Dillinger Escape Plan
I photographed them at Ground Zero in Spartanburg, SC in 1999 when they opened for Dick Dale. It was a bizarre bill. It was one of the few venues I’ve been to that was so dirty that you could see the dust and dirt hanging in the air. I saw some good shows there, though. Mr. Bungle, and one of Royal Trux’s final shows.
I first photographed Clay at an event at Concord Mills Mall. This was right after American Idol. The locals were freaking out! A few years later, I was hired to shoot a meet-and-greet with Clay and 150 fans. Which all had to be shot in ten minutes. I suggested that we group the folks together in sets of 10, and have one group ready in one part of the room, and another ready to go. So we ping-pinged from group to group, with Clay. I also asked for a chair to stand on while shooting. I knew that if I was up higher, that we would take less time to set everyone up. I also knew that having Clay looking up would be a better angle, for him. His people thought I was crazy, but by the second group, they had a chair ready for me in the next set-up.
I’ve also shot Clay on one of his campaign appearances. In an odd way, Clay reminds me of Grace Slick, whom I’ve also photographed on more than one occasion. Both are very used to the sound of their own voices, and their’s being the most important voice in the room. Is that a good or bad thing? It depends on your point of view.
I met Boots when I went to Memphis, TN in 2002 for the 25th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. I had driven all day to photograph Graceland. As soon as I got to town, the first rainstorm to hit Memphis in weeks just poured down. Somehow, I ended up at a restaurant, and picked up a flyer about events going on in town that week.
It turned out that there was a special concert going on at the Peabody Hotel that night with a lot of musicians that had played with Elvis. I got there near the end of the show, just as they’d stopped taking tickets. I walked in, saw the end of the show, and then stood in the lobby as all of the musicians came out to sign autographs. Scotty Moore & DJ Fontana, Boots Randolph, Millie Kirkham, the Jordanaires, the Stamps Quartet, and more. Somewhere, I have an envelope that I had them all sign. The evening ended with me following Scotty and DJ to Beale Street, where they were having a late meal with Sam Phillips. They all sat in the restaurant underneath a giant mural of Elvis, with the banner of "You left us all shook up." I snuck photos of this from the other side of the restaurant.
The most under-photographed event these days are recording sessions. As a kid, I’d pore over photos of musicians at work in the studio. Sinatra, Beatles. My parents had a 5th Dimension album that features Leroy Neiman sketches of the band recording. I thought that was cool! Now, no one seems to get good photos of a band in a studio. Or at work on the record. I love shooting in a recording studio. Give me great music, a good-looking place to record, and a camera, and I’m happy.
Among favorite album covers-
The Band, self-titled. Elliott Landy photograph. Landy’s work with the Band was an influence on my early work with the Avett Brothers. Get to the heart of the people within those vintage clothes.
March 2, 2015