Saturday, May 31, 2008

In The Nick of Time

For another half hour (well, longer if you're in Hawaii), it's John Bonham's birthday. He would have been 60 today.

I'm sure you already know my affection for John, Led Zeppelin and their music. I only wish their was a band today that could put out as many great songs as they did. We need some new music as good as the old music.

Happy Birthday, Bonzo.

Here's a fun early interview from the British telly:

And no John Bonham birthday celebration would be complete without a bit of Moby Dick:

Sorry to all of you who never got to see him play this live. It was a beautiful thing.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Slash Me

After setting up my little display space yesterday, I headed home. Since this is what I was greeted with on the way home... I decided to do something I've never done in L.A. I took the Metro Rail. Yes I did. And it was great. No gas required, no traffic, no $12 parking fee and it took me right where I wanted to go for only $1.25 each way. This is what it looks like inside one of the stations...

I was having an excellently fun time at the Expo today. Meeting lots of cool people, and running into lots of people I know. And then I heard that Slash was going to be signing his book in the autograph section.

Hmmm. I thought it might be cool to show him my book.

Since the autograph area is pretty close to where my little borrowed space is, I walked over there to check out how it worked. Ugh. They had a bunch of signing tables at the back of the room with roped aisles stretching out for the length of a block. There were lists of authors for each aisle and tons of people lined up to get autographs of authors I'd never even heard of. Can you imagine how many people would be lined up for Slash? Hoards. No way was I going to wait an hour or two in a long line and have 2 seconds to say 'hi, I know you're here for your book, but why don't you check out my book?' Oh well. Maybe another time.

At that point, I needed to head over to the South Hall to show someone my book. But in the back of my mind I thought maybe I'd see if I could find out who published Slash's book. Maybe. And maybe I'd drop a copy of my book for them to pass on to him. Then again, maybe not. Chances are he wouldn't get it. Nah, he definitely wouldn't get it. Forget it.

It's a bit of a trek from the West Hall to the South Hall. And during a Book Expo there's always a chance of running into interesting characters along the way. Like an elephant...

Or a staggering red something with vision problems...

Then I started thinking about my daughter, not even questioning why these odd characters brought her to mind. I thought about calling her. I don't know why, I just did. And within 30 seconds, while I was still walking up that very long hallway, my phone rang.

Guess who it was?

My daughter.


We were chatting as I walked and I asked her if there were any books she wanted me to pick up for her. That's the great think about the U.S. Book Expos - the publishers give out tons of books that aren't even out yet. Anyway, she had just finished reading Middlesex and was wondering if the author had a new book coming out. I told her I'd check. Then asked her if she knew who published his book. She said it was Harper Collins.

By this time I was in the South Hall. Oddly enough, I looked up and saw the Harper Collins sign hanging from the ceiling about ten yards in front and a little to the left of me. I responded with, "Hey, I'm really close to their booth. I'll go check for you right now." And seconds later, after I made a quick left and was rounding the divider into the Harper Collins booth, I caught sight of someone that looked something like this...

Oh My God You Have Got To Be Kidding Me. It's Slash. W.T.F.

There he was, standing there, no commotion around him...just hanging out in the Harper Collins booth. I guess Harper Collins is his publisher. I didn't give it a second thought. I walked right up and stood a few steps away from him while he finished a conversation with some girl and then I said "Hi."

First I congratulated him on the award he received a couple of weeks ago at a charity event and I heard the sets he did with Steven Tyler (they played Whole Lotta Love for freakin' sakes) and Alice Cooper was ridiculously amazing. Not that I got to go or anything since it was a charity event that cost a kabillion dollars but that my son got to go because his g.f.'s mom runs the friggin' charity. That would be the same charity that I donated all that stuff to, including the Limited Edition book that they just collected a bunch of money for in their online auction...but hey, I'm not bitter that he got to watch this very cool show (with Slash smokin' on the guitar) from a sofa situated a few feet away from the stage. Nope. Not bitter at all.

