Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Happy Birthday, Terry

*Note: Practically giving away a TK print .*

Terry Kath would have been 61 today.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Another Rockstar Gone

Rest in Peace, Barbaro.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Site Update

I spent a very long 12 hours today working on my company website. Hopefully, it's a better layout (not all that different) and more functional (there were many bad links).

I've updated all the pages, including the Starart page in preparation for the store. There are no bells and whistles because, as we all know, I am technically challenged. And I want a site I can update when I feel like it. Like today.

Last night I was really craving a large margarita and chicken tostada from Lucy's El Adobe and thought I might get over there today. Nope. I hope the site improvements are worth missing my dinner and my writing time.

If you have a chance, pop on over there and let me know if it's working for you. Criticisms are always welcome.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Terry Kath

*Note: Practically giving away a TK print .*

I decided to honor the memory of Terry Kath with a group shot because that's how Chicago always presented themselves. I also like this photo because of the sunset sky and the spotlight on Terry. The lyrics below are from the first song Kath ever had recorded. And it's also the first song on their first album.

Terry Kath
1/31/46 - 1/23/78

Hey there everybody
Please don't romp or roam
We're a little nervous
'Cause we're so far from home
So this is what we do
Sit back and let us groove
And let us work on you

We've all spent years preparing
before this band was born
With heaven's help it blended
And we do thank the lord

Now we put you through the changes
And turned around the mood
We hope it's struck you different
And hope you feel moved
So forget about your troubles
As we search for something new
And we play for you

~Terry Kath ("Introduction" - Chicago Transit Authority, 1969)

I'll pull out a solo shot for his birthday next week.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Who Is It?

The photos are circa 1976. Any guesses?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Marc Klaas Project

This post is a re-pimping of my friend, , and relative, Tyler Chesher's important TV project. It's a reality show that follows Marc Klaas and his foundation in their search for missing children. Marc Klaas is the father of Polly Klaas, who was abducted from her bedroom and murdered in 1993 when she was only 12 years old.

Please click the youtube banner below to watch, rate and comment on the video. The more buzz we can create, the more likely the show will get on the air, and hopefully children will be saved. There are two videos; a short teaser called "Missing" and the main video called "The Marc Klaas Project".

View, Rate, and Subscribe to our video

Also, if you are a Myspace member, please click this banner to connect to their Myspace site. I'm just getting my own Myspace started, so I'm a little clueless on this part. I think they want to add you as a friend and have you add them. Also, Marc Klaas personally blogs on the site.

Add us as a myspace friend!!

Thanks for your support.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Without You

Remembering the awesomely talented Harry Nilsson.

6/15/41 - 1/15/94

Everybody loved Harry.
No way around it.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

I Feel Bad

Two weeks ago it was New Year's Eve. December 31, 2006.

December was when I faithfully started paying tribute to my dearly departed musicians on their birthdays and deathdays. In order to remember (don't forget, my brain is made of Swiss cheese), I mark them on my calendar a month in advance. Just like I put EISID as a to do item on every day. Here's what February looks like:

Even with all this, I still missed two tributes. One birthday and one deathday. On December 31st. And the only reason I realized my faux pas was because I was working on the book today so I could check off today's "Write on Everybody." I dipped into my 'To Scan' file and pulled out a set of negs. As I finished scanning all 34 photos, I had this haunting feeling. I looked him up on my list and kicked myself. He died on New Year's Eve. How did I miss putting that on my calendar?

I looked at my calendar. I didn't forget. His name was there, along with another musician - for his birthday. I don't know how I missed it. I'd like to say it was because I was out partying, but that would be a lie. I was here. On my computer. Just like I am now. Working.

Time to rectify my lapse. Two weeks late to the day. Better late than never? I hope so.

Both died in plane crashes. One on the other's birthday.

Rick Nelson
5/8/40 - 12/31/85

John Denver
12/31/43 - 10/12/97

A moment of silence for Rick and a Happy Birthday to John. Albeit, belated.

I miss you both.

Friday, January 12, 2007

A Moment of Silence

Maurice Gibb
12/22/49 - 1/12/03

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Report Card

I am happy to report my simple plan is working. Every day since I initiated the simple plan, I have worked on EISID and Starart and My First Kiss. And there's a bonus. Working to the simple plan has inadvertantly impassioned all of my projects.

I had an appointment with a printer on Tuesday. Just thinking I should know how much EISID might cost to manufacture. It's always a good idea to design to a budget. Then, in reading my journals last weekend, I was reminded of the multitude of meetings I had with the New York publishers in regards to Starart. My interaction with the big houses was much more extensive than I had remembered. (I also didn't remember how much partying I did in New York - yikes, I could probably teach Brittany a thing or two.) Several publishers really wanted the book. Nice position to be in, right? Not always. I'd have the initial meeting and that person would pitch to the higher ups and I'd have another meeting. They'd do a cost and revenue projection and we'd have another meeting. Then they'd send me out of the room so they could talk amongst themselves. And, finally, they'd try and talk me into comprising the quality of the book so they could make a bigger profit. Uh, no.

