Archive for slayer

Thanks For Reigning : Tribute To Jeff Hanneman

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 24, 2013 by Kevin Estrada

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Jeff Hanneman Memorial

Hollywood Palladium

May 23, 2013

I started shooting Slayer in 1984…and in that time, I became close with the band.  From sneaking my camera into the club shows to becoming a co-producer on the Soundtrack To The Apocalypse box set – it has been a great ride.  But this one hit hard.  At his celebration, every snap of my camera brought me closer and closer to the end of a big chapter in my life.  I know Slayer will go on – in one form or another – but there is such a sense of unwanted closure.  It is hard to put in words – so I am giving you a little taste of what Slayer gave me over the years.  Thank you Tom, thank you Kerry, thank you Dave, thank you Paul and Jon…and lastly – thank you Jeff, and farewell.

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.

SLAYER’S STILL REIGNING DVD…the aftermath

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , on July 4, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

SLAYER
Augusta Civic Center
Augusta, ME
July 11, 2004

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

***
Part five of a five-part series I am doing this week as I look back at the making of Slayer’s Still Reigning DVD. From load in to load out, I was there with the band.
***

As we walked down the hallway back towards the band’s dressing room, I studied their bloodied faces. They looked amazing…even Jeff, who was not thickly covered in blood. I had to capture this moment. I told the band, “Don’t wash your faces, don’t even touch them.” Luckily, I had planned ahead and set up a couple of studio lights in one of the showers in Slayer’s dressing room…just in case they walked off the stage looking like they did at that moment.

I didn’t even let the guys put their guitars down, I grabbed all of them and walked them straight in front of my lights. The band was still huffing and puffing as I snapped away. These photos have turned out to be pretty important shots in terms of Slayer History. All the Slayer guys were in great moods. Kerry and Jeff were comparing stories about how hard it was to play their leads on the slick, bloodied guitars. Dave explained how blood kept splashing into his face when he would hit his snare drum. I grabbed Kerry and Tom and did some bloody solo shots of them and then I told them that I was done and they could shower off. Funny thing is, I don’t think these guys wanted to wash the blood off…they probably would have kept it on all night if they could have. But the blood was starting to dry up and get sticky and hard.

As I began packing up my gear, I caught a glimpse of Tom walking into the shower (yes, he was fully dressed!). I noticed how the blood mixed with the water…it just looked so morbid I had to photograph it. Tom loved the idea and I snapped and snapped as Tom rinsed the blood from his body and clothing. The photograph of Tom’s feet surrounded by a pool of blood ended up as the artwork on the DVD itself in the Still Reigning packaging.

Surprisingly, Jeff was in great spirits despite the mishap. Sure, he was bummed, but he was so proud that his dream became a reality. Jeff’s answer to this mishap – “I guess we will just have to do it again…maybe take it on the road.” And that is exactly what they did. On their next tour, select cities and venues were treated to the bloody shower of rain – although the touring version was a much more toned down version. The pouring buckets of blood were missing and the pouring blood rain was a much more watered down version. Nevertheless, it was still very exciting to witness such an extravaganza. It was an honor to have been hand picked by Slayer to document this historical event for them.

SLAYER’S STILL REIGNING DVD…the show

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

SLAYER
Augusta Civic Center
Augusta, ME
July 11, 2004

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

***
Part four of a five-part series I am doing this week as I look back at the making of Slayer’s Still Reigning DVD. From load in to load out, I was there with the band.
***

One of my favorite parts of being a rock photographer is the final moments before the show. There is a certain electricity that is present when a band walks from their dressing room to the stage. You can feel the power of this electricity increase with each step as the band gets closer and closer to the stage. The energy must have been contagious because even I got caught up in the moment…I can be seen leading the band out of the dressing room on the DVD’s bonus footage. I had never seen the band more focused for a show than they were that evening…trust me, I have been seeing and shooting them since the early 1980’s. This was their night and their dream was about to be realized.

