Archive for May, 2008

Bands that should have made it big…The Sea Hags

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

The Sea Hags
The Palace ; Hollywood
August 25, 1989

Part four of a four-part series I’m doing this week, featuring bands that should have made it big, but for one reason or another it just didn’t happen.

The Sea Hags were set to be the next big thing, rumors were that they were on their way to be the next Guns N’ Roses. Even though they were from San Francisco, they had a strong following in Southern California. Producer Mike Clink – coming off of GNR’s Appetite For Destruction – produced their one and only self-titled album, and it was amazing. Things looked great for the band, at least from the outside. But the band was plagued with internal problems – they were self-destructing at warp speed. Even their manager at one point said “you can only go so far with three junkies and an alcoholic”…but man, did these guys rock. In February of 1991, their bass player Chris Schlosshardt, died of a heroine overdose. Sadly this marked the end of The Sea Hags. Substance abuse and drug addictions continued for the remaining three, some of which are still battling today.

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

Bands that should have made it big…Rocket From The Crypt

Posted in music with tags , , , , , on May 29, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Rocket From The Crypt
Club Lingerie : Hollywood
June 11, 1996

Part three of a four-part series I’m doing this week, featuring bands that should have made it big, but for one reason or another it just didn’t happen. Each day I will add a new band and a new photo.

Rocket were always incredible. Hailing from San Diego, this band combined rock, rockabilly and punk to form a completely new sound. On stage you had guitarists, horn players, an explosive vocalist – and it all worked perfectly. They sounded like no other band around. Another thing that stood out was their genuine love for their fans. They always took the time to hang out and get to know us on a personal basis – which led to the Rocket Fan Club – of which I was a card-carrying member. And if you had a tattoo of the rocket logo, you were set – all you had to do was flash your tattoo at the door and you were in at no charge – any show, any city – for life. Plus, tattooed fans would also receive exclusive 7” singles throughout the year.

Fans would customize the tattoo logo and make it their own – some had flowers and hearts, some had pistols, etc. One night backstage at Club Lingerie, I asked the band if they had tattooed the rocket logo on themselves… and voila!… the proof is in the photo – every guy has one. There was a real feeling of family and camaraderie amongst their fans. I think Rocket never made it big because people couldn’t really classify their music or even describe they sounded like. I guess that’s a real problem when your music is completely original and breaking new ground. For what it’s worth, Circa Now and Scream Dracula Scream still get heavy airplay on my iPod. And they still sound fresh and original to this day.

Photographed with my Canon EOS-1 and a Canon 15mm fish-eye lens. Shot on Fujichrome film.

Bands that should have made it big…The Nymphs

Posted in music with tags , , , , , , , on May 28, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

The Nymphs
The Palace : Hollywood
January 28, 1991

Part two of a four-part series I’m doing this week, featuring bands that should have made it big, but for one reason or another it just didn’t happen. Each day I will add a new band and a new photo.

The Nymphs had it all – great songs, a great CD, an authentically wild lead singer, a kick ass live show and, most importantly – controversy. After the band’s A&R Rep at Geffen insisted they not play any more live shows in L.A. until they finished their long awaited CD, the band’s singer, Inger Lorre burst into his office in a drunken rage, and pissed all over his desk.
That relationship was bound to get ugly. The Nymphs had always wanted to sign with a small indie label, but couldn’t pass up Geffen Record’s offer of an advance just under one million dollars. Somehow, after the peeing incident, the CD was quickly released, but unfortunately the first single didn’t take off and the label seemed to de-prioritize the band. Then, in February of 1991, Inger’s boyfriend – Chris Schlosshardt of The Sea Hags – died of a heroine overdose. This was the final nail in the coffin for the Nymphs. Inger never recovered from her loss and the band fell apart.

Photographed with an old Canon F-1, a cheap, no name 28mm-70mm lens and a Sunpak 100 flash. Shot on Fujichrome film.

Bands that should have made it big…D Generation

Posted in music with tags , , , , , , on May 27, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

D Generation
The Opium Den : Hollywood
July 10, 1996
(click photo to enlarge)

This is the first of a four-part series I’m doing this week, featuring bands that should have made it big, but for one reason or another it just didn’t happen. Each day I will add a new band and a new photo.

This is a band that I thought was going to be huge. They had a front man, Jesse Malin that was completely charismatic… you couldn’t take your eyes off him. They had incredible energy – at one point during this show, Malin actually vomited, then just keep going like nothing happened. By the time I was done shooting, I felt like I’d just gotten beat up in a fight. According to their Wikipedia page, it looks like they lost their label support at a key time, and once they got the support they needed, they were never quite able to kick it up to the next level. Still, this was a great band, and one you should check out if you never heard them.

Photographed right up in the band’s face with my Canon EOS-1, a Canon 15mm fish eye lens and a Canon 430EZ Flash. Shot on Fujichrome film.