That's why I ended up on my own. Contracting the printers, selling to the chains and wholesale distributors, running my own mail order and arranging my own publicity. In the short run, we made no money. But in the long run, the product was great and Starart has become a collector's item. Instead of some throwaway rock'n'roll book.

So, reliving my New York experiences ended up turning my trip to the printer into more of a "I think I want to publish this book myself" mission. I have used this particular printer in the past for my movie advertising work. He's I guy I like and trust. I showed him the Starart books and a couple of samples of other people's photography books. We both agreed it is much easier and cheaper to manufacture a high quality photography book today than it was when I did Starart. For starters, there are no more film separations. Which means there's also no stripping. And with this book, I don't have the expense of photographing all the artwork. Unfortunately, my printer doesn't haven't the capability to handle the size of this job. But he is currently researching other printers and will have referrals for me in a couple of days.

The night before I met with the printer, I happened to be at a trendy coffee house that has an equally trendy independent bookshop attached. I asked the bookstore owner/s (?) what size they preferred in the photography books they sell. It's a good question because some shops don't have room for the over-sized coffee table books. They were very helpful and eventually asked what I was doing. I told them about Starart and also pitched them Everybody I Shot Is Dead. They sparked to it instantly (yes!!) and said they'd definitely carry it. I told them I was thinking of self-publishing and asked if that would hinder their decision to stock the book. "Not at all."

The biggest 'pro' of doing the book myself is that I can get it out sooner. Finding a publisher and then getting into their release schedule is a long and arduous process. The biggest 'con' would be not having the publisher's money (advance and manufacturing $$) and their publicity machine working for me. But that doesn't deter me. I'm thinking the ability to publicize is also much easier today. I can hire a publicist (which I didn't do my first time around) and I have the internet (which didn't exist my first time around).

I can't believe reading the trials and tribulations of getting Starart out there hasn't deterred me from going down this road again. Actually, I'm jazzed. Ready and willing to meet more printers, put together a cost and revunue projection, write a business plan and look for an investor(s). If all goes as planned (meaning the little picture I'm projecting in my mind), the book will be finished and released in the Fall 2007.

Hey, it's never too early to put Everybody I Shot Is Dead on your gift list (hint, hint).

Sunday, January 07, 2007


...aka Ask and Ye Shall Receive.

After finishing yesterday's post, I went back into my journals. This time it was a book I started February 4, 1977. And there it was, on the bottom of the sixteenth page...the answer to the mysterious person I shot at the TV Variety show rehearsal. Not who I hoped it might be...actually I knew it wasn't because this guy would have been too old. They just look alike.

Anyway, the mystery singer is Malcolm Roberts. Still a mystery, right? For me, too. I had to google him. I'll throw a picture up and tell you more about him on February 2nd. Since that's the third anniversary of his death.

Oh, and to further prove my theory that my brain is made of Swiss cheese...I read the last paragraph of yesterday's post and it took me two minutes to figure out who I was referring to when I wrote, "I found some photos I took of a guy who looks an awful lot like another musician who is no longer with us. I kind of remember shooting him but I'm not 100% sure." Jeez.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Simple Plan

I have so many projects on my plate. The new book, the old book, three film projects - one of which I am producing, a few graphic jobs...

Damn, it doesn't sound like much when I write it down that way. It must be the work within each project that creates the weight. For example, in the previous Starart post I listed some of the things I need to accomplish before the store site goes up. Still nowhere near completion, btw. The list for Everybody I Shot Is Dead is a hundred times longer, and so on and so on.

I am busy all day, every day (I have no life)...with seemingly no progress. That's been driving me crazy. Exhausted at the end of the day (meaning whenever I decide I have to nod) asking myself, "What did I accomplish?" Feeling something fell through the cracks. One of the balls hit the floor. And that ball always seems to be Everybody I Shot Is Dead. Or My First Kiss. Or...

A few days ago, I came up with a plan. A simple plan that any person with a modicum of organizational skill would have implemented in kindergarten. So, I'm a few years late. Okay, the plan. I use an electronic calendar that has a 'to do list' function. I put an item on it called "Write on Everbody" and then I selected the repeat every day option. In order to check it off each day I have to do something on the book...scanning, writing, designing or whatever. If I don't do something I can't check it off. And if I don't check it off it rolls over to the next day. Then there are two of them. So far, I've checked it off for the past two days. And I've already worked on the book today (but plan to do more tonight) so I'll check off another one.