The intro music rand through the venue and the band exploded onto the stage. Here is the entire set-list for this historic gig:

Intro / Darkness Of Christ
Disciple
War Ensemble
Hallowed Point
Necrophiliac
Mandatory Suicide
Fight Til Death
Spill The Blood
Payback
Dead Skin Mask
Hell Awaits
South Of Heaven
—————
Angel Of Death
Piece By Piece
Necrophobic
Altar Of Sacrifice
Jesus Saves
Criminally Insane
Reborn
Epidemic
Postmortem
Raining Blood

As the band began to bring Postmortem to a close I knew it was due or die time. I glanced at the kids that were crushed behind me in the front row and they had no idea what they were about to bear witness to. I only had moments to get ready. The kids behind me looked at me like I was a freak when they saw me wrapping and covering my cameras with a contraption I had built out of cardboard, duct tape, and plastic trash bags. There was no way I was going to chance my camera equipment getting covered in blood. No one really knew how this thing was going to work.

Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman began the screechy, dive-bomby guitar intro to Raining Blood. As Dave Lombardo jumped in with his pounding triple drumbeat, the stage lights began to turn on and off – blackness, bright light, blackness, bright light. Then we saw it, our first glimpse. Just as the stage lights turned on for that brief moment, huge buckets of blood – I am talking gallons and gallons of blood – poured down on the band. It was pure evil. I was sprayed with blood as Tom Araya whipped his head round and round as they roared into the song. Tom and Dave seemed to get the worst of it…they both looked like the skin of their face was cooked and peeled off. Kerry got it pretty bad as well, but his face was still visible.

Surprisingly, Jeff, who was the mastermind of the raining blood idea, was virtually untouched by the blood. Jeff was having some guitar problems during the beginning of the song and walked toward his amp to fix the problem. In doing this, he missed his mark when the gallons of blood were dropped from above. I saw it on his face, he was pissed – and I felt terrible for him. But Jeff was a true professional and continued to perform the song incredibly.

Then exactly on cue, as if they had rehearsed it a million times, the shower of bloody rain began. As Tom screamed out, “Now I shall rain in blood!” and Kerry and Jeff tore into their leads the impossible happened. The venue was raining blood over the stage. It was eerie and demonic, yet it was beautiful. Now the band, including Jeff, were being showered in steady blood-rain and it looked spectacular. For the first time ever, a crowd at a Slayer show were speechless, their eyes were wide open and they jaws were on the floor.

The plan worked perfectly…the blood was contained within the stage, and the crowd stayed completely dry. Flawless. And the rest is Slayer History. As the band and I headed towards the dressing room, I couldn’t help but wonder how Jeff was going to react to the mishap on stage. And, what about the flipside to that – how was the band going to react to Jeff regarding the mishap? Was I about to see a huge Slayer blowout in the dressing room?

Stop by tomorrow as I conclude my weeklong retrospect on Slayer’s Still Reigning DVD.

SLAYER’S STILL REIGNING DVD…the dressing room

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

SLAYER
Augusta Civic Center
Augusta, ME
July 11, 200

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

***
Part three of a five-part series I am doing this week as I look back at the making of Slayer’s Still Reigning DVD. From load in to load out, I was there with the band.
***

Hatebreed and God Forbid had gotten the crowd warmed up, now it was Slipknot’s turn. Doors had opened a bit late due to the last minute set-up of the blood-rain system, but at least it was complete and ready to go. Whether it was going to really work the way everyone was hoping for was another question.

I photographed a couple of songs during Slipknot’s opening set. If anyone could hold their own as an opener for Slayer, it’s definitely Slipknot. When I finished shooting, I headed back to Slayer’s dressing room to hang with them until they went on. Just before I left the arena floor, I took a good look at the crowd, the venue was oversold, and there was hardly room to stand. Everyone was feeling the excitement of what was soon coming.

The mood in Slayer’s dressing room was surprisingly calm and quiet, but there was still a sense of tension and unspoken worry. I sat alone with Kerry King for quite some time as he strategically whipped up a super-solid set list…saving entire Reign In Blood album as the encore. Kerry put a lot of thought and a lot of heart into this set list. He wanted to make sure that the first half of Slayer’s show was as strong as possible. Slayer has such a huge archive of songs, it was very difficult for Kerry to pick and choose what made it into the set that night.

