I got to see Avril Lavigne, back in August 2005, and am not a fan in particular, but I thought she was doing some really respectable pop rock music. Just well produced songs, very good lyrics that could tell a complex story and still leave the hook intact. It’s not easy to write good pop music, for the same reason it’s not easy to write good music at all. So she was famous and I wanted to get a couple shots, who wouldn’t? Her tough girl persona seemed completely bogus to me, because I know a tough girl when I see one, or a tough guy for that matter. I smelled creative marketing, and from what I saw Ms. Levine was Ms. Softy. Just the sweetest personality, big gorgeous smile with imperfections that only made her more interesting. She seemed to be having a great time and all the while managed not to forget her rehearsed hand gestures, guitar moves and the big long number one sign up in the air. No devil hands from what I remember… not this time. I was actually pretty impressed that this young lady was on the stage and acting like a seasoned professional well beyond her years. She’s had a fairly long career without too many public issues, and she still comes out with a good song every now and then, so kudos to Avril. At least she has enough guts to put a little edge on her pop, and she seems to surround herself with decent musicians. No bad words from this guy about Avril. If you are into pop music, She’s done a good good job so far. In fact it’s probably time for me to review her latest and greatest. Good luck to her in the future!
I first saw Carrie Underwood, on American Idol like a lot of people did. I don’t like American Idol, and I think it represents the worst aspects of music today. Literally musicians being auctioned off, by phone vote and some questionable judges. My wife loves to watch the show, so that’s my excuse for watching and I’m sticking to it. a blind man could see that Carrie Underwood is drop-dead gorgeous, and there is something extra special when a physically beautiful person manages the belt out a song as good as any in the industry. If I’m going to listen to country Western I’m going to listen to the female artists, and the male guitar players. That’s just the way it is with me. the men in country-western very often look and sound like the stereo- typical deep South redneck, poor, undereducated and so on. There was no doubt the minute Carrie opened her mouth and began to sing, that this girl was the real McCoy, if you’ll excuse the expression. Well she has certainly gone on to prove me right since 2006 hasn’t she? Authentic and stunning, and probably the best graduate of American Idol, to date, in my opinion.
I’ve been a fan of Johnny Winter since the early 70s. Back in those days, a 15-year-old, could get into a general admission venue, order a drink and get up real close to the stage. I did this many times with Johnny Winter and Edgar Winter and others. I got to see Johnny one last time, in February of 2014 at the Suffolk Theater on Long Island. A wonderful place where you can have dinner, and see a show afterwards without leaving your seat. Or as I like to think of it, general admission with a seat in table. I told my wife, that I was making a pilgrimage to see Johnny one last time. I knew very well about Johnny’s health issues, and the toll that substance abuse had taken over the years. I'm a guitar player, in my recreational life, and Johnny has been more important to me than almost any other guitar player for the past 40 years. I knew he wasn’t going to last much longer, and I had to see him one last time and pay my respects, to one of the greatest American guitar players ever! Johnny would die five months later in July at the age of 70, and I am so glad I got to see him again. Now this was not a totally happy story, the PA sound was gone, and no one could hear Johnny singing. I’m not sure who was responsible, but only a few feeble attempts were made to fix the sound, and I sat and watched in horror, as Johnny played while the only vocal sound that came out, was through the stage monitors pointed away from the audience. If you look at the video at the top of this page, you can see how terrible it actually was. I’d like to kick the person responsible right in the nuts, for treating a legend like this so poorly, for being so incompetent with sound equipment, and for making this elderly artist, who was visibly struggling, have to work way harder than he should have. Fucking no respect left in this world… a pox on you all and your families! Rest in peace Johnny Winter. You are already missed.
I’m not a Prince fan I don’t know much about him, I don’t own any albums and yes I did see his movie Purple Rain when it was released. When I found I had the opportunity to shoot a performance, of course I’m going to go! I've never seen the man before, and I have heard so many things about him! I have to say, Prince did not disappoint. The man is a great entertainer, and he knows how to pick a band. Just really interesting to watch, and it’s all about the show, from what I can tell. Some bands have great instrumentalists, on guitar, on piano, on drums or bass, and so on. some bands have great vocals. a few bands have all of that. With Prince, I don’t remember any of the music, if I’m to be totally honest, but I do remember a good show. There is a rare quality, that follows this man. Like a person you just met, and you like them, but you can’t quite put your finger on why you like them. if that seems like a copout, fair enough. If you get a chance to see this guy see ‘em… This was a bitch to shoot; I’m way over in stage right, in the dark, I’ve got my trusty 70-200mm 2.8, and it is struggling against all sort of lights pointed at me and so many photos just came out of focus. Everything was steaming up on the camera.