Tuesday, May 29, 2007


...is exactly how many hours of sleep I've had since I got up at 8:30am on Monday after sleeping for three and a half hours Sunday night.

Actually, I don't feel too bad, all things considered. Printing all the pages for the book was an arduous process. By yesterday afternoon I realized how long the process takes and if I didn't work on it through the night I wouldn't have finished. I kept slugging away at it and every time I counted how many I had left to go it seemed like there were close to one hundred pages.

I also had to trim every page by hand. This is what my office floor looked like when I was done:

The mock-up is all done and bound now. Full size. I can flip through the pages and it looks just like a book. And the best part is that all the different sections flow together. I was worried about that.

Just waiting for a load of laundry to dry, then I'm going to finish packing, go to sleep, get up first thing in the morning and board a plane to New York. I'm looking forward to seeing what the book industry thinks of the book.

I'm going to try and travelblog as the trip unfolds.

Night, night...

Monday, May 28, 2007

2:30 AM

Why is it that no matter what I do I always need an extra day or week or month to get things done? There's just never enough time. And in this case it's not like I'm pissing it away. It's 2:30AM and I just ran out of color ink. The color ink always lasts longer than the black...until now, when I need it.

I'm now counting down the hours before I get on a plane to New York and if I don't have a mock-up of the book, the trip is pointless. And tomorrow is Memorial Day. I hope Staples is open because I still have close to 150 pages to print. And trim. And bind.

My problem is I didn't get my scans back until 11PM last night. I spent at least two or three hours this morning transferring them to my hard drive and cataloging them. Then a bunch of them needed, or should I say need, adjustments. Which means opening them in photoshop and fixing them and then sizing them into Quark and then printing. Each page prints by itself because I'm printing two-sided and have to back the pages up with each other.

So, I'm hoping I can get it done in time to have it bound - just spiral binding and then taking the dummy along with it. I was hesitant on how it would look when I was glancing at the scans but the stuff I've printed looks pretty darn great. There will still be a ton of work to do when I get back (and while I'm in New York). There are scans that don't match the slides so I'll have to sit with the color people and beat them until they make them perfect. Plus, I have not finished the writing. Some of the mock-up will have fake writing but since people will just be checking out the book, they'll really be looking at the pictures. And the mock-up is not leaving my sight so I can direct them to read the ones that are done.

All right, back to fixing scans and placing the photos until I can't keep my eyes open....

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Michael, Paul and Son

Now that Terry Kath has quieted down, Michael Bloomfield stepped up, asking, "Did you forget about me?" No, Michael. You will always be my number one favorite guitar player.

This is very cool footage from the Newport Folk Festival documentary. Great music with Paul Butterfield and Son House, and some interview clips that will give you a true glimpse into the sweetness that is Michael Bloomfield.

My Process

Time is running out...FAST. Next week I have to be in New York with the book in hand. One way or another, I plan to finish.

Part of my process for figuring out the chronological order and pagination for the book consisted of these:

Post-Its on my wall.

During the day I work in my office, sitting behind the desk for 10 or 11 hours straight. Then I carry my laptop the ten paces it takes me to get to my bedroom and work another couple of hours until my brain explodes. When I wake up in the morning I work for an hour or so in bed and then walk my laptop the ten paces back to my desk. Sound like fun? Actually, I do intend to get back to having some kind of a life once the book is put to bed and at the printers.

Anyway, the post-its are on my bedroom wall. Which I like because it keeps all my rock stars nearby. And which I don't like because it keeps all my rock stars nearby. I spend all my time with them and they are beginning to creep into my dreams on a nightly basis. Wait a second...the fact that I socialize with dead rock stars 24/7 was not the topic of this post. And could cause harm to my reputation as a semi-sane person.

What was it? Oh yeah, my process. So, the post-its, which you can probably read if you click to enlarge, have everybody's name on them. Except the first one on the top left is titled 'all about me' and represents the introduction I'm writing, along with the now 5 dedication pages. The bottom right corner of the post-its have the neg numbers if there were black & whites involved and the top left corner has the date. It might be hard to read because I used mostly red pen. There are fewer post-its than people in the book because several bands have more than on dead person and I just used the name of the band to save time and space. And now, as I finish the writing portions of each musician, the post-it gets a black star drawn on the bottom. I guess you can see I don't have near enough black stars. That doesn't mean I haven't started them. Lots of them are outlined and/or partially written. But no star until they're done, done.

