Archive for Anthrax

That’s So Raven

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Raven
Safari Sam’s
Hollywood, CA
August 23, 2008

It wasn’t exactly 1983’s Kill ‘Em All For One Tour, but as I mentioned in my previous post (see Hirax: True Age Of Terror), it sure looked like it outside the club. Raven’s one night stand in L.A. with Hirax was an event. Mark and John Gallagher have given up the “athletic” side of their live shows – no more football helmets, shoulder pads, or catchers masks crashing down on their cymbals and guitar necks – although Mark was sporting some catcher’s knee pads that night.

It was obvious that the new generation of fans in the audience that night had done their homework on the band. They were all aware of how influential this band was and the history that is Raven – Metallica was the opening act for Raven in ’83…that is how big they were. Raven was a key element in helping bands like Metallica and Anthrax make their move from the indies to the majors.

The highlight of the night for me was watching Raven arrive to the venue at the very last second. Katon from Hirax had told me that he thought they might have been partying too hard after the show the night before in San Francisco. With just moments to spare, Raven’s van skidded in to the parking lot and the band hurried into the small venue through the front door. It was hilarious, all three guys were rolling their suitcases behind them, doing their best to squeeze through the kids in line. It was like a bad Samsonite commercial.

A Funny Thing Happened To Me On The Way To The Show

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Nuclear Assault
Celebrity Theatre : Anaheim, CA
December 1989

Have you ever had one of those days when you wish you had just stayed in bed? Well, this was one of those days. At the time, I was hosting an extreme Metal Show on my college radio station and I was offered a couple of tickets to see a band that I was really into and supporting heavily on my show – Nuclear Assault.

Nuclear Assault had just had a great run with the Survive album. Now, with their newest release, Handle With Care, it was time for these East Coasters to be considered a serious threat to the Bay Area’s Thrash and Speed giants. My buddy Len and I really appreciated Nuclear Assault’s approach to their music. They were very socially aware, but they had a sense of humor. Nuclear assault also appealed to us because they fused speed metal and hardcore – long before it was popular to do such a thing.

Just before we left for the show, I got a phone call from their label rep. She knew that I was also going to be shooting the show for Creem Magazine’s Thrash Metal Special. She told me that if I arrived an hour early, I could snap some shots of the band in the dressing room before their set. I was blown away!! This was a chance for me to get something special, something timeless. Then I thought about it…I had no studio lighting, I didn’t even own a flash…that’s how broke I was. I needed to borrow something, pronto!

I would lose a little bit of time, but my roommate knew someone with a flash I could borrow. It took a bit longer than I hoped, but I got the flash. Unfortunately, the flash did not come with batteries. I was going to have to make another pit stop to pick some up on the way to the show. Now I was starting to stress out, I still had to pick up Len. If I was not at the venue early enough I would blow my photo opportunity in the dressing room.

I was about 30 minutes behind schedule when I finally picked up Len. As we were racing to the show, I spotted a Target off the freeway and pulled in. Len knew I needed batteries, but he also knew that I didn’t have a penny in my pocket. Len was smart and decided to play it safe and wait for me outside…I couldn’t blame him. Times were tough for me back then, so the batteries were going to have to somehow find their way into my pocket. It was Christmas time and the store was packed. I figured this would be a breeze, but I had to make it snappy.

I quickly found a 4 pack of Duracell AA Batteries and walked to another aisle that was a bit more crowded. As I mixed in with the other shoppers, I dropped the pack of batteries in my pocket. That was easy, almost too easy. I headed for the exit door, I could see Len pacing outside, looking at his watch. The moment I stepped outside the exit doors, an undercover security guard grabbed me. Before I knew what hit me, I was handcuffed and paraded through the store. I was quickly huddled into a small supply room where I was threatened and reprimanded by three or four security guards. To make things worse, I was wearing an Andrew Dice Clay t-shirt – that did not go over well with a couple of the security guards. They definitely were not fans of The Dice Man.

All I kept thinking was, “How long is this going to take? I gotta’ get outta’ here. Can’t I just say I am sorry and leave?” I must have been their only catch of the day…they really wanted to teach me a lesson. After about 30 minutes of this nonsense, I was released and told that I could never shop in that store again. When I got outside, Len was pissed. Then I think I pissed him off even more when I asked to borrow four dollars so I could get the batteries I still needed. Of course I also had to ask him to go into the store and buy them for me since I couldn’t shop there anymore.

