Archive for motley crue

A True Symbol Of Salvation – The R.I.P. Series

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Dave Pritchard
Armored Saint

Date Of Death: February 27, 1990
Cause Of Death: Leukemia

One thing that you need to understand about my early teens is that local bands were just as big as arena bands to us. We had the great and unfair advantage of seeing many of our local heroes blow up and become some of the biggest names in rock – Van Halen, Motley Crue, Ratt, etc. Armored Saint was next in line and in prime position. Armored Saint went from being the biggest unsigned local band in the San Gabriel Valley to a household name around the country.

During Armored Saint’s rollercoaster of a career, the band faced some serious changes that challenged the future of the mighty rockers. In 1989, the band made a bold decision to replace guitarist Phil Sandoval, recruiting another local hero, Jeff Duncan of Odin. As the new Saint lineup began work on new songs and demos for their upcoming album, guitarist Dave Pritchard was diagnosed with Leukemia. Unfortunately, the aggressiveness of the disease would prevent Pritchard from taking part in the final recording sessions of Symbol Of Salvation.

In a heartfelt move, Sandoval returned to Armored Saint, replacing Pritchard and bringing harmony to the Saint Family. Armored Saint honored Pritchard’s memory by using his guitar solo that he recorded on the four-track demo version of Tainted Past for the final album version that was released on Symbol Of Salvation.

Photographed with my old Canon AE1 Program and a cheap, no name 70mm-210mm f 5.6 lens. Shot on Kodak Ektachrome film.

Back For More – The R.I.P. Series

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

Robbin Crosby
Ratt

Date of Death: June 6, 2002
Cause Of Death: Heroine Overdose

Like many of the local bands that I would see as a teen, Ratt had emerged victorious – growing from a local, unsigned band to one of the biggest arena rock bands in history. I saw Ratt climb to stardom, step-by-step…it was a great time for Metal and Hard Rock.

Robbin Crosby teamed up with Ratt in 1982 and was a major force in Ratt’s songwriting and hit songs. Round And Round, Back For More, Lay It Down – all Crosby’s handiwork. There was always a rumor floating around that we used to hear back in those days; that Crosby’s band-mate Warren DeMartini seemed to get more attention and more praise than Crosby, regardless of the fact that Robbin Crosby wrote so many of the bands hit songs. This rumor is what eventually led Crosby down the dark and lonely road of drug addiction.

Crosby truly lived the rock and roll lifestyle that everyone has read about and soon became a habitual heroine user. Despite the drug use, Crosby always remained a sweet and soft-spoken person, dedicated and appreciative of his fans. Eventually his heroine use became much more severe and was seriously affecting his playing on stage, eventually forcing Crosby to exit Ratt. In early 2001, Robbin Crosby publicly announced that he had full-blown AIDS. A year later he was found dead of a heroin overdose, not AIDS as many believe.

Unfortunately, my last memory of Robbin Crosby is not a happy one. I was walking out of a now defunct comic book shop named The Fantastic Store on Highland in Hollywood. As I walked to my car, I saw Robbin – in the alley adjacent to the parking lot, scoring heroin from some filthy dealer. Robbin had lost everything to heroin – his family, his career, his home, his belongings. He looked horrible, the man who was fondly referred to as “King” was dirty and had put on massive amounts of weight. Shortly after this, “King” was gone. It was very saddening for me to see one of my teen heroes like this. It is an image that I don’t think I will ever be able to forget.

Photographed with my old Canon AE1 Program and a cheap, no name 70mm-210mm f 5.6 lens. Shot on Kodak Ektachrome film.

No More Tears – The R.I.P. Series

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Randy Castillo
Ozzy Osbourne Band
Motley Crue

Date Of Death: March 26, 2002
Cause Of Death: Cancer

It was on Ozzy Osbourne’s No Rest For The Wicked Tour that I first really noticed the greatness in Randy Castillo’s drumming. I am not a drummer or an drum critic by any means, but what I gathered was that Randy was not the greatest at copying parts that other drummers wrote, he was great at being himself and creating his own feel.

Castillo was plagued with serious ailments that forced the drummer to pop in and out of tours during his career. Just before he was set to tour with Motley Crue in support of New Tattoo, he was diagnosed with an extremely serious ulcer that had ruptured his stomach. While recovering from his surgery, Castillo found a small lump on his jaw. Within a month, the lump had grown to the size of a golf ball. The diagnosis was a common form of skin cancer. A few months later this monster got the best of him.

I was fortunate enough to have hung out with Randy just prior to his passing one night at The House Of Blues in Los Angeles. Mike Inez of Alice In Chains introduced me to Randy and they excitedly told me about a new band that they were working on together. Inez had always told me that Randy and I would get along great…and he was right. The moment Randy found out that my father also grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico we were instant pals. Shortly after that the Rock World was reading his obituary.

Photographed with my old Canon AE1 Program and a cheap, no name 70mm-210mm f 5.6 lens. Shot on Kodak Ektachrome film.

