“Time Marches On…”
I’m going to start this off by saying that I am NOT “Bummer Man”! I have had something on my mind for awhile and I just need to get it out there and I hope you understand where I am with all of this. I know that every generation has its music and its favorite bands and I am from the 1980s generation and I graduated high school in 1986. With that said, I’m not old (in my mind) but I’m not young either. I feel like I am in that time where you start to realize that what you have always thought was going to be there may not be there that much longer… So sorry, yes, that was a “Bummer Man” statement!
In recent days there have been a number of musical tragedies including Olivia Newton-John and Steve Grimmet (odd to have those two in the same sentence, yes). It’s a shame to see the talent from my childhood is starting to disappear. Not everyone is Keith Richards or Mick Jagger, I guess. Not all bad, however, but I will say that you need to start embracing every opportunity to see and even interact with your favorite bands and artists before you kick yourself for putting it off.
In these times of technology where the World seems to be much smaller than it was thirty years ago, it is amazing the opportunities that we have to reach out and actually interact with our favorite artists. Back in the day you had the “fan clubs” and today you simply tag them in a social media post and hope they respond. On the other end, I do feel that the bands that you love are actually interested in seeing what you have to say and sometimes become acquaintances and friends with you… if you aren’t a complete ass*hole to them.
I’m going to talk about a few bands that I am a part of in some sort of way and these bands I care for deeply. The first band I want to talk about is Y&T. About 20 years ago I happened to meet Dave Meniketti (Lead vocals, lead guitar) of Y&T at a camera store in California. He and his wife Jill were there and I recognized him and told him I was a huge fan of his. We did get to know each other better over the years and Dave and Jill are two really great people and such a great couple. Over time, the other members of Y&T have all passed away. Joey Alves, Leonard Haze and Phil Kennemore… such a shame. Recently Dave has been dealing with cancer and I am truly concerned for him. It makes me think of the last time I photographed Y&T in Nashville in 2019 and I truly hope that isn’t my last time. I have heard that he is doing well and I hope he recovers and keeps playing some incredible music. This has me concerned…
I was completely floored by Richie Faulkner from Judas Priest almost dying on-stage in Louisville, Kentucky last year when his heart basically exploded during the last part of “Painkiller” as the show’s encore. So lucky to have a great hospital so close to the venue to save his life. This year I got to photograph Judas Priest and photograph Richie and he looked and played great! I’m so glad to have images of him after this missed tragedy!
Even though I am a “metalhead” at heart, I have other groups that I have considered some of my favorites for a very long time. One of those groups is The Outfield. When The Outfield came out with “Your Love” back in the 80s I was completely hooked with the songwriting, the vocals, and guitar playing of this group. When I was a freshman in college in 1987, I got to be “security” for a concert at my college for The Outfield and had the fan-boy opportunity to deliver beer to their tour bus where I got to briefly meet them and say “hi”. In recent years primary songwriter, John Spinks died of cancer and just recently Tony Lewis (Lead vocals, bass) passed away after releasing a new solo album. The core of this group is now gone and all we have is what they have recorded and shared with the World.
My all-time favorite group for many reasons is Accept. About twenty years ago I did an online search for Accept guitarist, Wolf Hoffmann and found out that he was (at that time) a full time photographer. I sent him a quick email telling him that I had been a longtime fan and that I am a photographer as well. Ten minutes after that email was sent he called me on the phone. I had such a great conversation and after I got over my “fan boy” ways, Wolf and I became good friends. Over the last twenty years I have gotten to know all of the guys in Accept and have become the “official” photographer of the band. They are all so much fun to be with that the “fan boy” stuff is simply gone and they are my friends. Wolf was my guitar hero when I was learning how to play guitar at fifteen years old and now he is simply a phone call or text away to catch up and simply say “hi”… way to awesome! With all of this said, Wolf also is an inspiration to me as well. He is currently 62 years old and is in incredible shape. He is an absolute professional when it comes to the band and what needs to be done and a true friend when we just get time to hang out. Besides Mark Tornillo (Accept singer at age 68) the rest of Accept are younger than I am. But, Wolf and Mark are in incredible shape and I can’t imagine what it takes to keep up with their touring schedule and the amount of shows they play. Just amazing… and it makes me realize I need to shape up myself! Yet, as they keep cranking out album after album and they keep playing show after show, how long will it last? I’m hoping forever! But, what about ten years from now? I don’t know… So, I want to be a part of this family as long as we all can possibly do it. Like I said, I don’t want to be “Bummer Man” but reality does set in at some time. I think that all bands should take a lesson from Accept and that is to make the most of every moment. Touring, recording… all of it. They are the best band I have ever photographed and I am so thankful to be a part of their World!
At this point I will say that you shouldn’t give up an opportunity to see your favorite bands while you can. I regret not seeing some bands live including Rush. When Neil Peart passed away that made me realize that I had a couple of opportunities to see Rush but I passed on them for some reason or another. Probably because I figured they’d tour forever and I’d have another opportunity next year. I was wrong… Please, do yourself a favor and go see your favorite bands. Ten years from now it’ll be a different story. It’s simply life and time… we can’t stop that train from rolling down the tracks.
Who will be the ones to pass the torch to? Good question… I live near Nashville, Tennessee and have a couple of Nashville bands that I feel have a great opportunity to really do great things in the music industry. I just hope they get the chance. I like them not only for their musical abilities and their songs but also for the camaraderie that they share and the family support that they have. The first band is called Lily Prex. If you want a good shot of great 80’s music please check out Lily Prex! The next band is Dystopian. They are high school age and great a great musical trio. Total classic hardcore Metal band that has the greatest family support system. Such raw talent on each of these bands. I hope you check them out and agree with me that they are what we need to keep the greatest decade of music alive!
Like I said, I’m not “Bummer Man” and I’m trying not to deliver any negative vibes here. Just realize that time marches on and that you have to see your favorite band before you can’t anymore. And, to the bands, tour manager and PR agents… 2020 sucked and as we get back to playing out again, please don’t turn down genuine opportunities for photographers to cover the bands you represent. Any and all coverage of shows from here on out needs to happen. What if it happens to be one of their last for some unforeseen reason? We’re all in this together, and the photographers wiling to put their talents to good use for a show should be put to good use! Much appreciated!
“For Whom the Bell Tolls, Time Marches On”.
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