Archive for Danzig

“You Better Start Shooting, Kid!” – Glenn Danzig

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Danzig
Dressing Room
The Palace : Hollywood, CA
July 7, 1989

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(This photo and many others now available for sale.  Email: IamKevin@fairwarning.com)

As a way to make up for my near death experience at The Celebrity Theatre show in Anaheim (read my post “Twist Of Kevin”), Glenn and their publicist extended an invitation for me to do a quick shoot with the band at their next L.A. area show for Creem Magazine’s upcoming Metal Special. I had only met Glenn briefly before this night – in the lobby of The Wiltern Theatre at the Andrew Dice Clay show a few months prior.

I hooked up with Danzig’s tour manager at their tour bus just after the band arrived at the venue. As I walked into the club and headed towards the dressing rooms, I noticed that there were a couple of guys trailing us…their hands were full with weight lifting material – weight bench, weights, curling bars, etc. The tour manager and I stopped just outside the Danzig dressing room so he could fill me in on what to expect and to make sure that we made this shoot as quick as possible. As he was giving me the run-down, I saw the two guys turning the dressing room into a gym. I knew this was going to be good.

By the time I walked into the dressing room, I only had about 5 or 10 minutes left to shoot the photos. I introduced myself to each of the four guys in the band and told them that we should start with some quick solo shots. As I started getting my camera together, Glenn and John Christ both started lifting a bunch of weights and got their arms really pumped. Then, if that was not enough, they both did a load of push-ups. Eerie just kind of hung back and watched it all. Chuck Biscuits just sat on the sofa and drank beer. Glenn got a bit bothered that Chuck was looking so lazy and just boozing it up, but that’s Biscuits for you.

I saw that John was done working out, so I asked if I could start with his solo shots. Out of nowhere, John dunked his head in a tub of water and had his hair dripping all over himself as he walked in front of my camera. Then Eerie walked up and just kinda stood there…very evil-like…it was perfect. Biscuits was next. He had this fantastic bad-ass/punk attitude about the whole thing…like he could care less. He walked up with a beer in hand and just looked like he wanted to go home…I loved it. Glenn shot him a look. Biscuits then asked Glenn if he could keep the beer in the photos. Glenn just shrugged his shoulders and kept doing push-ups.

By the time Glenn walked in front of me to do his solo shots, he was completely pumped and ripped. His arms were still throbbing. As he stood in front of me, he started putting on his infamous Karate gloves that he used to wear all the time. I lowered my camera and waited for him to finish tieing his gloves and start posing for me. Glenn must have taken it the wrong way or something when I lowered my camera because, without looking at me, I heard him say, “You better start shooting kid! Time is running out.” I realized that Glenn was not joking about 5 minutes to do this shoot. So I started snapping. Suddenly, Glenn Danzig came to life. His facial expressions became very serious; his body tightened up…he was focused. What a pro!

As soon as I was done shooting Glenn’s solo shots, I grabbed the other guys and threw them next to Glenn for some quick group shots. Glenn was very impressed how fast I shot and how serious I took the shoot. This photo was the last frame that I shot in this session. Just then, their tour manager popped in and told us that it was time to get on stage. The band was taking this show very seriously as it was being broadcast live on KNAC, the local metal station at the time. I followed the band up to the stage and jumped in the photo pit and snapped away.

My relationship with Glenn grew from that day and I have worked closely with Glenn many times since over the years. It is an honor to know that he continues to think highly of my photos and appreciates the way I work. Glenn Danzig is the real deal.

Photographed with my trusty Canon AE1 Program, a cheap, no name 28mm-70mm lens and a Sunpak 100 flash. Shot on Kodak Ektachrome film.

A Roll Of The Dice

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Andrew Dice Clay
Wiltern Theatre
Los Angeles, CA
April 13, 1989

I know Dice is not a rock and roll star, but at the time, he was just as big and as legendary as any of them. Dice had the number one comedy album in the nation and it was continuing to blow up – he was the hottest ticket in town. Just about every big name in the rock community came out for this show – Glenn Danzig, Guns N Roses (yup – Axl, Slash, Duff, Steven), Lemmy Kilmeister, Rick Rubin, David Lee Roth, Tom Petty, etc. It was THE show of all shows and I knew I had to be there, and for some reason, I had to shoot it.

At this point in my career, I was starting to legally photograph rock acts, but I still had not figured out how to secure a photo pass. I knew that the Wiltern Theatre was notorious for brutal security pat downs as you enter the venue, so there was no way I was going to be able to smuggle my camera in. I needed to devise a new plan.

A friend of mine at UCLA wrote a column for the campus paper, The Daily Bruin. He happened to get his hands on an unused Campus Police Press Pass. I had no idea if this thing carried any clout, but I had no other options. I typed my information onto the card and popped a few mug shots of myself in one of those old Polaroid photo booths. I stuck the photo in there and slapped on some lamination. It looked pretty official, official enough to get into a school debate, not a Dice show. But I was going to try anyway.