It's both daunting and comforting to see that item on my calendar. On every square of every month for all eternity. It makes me want to get the book finished. Motivates me. Yesterday, I started looking through my old calendars (the pre-computer ones) in an effort to fill in the blanks of my past. I did 1977, then realized I had a second calendar for 1977.

Then I read one of my journals. It covered the first few months of 1979.

If you read this page you must be wondering what this could possibly have to do with Everybody I Shot Is Dead. I was actually in the gruelling stages of working on Starart that year. The Klaus mentioned is Klaus Voormann - one of the artists in Starart. Cynthia was his wife. Otto is their son. I was living at their house (in the basement, Kato-style). Keith was my very close friend . I had taken some promo pics of his new band while I was in Toronto looking at printers for Starart. Shadow was a former friend. The page is relevant to EISID. It identifies the date I shot one of the musicians. Harry Nilsson. He was one of the dinner guests.

I found another interesting story in those pages. It was an entry I made on January 19th. The story has stuck with me all these years. Every little detail. Emblazoned on my brain. Except the identity of the other person. I knew he was a musician but I couldn't have told you his name. Until now. Bruce Palmer. The bass player from Buffalo Springfield. He died of a heart attack in 2004. Even though I didn't shoot him, I'm 90% sure I'm going to put the story in EISID. Instead of a photo, maybe I'll draw a picture of him. Like I'll probably have to do for Canned Heat since I still haven't found my photos of them...even though I toured with them for three long weeks. Another story that needs to be told, with or without photos.

One more book accomplishment yesterday. I found some photos I took of a guy who looks an awful lot like another musician who is no longer with us. I kind of remember shooting him but I'm not 100% sure. I have a similar situation with another guy - I remember the shoot (it was a TV variety rehearsal) but I'm not sure on the singer. He looks eerily like the youngest brother G, but maybe not.

Sadly, my brain is made of Swiss cheese. Happily, I have calendars and journals.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sneak Preview

In the next few weeks I will be adding an online store to my .

I know some of you are waiting for the Tom Waits photo[s]...sorry, I'm still researching the best way to handle the prints. In the meantime, I'm opening up the vault. Everything I have left from my book, Starart, is going up for sale. If you're not aware of Starart, it's a coffee table book of artwork done by six accomplished musicians: Joni Mitchell, John Mayall, Klaus Voormann, Ron Wood, George "Commander Cody" Frayne and Cat Stevens.

The book received really great reviews when it came out. Being that it is out-of-print, the book is now a sought after collector's item with only a few used copies of the regular hardcover book showing up online for as much as $499.

I have around 125 of regular hardcover books available. They are new books but there is slight wear on the covers from being in boxes and moved around over the past 25 years. I haven't decided on a starting price yet (I'm thinking $50) but the price will go up as the books sell. Only fair, since these are the only new copies available and once they're gone, they're gone. Which is why I'm giving my blog readers the heads up...before I advertise...and before I post on fan sites and message boards.

Did you notice I kept referring to the "regular" book? That's because I have another version of the book too. It looks like this:

It is leather-bound and comes in a case. It's printed on fine paper and is gold-gilded:

Oh...and it is numbered and hand-signed by the artists:

It is a Limited Edition of 300. I managed to keep some hidden away all these years. They are brand new and in perfect condition. Again, I will sell them in lots, with the price increasing as they sell. This is a very special collector's piece. Each of the artists own one. And so do a lot of their famous friends. The Limited Edition books will be expensive.

One more item. Or should I say six more items? By the third or fourth gallery show, we decided to run an edition of prints. One from each artists. And guess what? I held on to some. The prints are 16" x 20" (image size approx. 12.5" x 15.25"). We only printed 500 of each. Of those, 50 were numbered and signed by the artists (except Cat Stevens, as he had changed his name to Yusuf Islam), along with 10 Artist's Proofs. I have a limited number of signed (very few) and unsigned prints available.

These are the prints:

"Charlie Down In Mexico"
by Joni Mitchell

"Belushi On Plane Killers"
by Ron Wood

by Klaus Voormann

"The Crew of the Memphis Belle"
by George "Commander Cody" Frayne

by Cat Stevens

"Joni's Favorite"
by John Mayall

The retail site will also include a very cool 'viewing only' freebie. Never-before-seen video and audio clips of the artists. For example, under the picture of each print, there will be an audio clip of the artist describing the piece.

I'm trying really hard to get this up by January 15th (although it may not be functioning by then). This is a monumental effort - just like any other retail start-up - from designing the site, to the techno side of accepting credit cards, figuring out shipping, contracting a framer for the prints, digitizing audio/video tapes, editing, taking inventory, figuring out the logistics and on and on and on.

But once this is done, I'm thinking the Limited Editions of my photography prints won't be far behind.

(click on any of the images to enlarge)