Now we were really late. I was sure that we had no chance of making it on time, but I kept assuring Len that we would make it. We raced to the venue, grabbed our tickets and my photo pass and jumped inside. Dark Angel had just gone on stage. I couldn’t help myself…I had to snap some shots of Dark Angel. Now I was really pressing my luck, I was obsessed. I snapped a couple of songs and then jetted straight to Nuclear Assault’s dressing room.

As I entered their dressing room I looked at the clock, I was a little over an hour late. I really screwed up. I decided that I had to make things right and apologize to the band and to their label rep…it was the only thing I could do. Just then, the band’s label rep saw me. Before I could say a word, she said, “Kevin, I was worried you didn’t get my message. Thank you so, so much for waiting, I am so sorry. I really owe you for this one. The guys just finished up and they are all yours.” I wasn’t sure what had just happened…it was like a truck just ran me over and I was reborn. As I chatted with the band and snapped some shots, I put the pieces together and figured out that the band had arrived late and then had a last minute video interview that pushed my time back an hour.

I might be a lousy shoplifter, but sometimes I sure have good luck!

Photographed with the remains of my Canon AE1-Program, a cheap, no name 28mm-70mm lens and a borrowed flash. Shot on Kodak Negative film.

South Of Kevin

Posted in music with tags , , , , , on May 19, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Slayer
May 25, 1991
Clash Of The Titans Tour
Pacific Amphitheatre : Costa Mesa

In the spring of ‘91, Slayer was the biggest “underground” metal band in the world, and they were recording shows for their double live CD, Decade of Aggression. They were at the top of their game in every way, tearing through Southern California on The Clash of the Titans tour, which consisted of Megadeth, Anthrax and newcomers Alice In Chains. This shot is from The Pacific Amphitheatre, an 8500 capacity outdoor venue that was lit up like a war zone that night. Four or five fires were burning violently around the lawn, each surrounded by twisting, silhouetted bodies that danced maniacally in the night. There was something primitive, tribal and even sacrificial going on as Slayer and this incredible collection of metal megabands brought their evil into town

I had just started to get in tight with the Slayer camp and this was the first time I was allowed to shoot their entire set. (Photographers usually only get to shoot the first couple of songs and are then booted out of the photo pit.) This was an important point in my career in terms of credibility, and I remember being so nervous and excited that my hands were sweating as the lights went down and the intro to Hell Awaits rang out. But the raw fury of the music instantly burned off any nerves I had, and I started snapping. Slayer had really stepped it up with their light show on this tour, lots of reds, and lots of silhouettes. It looked really cool, but it was a pain to shoot.

I really wanted to capture the dark, sinister feel that the lights created during certain songs. Again, keep in mind that only film cameras existed then, there was no way for me to take a look and see if my aperture and shutter speed readings were accurate…you either know what you are doing or you don’t…it was all manual back then. I really feel that I did a great job of capturing the essence of Slayer that night – lots of reds, lots of blues, lots of silhouettes, many powerful shots were captured that evening. It was all knowing when to open and close the aperture and occasionally ramping the shutter up or down as needed.

Going into this show, the band and management knew my work by now and they thought I would be the perfect guy to get the shots that were needed for the booklet that was to be included in this double CD package…about 30 or so of my photos ended up in the book. Still, I was disappointed to learn that another photographer was getting the cover shot. Later on, when the CD was released, I was stunned to see that the cover of the CD looked very much like a shot that I would have taken – I can recognize my photos in a heartbeat. But the photo credits in the CD’s liner notes gave the CD cover credit shot to another photographer, and listed my contribution as “other photos.” This really threw me off.

I went tearing through my files and dug the original slide out of the hundreds that I shot that night. When I realized that they had used my shot on the cover but didn’t credit me, I was so shocked and pissed off I swear I almost made myself pass out. This was a major screw-up on the record label’s part, major! But when I remembered that just a few years earlier I was sneaking my camera into Slayer shows, that seemed to calm me. Now, here I was in my early 20’s, doing the cover shot for one of their most important CDs. I felt like I was really making something of myself.

Different color passes were used that night, some colors more important than others. I can’t remember what each color meant. But what I liked was that Slayer added a code on all of my passes which was the secret code that alerted security that I was shooting the entire set. The code that Slayer gave me that night was 666. Take a look.


Photographed behind the crooked cross with an old Canon F1 camera and a cheap, no name 28-80mm lens and a cheap, no name 70-200mm lens. Shot on Kodak Ektachrome film.

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