When I arrived at the venue, I walked immediately up to the Will Call window, acting like I had done it a million times. I flashed my Campus Police Press Pass and told the girl that I was here to photograph the show for The Daily Bruin. They searched and searched through a long list and told me that my name could not be found. I told them to check under the “A’s” , explaining that my name has been misspelled many times on lists like these – totally bluffing, them. They searched again and came up with nothing. So then I said, “Well, this is just great, what am I supposed to do with all this photo equipment? I know this is not your fault, but I think I need to talk to your supervisor.”

Just then a well-dressed man jumped in front of the glass window and took over asking what the problem was. As the girl began to explain the situation to him I started to get nervous. This guy was a seasoned pro, he has heard every story in the book…. you could just tell by looking at him, and he was not amused with my story. I heard him mumble to the girl, “I get it, don’t worry, I’ll take care of this.” I knew my plan was about to blow up in my face.

The man looks at me and says, “Here’s the deal – I am Dice’s publicist. Every press pass for this event goes through me, and I’ll tell you right now that I did not approve ANY photos for this show. And I can also tell you that your name has never come across my desk. Can I see this press pass she is talking about?” I nervously pulled out my hand made UCLA Campus Police Pass and showed it to him. He looks at the pass and his eyes just about popped out of his head. “Stay right there, I’m coming around. Don’t you move.” I began to really panic – should I run? This is bad. He is probably grabbing security and coming straight for me. I decided to run!

Just as I was about to make a run for it, he was standing directly in front of me. I had no choice but to try to play it cool again with him even though my legs could barely hold me up. He looks me square in the eye and says, “You’re a Bruin?” I thought, “What the hell is this guy talking about?” Again he said, “You’re a Bruin, UCLA right?” And I said, yea, UCLA, yes, I am a Bruin.” He pats me on the back and shakes my hand with a huge smile on his face. “I’m a Bruin too, class of ’78.” I couldn’t believe it, this guy was now my best friend just because I go to the same college that he did. He then takes me into the ticket office and grabs a pass and writes “Photo – UCLA” on the front of it in big, black letters.

He walks me down to the very front of the venue and sets me up. I am the only photographer in the whole place. As I am still trying to absorb what just happened, he tells me, “I usually go by that list, if your name is not on there, then that’s it. But us Bruins gotta’ take care of each other, right?” We shook hands and gives me his card, “Be sure to give me a call if you need anything for the Daily Bruin again.” “No problem, thanks!” The lights went out and I snapped off a couple of rolls of my favorite comedian – The Dice Man!


Photographed with my Canon AE1 Program and a cheap, no name 80mm-200mm 5.6f lens. Shot on Fuji Negative Film.

Twist Of Kevin

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

Danzig – Celebrity Theatre : June 17, 1989

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(This photo and many others now available for sale.  Email: IamKevin@fairwarning.com)

As soon as the band ripped into their opening song – Am I Demon – I knew the legend of Glenn Danzig was alive and well. The crowd exploded with unbelievable fury. Without stopping, the band roared into Twist Of Cain. And that’s when I first noticed it. The homemade wooden barricade the venue constructed, the one that separated the stage from the crowd was starting to bend. Inside this barricade, I was shooting alone with 6 or 7 security guards. As the music exploded in blistering riffs, and Danzig wailed, the crowd’s energy surged with indescribable fury. Cracks started to form in the barricade, and a guard shouted at me to get out of the pit. I shouted back, “no way.” I was in the middle of what soldiers call “the shit” and there was no way in Hell I was going to miss getting these shots. We got a reprieve when the opening notes of Mother calmed the crowd. But then came the bridge, and the solo, and the crowd surged forward once again. The barricade blew over like a piece of paper. The security guards leapt onto the stage, but I got caught beneath the fallen barricade. Miraculously, it wedged onto the lip of the stage, and I was trapped below it, with barely an inch separating it from my fallen body.

I could see the feet of fans – dozens and dozens – of fans, running over me, charging the stage. The wood barricade began to crack, and a hail of splinters rained down, covering my hair and nicking my eyes. There was no way out. The pressure and massive weight of the kids had me completely pinned. At that point, I honestly gave up. I thought for sure I was going to die. Then, by some miracle, a hand grabbed one of my ankles and began to tug on me. This superhero of a security guard dragged me out and lifted me onto the stage. It was complete mayhem – 60 or 70 kids convulsing all over the stage. The guards lined up at the edge of the stage, using their bodies as human walls, doing their best to protect the band. I took a moment to clear my head, and then my instincts took over. Danzig was rocking out two feet in front of me, and I had a camera. So start shooting. This is one of the chaotic images that I captured that night.

I shot this show with my Canon AE-1 Program (which was starting to see it’s last days) and a no-name, cheap-ass 28-80mm lens for Creem Magazine’s special edition Creem Metal. I was also honored to learn that Glenn Danzig approves who does and doesn’t shoot his shows, and that I was the only photographer allowed to shoot this historic gig. It was the start of a great relationship with Glenn that continues to this day.

Check out this photo pass – one of a kind, handmade – approved by Glenn himself.

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