Thanks For Reigning : Tribute To Jeff Hanneman

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

A Different Kind Of Show

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2012 by Kevin Estrada

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Van Halen

February 8, 2012

Los Angeles Forum

Final Dress Rehearsal

So what happens when a photographer (and the biggest Van Halen fan I know) goes to Van Halen’s dress rehearsal and forgets his camera?  He ends up with photos like this.  Confused?  Read on.

I had heard of Van Halen’s “Friends And Family” dress rehearsal shows since I was a kid growing up in the San Gabriel Valley – Van Halen country as we call it.  This was a dream come true!

I knew I would not be allowed to bring my usual high end camera gear to the rehearsal, so I charged up the battery in my trusty Canon G-10 and cleared the memory card and was ready to snap away.  I was allowed to bring a guest with me to the show, so I immediately chose my 12 year old daughter – she loves the DLR!  I didn’t tell her where we were going, it made for a great surprise.

As we parked in the L.A. Forum parking lot, our excitement grew.  The second I stepped out of my car, I knew I had blown it.  I left my camera at home on the living room table – I had placed it there so I would not forget it.  Great job, Kevin!

I was devastated!  Immediately, my excitement turned to fatigue, all energy was sucked out of my body.  The walk into the venue must have been the longest walk of my life.  My daughter tried her best to console me, but she knows what a VH fan I am and how much I was looking forward to snapping some photos.

I began convincing myself that we would not be sitting close enough to the stage to get decent photos – that made me feel better. As we approached the inside of the arena, an usher asks us if we would like to sit in the upper seats or the loge section or if we wanted to go up front on the floor. Of course we chose to go up front on the floor.   Nothing like Van Halen right in front of your naked, steaming eyes!

We scored a spot so close to the stage we could nearly touch the band!  Kool And The Gang opened the show and I saw that everyone was snapping photos and shooting video with their phones.  We were all so close, that even the photos on the phones looked pretty good. It was killing me – there was no way I was going to make it through the show without shooting photos.

So I scouted the area and I found a friendly (and a bit intoxicated) woman and her pissed off punker husband with a Canon PowerShot. I couldn’t take my eyes off their camera. After about 10 minutes, I walk over to the husband and explain that I forgot my camera at home and I need to shoot some photos. I tell him that I will give them $20 if they let me shoot a handful of photos with their camera. They stare at me like I am nuts and ask me to explain it again – and again and again. Finally, after some begging she agrees and hands me the camera, just in time for VH to hit the stage.

At one point, the alcohol had her feeling a bit artsy, so she grabs the camera from me and starts screwing up the settings I had dialed in and tries to snap some miscellaneous photos. Just then, Alex jumps behind his drum kit and the lights drop.  Her husband yells at her, grabs the camera and hands it back to me and says, “Just to hold on to it for the rest of the show.” Yes!!

I dial my settings back in, and Van Halen tears into “You Really Got Me.” The camera shot a bit slow for me and had a bit of lag time, but it did the job. At the end of the show we exchanged numbers and email info so I can have them send me the photos.  The next day I discover that the couple does not know how to get the photos off the card.  I am getting worried the photos are going to be deleted or lost, or worse.  So I jump in my car and drive 60 miles to their home and grab the photos.  I must have had a smile a mile wide the whole way home!

This was one of the greatest nights of my life, so I wanted to share a handful of my photos with you…hope you like them.  And be sure to support Van Halen by buying their new CD and seeing them when they come to your hometown.

Ross Hogarth…you da’ man!!

Photographed with a borrowed Canon PowerShot SX130.

…Introducing…Judas Priest – 2011

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2011 by Kevin Estrada

Judas Priest

May 24, 2011

Renaissance Hotel : Hollywood, CA

The Judas Priest saga continues…and luckily into my hometown.  I was lucky enough to be invited to the official debut of Judas Priest 2011.  The addition of new guitarist Richie Faulkner and exit of founding member K.K. Downing was the initial focus of the gathering, but discussions of the band’s upcoming farewell tour – The Epitaph Tour – and the future of Judas Priest soon took over.

The band blended very well with the K.K. Downing / Point Of Entry looking Faulkner, who seems to be bringing some well needed energy and youthfulness to the Metal Godfathers.  It will be interesting to see what 2011 brings us – it has already brought Judas Priest into our living rooms last night via American Idol.  Long live Metal! What’s next?

K.K. says Bye Bye

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2011 by Kevin Estrada

K.K. Downing

Long Beach Arena, CA

November 21, 1982

I thought I was bummed out when Judas Priest announced late last year that the band was planning to hang up the towel and retire.  Then, the news was released that the band had rethought their decision and had plans to record a new album and possibly play some select dates around the world.  Now, this past week, founding member, K.K. Downing, has announced that he has made the decision to leave Judas Priest.

The hard rock world is in shock by this news.  Judas Priest released a press release on April 20th that explains that the band plans to continue on without K.K. Downing and announced Richie Faulkner as his “perfect” replacement. You can check out the Official Press Release below – straight from the band.