Break On Through

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Motley Crue
Tower Records : West Covina, CA
October 29, 1983

My buddy Rob and I were huge Crue fans growing up. We were fortunate enough to see some of their early and greatest shows during their climb to the top. One of our highlights was when we were crushed against the stage all night for the infamous New Years Evil show at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. In exchange for a ride to the show that night, we had to help set up a New Year’s party in the area…we ended up hitch-hiking home after the show. That’s dedication.

With the release of Shout At The Devil just a few weeks prior, Motley traded in theatrics such as igniting Nikki’s boots on fire for elaborate Road Warrior-esque stage designs. In a move to increase record sales, Elektra Records decided to set up an in-store appearance with Motley Crue. I don’t think they could boost sales any more than they were at…the record sold over two hundred thousand copies in its first two weeks of release. The band chose Tower Records in West Covina…Tommy Lee’s old stomping grounds.

This was the biggest event to come to the San Gabriel Valley since Van Halen played their last shows in Pasadena. Rob and I were lucky enough to convince my friend Howie to drive us there early. We got there around 9am and there were already fifty or so kids in line. As we jumped in line, we decided on what we would have the band sign for us. Getting the band to sign my Leather Records version of Too Fast For Love was my priority that day.

By noon there must have been 500 kids there, the parking lot was a mess – kids everywhere, cars backed up. Panic started to take over the store management. It was obvious that they did not expect numbers like this. The manager screamed at us through a bullhorn to clear the parking lot, to make a single file line – otherwise the in-store appearance would be canceled. People were booing and throwing things…this could turn into a riot at any moment.

As the hundreds of people crammed themselves into a line, the pressure became greater and greater. We were all really starting to get smashed up. My buddy Howie couldn’t take it anymore and he bailed out on us. Luckily we were very close to the front of the line, so we figured we would not have to endure too much more of this. Through the bullhorn they announced that they were going to start letting us in to meet the band. Just then, the pressure really increased as the people in the back of the line all pushed forward. We all pushed back, retaliating to the crowd behind us. They pushed forward even harder this time…. and that was it! The display window that we were leaning against cracked wide open and about twelve of us went flying through the huge glass window into the store.

The band could not believe what was happening. They jumped from their seats as a dozen of us fell nearly at their feat, covered in glass and some covered in blood. I remember Tommy with his eyes super wide and his jaw on the ground. All he could say was “No way, dude, no way!” As we met the band, each of the guys took the time to ask us if we were okay and told us how much they appreciated us. That day, the band realized that the loyalty of their fans was taken to another level.

Last month I spent the day with Motley in their rehearsal room on a shoot for Rolling Stone. During lunch, I asked Vince and Tommy if they remembered that day and that incident. Right away, their eyes popped out of their heads, just like they did back in 1983. They started talking about it like it just happened…there is no way they will ever forget that day.

Photographed with my brother’s Pentax K-1000 and an 80mm fixed lens – no flash (that was all I could get my hands on). Shot on Kodak Negative Film.

Pasadena Openers…SIN (featuring Rik Fox)

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

***
Part two of a five-part series that I am doing this week on local L.A. bands in the ‘80s that were opening acts on some big gigs at my favorite venue as a kid – Perkin’s Palace in Pasadena California.
***

It isn’t often that a bass player is the body and soul of a band…but like the band Talas, this was an exception. Bassist Rik Fox had just been let go from L.A. “should have beens”, Steeler. Fox, who was also in the first generation of WASP (which he also penned the band name) knew just about every big name in the Hollywood rock scene. With Steeler and WASP now behind him, it was time for Fox to form his own band – SIN. Musically, SIN’s approach was a cross between Angel and Judas Priest.

The line-up was made up of relatively unknown L.A. players: Carl James (drums); Howard Drossin (guitar); Vince Gilbert (keyboards); and Art Deresh (vocals). Art Deresh was a pretty good singer, but there was a big rumor going around that he was hygienically challenged. In other words, this guy was ‘stinky! People complained and talked about it all the time. Unfortunately, I discovered this for myself first hand one night at an after party at his home…that was some wicked B.O.!!

SIN quickly became one of the fastest rising new bands on the L.A. rock scene, playing a handful of gigs at Perkin’s Palace. Having Rik Fox and SIN open for his former band Steeler that night at Perkin’s Palace was a bold move by the promoter. There was a lot of tension and a lot of curiosity in the audience – this could have opened up a huge can of worms. All the bands killed that night. It was another amazing lineup and quite a bargain at only $7.00.

Photographed with my trusty, smuggled in Canon AE-1 and a cheap, no name 70mm-210mm lens. Shot on Kodak negative film.