March Of The Saint

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

Armored Saint
March 16, 1984
Perkin’s Palace: Pasadena, CA

This was a big show. Not only because the bill was loaded with four of L.A.’s hottest local bands (Malice, Odin, Sin, and of course Armored Saint), but also because it was Armored Saint’s first gig as a major label band with an LP in the can. The band had been in the studio making their debut full-length LP for Chrysalis Records, so it was many months since Armored Saint had been on stage. They were buzzing – big time. The word was that they were about to be the next big thing out of L.A., and they should have been. This was a huge homecoming for the band and their fans. Armored Saint really wanted to make this an event and have this show stand out.

They put together a very elaborate opening. As the band ripped into March Of The Saint, John Bush came cruising out wearing an entire suit of armor. It looked spectacular. I was so captivated by this stunt that I nearly shot off all of my film right away. Bush could hardly walk in that suit, but he tried his best. Not even one full song into the set, he had to climb out. I was never sure if it was because he was having difficulty walking or if it was the heat inside. Regardless, their once of a lifetime intro sure paid off, at least for my friends and me. This photo holds a very special spot in my heart, as a fan of Armored Saint and as a fan of hard music. It was one of the best shows I ever attended as a teen.

I smuggled my camera in that night – taped to my back, and I am pretty sure my friend Erik smuggled my lens in for me in his massive metal hair-do. I had my system down for shooting at Perkin’s Palace. We would get there early and my buddy Andy would rush in and grab a few seat in the first 5 or 6 rows.   Once the show started, I would stand on the arms of the chairs (they had those old movie theatre style seats) so I could be a bit above the heads in front of me. My best-friend Rob (who was also recording the shows) would keep an eye out for security and subtly lean against me to keep me balanced. I would pop up and down, snapping away when the guards weren’t looking. I could never use a flash, that would be a dead give-away that I was snapping photos from the seat, so I could only shoot when the light was just right on the stage. This is how I really learned to read light and to master working a camera manually.

Photographed with my trusty, smuggled in Canon AE1 Program and a cheap, no name 70mm-210mm f5.6 lens. Shot on Kodak Negative Film.

Seeking Some Salvation

Posted in music with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Arise Video Shoot
Mojave Desert
October 27, 1991

I hooked up with Sepultura in 1989, just as Beneath The Remains was working to establish them as the hottest name in extreme metal. I got along great with the guys and figured out how to converse with them despite their broken English. One thing that really attracted me to the band was that they always had a clear vision for raising the stakes album after album.

The band and I struck up a strong friendship quickly – perhaps it was the Brazilian in them mixing with the Latino in me…who knows, we just clicked. Max Cavalera asked me if I wanted to head out to the California desert and shoot some photos as they filmed the music video for the song Arise. We were in the middle of nowhere – the same desolate area that Charles Manson would often seclude himself in. Although the photos look like it was a warm sunny day, it was actually dangerously cold – the temperatures dropped below 35 degrees Fahrenheit. This caused huge problems, especially for the extras that hung from the huge wooden crosses, wearing nothing more than a loincloth and a gas mask. Some of them collapsed right in front of me, suffering from hypothermia and exhaustion. It was eerie, very biblical.

Dino Cazares (Fear Factory) and Billy Gould (Faith No More) had tagged along with the band as well that day, all of us not knowing what we were getting ourselves into. I remember all three of us huddling together like a couple of school kids, trying to stay as warm as possible between takes. It was so damn cold that my camera’s internal metering system started freaking out from the low temperatures. Once again, it was all guessing and know-how to get through a shoot. Desolation, hypothermia, Sepultura and Mother Nature are an incredible combination.

Photographed with an old vintage Canon F1 camera body and a cheap, no name 28-80mm lens. Shot on Fujichrome film.

Wngwie Who?

Posted in music with tags , , , , , , , on May 21, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force
January 10, 1985
Country Club
Reseda, CA

This was Yngwie’s debut solo show in Southern California, and it was big news in the metal community. My buddy Rob and I were huge fans of Yngwie from his days with local heroes Steeler, and we were pretty bummed when he left the band. The domestic release of his first solo album was still a few weeks away, so Rob bought the LP as an import. We always had to have the record and know the songs before the show. The import cost more, but it was worth having the music early.

I managed to smuggle my camera into yet another big show at The Country Club and I was psyched to take photos. This time I could afford to buy two rolls of film for the show, but that meant I could not afford to buy a T-shirt that night. It was a hard decision, and one that I agonized over, but I decided that photos were more important than a T-shirt.

We got to the venue early so we could grab a spot up front. I wanted to make sure that I got great shots of our new guitar hero. This show sold out immediately and was packed – you can see some hands in the shot. Sometimes having a few hands in the shot is not a bad thing – it adds a sense of energy and excitement to the image.

The show was amazing and furious. The set consisted of 90% instrumentals showcasing Yngwie’s six-string magic. The rest of the show was made up of a handful of originals featuring vocalist Jeff Scott Soto. His kinky hair-do was so big that I could have smuggled in a whole camera store in his head. Sadly, Yngwie did not rip into any of his old Steeler tunes – that would have been a nice surprise for the L.A. fans.

I still get a kick out of the ticket stub – check out how they spelled Yngwie’s name…classic. And at $7.50…a bargain!

Photographed with my trusty, smuggled in Canon AE1 Program and a cheap, no name 70-200mm lens. Shot on Kodak Negative Film.