But something just does not seem right, something is wrong here.  It seems that K.K. was the main force in an attempted end to Judas Priest.  Now that Priest has decided to move on without Downing it is apparent that the band may have never really wanted to retire in the first place, it may have been a move and pressure by Downing alone.

We will have to wait and see if more official word is released by Halford and the boys.  I am shocked and disappointed to say the least.  I was never fired up with the Halford-less version of Judas Priest and I cannot see myself getting excited about Priest without K.K. – it just can never be the same.

I wish the band much luck, bit in all honesty, Judas Priest has already secured themselves in Rock N’ Roll History and have nothing to prove.  I would hate to see the band go out in a disappointing form.  Perhaps it is time for JP to hang up the leather.

The Beast Kicks 2011 Into Action!

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2011 by Kevin Estrada

Paul Di’Anno

The Key Club

West Hollywood, CA

January 5, 2011

First off…I am back – Happy New Year!!

If this is a sample of what 2011 is going to be like, then this year is going to blow my mind!  My first show of the year was Paul Di’Anno of Iron Maiden.  For those of you wondering whether Di’Anno still has it or not, he definitely does!  These handful of shows were extra special as Paul ran through the entire Iron Maiden LP as well as the best of Killers.  Also thrown in were some of Di’Anno’s favorites from his solo years.

Icarus Witch backed up Di’Anno and provided all the Maiden music.  I must say, they were nearly spot on.  Eddie Trunk had mentioned that he was a bit disappointed because he thought Icarus Dream played the tunes a bit too fast – not true, the tempos were just as tight as the current Iron Maiden plays them live.

Except for a few minutes where the venue seemed a bit quiet due to the crowd getting a bit “Hollywood”, the club was filled with maniac Maiden fans  – and Paul was feeling the love!   I was lucky enough to swipe Paul Di’Anno’s set list – one of the benefits of being smashed up against the stage all night.

Enjoy the slide show!  Up The Irons!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

















Dio’s Final Farewell

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 31, 2010 by Kevin Estrada

Ronnie James Dio

Hall Of Liberty : Forest Lawn

Hollywood Hills

May 30, 2010

Since 1983, Memorial Day Weekend held a special place in my heart when it came to Heavy Metal Music.  It was on May 29, 1983 that I attended Heavy Metal Day at the US Festival in Devore, California.  300,000 dedicated metal fans came out that weekend to support what was important – Metal.  Once again, Memorial Day Weekend holds a new place in my heart when it comes to Metal Music.  Yesterday, May 30, 2010, thousands of dedicated metal fans came out to support what was important – the life of Ronnie James Dio.

I was one of the lucky ones that was able to attend and take part in this special farewell to one of the founding fathers of Metal.  I was privileged to be able to document the entire Memorial Ceremony – the load-ins, the soundchecks, the arrivals, the fans, the music, the memories, and the tears.

It was a touching and tasteful service, led by Eddie Trunk.  Ronnie’s life and musical talents were broken down and chronicled era by era, section by section, accompanied by live musical performances, video clips, and friends.  Three and half hours was not nearly long enough to display the gifts and love that Ronnie gave to all of us throughout his life.

I hope you enjoy my slideshow…it is my gift to all of you.  I am and always will be a fan and I am blessed to be able to make my living doing what I love.  Rest In Peace Ronnie, your impact in music and your huge warm heart will never be forgotten.

P.S.  Thanks Rob, for being by my side on both of these special Memorial Day Weekends!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Man On The Silver Mountain

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 19, 2010 by Kevin Estrada

Ronnie James Dio

(July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010)

Dressing Room

Los Angeles, CA

April 1, 2005

Just like the millions of Rock Fans around the world, I was stunned this past Sunday morning to hear the news that Ronnie James Dio had passed away a few hours earlier.  Just a few weeks ago I was excited to see him on stage at the Golden God Awards, throwing his metal fingers in the air – as it should be.

Metal and Hard Rock has truly lost an icon, an innovator, and a gentlemen.  I had the pleasure to work with Ronnie a number of times over the years, and every experience was memorable.  He had the heart of a giant and the vocal pipes of an even larger man than that.  The music world will never be the same.

I shot this photo  of Ronnie in Motorhead’s dressing room in Los Angeles a few years ago.  As always, RJD was in a great mood and really played it up for my camera.  I am really going to miss the Holy Diver.

RJD Memorial Info:

Wendy Dio has asked that in lieu of sending flowers, please make a donation to the Ronnie James Dio “Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund.” You can send your check or money order to the Niji Entertainment Group, 12400 Ventura Blvd. #624, Studio City, CA, 91604. From all of us at the Niji Entertainment Group.

Lastly, there will be a Public Memorial Service for Ronnie James Dio on Sunday, May 30th at 2:00 PM at The Hall Of Liberty located at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.