On Stage With…Motorhead
This shot is from Motorhead’s 30th Anniversary Show. As it approached, I could feel the energy and enthusiasm building within the music community. Everybody and their mother had to be at this show. The whole hard-rock community wanted to pay respect to one of the most influential bands of all time. The celeb list included rockers like Motorhead alumni Phil “Philthy Animal: Taylor, FooFighter’s Dave Grohl, Ronnie James Dio, Slayer’s Kerry King, WWE wrestlers Tripple H and Chris Jericho, as well as comedian/actor Eugene Levy.
I was not only fired up to see such a big show, but the band had hired me to shoot the entire set and get as many backstage and dressing room shots as I could. My day was going great. During some down time at soundcheck, Lemmy really enjoyed looking through a book I’d brought along, The Encyclopedia Of Metal. We had some laughs, but I thought I for sure was going to have an asthma attack breathing in all of Lemmy’s second hand smoke.
With all of the people, personalities, egos and the pressure of a fast-approaching live gig, things rarely go smoothly from start to finish without at least one major problem. This time it was with the venue. The Wiltern Theatre has a ridiculous photo policy and won’t allow any photographers in their barricade/photo pit directly in front of the stage. We were told that there was no way I could shoot from the pit as I would be a fire hazzard. What a lame excuse.
Motorhead’s team blew their lid when they were told that I had to shoot 100 feet from the stage. They started screaming that I was with the band and they want me shooting the whole show – up front, up close – as that is why they hired me. The venue’s management then claimed that they would allow me to shoot in pit if Motorhead agreed to pay the venue a $1,200 gee. What a joke. Suddenly, for $1,200 I wasn’t a fire hazzard. At that moment I got a sick feeling in my stomach, it looked like I was not going to be shooting this legendary show at all.
Then Motorhead’s team told the club, “Fine, Kevin will not be in your fucking pit. He will be with us, all night.” And they left it at that. Before I knew it, I was pulled back into the dressing room with the band and told to stick with them and jump on the stage with them the moment they do. The house went dark and the audience roared as Triple H took the mic to introduce the band. A stage manager wielding a flashlight led us through a dark corridor and out onto the stage as the crowd went berserk. I can still feel that hit of adrenaline to this day.