After I told him how amazing my kid told me the show was, I whipped the copy of my book out of my bag and told him I was glad I ran into him because I wanted to give him my book. He looked at the book and was quite taken aback - and then said he wasn't sure at first what I was pulling out of my bag, but he was thankful it was what it was (do you think he thought I had a gun or something?). I should know it's never a good idea to pull something out of a bag and spring it on a famous person when they have no idea who you are or if you're going to pull out a poisonous snake.

I signed the book for him and he was happy to give me a copy of his book and sign it for me (before any of those poor shlubs who were waiting in that long line for him). We talked a bit more about the charity event (yes, the one I didn't get to go to) while he flipped through my book. I told him I had shot Alice Cooper in Vancouver when he fell off the stage (for those of you who don't know, that is a somewhat historic moment in rock history) and I also lamented that not only did my son get to go to the charity event (Nope. I'm not bitter.) but that he was shooting musicians now. That was when he said to me, "Don't worry about it. You're the one that got the good stuff." How nice was that? Thanks for the vindication, Slash.

As if that wasn't enough of a compliment from this larger than life rock star, as he thanked me for the third or fourth time for giving him my book he said, "If you hadn't given this to me and I saw it somewhere I definitely would have bought it." How nicer is that? Thanks for the endorsement, Slash.

Just in case you think I'm completely full of shit, I did the obsessed stalker fan thing and got this...

(geez, Chesher, could you look any less excited?)

And this is what he wrote to me in his book...

I read the opening pages to his book on the Metro Rail home...and so far it's very good. Turns out his family lived in Laurel Canyon in the early 70s. His mom was a clothing designer for musicians and actors. He wrote that Joni Mitchell was often around their house. Sheesh. I was working with Joni on my first book in the late 70s. It's quite possible that I ran into his mom, and maybe even him, way back when.

As usual, there's a little kicker to this story.

After running into Slash, I totally forgot to ask one of the Harper Collins reps about the Middlesex author. I just left their booth in a purple haze. But I did go back there a while later - after I trekked back to my booth to get another copy of my book - after I met up with Badfinger author Dan Matavino. ..and guess what? Harper Collins didn't publish Middlesex.

Looks like one of my guardian angel musicians put those words into my daughter's mouth... maybe they also wanted Slash to have a copy of Everybody I Shot Is Dead. 'Cause this kind of thing happens to me way too often to be coincidence.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Book Expo America

London Book Fair April 2008

It seems like yesterday that I was combing the aisles of the London Book Fair.

And now it's time for the BEA. It officially starts tomorrow but I'll be there this afternoon to set up an Everybody I Shot Is Dead display in a space my Canadian distributor has kindly offered me. Fortunately, it's in L.A. this year so I don't have to travel. Well, getting downtown to the Convention Center can be like getting to another country. Especially today. The L.A. Lakers are looking to snuff out the Spurs in game 5 at the Staples Center which is next door to the Convention Center.

Last year the Expo was in New York. I went with a mock-up of my book that had all the pictures in it but most of the text was in bits and pieces. Thinking back, I have no idea how I got it finished for the July print deadline.

This year will be different. I now have a finished book to show. And I'm looking forward to meeting and chatting with the booksellers and librarians who trek in from all corners of the country.

If you're planning to be at the BEA stop by and say hello. I'll be at Booth 4322.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Status Quo (aka) Wow

I finally finished all the bat files Thursday night, making Friday the calmest day I've had since...well, I can't remember when. I even managed to finish unpacking from the trip to NY and London. How long since I got back? Uh, five weeks ago? (Still have to finish up my posts from that trip. I will get to it. I will.) And I cleaned my room (just two offices, a kitchen, living room and dining room to go).

