Born To Be Wylde

Ozzy Osbourne
August 3, 1989
Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre
Irvine, CA

(click photo to enlarge)

There was a lot of hype about Ozzy’s new guitarist, Zakk Wylde. It had been some time since we had a true guitar God in the mix with Ozzy. The connection that I saw between them that night made me realize that we, as rock fans, were finally accepting the death of Randy Rhoads. It was time to move on. Poor Jake E. Lee seemed to get the short end of the stick. Maybe he had just come onto the scene too close to Randy’s death to ever get a fair shot – much like Jason Newsted entering Metallica after Cliff’s horrible death.

For some reason there was no photo pit that night and I was forced to shoot from the crowd, smashed up against the stage. We were all so crammed together that I could barely load a roll of film at one point. To make things worse, I was fighting with my camera equipment that night – it was falling apart – literally. All the years of taping the camera body to my neck in order to smuggle it into shows was finally taking its toll – the base plate was falling off and some of the cameras “guts” were being exposed. I had to hold the bottom together with one hand while I focused, zoomed, metered and shot with the other hand. I didn’t even have fast lenses back then, they were all f5.6 lenses. How I made it through some of these shows still amazes me today.

I have always loved this series of images. I had hoped that this sequence of shots could have been laid out like this in a tour program or in a magazine spread, but only a couple of them were ever used – always individually, never together. So this one is for me – call me greedy. I think this series of images brings out the energy and bond between Ozzy and Zakk. They just clicked right away, like Ozzy and Randy did. The magic immediately returned when Zakk entered Oz.  His much needed energy, angry style and no frills attitude were exactly what Ozzy needed to move on to the next level.


Photographed on the floor, right in there with the other Ozzy fans with my dying Canon AE1 Program and a cheap, no name 70-200mm f5.6 lens. Shot with Kodak Ektachrome film.

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2 Responses to “Born To Be Wylde”

  1. Hi Kevin.

    My son was at the Pinhead Gunpowder (Green Day) concert at the Troubadour in LA in Feb (I think that is when it was). Some of your photos made it into Rolling Stone, and my son’s hand or arm got into one of your photos. Is there some way I could buy prints from you of that concert? I live in West LA.
    tHANKS.

  2. Dirt Junior Says:

    awesome shots. i love the stories. keep them coming!

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