Yesterday I started the real pagination...figuring out what the actual page order was going to be. It sounds simple because I've already laid out all the sections with their pictures but I still had to figure out the title page[s] and how I was going to handle my intro story along with the dedications etc. Plus there were certain ideas I had in my head as to what should be a right or left page within the sections. But since I am running it chronologically, I am kind of at the mercy of where things fall. So, I made the list of all the musicians and knew I needed an extra page at the back. I was hoping to have extra pages at the front to have a double title page and some blank pages to keep everything looking clean and simple. But by the time I counted everything up I had too many pages.

I stole one page back from one of the musicians. It wasn't really needed. Then I started hacking off the front - there will only be one title page and fewer blank ones. And then I went through and did a L-R-L-R-L thing next to each of the names to make sure I accounted for all their pages. That worked out really well until I was putting a binder together with three hole paper representing each page and penciling in what/who was on each page. That process revealed two places where I had ended one persons section on an L and mistakenly started the next one on an L. Oops. Once I got that sorted out - it takes longer than you might think - I continued my writing and at the same time began adding the page numbers to the layouts.

Today, I ran into a problem. I finished writing John Fahey, followed by Hank Snow and then I moved on to Darrell Sweet from Nazareth. I opened up his Quark document and realized it was three pages instead of the four I had accounted for on my almighty excel list. Shit!! That screwed everything up. His pages are nearer to the front - starting on page 77 - and losing a page on him would shuffle everything that came after him and it would also screw up the end where I was putting the afterword and acknowledgments. Ultimately causing me to lose another page. I know that sounds weird, but trust me, pagination is a crazy thing because everything works in spreads and one page off means two pages off.

The whole thing pissed me off. I didn't want to try and figure out how to repaginate the whole book - lose another one at the front, add one at the back or whatever that was going to entail. Then suddenly one of my guys spoke up and everything was solved, even better than it was before. Yes, I am crazy...certifiable in fact...some of my rock stars make more noise than others. And they do it at different times. And it's generally in their own self interest, but occasionally it works out to solve a problem for me.

Lately, the noisy one has been Terry Kath. The kind of noisy where I wake up thinking about him and go to sleep thinking about him. It's like he's whispering in my ear, wanting me to look at his pictures. Wanting me to do more research. Wanting me make sure I give him the recognition he deserves. I don't know why...it's not like we were friends. I only met him in passing a couple of times. And I wasn't a huge Chicago fan (a bit too much on the horns) but lately he has made me take note of what an insanely incredible guitar player he was.

And he's not the only one that has done this to me. Almost all of them have whispered in my ear over the course of me putting the book together. Some louder than others, and some happy to sit back and let the chips fall where they may. I swear I'm not playing favorites. I really do love them all.

...it must be late 'cause I'm really rambling...

So anyway, Terry Kath stepped up and saved the day. Between Darrell and Terry were just 18 pages. After Darrell's 4, there were six for the four Blues Jam guys, 7 for John Lee Hooker, 3 for John Denver and then Terry's 6. The other annoyance I had before I caught the Darrel Sweet faux pas was the Blues Jam section started on a right-hand page. I wasn't all that happy about it because they each have two pages and I initially pictured their pages facing each other. The good thing about dropping Darrell's non-existent page was that they re-paginated the way I originally wanted them.

And that's when Terry screamed, "I'll take that extra page." As it turned out, that was the only solution that worked because as Terry's pages were, I had too much writing space to fill. I didn't know him well enough to tell a great personal story (although since he's been bugging me lately, I wish I had). I've been researching him and there's some interesting stuff but that space continued to be daunting to the point that I couldn't write anything. Except one opening line that I swear Terry coerced me to type: Terry Kath is the most underrated guitar player in the history of rock'n'roll. Nice one, TK.

....sidebar question: am I turning into the Jack Nicholson character in The Shining?....Is my book going to come out with every page filled with "Terry Kath is the most underrated guitar player in the history of rock'n'roll."?....

Now if you are still reading this gibberish I'm spewing forth, you must be asking, "If that's the case, how will giving Terry another page solve your problem?" Well, the second page that required me to come up with more words also has a film strip with four images in it. If I take out one of those images and make it a full page, I will need to make the now three image film strip taller so that it runs the runs the length of the page. And when I make it taller, it makes it much wider...lessening the space I have to fill with words. As it turns out, his was the only section that was in the vicinity that worked. And if his didn't work, I would be repaginating the whole damn book.

So, by Terry getting what he wanted, I got the solution I needed. Although if you were to ask him, I'm certain he would say he did it selflessly to make my life easier and that if it had worked out better to lose one of his pages he would have gladly stepped up and sacrificed. He was just that kind of guy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Will I Make It?

It's crunch time...and I'm nowhere near finished the writing portrions of the book. To be honest, I'm a little short of half done. And I'm exhausted. Not so much from writing as much as from figuring out the dates of the shows. I think the dates are important and the book is going in chronological order of the dates I shot them. Seemed the only sensible thing to do.