But first I want to tell you what happened on Friday. Since I'm going to the in a couple of weeks and shortly thereafter, I've been going through my as-yet-uncatalogued negs and slides to pick out some new stuff to take to the festivals. Such as Jefferson Starship and Yes. I started this several days ago and ended up pulling out more neg sheets than I could handle (what else is new?) so they ended up all over my already cluttered desk. But now that I'm doing my tidy-up I began making file folders to accommodate the bands that weren't in my book... you know, the ones that are thankfully still with us.

And that's when it happened.

I pulled out neg sheet #44 (meaning it was shot early on) of UK band , held it up and discovered four or five backstage shots. Cool. But looking at the negs I couldn't figure out who the record company rep was so I loaded the negs in my scanner to make a contact sheet (as I'm also working on creating electronic contact sheet files that match up with my new hard copy file folders). This is all in hopes of someday becoming an anally inclined human being - a tall order indeed.

Anyway, here's one of those backstage pictures:

I totally recognize the record rep - he's second from the left - but for the life of me, I can't remember his name. Bruce maybe? I think he worked for A&M. Funny that he's wearing almost the same shirt as one of the band members. Now I'm going to try and identify the band. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. On the left is . Definitely. Then the record rep. Then Alan Lancaster, Francis Rossi (hope I didn't flip them) and on the far right, Rick Parfitt.

Okay, back to the "and that's when it happened."

When I blew up the contact sheet and scrolled through the shots I came to a musician I instantly recognized. Joe Falsia. Tim Buckley's guitar player. What the fuck is Joe doing in the middle of a Status Quo contact sheet? I dunno, but he's right there. The guy in the middle at the bottom.

I kept scrolling. Didn't recognize any of the others. Until I got to this shot:

There he was...Tim Buckley. In the flesh. Well, almost. The only shot of him on the sheet. I couldn't believe it. After two years, going through my photographs and designing and writing Everybody I Shot Is Dead, I missed this one. Just like I missed the shot of the Warner Bros record rep Mark Wilson with Eagle Glenn Frey. And like that one, I would have definitely put this shot of Tim in the book. I really regret that it's not in there, but I'm more than joyful that I have it. And I just looked through the Concert Box Offices list and found the show listed as Tim Buckley & Status Quo on February 18, 1974 attended by 2500 people. And me.

Now I'm wondering how many more surprises I'm going to find in the multitude of negs and slides I have yet to look through. Seems like there's at least one surprise every time I fire up the scanner and pull out a neg sheet. On one hand it makes me want to dive in and rush through each and every one of them. On the other, I want to go slowly. Maybe once a week. Make last. Because I don't want to run out of surprises. I love the surprises.

Oh, before I forget, I had one other surprise on Friday. I was separating my Suzi Quatro negs from negs of a band called Milestone that were all in the sheet. Milestone was a band that used to play in a club/bar where I was a waitress. As I pulled out one of their neg strips I noticed a shot of a girl on the first frame. Not just any girl. A girl with long hair. Like me. Was it me? I immediately freaked. Why should I freak over a picture of a girl with long hair that could be me?

The girl was naked.

No way I wanted to find a naked picture of me in with a bunch of male musicians I shot. No way. I frantically put the negs in the scanner. Wanting to find out who it was but at the same time not. Especially if it was me.

I blew the picture up. The neg is a little on the thin side. A few moves in photoshop and the image came up loud and clear. Well, sort of. Was it me? Kinda looked a little bit like me, but no. It wasn't me. It took me a few seconds before I finally realized it was sister. I forgot that she ever had her hair that long. Wow. She looked pretty damn good. I sorta wish it was me.

I have no idea why I was taking a picture of her half-naked. It must have been a passing moment in time that I decided to snap. I really love the lighting. In the interest of privacy, I covered her breasts. Sorry boys (and lesbians).

And speaking of breasts - yes, this is a segue - my baby girl is doing the Avon Walk (26.2 miles) for Breast Cancer on July 12th in San Francisco. In order to walk she needs to raise $1800. Of course, being who she is, she wants to raise a bunch more. As of today she has $670.

