viscerally touching me “Way, way down inside.” I played that album over and over again until every word and every riff was etched into my being. Little did I know I would become a rock’n’roll photographer and have the opportunity to shoot them six years later.
I had no idea what to expect when I knocked on the door of the suite at the Vancouver Hyatt. All I knew was I had been summoned."

On September 1st I received a letter from the BIG AGENT. He said, "...We concluded that though you have a fresh take on the music scene of that era, we are unable to commit to what we envision as a four color coffee table/memento book..." blah, blah, blah... "For the record, we found the concept highly engaing and we wish you much luck in your pursuit of representation."

The rejection didn't bother me at all. I always assume that rejection means they are the wrong person for the project. It's them, not me. I was just happy that he thought it was worthy of being a "four color coffee table book" as opposed to just a soft cover rock'n'roll book, which was what several BIG PUBLISHERS offered me on "Starart." I turned them down. And I will do the same with this book. These people gave us beautiful music - they deserve a beautiful tribute book. I don't care if I have to print it myself and sell it on the corner of Hollywood and Vine.

For those of you who managed to read all the way through this long-winded post here's a visual taste from the book, as it is printed in the proposal:In case you can't read the small type, the inscription it says:

Michael Bloomfield
July 28, 1943 - February 15, 1981

Why do those three lines always make me cry?

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I wasn't going to mention this but keeping it inside is making me feel guilty.

When I heard that Gene Pitney died, I immediately went in my office to scan a photo and post the sad news. I keep my slide boxes in two separate file boxes; one for the musicians who have died and one for those who are alive. I couldn't find the Gene Pitney shots. I remembered that about six months ago, I put his slides in the dead person box. Then I remembered putting them back in the live box. I had checked out all the people I shot. I knew Gene wasn't dead. But I guess when I was sorting pictures a couple of months ago, I inadvertently put his slides back in the dead person box, for a second time. Because that's where I found them this morning. I felt really bad about them being in the wrong file box.

For some reason, there's a box of Pink Floyd slides in there, too. I'm going to take them out of the dead box right now.

Sad News

Just 2 days ago I listed the artists that I am paying tribute to in Everybody I Shot Is Dead. Sadly, I will have to add another name to the list.

Gene Pitney.

His body was found in his room at the Hilton Hotel in Cardiff by his tour manager. He was in the middle of his 23-date UK tour. He was 65.

February 17, 1941- April 5, 2006

It's A Contest

I was planning to get back to posting on the book today - Part 2 of I've Got An Idea - but I couldn't leave that Main Squeeze promo photo as the last image I am remembered for if I happen to fall off the face of the Earth. The thought is so strong that it's almost 4am and I still can't fall asleep.

So, I've decided to post one of my most favorite photographs now. And to add a little fun to the blog I'm going to make this post a CONTEST, complete with a prize. Everybody ready?

The Prize: A signed copy of Everybody I Shot Is Dead or a signed print of the contest photograph. Winner's choice.

The Contest: Name the three people in the photograph and identify where it was taken. The First and Last name of each person is required.

How to Enter: Post your answer in the comment section of this post. And remember there is no such thing as a stupid answer. Feel free to guess. The first entrant to get it right wins. Put an email address on your entry so I can find you. Oh, and you can enter more than once. The contest ends when I announce the winner.

Eligibility: Anyone can enter. And as a bonus, if you happen to be one of the people in the picture, I will also take you to lunch.

Good Luck to All Who Choose to Play!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Main Squeeze

Dan from Vancouver made a comment on a previous post and asked if I took any photos of the local music scene up there. I answered off the top of my head with some of the more famous local talent I had shot. Then it got me thinking and I remembered this band I took pictures of for a promo card they could send out as well as put in the window of whatever club they were playing at. Immediately the image of the artwork flashed on the little movie screen in my brain. And it was ugly. Then I wondered whatever happened to the band. So I looked them up on this great website that has a wealth of information on all the bands that ever were in the Pacific Northwest (

I went to the seventies band listings, looked under "m" and lo and behold there they were: Main Squeeze. I clicked on their name and this is what FILLED my screen:Yes, folks, I created this beautiful piece of "art." Sad but true. Everything except the logo. As I remember, the band was in love with their logo and the rest of the piece had to be designed around it. Damn, why didn't I put something in that little white space? I hated the design then and I hate it now, but the funny thing is that I've always remembered it. And, for better or worse, that's what makes good advertising.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Dearly Departed

The brilliant musicians I am paying tribute to:

Mike Bloomfield
Marc Bolan (T-Rex)
John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)
Tim Buckley
Paul Butterfield
Ronnie Barron (Paul Butterfield Better Days, John Mayall)
Papa John Creach (Jefferson Airplane)
John Denver
John Fahey
Rory Gallagher
Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead)
Lowell George (Little Feat)
Maurice Gibb (Bee Gees)
Keith Godchaux (Grateful Dead)
George Harrison (The Beatles)
Alex Harvey
Bob Hite (Canned Heat)
John Lee Hooker
Waylon Jennings
Terry Kath (Chicago)
Rick Nelson
Harry Nilsson
Hank Snow
Stanley Turrentine
Jane Vasey (Downchild Blues Band)
Hock Walsh (Downchild Blues Band)
Muddy Waters
Carl Wilson (Beach Boys)
Dennis Wilson (Beach Boys)
Tammy Wynette
Frank Zappa

