Archive for Metal

Breaking The Code : Pantera

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2010 by Kevin Estrada

Pantera

The Palladium

Hollywood, CA

1992

The 1980’s were undeniably the decade of Metal.  Metal was born, Metal evolved, Metal went mainstream, Metal was everywhere.  Until the Fall of 1991.  Grunge exploded and took over the airwaves and took over the music biz.  It is no secret that many blame the Grunge movement for the death of Metal.

When something dies, something new must emerge. Metal, or at least the music that was being called Metal had to die.  Come on…at this point bands like Poison, Winger and Bullet Boys were considered Metal.  Metal needed to evolve, and Grunge is what was needed to come in and start the change.  A few heavy bands took Metal to a new degree, pushing the envelope, giving Metal new life.  Bands like White Zombie, Prong, and Helmet breathed new life into Metal.  But it was Pantera who led the pack.

Metal no longer wore spandex, Metal no longer wore moussed hair, Metal no longer wore eye-liner.  Pantera was pure, pissed off energy and they set out to take over the world.

I will never forget the first time I met Phil Anselmo.  It was at the Foundation’s Forum in Burbank, California in October of 1991.  Pantera had just won the award for Top New Metal Band.  My bladder was ready to explode so I snuck out of my seat at the Awards Ceremony to take a quick squirt.  The bathroom was dead empty – everyone was watching the Awards.  About halfway through my piss, Phil comes in holding his award – with a serious pissed off game face on – and starts pissing in the stall next to me.

It was one of those moments when all you can do is look at the wall directly in front of your face.  We both must have had a lot to drink, because it felt like 15 minutes of pissing silence.  Finally, I decided to break the ice.  With my eyes still focused on the ceramic tiles in front of me I say, “You guys totally deserve that award, man.”   Phil breaks the men’s room code and turns his head.  He looks me in the eye with a hard, cold look on his face.  He says, “What was that?”  Now I break the code and turn my head to him and say again, “ I said you guys totally deserve that award, man.  You guys are reinventing metal.”  Suddenly, Phil’s game face drops and a smile the size of Texas appears.  He nearly zips himself into the hospital with one hand and shoves the other in my face to shake my hand.  He is thanking me and telling me how he could not believe they won…it was like a dream he said.

He is going on and on, like a little kid at Christmas…so happy.  The whole time, all I could think is, “This guy needs to wash his hands…there is no way I am shaking that hand.”  I pretend to have problems zipping up to avoid his extended hand.  Finally, his excitement gets the best of him and he bro-hugs me.  I walk over to the sink and start to wash my hands, hoping that the water and soap invite him to join me.  Nope.  He keeps on talking, and just watches me as I wash my hands.  I dry up and we walk out together into the lobby and back into the Awards Ceremony.

I knew Metal was back!

Photographed with my Canon EOS-1, and a Canon 28mm-80mm 5.6 lens.  Shot on Kodak Ektachrome film.

Then And Now Series : Rob Halford of Judas Priest

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 15, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

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

These photos were shot over a quarter of a century apart. Besides losing his hair and growing a goatee, I am happy to say not much has changed. Okay, maybe the Halford of today stumbles around the stage a bit; okay, maybe his moves are a lot slower and safer then they used to be; okay, maybe he reads some of the lyrics off of a teleprompter strategically placed on stage; okay, maybe he can’t hit all those brutally high and long notes like he did in 1982 – but no one can argue that Rob Halford does not have the same passion, fury and angst that he did 26 years ago.

This is a man that has truly dedicated his life to Metal. Sure, Halford meandered here and there a bit, but he always came back around to what was in his soul – Metal. Rob Halford has arguably done more for this genre of music than anyone else in all of music. Halford is the guy who carved the heavy metal look by mixing leather, studs and denim; he is the guy who made Heavy Metal Vocals a true instrument and used them as a creative art-form; and he is the guy who made being a Metal Head respectable. Be proud Metal Heads, be proud.

True Age Of Terror

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

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

If I didn’t see kids texting on their cell phones, I would have had no idea that it was still 2008. Denim vests, patches, leather, spiked wristbands, miniskirts…I thought I died and was sent back to 1983. This is what happens when Hirax and Raven come to town. For those of you who don’t know, along with Metallica and Slayer, Hirax was one of the Southern California originators of Speed and Thrash Metal in the early 1980′s. Twenty some years later Katon DePena and Hirax are still going for it.