I'm hoping that if you enjoy reading my blog (I always hope you enjoy reading my blog) that you'll take a moment to visit and donate whatever you can afford to her walk...$1, $5, $10...any amount will help. It's a really simple one-click fill out a little form deal-e-o where you pay with a credit card. All secure through the Avon foundation. If you are able to donate, please let her know you came from here.

And for my part, I'll donate 20% of whatever I sell from my between now and June 7th. So pick up a book or a print or a t-shirt and know 20% of your money is going toward a good cause. As my daughter said, "Everyone knows someone who's had breast cancer." Let's do what we can to stop it.

Thanks for reading!

Happy Birthday!

Seems like even Cucumber Rob gets to have a birthday.

He's 21.

On Mars.

You'll have to do the math to figure out his Earth age.

HaPpY bIrThDaY, mAtE!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mo Rocca

Before I post about the great time I had yesterday with Mo Rocca you need to read .

Go on.

Right now.

After you finish reading that you can come back here and I'll show you a picture.

Come on.


No scrolling further down this post.

Don't worry.

The rest of this post will still be here.

Enough of this. You're supposed to be .

I'll wait for you right here.

I promise.
.'re back.

So, I think I know what's going to happen next. At least I hope so. Like I said in my comment on his blog, "I can only pray the wonderful Florence Henderson is the Patron Saint of Saving My Ass." If not, I'm really going to feel like shit. Okay, not really. But maybe.

Here's the photo I promised:

Me and Mo Kickin' Back.

And that's just another tease...stay tuned...

...there will be more.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Two Posts In One Day

Frightening, isn't it?

I did the Mo Rocca NBC 1st Look interview today - which I will blog about very soon with lots o' photos and air date(s) and such - but wanted to give you a little teaser.

The wonderful producer of the show who you may call Lisa - since that's her name - was kind enough to shoot some wonderful photos with one of my cameras. And one of her goals (unbeknownst to me) was to get a shot of me that matched my picture on the front of Everybody I Shot Is Dead. Thought I'd share the then and now with you because I think she did a great job.



Same ring. Same girl. Same camera (make and model).
Not sure what's up with the new flair I developed with my focusing hand.
I will say I look strikingly beautiful with a Pentax camera in front of my face.
Does that sound narcissistic?

Steve Currie Again

You may recall I recently did a tribute to T-Rex bass player Steve Currie. Just 3 weeks ago to be exact. The 27th anniversary of his passing.

This is one of the things that disturbed me when I compiled Everybody I Shot Is Dead. Not just the fact that all these great musicians died, but that so many of them died right before their birthdays. I don't think that's fair. When it comes to death, holidays and birthdays should be avoided at all cost.

Today we are celebrating Steve's 61st birthday. If you didn't catch the tribute on his passing, here again is the one and only photograph I took of him.

And some footage of him and his fellow members of T-Rex:

Rock On!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What's Going On?

Tons of things. And what really bugs me is that by the time I get a chance to post the events I'm involved in, they're happening the next day or already past.

So, this is my round-up post of what's going on and what's coming up. Or maybe I'm just throwing my datebook online so I can check in and make sure I'm where I'm supposed to be. I've been so busy in the past few months with so many different projects, I keep getting that feeling that I've forgotten to show up for a meeting or not done a job I promised to do.

Here's what is currently on tap:

NBC TV Show - On Monday afternoon I'm shooting a segment with that I believe will air on a show called (check out his interview with Clay Faiken - I hope I can be funnier than him) that is supposedly going national. Mo is a comedian and as you may have guessed by many of my posted I thrive on sarcasm. I'm looking forward to creating some humor within in the theme of a dead rock star book. I plan to take photos (hopefully throughout the interview) which will be posted here. Any suggestions on how I should rock Rocca, lemme know.