Then, as soon as Kerry King laced up his Armband Of Nails, much like medication as it kicks in and starts to take effect, the band kicked into overdrive and became the Slayer that we all know. Right in front of me, Jeff and Kerry started jamming together, at full speed. It was amazing, it was like they were onstage and I was the audience. No amps, nothing, just them, their guitars and myself. I didn’t want that moment to end, it was incredible. Dave was violently banging away with his drumsticks on a locker door. Tom seemed to meditate as he sat alone, his mind seemed to be racing in a thousand directions…he was ready.

Through the arena walls we could hear the crow chanting – Slayer, Slayer, Slayer! It was almost time. Jeff was the most eager to get on stage. He was bouncing all over the room, he could hardly contain himself. Then, being the joker that I can be sometimes, I decided to pull a fast one on Jeff. Slayer’s road manager at the time had a very nasally and scratchy tone to his voice – and I could imitate his voice almost flawlessly. I pulled Kerry and Tom aside and told said, “watch this.” I slammed the dressing door open and in my imitated-road manager voice I yelled, “Okay, let’s go, it’s show time…come on, let’s go!” Jeff came running out full speed with his guitar and we were all waiting for him in front of the dressing room door laughing our heads off. Jeff immediately knew he was the butt of a joke and started cracking up. We all laughed it up and cherished the moment. It was a nice way to get rid of the day’s tension, if only for a brief moment. Just then, their real tour manager walked in the dressing room and yelled, “Okay, guys let’s go.”

Stop by tomorrow and every day this week as we get closer and closer to Slayer hitting the stage in my weeklong retrospect of Slayer’s Still Reigning DVD.

SLAYER’S STILL REIGNING DVD…soundcheck

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

SLAYER
Augusta Civic Center
Augusta, ME
July 11, 2004

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

***
Part two of a five-part series I am doing this week as I look back at the making of Slayer’s Still Reigning DVD. From load in to load out, I was there with the band.

***

As the teams continued to frantically work on the “raining-blood system,” the band readied for soundcheck. Slayer has gone through soundcheck a million times in their career, I am sure they can do it on instinct. Bit for some reason, the band seemed a bit unsure of things, they seemed to worry and stress over many minute details.

Then I heard it, the band, especially Kerry, were very worried about their gear. As the raining-blood system had never been tested, no one knew how much blood was going to pour on their amps, drums and guitars. No one knew if their gear would make it through the song, and no one knew if their gear would be in working condition as they continue on with the Ozzfest Tour the following day in Boston. Kerry and Jeff also had concerns whether or not they would have control of their hands and fingers on their guitar necks once they were covered in blood. These guys are pros, and they wanted to be sure of two things: One – the fans at this gig got the show of their lives and; Two – that this DVD really captured the fury, passion and essence of who Slayer really is.

As soundcheck commenced, it was time for us all to sit down and eat. During dinner, the band picked my brain, asking me what songs were on the War At The Warfield DVD. Slayer have so much respect for their fans…they wanted to make sure that a completely different set was filmed for the fans that evening and not a re-hash of the live DVD that was released prior. However, no one could really eat, as there was still no confirmation on whether or not the blood gimmick was really going to work as planned.

The blood system was being put in place above the stage. A plan had finally been put together and implemented. However, because of time and costs, there would be no testing of the system. It was a one-shot-deal…it would either work or it wouldn’t. This was a good time for Slayer to say a prayer…I wonder who Slayer prays to.

Stop by tomorrow and every day this week as we get closer and closer to Slayer hitting the stage in my weeklong retrospect of Slayer’s Still Reigning DVD.

SLAYER’S “STILL REIGNING” DVD…the morning of

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Slayer
Augusta Civic Center
Augusta, ME
July 11, 2004

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

***
The first of a five-part series I am doing this week as I look back at the making of Slayer’s Still Reigning DVD. From load in to load out, I was there with the band.
***

For years, Slayer had wanted to perform their classic album, Reign In Blood, in its entirety for their fans. Jeff Hanneman, one of the visionaries of the band, wanted to take it a step further. His dream was to somehow have the band perform the closing track, Raining Blood, onstage while a shower of blood rain poured down on the band. I got the call from management, it was time to make Jeff’s dream a reality…and it was happening in just a few days – Augusta, ME of all places.