I had some of the dates from a photo of my bulletin board with a bunch of backstage passes tacked to it. Then I did a lot of research trying to piece together tour dates of the individual bands. And finally, I started tracking down the record reps I worked for. So far I talked to two of them. The first one was to nail down the date for the Blues Jam. I had a picture on the concourse of Frank Gigliotti from CBS so I figured it was his show. Well, he didn't even remember being at the show. But he offered up the name of a promoter he thought might know so I tracked him down. He didn't know but he gave me the contact info for Tom Worrall. Tom was partners with my very close friend, Gary Switlo (one of my dedicatees), and they had the ticket agency that covered most of the shows at the time. They eventually sold out to Ticketmaster and Tom still works for them.

Anyway, Tom ended up emailing me a pdf of a bunch of handwritten accounting pages that listed every show they did in chronological order. It was amazing. All but ten of the shows were listed. Although I ran into a little trouble when some of the bands appeared twice in the same years. At least I had a rough idea of an order.

Several of the leftover bands belonged to Monica Neputsky, who I also tracked down by some miracle. She didn't have dates either but she suggested I get in touch with a journalist we knew who still works at the same paper. I emailed him and he's checking it out with their library.

But then tonight I had an epiphany. I remembered all those numbers that were written on the black & white neg sheets. I talked about those before when I was writing about Michael Bloomfield. And they came up again yesterday because I finished writing his text. I realized those numbers had meaning. Like a secret code. Even though I didn't keep track of the dates, the numbers did. Because I numbered them consecutively as I shot. Eureka!

For example, Michael Bloomfield is number 21. I know I shot him on January 12, 1974 because it was stamped on my backstage pass. And it was one of the passes tacked to my bulletin board. I know I shot John Lee Hooker before mid-February because I listed everyone I'd shot in a journal entry. But the neg sheet was number 82 so I knew it was from a later show. I shot Hooker at least three times. I finally placed it in late June because Darrell Anthony Sweet was number 73 and I shot Nazareth on June 12, 1974.

The Beach Boys were confusing. I thought I shot them in December 1974 but then their neg sheet was number 48/49, right after Zappa's 46/47 and he was on March 14, 1974. Then I started really looking at the pictures. In the black & whites they are wearing different clothes than in the color. Turns out I shot the b&w's at the March 17, 1974 show and the color in December. No wonder my brain hurts.

Then I got really confused with the Blue Oyster Cult/T-Rex show. Research found that they played Vancouver on October 21, 1974. But I know they came swimming at my house, which would have been impossible in October. Had I lost my mind? The neg sheet is number 107 and Harrison is number 112. I know Harrison was November 2, 1974 because it was the opening show for his Dark Horse tour and I also had a dated ticket stub on my bulletin board. How could they swim at my house in an outdoor pool in October? Well, I was using my other neg sheets of non-dead musicians in conjunction with the list I got so I could narrow done the dates. I have another Blue Oyster Cult sheet numbered 76. Hah! They played with Nazareth on June 8, 1974 and that means they were swimming in my pool on Sunday, June 9th.

And in all of this there was another odd revelation. I mentioned to Frank that I had found a jpeg of the T-rex/BOC review from the Georgia Straight (local music paper). He asked if Bob Geldof wrote it. When he said that, I instantly remembered the Bob Geldof that wrote for the Straight. I could see his face clear as day. I saw him on a regular basis. I could hear his voice. His English accent. Then it dawned on me. He's the same Bob Geldof that was in Boomtown Rats and does a bunch of things to save the world. Geez. He was still in Vancouver when I left. And I guess I never bothered to put two and two together by the time he got famous. I mean, who'd of thought I guy writing music reviews for a local Vancouver paper would suddenly become a rock star in the UK? Even though he looked exactly the same and had the same name. Duh. Sometimes I'm a total putz.

Now do you understand what this is doing to my brain? Two many numbers, too many lists, too much cross referencing, too much living in the past, not enough brooms to sweep away the cob webs, too much to do, too little time. Somebody save me...from myself. Anyway, they're all done now...everyone at least has a month and a year...except one. Stanley Turrentine. I only shot color, so there's no neg sheet number. And he played in a club that my friends didn't ticket. Any ideas on where I should put him?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Wet Proofs and Other Stories

Not much time for blogging these days. Everything is kicking into high gear and my deadline clock is rapidly ticking away the minutes.

First...thank you to all of you who have visited the and especially those of you who have purchased books and prints. My portion of the proceeds is going directly into the production costs of Everybody I Shot Is Dead so your support is much appreciated. I do have one question...has anybody received their purchases? We haven't heard back from anyone and I'm wondering if you're happy with what you bought. Timo? Anyone?