Book Expo - May 29-June 1. This year it's in L.A. so, Yay!, I don't have to travel. But being in L.A. gives me this false sense of security that I have plenty of time to prepare. I don't. I still haven't done my follow-ups from the London Book Fair and I haven't decided how I'm going to proceed with the retail distribution of the book. I think I have a part of a booth where I can have a display. The US book expos are heavily attended by booksellers so I could possibly take orders from bookstores so it will be in stores for the gift-giving season this Fall. But I'm also considering taking it out of the stores and just doing it exclusively from my site and Amazon. Shit. I don't know. Decisions. Decisions. Gonna have to decide soon.

Harmony Festival - Three days after Book Expo I'm heading upstate for the . The festival is June 6th, 7th and 8th in Sonoma and will be their 30th anniversary. I'm really excited to go because I'm going to shoot a bunch of pictures, including Jefferson Starship...for the first time since I shot them in '75. This whole deal was instigated by none other than Cucumber Rob. One of those "Do you fancy a camping trip in June?" Yup. We're doing the road trip and camping at the festival. In tents. On the ground. Yikes. I'm kind of a Ritz Carlton type of girl. I prefer porcelain to splintery wood. But what the hell? I've always wondered what it was like to go to Woodstock. And I'm going to break out some old pictures of non-dead rock stars, including Jefferson Starship and the non-dead members of the Grateful Dead. My book will be there too. If you're going please track me down and say "Hi." And if you're not going you should check out their website and think about showing up. We're gonna have a helluva time!

House of Blues on Sunset - June 10th. I'm shooting Fish. No, not Phish. Fish. The Scottish prog rock musician. Be there or be square.

NEARfest - June 20-22. A in Philadelphia, PA. I'm sharing a selling table with Cucumber Rob and in addition to my book I am going to break out some never-before-seen photos I took of Yes. Yes! And also shooting Fish again and hopefully some of the other cool acts that are appearing. Do I have any blog readers in the Philly area? Suggestions on where to go if I have any time off? Where to get the best Philly cheesesteak? Any of you planning to attend NEARfest?

Fest for Beatle Fans - Yup. Another one. June 29-July 1. This time in Vegas at the Mirage. I had so much fun meeting all the Beatle fans at the NY fest that I'm signing on again.

And with all that I have a bunch of writing to do, more bats (baseball) to shoot, pitches (not baseballs) to create and a whole pile of prep to do (scanning, printing, framing, organizing) for the above-mentioned events.

Anybody looking for a non-paying assistant job?

Edited 10 minutes after posting to add:

Shit. I totally forgot to put up the bit that was the reason I decided to do this post in the first place. Shit. Shit. Shit.

I donated a Starart Limited Edition book to the Grammy charity MusiCares. They are currently having an online auction of all sorts of cool rock'n'roll stuff. So...

Grammy Charity Online Auctions - Now thru May 22nd. You can check out the full list of items and my book where they have pictures I gave them of some of the artists signing the books. Check it out and start bidding. It's a worthwhile cause.

Shit. I can't believe I forgot to put that up. D-u-m-b dumb.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cucumber Rob

Some of you know him through previous posts on my blog.

For those of you who have missed those posts, meet Cucumber Rob:

I'm glad his name isn't Richard. Or am I?

Anyway, I have plenty of New York/London posts to post that include CR but alas, I am still buried in bat shit (literally) and unable to get to them as they require a lot of photo editing and reliving the memories of the moment and such.

But something just happened that I am compelled (actually, kind of pissed off) to post. First off, when Cucumber Rob blew into town last Tuesday (bringing his miserable English weather along with him) he brought me a very nice gift. Then today, just when Cucumber Rob was fading into distant memory status, another nice gift shows up.

How could he do that? How am I supposed to take the piss out of him if he keeps bestowing thoughtful gestures on yours truly? How dare he? It's heresy, I tell you. Grounds for immediate arrest and incarceration.

The first gift he must have searched for far and wide. It's a triple CD set of the Led Zeppelin concert I shot in Vancouver on March 20, 1975. I mean who would even want something like that? It's so last century.