Slayer was on the Ozzfest tour and planned an off-day show in Augusta. Slayer wanted this show to be an event: First – Slipknot, Hatebreed and God Forbid were all on the bill as the openers (amazing in its own right); Second – Slayer was playing a full set, then as their encore, playing the entire Reign In Blood set; Third – if that was not enough, Slayer was going to somehow make the impossible possible and have it pour and shower blood during the final song of the night.

No one knew exactly how to make the bloody rain work, or if it was going to work at all. They only had a few days to figure this gimmick out, build it, and to pull it off. To make things even more stressful was the decision to film this show for a home DVD. There would only be one chance to make this happen, no practice runs, no re-shoots. The crazy thing is, from my experience in Slayer World, things always seem to work for the best when things are rushed and done at the last minute. Don’t ask me why, but it is true…the more stress and the less time, the better the outcome.

The band flew me in the night before and I arrived at the venue around 10am. They wanted me to document as much as I could that day (you can see a lot more of my photos in the Still Reigning DVD packaging). When I got there, it was mass chaos outside, behind the venue as teams of riggers, plumbers, special fx crews, stage managers, etc. all put their heads together to figure out how to build a contraption that would pour blood on the band, then cover the entire stage with a constant, steady shower of blood rain. Also, this contraption needed to be built in a way that the band could still play their instruments, they needed to avoid flooding the stage and, most importantly, it was important to not get the crowd showered in blood in order to avoid any lawsuits. There was a lot to accomplish and it was just hours before the show and nothing was built, the plans were still being worked on. Needless to say, there was a lot of tension from the band, management, the DVD production team and the venue. These photos really capture the stress of that day. Everyone, including the band, were questioning whether or not this was a good idea.

Stop by tomorrow and every day this week as we get closer and closer to Slayer hitting the stage in my weeklong retrospect of Slayer’s Still Reigning DVD.

Amazing Screams…Tom Araya

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , on June 5, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Tom Araya
Slayer
May 25, 1991
Clash Of The Titans Tour
Pacific Amphitheatre : Costa Mesa
***
Part four of a five part series I am doing this week that captures Amazing Screams. Each day I will add a new photo of a featured artist and their classic scream.
***

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one’s worth a million. Tom Araya had the most incredible range of intensity to his screams. One second, you could swear his soul is being cast straight down into the fiery pits of Hell, and then another, he rages with such wild intensity that you’re sure he’s actually summoning an army of demons to rise up and attack the world. There are many to choose from, but if I had to pick my all-time favorite Araya Scream, the one that truly captures the feeling and power that Tom pours out, I’d go with his opening scream on Angel of Death.

Photographed with my old Canon F1 camera and a cheap, no name 70-200mm lens. Shot on Kodak Ektachrome 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.

Hell Awaited

Posted in music with tags , , , on May 3, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Slayer – Country Club : September 7, 1985

This two-night stand at The Country Club in Reseda was a turning point for Slayer. They had just returned from Europe, and now the band no longer belonged to just the fans in L.A. It was time to see what happens after a band like Slayer played night after night to screaming European metal fans. Adding more fuel to the fire was the fact many of the most notorious gangs in Los Angeles came out to this show – not only to take part in the violence that comes with a Slayer show – but also to support Venice’s own D.R.I, who were added as main support that night (Abbatoir opened the show that evening). Excluding the South Of Heaven show at the Hollywood Palladium (which ended in overturned police cars and shootings in and outside of the venue), this Country Club gig was arguably the most brutal and dangerous show that Slayer ever played in Los Angeles (multiple stabbings and gang fights throughout the show).

It was hard as hell to shoot bands like Slayer because the pits were extremely violent and I always found myself jumping in the middle of these ferocious pits to get the shots I wanted. That was the only way to truly capture the feeling of a Slayer show.

Shot up front in the mayhem with my trusty, smuggled in Canon AE-1 Program and an 80-300mm zoom lens.

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