I’m still going through my photos, so there may be changes as the book progresses. Not that I am wishing for any further additions. For those I shot who are not on the list, I hope you are healthy and live forever. If you are reading this and are on the list but are not dead, please let me know. And, if you are reading this and are on the list and are dead, I would also be happy to hear from you.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I’ve Got An Idea

I originally thought the seed for the idea of Everybody I Shot Is Dead came after I saw Cameron Crowe’s, ALMOST FAMOUS back in September of 2000. Have you ever been in a movie theater and watched your life unfold on the screen? It was strange, yet wistful. I mean, I did it all – the Continental Riot House: yup, I did a couple weeks hanging out there with the roadies from Deep Purple on my first visit from Vancouver; the backstage scene: yup, more than a hundred times; the bus tour with the band: yup, mine was in Eastern Canada with Canned Heat in the dead of winter. The only difference was I’m a girl and my weapon of choice was a camera as well as a pen (I used to write [poorly] articles about upcoming concerts for a small newspaper in Vancouver).

Almost Famous came out around the time I was writing my first screenplay. Thankfully, unlike most screenwriters out of the gate, I wasn’t in the middle of penning my own autobiographical screenplay. However, the movie did make me think about doing something with all the photographs I had packed away in various boxes. Photographs that I had never published (except a shot of Lowell George that he requested for the inside of Waiting For Columbus).

I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I only knew I didn’t want to do ‘just another concert photography book.’ It wasn’t until three years later that the title, Everybody I Shot Is Dead, popped into my head. I was probably just waking up in bed or in the shower – my two fertile spots for ideas.

For a while I was thinking of doing a Limited Edition of high quality prints. Pick my favorite photograph of each of the musicians who had died and put them out as a tribute. Then after not thinking about it and thinking about it, I thought it would be fun to write a book with the focus on the photographs. Finally, a few months ago my thoughts floated back to Almost Famous and I decided, while it would still be a high quality photography book, the written part would focus on my personal stories – what it was like to be a young girl in the midst of this crazy and magical rock’n’roll world.

Oh, and as it turns out, Almost Famous wasn’t the original inspiration for this idea…I used to keep sporadic diaries, sometimes in notebooks, other times on bits of paper. I recently came across this journal entry from when I was first starting out:
“To this point I’ve worked with Jesse Winchester, Muddy Waters, Freddie King, John Lee Hooker, Willie Dixon, Tom Northcott, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Mike Bloomfield, Redbone, Jerry Lee Lewis, CommanderCody, Shawn Phillips, Rory Gallagher, Paul Butterfield, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and Tim Buckley. After tonite I can add Van Morrison to the list. Some day I’m going to have to write some memoirs on life working with rock & roll stars. I could write all sorts of stories about what they’re really like.”

Sunday, April 02, 2006

More About Me

I started shooting pictures out of high school, first in Toronto then Vancouver. In Vancouver, I was hired by all the record companies to shoot the record execs backstage with the bands. Not only did the record companies pay me for going to these amazing shows, but I had backstage and frontstage access to shoot the concerts and sometimes even took pictures at the sound checks.

A couple of years and a hundred or so shows later, I decided to move to Los Angeles. I’m saving that story for the book but I will say it was hard since I didn’t have a green card and didn’t know anyone. Within months of being in L.A., I came up with the idea to do a coffee table book of artwork done by musicians. I wanted the book to be taken seriously so I set out to find six musicians who had an extensive body of work and could have made their living as artists had they not found success in music. Three and a half years later STARART was published. The brilliant artist/musicians that participated in the book were JONI MITCHELL, JOHN MAYALL, CAT STEVENS, KLAUS VOORMANN, RON WOOD and COMMANDER CODY. We did a few gallery shows with 36 pieces of original works from the book. The openings, attended by most of the artists, were a blast. This is the book cover:

Yes, it looks a lot like The Beatles Revolver cover but that's because it was designed by Klaus Voormann who also did the Revolver cover. The book is currently out of print but there a few used copies floating around the internet for several times the original price. There are also portions of the book reprinted on some fan sites - mainly Joni Mitchell and Cat Stevens. Google the title if you want to check it out. Just do me a favor: come back here and let me know what you think.

After the book I got a short-lived job shooting production stills on the second Breakin' movie. I parlayed that into a career designing movie posters. Hit the Chesher Cat Productions link to check them out. I also did some acting - see my stellar credits on imdb, or better yet, don't. And the past several years I have been writing screenplays. Nothing up on the silver screen yet but I have been optioned and am determined to get something made. I'm currently finishing my latest screenplay, My First Kiss, which I am also planning to produce.

And, of course, I am working on Everybody I Shot Is Dead. Hence the blog. For the first few posts I'll play catch-up - how I came up with the idea, who's in it, my decision to take it to last year's book convention and what's happened since. Then I'll go into real time and share the process of making the book a reality - the up and downs of both the creative and business sides. Also if you're interested, I will post photos and stories of the bands I shot that are still living. I shot a lot of great bands from Genesis and Pink Floyd to the Eagles and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and on and on...

I hope to build an intimate, interactive creative community with this blog. Please make comments, ask questions and offer suggestions. Nothing is off-limits. I'm counting on your participation to keep me on track and make Everybody I Shot Is Dead a reality.


Just figured out how to get this blog together and am too burned out to start the posting part.

As soon as my brain recovers from dealing with the technical side of this thing, the fun will begin.