Then with the gift that arrived today came a card that said, "Thanks for putting up with my chaos and being such fun. See you next time. Rob" Puh-leeze. What kind of tactics are you trying to pull here, mister? Whatever you're doing, it's not going to work. You still can't park a car, Cucumber Rob. And don't think this is going to stop me from putting up those pictures of you with that---

Anyway, here's a photo that I took of the gifts from Cucumber Rob. If you happen to run into him (he's currently in Long Island and tomorrow he'll be on a plane back to Jolly Olde England) tell him the buttering up thing ain't gonna work.

(this photo taken with the latest iPhone scratch and sniff technology, so have at it)

Feel free to make a comment in defense of yourself, Cucumber. If you can't figure out how to find the icon that gets you to the comment section of the blog (Cucumber Rob needs a lot of assistance in these areas) you can email it to me and I'll post it for you. You do remember how to email, don't you?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Papa John Creach

Trying really hard to catch up on my life. Since getting back from the New York/London trip (which I still have more to write about) three weeks ago, I have been slammed with work. Mostly design stuff for the Cannes Film Festival. it was completely insane this year and seemingly never-ending.

Now I face a heavy schedule of re-organization, accounting catch-up (I have yet to deal with my '07 taxes) and pushing forward with book/photography business including preparation for a bunch of exciting events coming up in June (more on those later).

In the meantime, I fell short on celebrating Papa John Creach's birthday with you last Thursday - May 8th. As it happened, things got a little out of hand last week because Cucumber Rob dropped in from the UK. Being concerned for the citizens of Los Angeles county, I took it upon myself to shuttle Cucumber Rob around town - I can't even imagine the carnage that he would have left in his wake if I'd turned him loose on the streets in his faux PT Cruiser rent-a-car.

How does Cucumber Rob relate to PJC you ask? Well, one of his meetings I crashed was on Friday with a very cool dude named Michael. Michael has been and is involved on a management and production level with many of the major 60s and 70s Bay Area bands. I don't have to name them for you, do I? Just pick one and assume he was there.

If you've read my book, you know how much I loved shooting Papa and how I was taken with his warmth and elegance. After looking through my book, Michael told me a little story about Papa John that really reflects the beauty of the man. One time they were heading overseas for some tour dates - Papa John's first time out of the U.S. When they were asked to show their passports at the airport, Papa pulled out a xerox copy of his. Michael asked him where his real passport was and Papa told him he'd left it at home where it would be safe. He said his original passport was just too important of a document to be carrying around.

Papa John Creach would have turned 91 on May 8th.

This is one of my many favorite photos of Papa:

And Papa John playing live with Hot Tuna:

Monday, May 05, 2008


I missed another one. I'm still having trouble believing that it's May. Yesterday, May 4th, was the 21st anniversary of Paul Butterfield's death. I not only had the opportunity to photograph Paul, but by some stroke of luck I ended up hanging out with him and a few friends one night - I should say all night - several years later in NYC. It was an interesting night, to say the least. It's all in my book if you want to check it out.

Here's my favorite picture of him:

And here's some live Butter from Monterey in 1967:

Friday, May 02, 2008

Palm Springs Book Festival

Need something to do this weekend? How about a weekend getaway to Palm Springs?

Come see me at the Palm Springs Book Festival this Sunday!

The details:

Third Annual Palm Springs Book Festival

Sunday, May 4th 2008 (10:00am - 6:00pm)

Palm Springs High School
2401 E. Baristo Road, Palm Springs 92262
Information (760) 564-3112

My panel is “Lessons I’ve Learned as a Photographer” at 1:00pm on the Arts and Letters stage, followed by a book signing at 2:30pm.

The two other panelists are former L.A. District Attorney Gil Garcetti and famed jazz photographer Herman Leonard, so even if I suck it should be really good.

There’s more info on their including a listing of all the attending authors and events.

Hope to see you there!