Help to save and preserve The Raymond Theatre (aka Perkin’s Palace):
www.raymondtheatre.com
RaymondTheatre@aol.com
MySpace – Official Raymond Theatre Site

Pasadena Openers…Leather Angel – 1983

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Leather Angel
November 25, 1983
Perkin’s Palace : Pasadena, CA

***
Part one of a five-part series that I am doing this week on local L.A. bands in the ‘80s that were opening acts on some big gigs at my favorite venue as a kid – Perkin’s Palace in Pasadena California.
***

First, a little background on the venue. The Raymond Theatre was a beautiful 2000 capacity theatre built in the 1920’s. Vaudeville shows, movie screenings and live plays were the original uses of the theatre. In 1979, the venue broke into the live concert market and the theatre became known as a live venue named Perkin’s Palace. An incredible list of artists have performed on the Perkin’s Palace stage : The Cure, Motley Crue, Phil Collins, Black Flag, Bad Religion, Depeche Mode, The Ramones, and many, many more.

Growing up as a teen, I went to a lot of amazing shows at Perkin’s Palace. Luckily for me it was only about 20 minutes from my home and I could usually talk my Mother or my pal Erik into driving to some of the early shows. The ticket prices were low and you always got a handful of L.A.’s best bands – handpicked by Gina Zamparelli, who had to be the greatest promoter in L.A. in the 80’s. When Gina’s name was on the flyer or on the ticket, my pals and I knew that every band, whether we had heard of them or not, were worth getting to the show early for.

Steeler was super-buzzing at the time. They had an incredible LP out on Shrapnel Records and the band was filled with talent. The openers for that night – Leather Angel, Rough Cutt and SIN were three of the coolest up and comers in town. SIN was the brainchild of bassist Rik Fox, who had just left Steeler to form his own band – there was some competitive energy that night. Rough Cutt had just been picked up by Wendy Dio (Ronnie’s wife) for management. Leather Angel was an all female heavy metal band, they really stood out in terms of Local Metal Bands in Los Angeles.

I first saw them as Obsession when they opened for Motley Crue at Perkin’s Palace the previous year. Motley had taken a liking to them and that helped to build their street cred in L.A. Soon after, legalities arose with another band using the same name and the girls were forced to rename the band to Leather Angel. The band was fantastic both live and on record. They kept up and played with the best of L.A.’s Metal acts – Ratt, Motley Crue, Steeler, Black & Blue, etc. Their EP, We Came To Kill, was a solid release with some local radio airplay. The record proved that this band was just not a bunch of good looking chicks, these girls could rock and they were serious about it.

[On a personal note – their manager, Keith Dyson, once tried to extort photos that I had taken of the band and threatened to take my mother’s home. I was barely 15 years years old when Keith Dyson threatened me, and I didn’t really know any better, I was intimidated and terrified. What kind of manager threatens a little kid with a camera? Keith, if are reading this…call me, call me collect…I am not a little kid anymore.]

Leather Angel later went through a handful of lineup changes and changed their name to Jaded Lady. Jaded Lady’s claim to fame was their appearance in Penelope Spheeris’ 1988 film, The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years.

Photographed with my trusty, smuggled in Canon AE-1 and a cheap, no name 70mm-210mm lens. Shot on Kodak negative film.

Help to save and preserve The Raymond Theatre:
http://www.raymondtheatre.com
RaymondTheatre@aol.com
http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=74238887

Black, White and True

Posted in music with tags , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue
Dress Rehearsals : Olympic Auditorium
January 9, 2005

When Motley reunited in 2004, I was hired to be a “fly on the wall”, with the goal of capturing something simpler and deeper. By this point, I had worked with them before and had developed a bond with Nikki. We both loved classic black and white rock photography and felt, at the time, that no one was taking the kind of shots Neil Preston used to take of Jimmy Page drinking a bottle of Jack or the Stones on their plane. (I used to stare at that shot of Jimmy Page for literally hours.) We wanted to capture everyday moments and make them feel timeless and classic.

I started in the studio with the band a few months prior when they recorded the new tracks for Red, White and Crue. Next we moved on to rehearsals – a tiny, dark room in North Hollywood. As soon as the set-list was together, we were off to full dress rehearsals – pyro and everything – at The Olympic Auditorium.

It was the final day at the Olympic and the band was choosing stage outfits, makeup, etc. Nikki was having a very private moment – putting on the finishing touches – and he saw me pass by. I hesitated. The photographer in me wants to get the shot, while the human side of me doesn’t want to invade his space.

He called out, “Hey bro, it’s cool, come on in.” This gave me permission to start snapping. There was a heaviness to the moment because I knew Nikki was letting his guard down, and allowing himself to be seen in a way that he’s not usually seen. This photo is important to me because I feel I captured the moment, and it does feel timeless. It is not staged, it’s raw and it is real.

Photographed with my Canon EOS 1 and a 24-70mm Canon Lens. Shot on Kodak Black and White film.

****

NIKKI SIXX on KEVIN ESTRADA:
The moment I saw the photos Kevin Estrada had taken of Motley Crue in the recording studio, I knew he had something you don’t always see in a photographer. Kevin has the unique ability to capture an exact moment in time. Those photos still breathe, “I was right in there with the band” to everybody who sees them.

I plan on using Kevin over and over again and I am now seeing him expanding into video. The sky’s the limit for Kevin.

- Nikki Sixx

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