Before the show, I hung out with Katon in the dressing room…this guy still has Metal pouring through his veins. He was just as cool, just as pumped and just as motivated as he was in 1985 when their first LP was released on Metal Blade Records. As he and I chatted, I couldn’t help but wonder and appreciate what mountains he must have climbed to gain the respect that he has achieved in a genre of music that is predominantly white. Katon and the band brought it all to the stage – bullet belts, leather, smoke. It is shows like this that truly keep metal alive. A whole new generation of metal kids have the chance to get a glimpse of what the glory days of metal were like.

I will throw up some shots of metal godfathers Raven in my next post.

Photographed with my Canon 5D, a Canon 70mm-200mm f2.8 lens and a Canon 580 EX flash. All shot on Manual Modes.

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.

Grindcrusher…I mean, Gangbanger Tour

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Napalm Death
April 20, 1991
Grincrusher Tour
Country Club : Reseda, Ca

I didn’t plan on this, but yesterday’s post on Godflesh and The Grindcrusher Tour had to be THE most popular post thus far. I was asked by a number of loyal readers to talk a bit more about the set by co-headliner’s Napalm Death that evening. I guess many of you have heard the rumors…so here is the truth. And away we go…

For some reason, besides all the “Death Metal Latinos,” Napalm Death seemed to attract a handful of the most violent gangs in Los Angeles. It made sense to me when the Venice gangs would show up at the D.R.I. gigs…but Napalm Death? They are from Birmingham, England…what does England have to do with the gangs in L.A.? I still have not figured that one out.

Anyways, as the openers burned through their sets, the gang-bangers would walk around in a slo-mo, kind of crazed style…almost like an animal as it stalks its prey. As Napalm’s set got closer, you could feel the tension in the room rise, and the crazed looks of the gang-bangers got crazier and crazier. Just before Napalm Death hit the stage, a few dozen more gangsters entered the venue. I have no idea how or where they came from, but the room was filled with blue and red bandanas and gangster-plaid shirts.

As soon as Napalm’s fury began, so did the gang’s. Violent and bloody fights were breaking out everywhere. My roommate was in the balcony watching the fights from above – he couldn’t believe his eyes. There was nothing that the club security could do – the violence was way to extreme and it was in every corner of the room. They had no choice but to frantically call the police, otherwise it was not just gang members who were going to get hurt.

Just before the police stormed the venue, a huge pile-up broke out on the floor – right in the middle of the mosh-pits. Yes, unbelievably, the mosh pits continued, even during the gang violence – amazing! Almost in unison, all the gangsters jumped off of the pile and stood in a circle. The circle quickly opened and out came a slow, stumbling man. He was shirtless and dripping wet with sweat. People began pointing fingers at the man and jaws began to drop. Then I saw it. The man’s stomach was sliced wide open – the only thing holding his belly together was his hand. His innards began to poke out of the gaping, bloody wound – he shoved them back in with his left hand. I had never seen anything like it. Then, to make things even more unbelievable, he started jumping up and down and then he started running around the club and “high-fiveing” people with his right hand as he held his guts in with his left hand. Perhaps he was smoking some of that Angel Dust that was going around that night.

The bloodied man ran straight out one of the emergency exit doors that lead to the outside parking lot. Dozens of people followed right behind him. As soon as Napalm finished their set a song or two later, I ran out the same door to see what was going on (yes, I kept snapping photos until they were done). I saw a crowd of people fighting to get past the police. Cops were everywhere, police helicopters, everything. I fought my way through the crowd and got up to the front. I was distracted because I saw my good friend Melissa freaking out, screaming at the cops. I couldn’t figure out why she was so upset – she didn’t know this gang-banger. Then I saw what was upsetting her. The police had her car taped off with yellow “do not cross” tape. And there he was, dead – sprawled out on the hood of Melissa’s Mazda RX7.

I am not sure what you heard, but I know most of you Grindcore fans heard something about this amazing show. This is what happened – straight from an eyewitness. That show had to be THE craziest show I have ever attended. Little did I know that in just a few minutes, I too, would be bloody and sliced up – for that story read yesterday’s post, Grindcrusher…I mean, Grindcutter Tour.

Photographed at the casting call for the movie Colors with my Canon F1 and a cheap, no name 28mm-80mm f5.6 lens. Shot on Kodak Ektachrome film.

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