A few weeks ago, I decided to get my printers to run two spreads so I could see how the printing would look on the actual paper with actual ink. And more importantly, I wanted to see if the scans from two separate vendors would be consistent. Especially on the black & white photos since they are actually printed in four colors. The profiles varied greatly between my vendors and I wanted to see which profile worked best. I picked the first two pages of Frank Zappa. The first page had his name, a black & white photo and some text. The second page was a full page black & white photo. The other two pages were to judge the color. I picked two pages of Carl Wilson. A full page photo and a page with multiple photos.

Earlier this week I received the wet proofs for the book. I don't know why they're called wet proofs because they were nice and dry when I got them. I was very excited to see the proofs. But shocked when I opened the package. The printing looked great. What's so shocking about that? Well, the two black & white photos looked exactly the same, even though they had different profiles. It was impossible. I called my production people. They checked with the color house and the printer. The color house insisted they didn't make any adjustments. And the printer said they didn't make any adjustments on the press. WTF?

Then there was the paper. It didn't seem to match the paper that was in the book I picked it from. I thought I might want to change it. Fortunately, I had already told Marc in production not to order the paper until I saw the proofs. Because once you order the paper, you're locked. Unfortunately, when I told Marc I was thinking of changing the paper he was informed the the order was already placed. Oops, somebody screwed up. Either way, Marc was on the hot seat. Luckily they caught the order before it was cut.

Yesterday, I met with Roger (my local printer rep) to go over everything and sign our contract. Yup, yesterday was the day I signed my life away. We figured out the paper problem. The proofs were printed on were the right paper, it was just an older batch. After looking at more books Roger had, I decided to stick with my first choice. It really is beautiful paper. I was just going back and forth on it because I want to make sure the book turns out really, really great. And I'm happy to report, people who have seen the proofs are knocked out. Definitely impressed. Yay!!

When I got back from my Roger meeting, I received an email from Marc to sign off on the dummy so they could order the paper. For real this time. Set in stone. I took care of that and then got another email from him telling me I would receive a new set of proofs next week. Huh? Turns out the color house did manipulate my images so they would all match, even though they were told to run as is. Duh. They sabotaged my experiment out of the gate. At least I know I'm not crazy. Well, at least in this minor instance.

One more major bump in my week. My computer that I use for everything decided it didn't want to print anymore. I tried everything. I ran Disk First Aid, I reinstalled my printer software which I knew wouldn't work because I have two printers I use with OS 10 and neither of them were working. I could print on my old Epson 900 as long as it was from a program that used system 9 in Classic. I reinstalled the operating system and it quit half way through. And here I was faced with needing to print the mock-up for the book. No matter what, I knew this was going to be a giant pain in the ass. I made an appointment at the Mac Genius Bar. When I got there I heard the tail end of a conversation where the genius was telling a guy how to reformat his hard drive. I thought, that better not be me. It was.

I spent a day backing up everything on my computer - while I tried to write on another one - and then I erased my hard drive - no turning back. I'm nowhere near a tech genius. I didn't know what I was doing. The first time I moved some stuff back I ran into problems. I had to erase it again and start over. Little by little I figured it out. I had to install all my software from scratch. I had to find the files that restored my bookmarks and preferences and copy those over. I had to buy a new Quicken program because mine ran on 9 and for some reason I don't have classic anymore and don't have a clue how to bring it back in. My music still isn't back in my iTunes because it was on the computer when iTunes asked me if I wanted it to find my files. Don't know how to get it to do it now, other than manually. P-p-p-pain in my ass all the way around. However, I can print now and I'm getting back on track. I have to continue on a pace of three bios a day to meet my deadline. Hopefully, it's smooth sailing from this point forward.

Have a great weekend. I'll be here. Sitting at my desk. Or in my bed. Writing. And changing my mind. And rewriting. It's all good.

Monday, May 07, 2007

I Cannes

Been MIA for a while due to doubling my workload with a bunch of movie posters I had to do for Cannes. Finished today, other than a couple of deliveries and some invoicing (my favorite part).

I've also been without cable/internet for the past three days due to a tree falling on the main line. I really didn't realize how dependent I am on the internet. I was going back and forth to Starbucks at least five times a day. And it put us behind on fulfilling orders from the online store. So, if you're waiting to receive something and think we stole your money...no worries...your order will definitely be shipping tomorrow. Really sorry for the delay. It's been a real learning curve putting a store online and figuring out how our mini assembly line needs to work. I'm hoping all the kinks are finally worked out.

And now I'm really on the line to finish Everybody I Shot Is Dead - 23 days and counting...ack.

Gotta go.